Dear Church Family,
I hope you are doing well! It is my prayer that you are being strengthened by the grace that is available to you in Christ Jesus! Although we are living in challenging times and many around us are fearful, stressed and anxious. As followers of Jesus we really can have peace and hope in the middle of this pandemic!
The past few months my wife Candace and I have been studying the book of Revelation. Our goal was not to try & figure out the meaning of unusual images and figures. We wanted to focus on the obvious and see what we could learn and apply to our present situation. We were encouraged & challenged by what Paul Minear said: “St John uses words the way poets do, recombining them in fresh ways so that old truth is freshly perceived. He takes truth that has been eroded to platitude by careless usage and sets it in motion before us in an animated & and impassioned dance of ideas.” It has been a rich, practical and rewarding study that has helped us better understand how we should approach life today. At the time this book was written, the churches in Asia Minor were suffering and experiencing the hatred and wrath of the Roman Empire. It was an incredible challenge for God’s people to live faithfully and with hope in the midst of a faithless generation. So what did they need to hear most from their Lord?
They didn’t need a detailed account of the future intended to be decoded centuries later. They didn’t need the assurance that someday God would punish the wicked and those who opposed the Gospel. They didn’t need an allegory to numb their pain and suffering. What they needed was a picture of the risen Lord Jesus, our hope and future! As you may know, the central theme in the Bible has always included God’s plan to create a community of people who are rightly related to Him and to one another. As Kenneth Boa said: the main character as it turns out, is Jesus Christ. His identity is hinted at throughout the Old Testament, and then stated explicitly in the New Testament. In the final book of the Bible Story, this glimpse into the future is revealed: In the world to come, God’s people will finally live the way God intended. Sin and evil will be eradicated. The corruption that infected God’s creation will give way to a new heaven and a new earth. We will have new bodies, incorruptible bodies and incorruptible minds. So much will change and be totally new. But this much will be the same: the central character will still be Jesus Christ. It is the grace of God, most clearly made manifest in the person and work of Jesus Christ that is the only possible foundation for a peace that promises to last throughout all eternity. We enjoy the grace that is ours now, even as we eagerly await the peace that will be ours in time. First grace, then peace. Always Jesus!
Brothers and sisters the key to finding lasting peace, joy & hope, the thing that you need more than anything else is Jesus! My prayer is that Jesus will become your life, your all! Although I wish we could be together in person, I am thankful that most of our ministries are up and running via Zoom.
If there is anything I can do to help you or pray for you please let me know! I miss you all and look forward to that day when we can all be together again!
Love in Christ,