September Memory Verse (new!):
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7
FROM THE PASTOR:
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been sharing a few of the lessons I’ve learned since beginning in pastoral ministry 5 years ago. Though there are many more lessons than the seven I’m sharing with you, and many more lessons yet to be learned, I’ve found it a helpful exercise to process the things the Lord has been teaching me. As you’ve had opportunity to read these lessons learned I hope that you’ve been encouraged by the fruit of your investment in me over these years. To wrap up this short list, here are the final two (of seven) lessons I’ve learned in my first five years of ministry.
6. Prepare (and be prepared) for suffering. There are many lessons to be learned about suffering, but the primary one I’ve learned has little to do with the suffering I may face in my life and ministry. What I’ve learned is that one of my greatest responsibilities as a pastor is to prepare people for suffering. As D.A. Carson says, “All we have to do is live long enough and we will suffer.” It’s true. So if we know that in this sinful and fallen world we will suffer, then why would we not do all that we can to prepare to suffer well – in a way that glorifies God? At every turn I’m learning to teach and apply a theology of suffering that is grounded in the character of God – the only unchanging and unwavering reality in our lives. In the midst of the darkness of suffering is not the time to think about how we’re going to endure suffering; that time is now, in the light of day, when we can see clearly that which may be hidden temporarily by our suffering. If we want our anchor to hold in every high and stormy gale – whenever it may come – we need to build our lives now on the solid rock, Jesus Christ.
7. “O Lord, by your grace, work in me, through, and in spite of me.” These are the words of a prayer I’ve learned to pray at least every Sunday morning, and usually more often. What I’ve come to realize more than ever through pastoral ministry is how much work the Lord has yet to do in me. Every time I have opportunity to preach or teach God’s Word I need to be reminded that I’m probably the one who needs to hear and respond to his Word the most. So each and every Sunday I plead with the Lord to work – first and foremost – in me…to change my heart and my life by the work of the Holy Spirit according to his perfect purposes. Then, secondly, to work through me, since I’m only his vessel. Finally, to work in spite of me, since I’m a weak and broken vessel (2 Cor. 4:7).
While it’s tempting to despair over my weaknesses and sin I’m reminded of the precious promise of Philippians 1:6 – a verse I’ve often referred to as my life verse – “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Thankfully, the gospel I proclaim and build my life upon is sufficient to cover all my sin – past, present, and future. The God who works through me is continuing his work in me, and will continue that work until the day Jesus Christ returns. In the mean time I can be assured of this amazing truth: when I am weak, he is strong. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” And as the old hymn goes,
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
* * * *
Once again, I want to express my deepest gratitude for you, the people of Faith Church. Five years ago you took a chance on calling a young and inexperienced man to shepherd your flock. Five years and a few gray hairs later, I still count it a privilege to serve alongside you for the sake of the Kingdom, and I look forward to all the Lord has in store for us together in the future.
THIS WEEK AT FATH:
Farmers Market pickup
Servant's Heart Food Pantry
||Veterans' Food Drive (Shaw's in Melrose)
Prayer Group in the Prayer Room
FOOD PANTRY HELP NEEDED:
Our food pantry receives donations of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the summer from both the Farm Co-Op and Farmers Market in Melrose. We still need help on Thursday evenings throughout the next couple of months picking up this food and delivering it to the church. If you can help in a given week please sign-up at the back of the sanctuary. There are many openings throughout September and October!
3rd SUNDAY OFFERING: this Sunday!
This Sunday, September 21 we'll be collecting our 3rd Sunday mission offering during our worship service. This month's offering will support the ministry of the Berkshire Institute for Christian Studies (BICS)
in Lenox, MA. BICS is a one-year college-level program committed to partnering with the Church to disciple young people. The fruit of BICS' mission has been seen very clearly in the life of Faith Evangelical Church over its 25 year history, not least by providing ministry preparation and spiritual development for past and current members of Faith Church, including Pastor Andy and Carrie. It is a privilege for our church to continue to support the ministry of BICS. On September 21 we will not only collect a special offering (by using the "special offering" envelopes), but we will also hear a brief report from Rev. John Tate, who is currently serving as the the Director of Admissions at BICS.
FELLOWSHIP TIME: This Sunday, After the Service
In conjunction with hosting Rev. John Tate from BICS (see above) and with the return of a lot of folks who have been away or traveling during the summer, we'll be having a time of fellowship after the service on Sunday, September 21 with coffee and sweets. Please plan to stay and join us!
SUNDAY SCOOPS GIVEAWAY: Thank You!
Thank you to all who served and participated in our annual Sunday Scoops Giveaway! We enjoyed a beautiful day and the opportunity to get to know many of our neighbors and members of our community. We are grateful to the Lord for each one of you who took time out of your Sunday afternoon to contribute to this effort, and for the beautiful weather he gave us! Let's continue to pray for connections to be made with our neighbors and friends and for them to know the love of Christ that we've been given!
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD: Collection continues!
Each Sunday we'll be collecting items to be packed in Operation Christmas Child
hoeboxes. Once again we're collecting early so as to be well prepared for our Annual OCC Carnival Night in November! In the month of September we'll be collecting hygiene items:
toothbrushes, toothpastes, combs, mirrors, mild bar soap, washcloths, lip gloss, etc. (remember: no liquid items, please). It's also not too late to bring in school supplies
(pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.). Your donations can be left in the box at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you in advance for supporting this unique missions opportunity.
Our ministry to moms that began a year and a half ago, called Moms Together
, is changing shape. Instead of weekly gatherings here at our church building our moms will be joining up with the moms of Seven Mile Road
, a gospel-believing church right up the road from us. In addition to that joint weekly gathering there will be other opportunities for the moms of our church to be encouraged together. Stay tuned for details!
PRAYER MEETING: Resumes next week!
Our weekly prayer gathering on Wednesday nights will resume next week, September 24. There is still a group gathering for prayer each Sunday before the service at 9:30am. Please feel free to join us tonight in praying for the needs of our church family.
SAVE THE DATE
Community Dinner: September 19
Ladies Retreat (Alton Bay, NH): September 19-21
3rd Sunday Offering:
September 21, to support the Berkshire Institute for Christian Studies (BICS
Eastern Regional Annual Meeting:
October 18 (click here
Fall Fellowship Dinner: Sunday, October 26
Interested in a copy of the message from Sunday? Email the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see that you get a copy. Past sermons are available at www.faithchurchac.org/sermons.