LOVE. GROW. SERVE. with Pastor Rachel
Hi Amesbury friends, I missed you all in service last week, but heard that the Spirit was moving at Rock Church Amesbury - Hallelujah! The weather outside may be frightful this time of year, but being part of a God-led, Spirit-filled church family is most certainly delightful!
Speaking of delightful, how about that Patriots Super Bowl win! Thanks to Rick Russell, I watched it on what felt like a 1,000,000,000-inch HD screen with some from our church family over at Rock Church Plaistow. Although the first half of the game was rough, some of us die-hards stayed until the very end and were rewarded by being able to celebrate an incredible victory together!
The way the Patriots played in the fourth quarter reminds me what we talked about in the first week of our Real World Series where James called us to persevere through all kinds of trials. Sometimes perseverance is hard, but we as Christ-followers are called to live by a higher standard. In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” This is how the Patriots played football last Sunday. When asked at a press conference the following morning when he would take time to celebrate and enjoy the win, Bill Belichick’s response was that because of their extended 2016 season, the Patriots were already 5 weeks behind in the 2017 season! There are times in my ministry when I feel this sort of urgency with our work, the work of building God’s kingdom. But in the same way, I so look forward to celebrating the most incredible victory together when our work is done! It is my prayer for us this week that we may all run our race for God in the same way the Patriots played that game, holding ourselves to a higher standard, running the race with perseverance, with the goal of ultimately gaining that crown of life. #NoDaysOff (the chant Belichick began at the victory parade on Tuesday )
On Sunday, in our continued study of the Book of James, he challenged us not to read the Bible for information, but rather for transformation. James emphasized that our goal shouldn’t just be to “know” God’s word, but to allow it to change us in a way that we are moved to action. Along those lines, I wanted to share a short snippet from a devotional I’ve been reading by Max Lucado called God is With You Every Day. Yesterday’s devo talked about how hard it can be for us to experience human suffering, but how Jesus calls us to stop and “see” one another and to respond with compassion (Luke 7:44-48). Max Lucado wrote, “This word compassion is one of the oddest in Scripture. The New Testament Greek lexicon says this word means ‘to be moved as to one’s bowel’... (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity).” Compassion, then, is a movement deep within - a kick in the gut.” That’s powerful. What if just by taking a moment, stopping to see the hurt of others around us, and experiencing that kind of compassion, we can be moved to go and to do?