Summary: With the arrival of fall and the change in seasons are you where you want to be in your relationship with God?
Love Overflowing: Rally Sunday
Sept 12, 2010 Phil 1:3-11
I really don’t know how many pastors in the world today really, honestly, genuinely tell their congregations how they feel about them. Today I’m going to do that. I really do know that most pastors in the world today regularly and persuasively tell their congregations what they should be doing. Today I’m going to do that also.
But first, I notice (with some dismay) that many of the trees are turning yellow. The sun goes down earlier. The mornings have been crisp and cool. Joanne and Thomas and I went to hear the symphony under the sky last weekend in Hawrelak park and by 8:30pm I could see the conductor’s breath. Our kids are back at school. All are unmistakable signs that fall has arrived. And while I am somewhat melancholy about the end of summer, I am also invigorated about what lies ahead. I’m excited about the next season of ministry God has for us, what He has been stirring up among us, and what He desires to do through us as His Kingdom comes and His will is done.
Fall, Life, Where Are We Now?
In the rhythm of our culture, fall tends to be a time of re-starting. And with that re-starting comes decisions about what things, outside of our basic requirements, we will engage ourselves in. Sometimes that is reactive – “oh! There is a cheap course on Tuesday nights where I can learn how to weave baskets, that sounds like fun, I think I’ll sign up.”; or “well, that phone call from my friend on the parent advisory council at school or the nominating committee at church sounds like they are pretty desperate for help, and I feel guilty about saying “no” so I guess I’ll do it…” Sometimes it is restarting things we value – piano lessons or sports teams, Bible studies or coffee buddies. And sometimes it is just by default, like a new TV series starts that is appealing and so we don’t want to do anything Monday night because we might miss Bristol Pallin and David Hasselhoff on “Dancing with the Stars”…
But there is another way to head into the fall and make decisions about what to engage yourself in: a more intentional way, a more deliberate way, that involves some questions that might be a little bit uncomfortable. Questions like this: am I where God wants me to be? Are the things that fill my life and my time the things that God wants to be filling my life and my time? Am I vibrant and alive because I am using the gifts God has given me and I know the joy of being used by God to make a positive impact on the lives of others around me? Do I have a healthy balance of time spent with God and time spent with people, so that I can sustain a rhythm of receiving from God and giving to others? Is my life the “life to the full” that Jesus said He came to bring?
I can see our lives as a continuum. We are born, we grow, at some point we met Jesus. In those seasons, we determined to make Jesus our Lord, we were excited to obey, we were eager to follow, we were enthusiastic and engaged – we read the Bible, we prayed, we looked forward to worship and learning with other Christians, we found ministries to be involved with that were meaningful, and above all we felt alive in our spirits. And in painting that picture I am not limiting it to times when life was going smoothly and easily, but I am including in that the times when it maybe was difficult and we struggled but we were alive in our spirits because of our active, obedient, purposeful connection to Jesus and to His Kingdom.
So the big question – does that describe your life today?
If not, what happened and more importantly what are you going to do about it? Jesus had an explanation for what happened: Matt 13:20-23. “20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”