Pastor’s Heart – January 2018
Time marches on. We count the days to Christmas, and many stay awake to countdown the seconds to a new year. We count the days to spring break. We count the days to Easter. We count the days to graduation and the end of a school semester. We count the days to summer vacation. We count the days to the beginning of a new school year. We count the days to the beginning of college football season (at least my son Carson and I do). We count the days to fall break and then Halloween. We count the days to Thanksgiving. We count the days to Christmas, and within another week, just like that…another year is over!
The third chapter of Ecclesiastes begins, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” (ESV). King Solomon continues writing his Holy Spirit inspired eloquent wisdom in Ecclesiastes 3:11 with, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (ESV). God makes everything beautiful in its time, and He has put eternity into our hearts.
This sovereign God who eternally exists outside of time makes everything beautiful in its time and also places eternity into the hearts of humanity. I believe this awareness and longing for the eternal is just one aspect of what it means that we as humans are made in the image of God. We have just celebrated Christmas together, that God the Son invaded human history. Jesus became part of the cycle of time just like every other human being on the planet. There was a time for Jesus to be born and there was a time for Him to die. But thanks be to God there was a time for Him to be risen from the dead! And there will be a time that Jesus will come again.
This new year I want to encourage you to remember that we serve a God who created time. We may count the minutes, hours, and days, and but we only count that which God is making beautiful in its time. Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:14 gives us more profound wisdom from the Holy Spirit when he writes, “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him” (ESV). What the eternal God does endures forever. We can’t add to or take away from His work. God has done it, and for what reason? God does all that He does so that people may fear Him for His glorious works.
Last year the Lord did some remarkable things in the life of our church. He gave us just a glimpse of what is possible if we as His people surrender to His will and purpose. The Lord is not finished with us yet. My prayer this year is that God will work in and through us a work that will endure forever. I pray that it will be His work and not ours. Our work like the grass will wither and like the flower will fade (Isaiah 40:8).
In John 14:12 Jesus says something extraordinary to His disciples. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (ESV). He goes on to tell them that whatever we ask in His name, “This I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13, ESV). As we believe in Jesus, trust in His intercession for us, and pray together in His name, the Lord will do “greater works than these” in our church. God wants to do even greater works than He has in years past in and through you, dear people of First Baptist Church on the Square!
One reason that the Lord has blessed this church for so many years is the faithful commitment of the people of this church. One of these faithful servants is Tom Farr. Tom has been on our ministerial staff for twenty-five years. I have served with some great men and women of God through my years in Christian ministry. Tom is right up there at the top when it comes to loyalty, commitment, willingness to serve, devotion to God’s Word, and a genuine love for Christ’s church. Tom wears so many hats that one of his nicknames is “minister of miscellaneous.”
We will honor Tom in the morning worship service on December 31. Thank you, Tom Farr, for your many years of service. We love and appreciate all that you and Teresa do for our church. I cannot even begin to list the many things you have done in your twenty-five years here. As we continue to add new staff this New Year, those new ministers (along with other newer guys, Cody and myself) are glad to have a brother like you who has been in leadership at First Baptist Church for many years. We pray for more fruitful years together as laborers in the harvest.
May God continue to bless our church in the New Year as we discover what He has in store for 2018. We exist to glorify God by loving all people and making disciples of all nations. Your church leaders will make plans this year. Undoubtedly all of us will make plans this year, but as we do may we find great comfort in our sovereign God. Proverbs 16:9 is a profound verse for us to remember: “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (NLT). I leave you with the lyrics of the classic praise song by Rich Mullins, “Step by Step:”
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
Following Jesus Together,