By Marty Price
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble. (Psalm 107:1-2)
This space in the newsletter allows me to share different things that the Lord places on my heart. Sometimes I seek to explain and apply a particular passage of scripture. Other times I share updates about how God is working in our congregation and community. Occasionally I take this space just to share what is on my heart. Well, today my heart is full, and I hope at least a portion of it flows onto this page.
Early last month during a Leadership Team meeting I received a text from Mom that said in part, “Luther is on his way to heaven slowly.” I left immediately, and two days later Dad left us and went to be present with the Lord. Over the last few weeks since then Suzanne and I have been comforted and encouraged by you. Your thoughts and prayers, cards and comments, hugs and handshakes, gifts, and GIFs, have reminded us that the closest thing to being in heaven is to be a part of God’s family here on earth. Thank you.
While I am eagerly anticipating the completion of our new building back in the West End, I never lose sight of the wonderful truth that we are the church, and the building is a tool. Don’t misunderstand, the building is important, but it is the church that loves and glorifies God and that loves people and cares for them. In the restructuring of our ministry teams almost all of you have identified one or more teams with which you are willing to serve or are already serving. Don’t miss the significance of that! I know a lot of churches that say every member is a minister (servant), but I know of very few who actually live into that. I thank God for you!
Have you ever built or remodeled a house? If so, you know that there are times of anticipation, cooperation, and just fun. Other times, not so much. Every detail and decision provide the opportunity for differences of opinion. Unity in this context is a mark of spiritual maturity, and the leadership team and I have been blessed by your patience and grace during this process! We thank God for you!
In a recent conversation a local pastor told me I was a very lucky man. I understood his intent, but I am NOT lucky. Neither chance, fate, nor coincidence have determined my circumstance. Rather, from the smallest of things to the greatest, from the trials to the triumphs, all things have been ordained by God for my good and for His glory. I think it best to conclude this note by saying along with the Psalmist, I give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His steadfast love endures forever. He redeemed me though there was nothing in me worthy of redemption. He forgave and cleansed me. He showed me the purpose He has for my life and has graciously guided me along His path for me. He has blessed me beyond measure. I give thanks to Him!
The best time of the year is right around the corner – Summer! I hope you enjoy the heat, vacations, and time with family and friends as much as I will. With the change in routines that summer brings, it can be easy to let important things disappear. I want to encourage you to make this summer a time of drawing closer to God.
“I’m busy, too busy” seems a recurring refrain in most casual conversations. And I can certainly relate. As Christians, our lives should be joyful, filled with joy (John 15:11). When we fill every day/week without building space to rest, refocus, reflect, or worship; our joy dissipates like fog in the sunshine. It’s gone, but we didn’t notice it leaving or how it left. And frankly, our absence of joy can harm those nearest us. What can we do?
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.