Before I dive into what’s next, I want to revel in what God has done and is doing this summer. At the end of June we were leaving the “Mission Possible” series where we took a lengthy look at our mission and purpose as a church. The worship services during May and
June and the worship preparation for them were incredibly inspiring, re-igniting in me a personal passion to be ‘all in’ and uniting our church in worship around not only who God is, but on the shared call he’s placed on our lives to be his followers. Needless to say, I felt a huge let down as we left this ‘high’ for the ‘Summer in the Psalms’ series. I admit that I’m bent toward adventure – inspired by the challenges of the Christian life. You don’t catch me sitting in a recliner in front of the T.V. The battle is where I want to be – right in the middle of the action. That said, I think God needed to teach me a lesson – although Psalm 23 was not one of our sermons, this summer was for me a journey through the valley of the shadow of death, learning to cling to the comfort the Lord provides in that lonely place. It was also a time of being made to lie down in green pastures, being led by the still waters, and finding restoration for my soul. I think our church family needed to worship in the Psalms as well – kind of a settling and focusing on authentic expressions of brutally honest worship. In fact, as each weak unfolded, I sensed that the Lord was leading us exactly where he wanted us to go. The unstructured approach where each pastor was responsible to choose the Psalm he would preach, ended up being the clear voice of God leading our church. Afraid that it would be lost, my concern was to keep our mission in front of people. As I reflect now, I realize that the Summer in the Psalms was the perfect bridge, launching us into our fall season of ministry with a stronger than ever focus on our mission, because we are grounded in what goes before mission – relationship. We are called to follow Jesus first, to know and love him, to learn from him and to worship him. This relationship is the basis of our journey of discipleship and it is ultimately out of love, not duty that we end up picking up our cross to follow, even to the point of laying down our very lives.
So now we have entered ‘Connect Month’ with a focus on discipleship. I love the challenges that are being placed before our church family – namely the multifaceted challenge toward intentional growth in our relationship with God. But it all begins with “Loving God.” That
is where the Psalms have centered us. Out of the foundation of loving God and being loved by God (the practice of our relationship with him), we are moved and empowered to love people, share the Gospel and serve the world. I walk with anticipation toward the season ahead, with a huge ‘thank you’ to God for what is behind.