Mick’s Memo – A Pastor’s Prayer

Though our circumstances no longer require it, my wife, Betsy, is an inspiring correspondent.  Her letters to me during my days as a Midshipman pointed me to Scripture and encouraged me to investigate what it said about how to approach God, helping me along my faith journey.  Her faithful retelling of family events kept me connected to our family during deployments that lasted for months.  The Apostle Paul also wrote amazing letters. In fact, some of them were later recognized as divinely inspired, preserved, copied and distributed to all churches even though they were originally sent to specific individuals or churches.

He wrote to the believers at Philippi to thank them for a gift and to give them instruction about resolving conflict and pursuing joy in any circumstances.  He affirms the joy of his prayers for them whenever he thinks about them and his confidence that God will bring His work in them to full completion.  Then he tells them his passionate desire as he prays for them:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, {10} so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…      Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV) 

Paul knows that love is the prime command and mission motivator for the church.  But insight and discernment are needed for love to have its fullest effect. Love abounds when we pursue greater and greater understanding of ourselves, others, God’s will and the context of life.  Love is the bonding force of human connection and the power of transformation.

Loving others can be both exhilarating and exhausting. It’s exhilarating to see our love bring comfort, encouragement, helpful guidance, affirmation and hope to others.  At the same time, it involves sacrifice of time, sometimes resources or physical effort, and emotional involvement.  It also demands patience and resilience when those we love are unresponsive or show little evidence of progress that we hoped love would inspire.

Reflecting on Calvary the past 2 weeks is a great reminder of the sacrifice associated with love and the delight God has in seeing His love in action.  The Apostle Paul writes of this in the same letter to the Philippians:

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. 9-11 Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.    

      Philippians 2:5-11 (Msg)

As individuals and as a community of faith here at CrossRoads, we have the calling and privilege of following Jesus’ example of humility and obedience as we put love into action. 

This weekend is filled with opportunities to exercise love.  Married Life is meeting Friday night with laughs, free stuff and hopefully some helpful insights for building a stronger marriage. At Sunday morning services we are starting a new series we have renamed “Connections” about 4 ways we tend to relate to others.  Sunday afternoon at 2 PM we will host a memorial service for May Elliott one of CrossRoads’ founding members.  Sunday at 4 PM we will have our concluding Leadership Xchange meeting for this spring.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Mick

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