Dear First Pres,
Once again we are faced with incredible wickedness in our country. On Sunday night, Stephen Paddock, a man made in the image of God but overcome with evil, sprayed deadly bullets across a sea of humanity in Las Vegas. His senseless attack killed an unprecedented amount of strangers, injured hundreds of others, and makes a mark on all of us. We can be sure that Jesus weeps with us in this as it continues to expose the deep pain and anger and isolation and brokenness that exist in our country. And, while updates to policies and laws are incredibly important, as people of the Word, we know that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." So, while pursuing the right policies and laws to most adequately protect our citizens from violence, and while praying for God's comfort to minister to the thousands who are now grieving the loss of a friend or family member, we press in to the mission that God has given us in Christ.
That mission, given to us in Christ, is what we express in our Purpose Statement: to engage together in Christ's work of making disciples for the redeeming transformation of our city and world. What our world needs more than anything else is for Christians to live as people surrendered to Jesus (disciples who make disciples) and Gospel-centered churches to plant Gospel-centered churches. Do you believe that? I think it especially rings true when we remember that becoming a disciple of Jesus doesn't only change a person's afterlife, it changes their whole life. It especially rings true when we remember that Gospel-centered churches don't only want people to get saved, we also want them to participate in God's redeeming transformation for their city and world. When our evil and brokenness is made manifest like it has been this week, I am even more motivated to see the work of Christ increase and His Kingdom come. How about you?
So, Beloved, please pray with me that our congregation grows in courage to live out the Gospel in our everyday lives. Pray with me that we will not be led by fear to withdraw from the world in self-protection. Pray with me that God will strengthen us, even in our times of trouble, to be His Gospel witnesses in our words and deeds. And pray with me, as Jesus taught us, that His Kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
P.S. We've been talking about Preemptive Prayer. Here are some upcoming things to be praying for: Art Hop (tonight); Women's Conference (this weekend); Fulton Street Grand Opening (October 21). Please join me in praying that God uses these events for the work that He wants to do in us and through us.