I’m not afraid of too many things, but the few that I am afraid of stack upon each other and prevent me from a big conviction I have. Encouragement. This weekend was my local church’s family campout, I’ve been waiting for it for a year. I grew up camping with my family and the family of my best friend, I also spent the better part of a year ‘camping’, so it’s something I love. The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful church family and I’ve spent a great deal of time telling individuals how much that blessing has helped me grow in my sanctification. As per one of my last posts(see here), the conviction to be actively involved with the church is quite strong. Last year I missed the opportunity to take part of the sharing time we have after public baptisms. I wanted to share how much the church has helped me in a time of turmoil, I failed to do so because of fear. My long held fear of public speaking. A lot of things during my life has the Lord brought about to squelch much of this fear. But, one part is still strong, public speaking in front of people I know. Two people shared their experience of what the Lord is doing in their lives, and it struck such a strong chord with me. Those two testimonies, as far as I am concerned, were more difficult and strength building. One was the Lord giving a great portion of faith in God’s purposes and peace amongst losing a child in infancy, that is always a tough story for me to hear. The other was the Lord healing a brother of physical pain do to Cancer. The contrast was vast, and the bravery of sharing was inspiring, and… convicting. Even the smallest seemingly inconsequential workings of God in our lives can help someone see his work in others’ lives. Those stories brought even more people to bring up their own circumstances, and we were all encouraged. So, I put my own pride at the door and shared how much the Lord has helped me through the testimony of my local church. As I expected, it broke me. But the conviction of unity in the church grew to be stronger than my own personal pride. And each sharing moment showed the truth of this conviction. It is definitely what Paul means in Col 1:24, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” Here is a great sermon on this verse by John Piper.
Apart from Saturday’s encouraging sharings, Friday night was an edifying and challenging conversation with 3 brothers and 1 sister in Christ. The three brothers are members of Bear Creek Church and the one sister is not. The conversation was just another example of the comfortability the Spirit gives to those who share that common confession, Jesus Christ our Righteousness. It was, as I said, extremely challenging as well as edifying. The wisdom shared by us 5, relatively young people, challenged me to grow more in knowledge of the gospel and what I feel called to do as far as promotion of the gospel. I’ll end this post with what Paul says in Phil 1,
“For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”