Once a week I write a pastoral letter to the good people of the West Congregation of the Austin Stone Community Church. I will occasionally add some of those letters here.
Dear West Family,
Does anyone else feel like their hair is on fire? Like, right now, my hair is literally (not a literal use of this word) ablaze. Getting this mail out is one of literally (again not how you are supposed to use this word) 4958730498 things on my to-do list for today.
Wait, I need to add getting a better to-do list app to my to-do list. That will solve it. Literally, solve it.
Fall semester has arrived and she is a nasty little season y’all. Everyone is running pretty hard. Yesterday a friend told me I looked tired, and then added… “I mean even worse than usual.” They are the worst friend ever, but they aren’t wrong. Last Friday morning I had the privilege of spending time at our weekly Men’s Breakfast and I got to hear that the men there are all feeling the same thing. They feel pulled in a million directions, overscheduled, stressed, pressured, distracted, busy and already dreaming of next year’s summer vacation that will hopefully reset everything.
And then a community of faith gets added to the mix and it can feel like another thing to juggle in an already overstretched juggling routine. We have to also find time to love God, and the church, and the city, and the nations. We have to find time for bible study and missional community and serving in the body, and … it’s too much. So, we are tempted to let that ball of faith in community fall to the ground so we can juggle the rest. We know (or hope) that there will be a season down the line to pick it up again, but there will never again be an under 8 local soccer league. That’s where greatness is decided people, so that sucker cannot drop!!
Man, my heart is moved by how stretched we all are. It is a high level of pressure that most of us live under, a tyranny of sorts that many of us feel we cannot escape. I am spending lots of time thinking and praying about how we can be a community of faith that integrates into the spheres of our busy lives and doesn’t just compete for already occupied space. I really do think we can serve you guys better in that way and I am excited as we move into the new building to see how we can accomplish some of that.
In the meantime, you are all going to need some wisdom and grace to navigate this crazy season. So, today, I thought I would just spend two minutes reminding you of some very familiar but very powerful promises in the Scripture. I hope and pray that God uses them to encourage you to persevere where you need to, to give you the power to stop doing the things you don’t need to, and the faith to start doing some things that you aren’t currently doing because you are too busy and distracted.
“He gives strength to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Youths may become faint and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint.” – Is 40:29-31
“Though the mountains move and the hills shake, my love will not be removed from you and my covenant of peace will not be shaken, say your compassionate Lord.” – Is 54:10
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God – who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly – and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5
“Take delight in the the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” – Ps 37:4-5
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 4:6-7
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matt 11:28
Love you friends.
See you Sunday.