"Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path . . ." Psalm 119:105.
Psalm 119 is one of my favorite Psalms in the Bible. It uplifts the Bible (specifically the TORAH) in a beautiful accrostic poem. The image in this particular verse reminds the reader that the world is dark, but God's word provides just enough light to see along the paths. Biblical scholar Scot McKnight translates this as "Your word is a flashlight . . ." For the person camping in a dark woods, you must keep the flashlight pointed ahead in order to see.
A couple months back, we laid out a vision for our church at the Harvest Breakfast. You all responded financially, with ideas, with prayers, and with a renewed sense of God's Spirit moving among our church. Like the flashlight shining ahead on our path, we must keep the vision which is based upon God's Word to us in front of us to light our path.
God's church is a sweet fellowship of love that is rooted in the Triune God. We believe God is one but also Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God exists in a "sweet fellowship of love" to borrow a phrase from Jonathan Edwards. The church then is a participant together in that fellowship of love and a reflection on earth of that fellowship of love. How does this play out for FBC Shawnee?
Worship - We are committed to the unity of the body of Christ and this most evidently seen in our worship. We have 5 different generations represented in our church on any given Sunday morning in one service. We have different races, socio-economic classes, and other lines that could divide us. However, in Christ there is neither democrat nor repuclican, black nor white, rich nor poor but all are one. We reflect that in worship together.
Discipleship - Discipleship is the process by which we are formed into Christlikeness. This is both an individual endevor and a communal process. We need each other. Personal devotion is extremely important. So we learn the different practices of the Christian faith that grow us in our relationship with God (Bible study, prayer, fasting, service, etc.). We cannot grow alone. We need each other. That is why we have Sunday School classes. There we learn the Bible together. That is also why we have small groups. These small groups offer opportunities to live in deeper community with one another. If you are not in Sunday school class or in a small group, I highly encourage you to find one.
Mission - God is at work in the world. God is on mission through Jesus to reconcile the world back to Himself. As God's people living out God's Kingdom, we participate in God's mission through evangelism, acts of service, and living morally exemplary lives that demonstrate the rule of Christ. On April 4th (the Saturday before Easter) our church will be serving our neighborhood in a number of different ways. This is a step towards living out the mission of God in our world.
Keep the vision in front of you. Be empowered by God's Spirit. I love you and hope to worship with you Sunday.