These last few weeks have been so bright and shiny. Now we’re into gray, wet and cooler days. People have cheered both, enjoying the best of the heat and the restorative return of the rain.
When I look back over our last month and a half together, I’ve seen the same for us in Jesus: moments of Spirit-led sunshine and the stormy challenges graying our ability to even see God. I think I feel a spiritual weather shift depending on my trusting Jesus more fully or relying too much on my own self. As a church, we all experience these same Spirit-blown weather systems complete with highs and lows. I wanted to share the truth that Jesus knows all and is in all we’re experiencing: summerlike pleasures and the isolated gloom of doubt-fueled emotions.
Jesus wants us to trust Him and find delight in all of it. He calms the storms, stills the boat, and shines out His very help and hope.
My favorite sunshine moments of the last month and a half include: Jay leading us in the Greater series and all the wonderful worship, planning and lifting up of Jesus we’ve experienced during Good Friday, Easter and the second part of Greater. Didn’t you see God’s best shining through His word, the songs, the prompting to prepare ourselves spiritually to encounter God with reverence each Sunday? That’s been pure sunshine, warming the heart. It is the content of the last two Greater Messages: God is now with us, as presented through the Gospels, and God’s Spirit fills us as seen through the writing of Acts and all the following words of Jesus’ Apostles, bursts forth shining! It’s so encouraging to know God is with us; He’s for us; His very Spirit holds us now, filling us and revealing more of Jesus in each of us, and as a community.
Didn’t you feel the heat and see the light of Jesus throughout our Global Partner Sundays? Whether being encouraged on how to best pack our spiritual backpacks to follow Jesus as His messengers or to celebrate and to learn more about the brothers and sisters risking it all for the hope of the Gospel to shine throughout the world, every Sunday felt full of fair-weather purpose. Jesus confirmed for us all, that we’re on mission for him as His church. And I felt myself challenged to be more ready to initiate friendships and conversations with “I’m a Jesus guy”, knowing He’s shining out and breaking into other lives around us all.
And more good weather? Our incredible youth and children hosting egg hunts and talent shows, all for the sake of furthering the Gospel into their worlds. Many efforts are currently taking place to plan and train our members to go out as laborers into His harvest. It is pure sunshine to see you all loving and encouraging this next generation. Wayne and Jay will be going out to love and support several of your global partners in the coming weeks, as well as our team ready to serve Jesus in Spain, through Dan and Eva’s Friendship House. Our Igniters have started to train intently for their July trip into Agassiz, Canada. These are the beautiful skies and sunny days we’re all privileged to be a part of here at Greater Portland Bible.
Then come the storms of life and the shallows of sin! So many of our loved ones and dear church family now experience pain, sickness, or feelings of isolation. All gray, with days seemingly filled with gloom. The phone call comes. The diagnosis is shared. A break is made. The soul anguishes for all we know who are missing life, fullness, and forgiveness. I know we have a sweet Savior who carries us and weeps with us. I am thankful for the shelter when it rains and blows. Our community is His shelter for us all, as we look out for those under the cloud. I am so thankful for all of you who call, who write, who visit and take time to walk, shoulder to shoulder, through the gloom. I am so thankful that we are family: we share the hurting and let others know. This openness and willingness to carry one another to Jesus begins to scatter thunderhead skies.
And as Jesus bursts through we see the future forecast ahead: Mostly sunny with a few scattered showers. We will walk in the light of ministering to our community in the coming days: Compassion Clinic, our Community Sunday Celebrations, Kids’ Day Camp, partnering with other churches as Southwest Church Together. Families are anticipating the end of the school cycle and the promise of summer sun. We hear the last of the Greater series: Jesus has already finished it all and has purchased us as his dear people, Children of Hope. God will be our forever source of light!
I am excited to see you all soon, out in the bright light of His day. I love the fact that we each are seeking Jesus, asking him to lead us. May God’s spirit more fully illuminate the day, so we more clearly understand His message and embrace our mission: Let’s shine with Him into Our Jerusalems, our Judeas, our Samarias and the outer reaches of the world.