Two days ago, the Lester family marked the one year anniversary of our arrival in the US. I cannot believe it has been a year! We arrived tired, smelly, confused and a little fearful and have more or less remained in that state for the rest of the year. It has been a most marvelous adventure!
Dear friends, what if we became the kind of community that our neighbors desperately long for? The kind of place where they wouldn’t need to be Wonder Woman and wouldn’t need confidence juice to enter into, but where it would be okay to be just them, even if just them isn’t okay at all. We can be that sort of a people collectively if we start to just do it individually.
Friends, the grace of God means that we can and should take our sin very seriously and should do all we can to put it to death and to remove its patterns from us. When Paul wrote to the Colossian church, he reminded them that they had been raised with Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God. The implication of that incredible news of grace is that they had to be ruthless with sin. It was the only logical response that they would put it to death, to not have any part with it. That they would do whatever they could to expose it, to remove it, and to move far from it so that it couldn’t return. Jesus, of course, taught us to do the same thing. To cut off offending parts rather than to live with them continually compromising us.
I am more and more persuaded that truly engaged and fully present listening is a gift that Christians could give uniquely to the world, as we of all people aren’t constantly clambering to be heard. Listening is a sacred thing. I think it might be a spiritual discipline actually. Let’s be quick to listen to one another.
I love Spring. It is a season of optimism, newness and resurrection. Things that seemed dead burst back into life, I know this because I now need to mow my lawn every 17 minutes, and that lawn looked as dead as my hopes of picking a winning March Madness bracket just a couple of weeks ago. I love that God put the regularity of dormancy and rebirth into the world that surrounds us. He is reminding us of His kindness, His creative genius, His patience and His loving ability to bring beauty out of things that appear long gone.
What a beautiful thing! These were humble, gifted, godly, sacrificial ministry women making a real difference with what they had. This seems far removed from our conception of a few gals making salads and gossiping in the kitchen while the men grill outside and talk about the markets and doctrine and hunting and man stuff.
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 I can’t believe that we have been in Austin for two months already. We have loved our time so far, just... Continue Reading →
I used to find people with lots of money intimidating, but God has been teaching me over time what it looks like to serve them and lead them. These are simple observations, but ones that I have learned through pain and frustration at times. My hope is simply to be a faithful minister where God has me, and these are some of the principles that simple faithfulness requires of me in this context.