THE PASTOR’s PEN February 03, 2019
Dear Church Family and Friends,
I am truly excited about the next few Sundays. Over the next few weeks, I will be bringing a series of messages based on the January 2019 Bible Study: Letters To The Seven Churches; Revelation 1-3 You don’t want to miss a single message. These messages will be shared in both the Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening worship services.
You can get your copy of the study guide for the cost of $7.99. Just pay sister Donna Trent and let me know and I will pick up your book.
You can also find a companion Study on Right Now Media entitled Seven Letters To Seven Churches by Michael Fletcher.
I hope this series of messages will continue our focus on Being The Church Christ wants us to Be for His Glory! Why not commit to attending and supporting your church more faithfully and invite a friend. You and they will be different as you let God fulfill His plan in you.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
The first year I attended public school. All I wanted to do was fit in.
Within the first week of school, I started eating lunch with a group who all bought their lunches — pizza and fries from the school cafeteria. I, on the other hand, brought my lunch — a sandwich, apples, and my grandmother’s homemade cookies. They all had girlfriends. I was completely inexperienced in that department. Their language was pretty salty, and the worst words to ever pass my lips until that time were “shut up.” (Sorry Maggie, I hadn’t met you yet to have your help in stopping that.) Despite our differences, I wanted desperately to belong.
Part of the problem was I felt self-conscious about being labeled a “goodie two shoes.” Because so many other students weren’t interested in academic achievements, I didn’t want the not-so-sought-after-label of the “geeky guy.” Did I still want to achieve? Yeah, I did. But did I want to stand out among my peers? Nope. Not for being one of the “smart kids.”
One day I sat down at lunch and opened my lunch box. The others were busy yapping about some teacher they didn’t like. I wanted them to know I thought that teacher was horrible, too. I wanted to join the conversation and figured it would be easier if I sounded like I belonged.
“I know, right?” I agreed. Then I continued to express my disapproval with a string of completely inappropriate expletives.
The table fell silent as six pairs of eyes stared at me, shocked at the foul words that had just fallen out of my mouth. Honestly, I was shocked, too.
Finally, one guy broke the silence.
“Boy, don’t even. You’re not doing it right. Just … don’t.” I felt my face flush with warmth. I had been trying to be someone I wasn’t, and I’d been called out. He was essentially saying: Be you, man. Stop wasting energy trying to be someone you’re not. Focus on being yourself.
Embarrassed as I was, that hard lesson had a lasting impact. It was better to be me than try and be someone else. It was OK to be different.
Often, we ignore, play down or dismiss our own value because we want to belong. We underestimate our worth, completely forgetting that there has never been, nor will there ever be, another person on this earth like us. But by failing to honor what makes us unique, we deny the gift of life God has entrusted us with and the distinctly beautiful person He’s made us to be.
You are more than the 37.2 trillion cells composing what you see in the mirror. You exist beyond the physical. You are an invisible, immaterial essence that’s more wonderfully woven together than anyone will ever know.
According to Genesis 1:26-28, you’re not an accident or an afterthought. You are a divinely created soul, made in the image of a living God.
Embracing the beauty of my differences has honestly been something I’ve had to learn. (Big ears and all.) While I don’t do it perfectly, I’m definitely better at accepting my unique God-given design than I was in school, elementary, high school or even college.
But many struggle to keep their special design in mind. They get ditched by the boy or girl of their dreams, fail the test, get yelled at by adults, snubbed by friends or disgusted by acne. Then these boys and girls become men and women — ashamed of their bulges, discouraged by hard marriages, bored with unfulfilling careers or afraid of being alone. And these boys & girls-turned-men & women are left wondering if they actually matter.
Well, you do matter. We matter because we have the gift of life given by a God who set us apart before we were born. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us God intentionally made us to be different. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
However, we must each choose to embrace our unique design and live serving the God who made us.
Be you! Stop wasting energy trying to be someone you’re not. Focus on being yourself. God made you to be different.
Dear God, I want to live my life in a way that honors You. Forgive me for working hard to blend in when You created me to be different. Show me what You had in mind for my life when You created me. I want to live fully for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I hope you are participating this year. You will have fun, and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.
To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.
17. Who was described as having found grace in the eyes of the Lord?
18. By what other names do we know Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah?
19. What was the potter’s field also known as?
20. What two descriptions of Satan appear in Revelation 12:9?
21. What ruler in Egypt was called Zaphnathpaaneah?
Until next week, Love and prayers,
Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.