“When Life Turns Bitter.” Such was the title of a recent message preached by a handsome, intelligent, eloquent, and (obviously) humble Mississippian. If I remember correctly, he spoke of the difficulties faced by a woman named Naomi as recorded in the book of Ruth. In particular, he reminded his congregation that even in tough moments God is sovereign. Little did he know that within a few days the spoken sermon would translate into a living application. The words that transformed the moment: “The ER doctors just moved us out to the family room, and the nurse told us Daddy is very sick. They are working on him now.” Life turned bitter. And for several hours, the literal “gall” of life filled his mouth, mind, and heart. Still there remained the truth he had previously declared: God is sovereign. The Lord reigns over every situation, every difficulty, and every pain. He is redemptively working for His glory and His people’s good. That is more than a sermon tagline. It is the biblical truth grounded in Christ’s character and personhood. And how awesome that assurance is! His sovereignty carries us through every detail of life.
On behalf of that Mississippi preacher, I thank you for the many prayers you have offered for his father, for his family, and for him. I firmly believe that God heard the petitions of His people and that He honored those requests. And how the staff has stepped up (as always) to help cover responsibilities these past few days! No doubt, Temple is a tremendous faith family! Leslie and I recognized that the first time we visited with you. Now six years later, we understand the great character and love of His church here more than we ever have. Know how grateful we are for you and how dearly loved you all are!
Now to other important things. This past Sunday, you responded in support of our international missionaries; and to date, we all have given almost $121,000 through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering!! Wow!! That means that God has blessed us significantly so that we can give so generously to His mission! I have no doubt that we will surpass our $155,000 goal and continue our witness of undergirding the gospel effort to the nations!
This Sunday morning, we will have a time to respond to His mission and blessing through one Combined Worship Service. Remember, all Sunday School classes meet at
9 a.m., and our Music Ministry will lead us in worship at 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary. And then Sunday night, Zion Traveler Baptist Church will join us as we worship and fellowship together. Bro. Maurice is going to preach, and the Zion Traveler choir will encourage us to praise Christ! Let’s fill the Sanctuary this week as we magnify His name together! And Lord willing, I will see you then!