It has been about three years since the Lord moved us away from Grace Bible Church. It seems like its been a blink of an eye. But every time I log onto Facebook, I'm reminded how long it has been. Your kids are getting huge. And there are so many more of them.
The other day, as I was going through some old files, I came across some bullet-pointed notes of my final words I said to you on that last Sunday in Foundations ABF. As I prayed for many of you once again, I began to wonder how you are doing with these last words of exhortation. Here they are:
First, Love Jesus Radically
- Don't play the religious game.
- Spend time with Him in His Word & through Prayer
- don't let other dictate what your life with Him should look like.
Second, Love Your Spouse
- Make sure and cultivate Date Nights
- Take opportunities for marriage retreats
- You marriage is not for you, but for your spouse
- Please forgive each other
Third, Keep Having Babies
- Be faithful dads and moms
- Love your kids, serve your kids, sacrifice for your kids, display humility for your kids.
Fourth, Look For New People
- Pray for eyes to see those in need
- Remember those who welcomed you and imitate them
- So what if they have been here for a year and you introduce yourself to them . . . rejoice you finally met them.
Fifth, Be Hospitable - Open Your Home
- There is no place like your home for real ministry to take place
- You home doesn't have to be perfect . . . let others be part of your real life.
Sixth, Fully Engage The Church (Eph. 4)
- Change the church from your ABF - Be change agents
- Pass on to others what you have learned
Seventh, Be Patient With The Next Guy
- You dont' want him comparing you against his last people
- Take what you've learned from us . . . add what you will learn from him.
- Be teachable
Eighth, Be the Light (Matt. 5:13-16)
- Don't quench the Spirit
- Fear God, not men
- Don't shine the light, BE the light
Ninth, Be Real With Each Other
- Refuse to put on masks
- Don't be surprised when people struggle with sin.
- Live the life where people want to open up to you.
Tenth, Keep The Gospel Central
- It applies to the believer as much as the unbeliever
- Every day - you're a humble beggar!
- Every day - you're in need of grace!
- Every day - you can't do it on your own!
- Every day - God's grace is amazing!
I hope you are growing in each of them. I hope and pray you are staying faithful to your spouse and to the Lord. I hope you are increasing in your holiness. It is a joy to me that we live in an age of technology where we feel we can still live life with you (through social media, phone calls, texts, etc...).
As for us here in Ohio, the Lord is being gracious to us once again. The relationships we are building are encouraging and helping us grow more like Jesus. We are thankful for where the Lord has led us. But as you know, we have not arrived. Neither have you. So, let's keep going in this race of the Christian life. I think these words of the Apostle Paul adequately summarize my feelings towards you.
"For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God." (1 Thessalonians 3:8-9).
We look forward to God's timing for us to once again see each other and rejoice over what the Lord is doing in each of our lives. All to His glory and our good.