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Pastor's Blog - A Challenging Stop for the Fellowship of the Empty

A Challenging Stop for the Fellowship of the Empty

Posted by Pastor Pete Panitzke on

Good morning, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
 
Some of us are walking side-by-side on a journey that is changing our lives. We are using the same Bible reading plan to read through the Bible in one year. At the Easter service, I called it “The Fellowship of the Empty Tomb.” If you do not already have a Bible reading pattern that is working for you, we invite you to join our fellowship. The Bible reading plan is attached.
 
I’m writing this morning because today’s reading is challenging. In the New Testament reading (Luke 14:25-15:10)  Jesus talked about the cost of being his disciple. “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciples” (Luke 14:33).
 
The Old Testament reading (1 Chronicles 28-29) records King David’s preparations for building the temple, especially how he led in generous giving. “Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14).
 
Coupled with those readings is a quote that I stumbled across this morning from a new book by Francis Chan entitled Letters to the Church. “What would it mean for us to strip away the distractions and become a people who devoted ourselves to Scripture? I firmly believe we would see a power in our churches like we’ve never experienced before.”
 
I am sitting in my sun room in a comfortable home. But this confluence of readings puts me into a very challenging place on my spiritual journey. Like King David I have been richly blessed. It all comes from the Lord.

  • Am I willing to give up everything to follow Jesus?
  • Am I willing to give up the distractions of life (and perhaps the distractions of the what we typically think of when we say “church”) so that I can devote myself to Christ and to his Word?
  • Is my heart “loyal” to the LORD (1 Chronicles 29:18) or does my loyalty lie with myself, my comfort, my desires, my possessions?  

For those of you who enjoy The Fellowship of the Ring, I feel like Gandalf sitting in the mines of Moria, uncertain what path to take. Suddenly he catches the scent of fresh air. That is the path to follow!
 
This weekend we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Breath of Fresh Air (Read Acts 2 to learn more). How desperately we need Him to lead us out of the dark mines of despair and guilt. (For who of us doesn’t find ourselves deep in that darkness when we ponder our own personal loyalties?)
 
My prayer for myself and for all of us:
 
Come Holy Spirit! Challenge us to think about our calling to follow you. Help us see what is distracting us. Give us wisdom to understand what it means for us personally to “leave everything” and follow Jesus.

Come Holy Spirit, breathe life into our souls, for we acknowledge our sin and the death that lives in us. Breathe the breath of forgiveness into our souls because our Savior gave up everything to save us..

Come Holy Spirit, breathe power into our lives so that we might be a people fully committed to Jesus and His Word. Then Holy Spirit, you will breathe your Breath of Life through us to those around us. For this is how God's kingdom comes. This is how God's will is done. Amen.  

God bless your celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit in worship this weekend!

Pastor Pete

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