No, I’ve not lost all touch with reality. I’ve done my research and this title is the direction I definitely believe Family Life Bible Church should go. What does it mean? Before I explain, it’s not that I couldn’t have used another word like transition, terminus, pivot, or milestone. I almost considered “Aloha” (hello, goodbye, and love all wrapped in one word) but it’s outside most of our realms of experience. It also would rob me of inventing the new word, “beg(end)ing.” Here’s what it means.
be·gend·ing /bəˈɡendiNG/ The beginning of something new, that ends, then something newer begins .
Here’s why I’m taking about it.
About three months ago, the Lord begin to work on our leadership and people at Family Life Bible Church by creating this huge thirst within our hearts for a refreshing from Him. We didn’t know what to do other than to devote a period of time to seeking God’s face and listening to His voice. This took place over a period of eight weeks that we called “Revive Our Hearts: Restoring Our Passion for Christ.” Each Sunday morning we heard God speak through His Word and each Sunday evening we gathered in groups to discuss and pray through what we had heard. Much happened during that time. The eight weeks are over but God is not finished with us and His people are moving and experiencing something newer. So, the beginning of something new, that has ended, and begun something newer is now ahead of us. A Good Beg(end)ing!
Here is my view of what is taking place and what I continue to observe. I am not speaking for everyone. I’m sure all who participated share common experiences from our time together but we all come from different places in our walk and the Holy Spirit has spoken to our hearts in unique ways. So for me there was an . . .
Uncertainty of what would happen.
When I was a teen my family traveled to Colorado for vacation. One night as the rain came down, the flash flood came raging and we escaped with only our lives, car, and clothes on our backs. Now I have an understanding that you can never be certain about what happens when you leave home on a trip. However, I still take trips knowing there are uncertainties.
Listen, we know by now that every journey is full of unexpected happenings. No matter how well you plan there is bound to be something that happens for which you didn’t prepare. Many of us who entered into this season of refreshing didn’t know what would happen but we showed up, ready to experience it. Over the course of eight weeks, most of us remained in spite of that uncertainty and began to find . . .
Glimmers of hope as we started finding answers.
Maybe we didn’t find all the answers but God does promise to show us some amazing things when we are seeking him. In a passage where Isaiah encourages singing a new song to the Lord we find these beautiful words,
And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.
If you’ve ever reached out into the darkness, then you know what solid, support words like this can mean to a searching heart. Answers have been found and more are to be discovered as we encounter . . .
A greater experience of fellowship in community.
We all know that God answers us individually but in our lifestyle of independence we often ignore that God uses His people to shape and encourage us. This happens through genuine fellowship in time spent discussing His truth and praying for one another and the body of Christ as a whole. Our local body becomes disjointed at times to the point that we are practically falling apart.
Colossians 2:19 tells us that it is when we hold fast to Jesus, the head of the body, that is is from Him that “the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.” We need that! Also when we are together it helps me realize that . . .
Many people struggle just like me.
I’ve often heard that one of Satan’s best weapons is to let us feel that we are the only ones experiencing a trial like the ones we are facing or the only ones who’ve committed a certain type of sin. If we feel we are alone in our experiences of life then we can become totally ineffective in the Kingdom of God. So on the one hand we have Jesus promising us an abundant life and on the other hand living in defeat because we have been duped into a lie from Satan. It’s a miserable existence but can be overcome when we realize we are not alone.
When parts of the body of Christ are transparent in their struggles then we know they can identify with our own struggles. Together we find strength as we fellowship, talk, and pray for one another. Suddenly we discover . . .
That there really is hope for genuine happiness.
If Jesus described His followers as those who are blessed (truly happy), then certainly there is hope in this life. I’m not speaking of a hope that is a wish but rather a certainty of something that has not entirely happened but that will become reality. Let me explain. When experiencing loss in life, whatever it might be, one can wish that things would be different. Maybe even a desire that the loss hadn’t happened. That is not hope because truth tells us that loss does happen in life. Hope will lead us to the reality that in the midst of loss there can still be found a sense of abiding peace and joy in spite of heartache and tragedy because of the presence of Christ. That is hope.
This type of hope can lead to a life of genuine happiness in the midst of poverty, trial, hurt, loss, and persecution. If you don’t believe this look at others in the body of Christ. I’m certain you will find at least one, and probably more, who demonstrate their lives are based on the hope found in a relationship with Jesus. When this happens then we can know the . . .
Encouragement to exercise faith in following Jesus.
We need to be encouraged frequently in this walk that “is not by sight.” Exercising faith rarely happens in the walls of a religious establishment but it is encouraged within the arms of the body of Christ. We walk out most of our faith at home, at work, and in the streets. We gather at various times to learn, worship, pray for and share love with the rest of the body. We need our times together to receive the encouragement to walk after Jesus through our own worlds. It is there that we do all things to bring glory and honor to our Lord.
I’m not sure where you are in your walk with Christ today. You may have strayed or be right there with Him. Wherever you are at this point there is the opportunity for “Good Beg(end)ings.” Let’s start together as we strike out on the greatest adventure of our lives.
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