By God's grace we find ourselves once again on the brink of the New Year. The New Year is always an important time for me personally. It is a time of reflection on the year just past as well as a time of contemplation for the year to come. It is an intensely spiritual time as we have just finished celebrating Christmas and we face a time of new beginning. However, all that “spirituality” can get lost in the hustle and bustle of what the “holidays” have become.
Allow me at this point to introduce an “ugly” word, “examination.” It really is not ugly, but in our 21st century culture the word tends to stir up feelings of dread. That is really not necessary. Examination is a good thing because it helps us to know where we are weak and where we are strong. As individuals and as a church, it is time for us to examine ourselves. You may be surprised to find out that the theme of examination is plentiful in the Bible. The Lord calls us to lead “self-examined” lives. Now self-examination is a healthy venture if it is conducted in the crystal-clear light of Christ. Apart from Christ it can lead to depression and despair. We often do not want to do any self-examination because we are afraid we will find we are not as mature or healthy as we had hoped for. We may find out that we need “revitalization.” I can solve that dilemma for you easily by saying 99% of everyone in the church is not as mature or healthy as they think. If you think you are among the 1% then please give me a call.
In the Lord, our examinations are good and right and healthy. It is my desire to see Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church become a healthy and vital congregation. Making the church healthy is the work of the Holy Spirit. However, He gives us the ability and in fact the responsibility to grow healthy in the Lord. How do we do that? First we focus on the basics. You may remember the story of Vince Lombardi the celebrated coach of the Green Bay Packers. Every year at the beginning of training camp, he would face his team, all professional football players, and hold out a football. Then he would announce, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” From that point forward they would focus on the basics. If you do the basics well, there is every reason to expect to be healthy.
If we desire to fulfill our chief end of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever, we need to be a spiritually healthy congregation. That in itself is a God-honoring desire and we can expect His blessing as we pursue it. So what are these basics that we need to do well? In his book entitled, From Embers To A Flame, PCA teaching elder Archie Parish presents what he calls, “a biblical paradigm for revitalization.” Drawing from the letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2, Reeder says a church needs to “remember, repent, and recover.” We need to remember those things which God has blessed in the church. We need to repent of our sins as a church. We need to recover our first love. Over the next year I will continue to preach through the book of Acts. As we move forward together listen for these themes of remembering, repenting and recovering.
To that end, I would ask you to join with me in praying for revitalization here at FRPC. Each of us needs to be revitalized as an individual and as we come together as a corporate body. Let us ask God to do His kingdom work here in our midst and make ourselves available to that work. If the Lord is gracious to do His kingdom work in our midst then we will truly have a good year in 2006. May God bless us to that end, for His glory and our good.
For His glory,