by John Armstrong, Jr.
You are dying. I hope you are living, while you are dying, but you can’t escape the fact that your days upon this earth are numbered. Praise the Lord, that to be in Christ, means real living now and life eternal in the new heaven and the new earth. That is our hope as we live out this life that will end in death in this fallen world. Some of you took the opportunity to read together with us the book, Being Mortal, by Dr. Atul Gawande. This was an excellent book in many
ways and it would have been truly outstanding if Dr. Gawande were a Christian and have written from a Christian worldview. However, as Christians we need to be able to read the secular and bring our Christian worldview to bear in order to be able to rightly interpret common grace truths that are presented by non-believers. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are a Christian, all people know in their heart of hearts that we live in a world where, if we make it through all the potential disease or disasters that are possible and make it to old age that aging will eventually kill us. That is not a cheery thought, but that is where we live.
Now, I’m not interested in talking about dying and preparation for dying as the book Being Mortal addresses the subject. In this Pastor’s Pondering, I want us to think about, what the truth that we are mortal, that we are dying, means for us as a church. What does being mortal mean for you as a Christian? What does being mortal mean for you as a member of the church? The Lord willing, I will retire from ministry at Faith Church somewhere between 11 and 16 years
from now. That makes me wonder where will we be as a church at that time? Obviously, I hope we will be thriving and growing as a church. You have, no doubt, heard me pray for our church that God would grow us in depth as disciples of Jesus Christ and that He would grow us in number as new disciples come and join the church. That is a prayer I pray almost daily. What is your prayer for the church? What is your prayer for yourself as a disciple of the Lord Jesus? What is your prayer for yourself as an integral member of the body of Christ here at Faith Church? These are not rhetorical questions? These questions need to be answered thoughtfully and prayerfully. Yes, we need to be praying about what to pray.
The Session at Faith Church is beginning a process of strategic planning that we hope to complete and fully implement by the end of this year. The first thing we are doing is taking the next three months to lay some foundation. We are beginning to pray together and unison for growth on several fronts. First, we are praying for growth in grace as individuals. Then we are praying for growth in love and connection as a church. Third, we are praying for growth from outside the church, particularly from people being brought in to hear the gospel and being converted. Jesus has called us to go and make disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them to obey all He has commanded. Our prayer is that God would work in and through us so that we would indeed be a faithful and fruitful church for the sake of the kingdom.
If Jesus tarries, we will all die. This is my hope and prayer, that when we die and see our Savior face to face, may we all hear well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the rest of your Master. My challenge to you is to seek the Lord’s face and ask for growth in your life so that you will be faithful and fruitful all for God’s glory. So may He work in us what is pleasing to