George W. Truett once said the church that is not “missionary in spirit and practice does not deserve the ground upon which its building stands.” And I couldn’t agree more! We are all grateful for God giving us a place to worship as a faith family and to study His life-giving Word. The vision and thought that gave us such a campus were extraordinary. Yet, we are reminded of the truth spoken by Truett so many years ago. We cannot retreat behind the columns of a church building; we must bring Jesus into our community and beyond. We ought to truly be missionaries “in spirit and practice.”
Every day, I see our members exemplifying that missionary zeal. You may be volunteering at LifeChoices and doing the ever-important work of encouraging life. You may be delivering backpacks to our schools or tutoring students. You may be having a gospel-centered conversation in your office or your classroom. You may be helping a battered wife find shelter from years of abuse, or you may be aiding a drug-addicted husband find healing through a Christ-focused rehab. You may be sitting with a fellow Bible study member at the hospital, or you may be cooking a meal for a bereaved family. You may be working with a revitalization effort (at The Springs), or you may be leading a study at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. No doubt, you are making a difference every day; and it is my privilege to be your pastor.
Now certainly, I understand that we can minister in such a way only through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment of our lives. (See I have been listening to the preacher on Sunday mornings!) We are totally inadequate to meet the brokenness of our city and parish alone. God must grant us the spiritual resources to accomplish this work. And He is! He is no doubt doing something in us and through us! For that, I give Him all my thanks!
And what’s more? We are able to extend that missionary effort not only in our local community but to cities and nations around the globe. Through your praying, giving, and going, you and I are touching eternity! Last year, we contributed a tremendous amount of resources to our state, national, and worldwide missionary causes. In our special offerings alone, we gave $33,401 through Georgia Barnette (state missions), $61,657 through Annie Armstrong (North America missions), and $179,044 through Lottie Moon (international missions). That does not account for the $265,000 given through the Cooperative Program, the direct support for church plants and missionaries, or the amount many of us personally expended in short-term mission trips. Wow! God is faithful! And no doubt, we not only gave, but we went! And we are still going! This week, a short-term team will depart for Puerto Rico. Working with the North American Mission Board, this group will continue the disaster relief effort on the island and assist local churches in sharing the Gospel. Pray for these men and women as they impact Puerto Rico for our Lord! Also, cover our East Asia team as they travel this week. They will be using basketball camps/instruction to magnify Christ’s name.
Years ago, I never believed I would have such an opportunity to be a part of something so expansive and wonderful. But now, through the Holy Spirit’s powerful intervention, I realize that this is just the beginning of what He can do through us! Praying daily for what He has in store! See you Sunday!