Hearing the Music

Leaving a Legacy

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It is tough to start with "Happy Friday" on a week in which we have lost two dear members of our congregation, two long-time, pillar-of-the-church, members. Both Norm and Ron have been with Christ Church since near its beginning. Both men have served in a variety of ways over the years; both men have left a legacy as a result of their service.

In the spirit of Psalm 90:12 which reminds us to "number our days that we might get a heart of wisdom” let me offer a couple of observations. Earlier I used the word legacy with respect to Ron and Norm. When loved ones pass we remember the impact they made on their surroundings while they were living. We remember the good times we shared, the things they taught us, the ways we were helped or served by them. We remember how they handled the ups and the downs of life. As we remember, we realize that we have been marked by those things, both for good and for ill. This marking, this transmission, is a legacy. The interesting thing about legacy is that we can only build it while we are in the midst of life. We build it during these days that are filled with the ordinary goings on of life in the 21st century and during the not so ordinary events of 2020 in particular. How we live and the choices we make will contribute to the legacy we transmit to those who come after us.

Secondly, I am mindful of every Friday being a "Happy Friday” despite the circumstances that surround it. It was a Friday, after all, on which Jesus went into the grave. It was a Friday when Jesus took the sting of death, rendering it powerless against the believer. It was a Friday when all this talk about legacy moves from something merely of this world, to something in light of eternity. It was a Friday that merged into a Sunday that changed the story for all who are willing to lay down their lives in order to have them taken up by this Risen Lord.

So, where do these two observations converge? All of life is leaving a legacy, but if we want to see our legacy transcend this world we need to live surrendered to the One who has conquered the grave. Both Norm and Ron, their families, and other pillars of Christ Church have done that, and we are the beneficiaries. May God give us all the grace to gain this heart of wisdom.

One of the main ways we pursue this heart of wisdom is through worship. As we come together, open our hearts before the Lord, and open his Word we receive from him the direction that we need. This Sunday we will continue looking at Romans 15, in particular vs. 8-16. This passage provides a culmination for the book of Romans in many respects. I very much look forward to looking at it with you.

 

Photo by Fabio Sangregorio on Unsplash

Campus Priests

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I hope that this finds you well in the midst of some wild temperature swings accompanied by some hurricane force political happenings. As I was watching election results come in, get tabulated, get challenged, etc. I was reminded of the big job we have as the church of Christ to be priests to the world around us. Peter puts it this way “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9). As priests to this world, we are called to live sacrificially and to continually make intercession before the mercy seat of our God. We are called to live in such a way as to usher others into the kingdom.

One strategic way that we are partnering to execute this priesthood is through the ministry of Campus Outreach. This summer we welcomed Kenny Hayes and his family to West MI as they lay the groundwork for Campus Outreach in West MI. Addison and I had a good time talking to Kenny about this work in a podcast you can find here. Now that they are a couple of months into the strangest fall semester ever I thought it would be good to hear an update from Kenny on how things are going:

When the name of your game is building social networks, starting a new college ministry during times of social isolation has been anything but easy. But!! But, but, but… the Lord has been so faithful. Our prayer has been that God would put us in the right places at the right times. I’ll share an example: One afternoon my team and I decided to move our daily workout to the Intramural field. Guess who we met?? Every fraternity on campus! Unknown to us, there was a campus-wide event moved to this location because of COVID restrictions. This was a direct answer to prayer as one of our chief goals this year is to get our foot in the door among the fraternities and sororities. I befriended one president that day who soon got me involved with their house bible study! 

Got time for another story? Last week we made it a goal to knock on every fraternity door. After getting blown off a couple times, the president of one of the biggest fraternities did give us his cell. Jeff, my co-laborer, took him out for lunch which led to God opening the door to start a bible study at their fraternity house as well! Oh Lord, would the light of the gospel break forth amongst the darkest places of campus.

So, let us continue to intercede for and with Kenny and his team as they seek to usher these young people into closer walks with Jesus. This week Addison will be returning to Romans 14 to finish our look at the weak and the strong and the call to unity and welcome that God has placed on us. 

 

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Breaking Ground

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So much is going on in our world right now. The Dodgers have won the World Series, Covid-19 seems to be finding its way in West Michigan, and, oh yeah, there is an election coming up next week. I enjoyed our special sermon discussion the other week following the exposition of Romans 13:1-7. In it, our brother Philip Bom reminded us that voting is actually the third part of our civic responsibilities. The first part of our civic responsibility is being educated: knowing the issues, staying informed thru watching news and reading papers and magazines. The second part of our civic responsibility is to be involved in the polis. That could mean participation in local, county, state, or national governments (e.g. run for public office or serve on committees). It could mean participation in non-governmental civic organizations (e.g. League of Women Voters; Right to Life). It could mean participation in agencies working with refugees, foster care, poverty alleviation, creation care, etc… Finally, and in third place, our civic responsibility is to vote. All this is to say everything feels hinged on this election, but there is so much to do, so many ways to stay involved in the issues that the Lord has placed on your heart. So many ways exist to influence the world around you for the Gospel. And above it all sits the King enthroned on high. So let the nations rage and the people plot vain things. The one who sits enthroned in the heavens laughs, having set his throne on Zion's hill (Psalm 2).

This Sunday finds us stopping in Romans 14, where we will look at issues of the weak and the strong. We will also spend some time in prayer dedicating our upcoming building expansion to the Lord and his work. We have worked this time of prayer into our liturgy and will be completing it when we go outside. So be sure to bundle up and come prepared to break some ground.

 

Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash

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