Greetings New Life!
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. – Jesus
Those are some powerful red-letter words. Over the past number of weeks, we have taken a closer look at biblical love. I am always thankful for your encouraging words and supportive prayers as all of us have had to navigate these chaotic times. Following Christ’s example in our love for each other will truly be what sets us apart.
As much in our world continues to change, I believe clarity and alignment to be extremely important. Satan loves the opportunities that confusion brings. Please allow me to express a few words that will hopefully eliminate any confusing avenues that Satan could use to divide.
I love you and love being your pastor. God continues to shape my heart. I am now able to thank Him for the many difficult lessons I had to learn over these past 10 years. I pray it has allowed me to serve you better. However, it seems that nothing could prepare me (prepare any of us) for this past year. God has/is sharpening His church. For what? I am not sure. But as we all move forward together, my resolve is growing. Could we all be a part of new and amazing work of God? I hope so! Love must be preeminent. Hear this, no matter what comes our way, God loves you and so do I. All that we try to do and say comes from a posture of love for you and the greater New Life family.
I miss you. I miss us…the hugs and the handshakes. I miss all of it. I hope you can understand the tension these last number of months have created. We want all of us to be healthy and safe. We trust God and believe in making wise choices. I am not afraid to say it, “I want you back!” But I understand that some of you are still cautious and that is ok! Yet, if you are ready, come on back! Don’t allow the video venue or other cares/responsibilities of this world to isolate you from the body. It is another way Satan works.
I challenge you to consider where God may be leading you. God is asking us to listen and respond faithfully to the Holy Spirit’s voice. These last months have forced all of us to make some really hard decisions. Oh, how we need the Spirit’s leading! Grounded in God’s Word, we move forward. So where does that leave us?
We must (in wisdom) not neglect worshipping together. So…I leave that tension up to you and the Holy Spirit. You aren’t ready to come back? No shame, we miss you. You want to wear a mask? No shame, come in peace. You are free in the Spirit not to wear a mask? No shame, come as you are. The decision is yours and we trust the Holy Spirit to lead you!
In light of this, the Elder Team has written this statement:
Above all, love every person.
We only join Christ without masks when we do so in love.
We only join Christ in mask-wearing when we do so in love.
And remember, “…love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
So…I love you. I miss you. I challenge you. Yeah, that seems about right. May our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, guide you into all truth and may we all be obedient as we joyfully walk with Him.
Faithfulness is enough!