Why I Need My Church Family
Failing to Go Deeper with Christ on Vacation
One of my favorite verses that serve as a North Star and guiding light for my life is Jeremiah 9:23-24:
This is what the Lord says:
The wise person should not boast in his wisdom;
the strong should not boast in his strength;
the wealthy should not boast in his wealth.
But the one who boasts should boast in this:
that he understands and knows me—
that I am the Lord, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
I am tempted to live for and boast in physical health, deep connections relationally with close loved ones, financial peace, or in biblical and theological knowledge. God calls us to the privilege of understanding and knowing him personally, intimately, accurately, and passionately. What a joy and privilege!
I just finished my 3-week vacation and am back to my pastoral work at Bethany Baptist Church today. Yesterday, in a sermon on Jude 20-25, I was strengthened by the truth that the church “keeps” us in Christ in a very real and meaningful way. I have not been around the church fam as much these past 3 weeks and I miss hanging out with them, sharing life with them, and serving them. I feel spiritually depleted a bit after these 3 weeks and I’m excited to get back to the work of pastoral ministry.
I was talking to another brother yesterday who preached at our church a few weeks ago and he spoke about preaching as a spiritual charge that really blessed him. I feel that lack of charge in my life. I am a little discouraged that I feel like I need preaching in my life to walk closer to Jesus. I need to pastor people. Then, as I think about it further, I realize that I need Jesus. And Jesus comes to me in pastoring and preaching and those things should strengthen my communion with him.
At the same time, we learned yesterday in the sermon that we are to keep ourselves in God. Jesus meets me on family vacation too. I got to read Scripture and pray, but what I lacked was an increased intensity, focus, and lingering with the Lord Jesus that I could have had with the pastoral pressures off. Well, that opportunity has come and gone. I get to seek first Christ the King and his kingdom today back at work. And I’m excited to walk with him by his grace.
One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
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