Well, I am back! Kristin and I are still deciding how best to share our sabbatical experience to the congregation. Writing about it seems too informal, and we would like to make ourselves available to have a more interactive discussion, because some of you may also have questions for us. You will find out soon enough what we decide: whether it be a Saturday night event at the church, or a period after a worship service. Or maybe we’ll open up our house and yard…we’ll see! Either way, we sincerely wish to express our thanks for this blessing you provided us with. We felt encouraged throughout and we also know that many people were praying for us; so thank you!
This week is DRS Sunday! We celebrate and remember the blessing that this mission trip is to our church and to the lives we touch through it. This annual trip has become an important part of the fabric of who we are, and has blessed us in countless ways, so it is good and right to celebrate!
The sermon today will go along with this theme of being ‘missional’, not just once a year, but throughout our daily lives. I admit that it is a challenging sermon; hearing God’s truth always confronts us with our own weaknesses and points out our shortcomings. My prayer this week has been that as much as this sermon may challenge us, it may also encourage us and empower us to take God’s call to bring the Gospel to the world in new and exciting ways, led by the Spirit who gives us all we need to this despite our own deficiencies (and often through them!).
So along with the challenging sermon, I have done two things. First, you will find in your bulletin a list of discussion questions for you to engage and discuss throughout this week. I am considering doing another sermon on ‘being a missional church’ soon, and these questions will provide a nice backdrop to prepare us. Second, I will share with you these words of encouragement from Scripture:
Philippians 4:12, 13:
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armour of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.…
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.