Tuesday, March 25, 2014

From Pastor Chris: Reluctant Blessings

Hey Church,

I write this letter to you with mixed feelings because Jason and Laura Helveston, our co-laborers in the gospel, are departing to do ministry in another city. We all long to have such a deeply committed church that we dream of being together for years to come. We conceive of leaders being with us from the cradle to the grave. But if we are honest, those are dreams of heaven and the kingdom to come, not our life as sojourners on this earth. Remember Hebrews 11:13-16:

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

The reality is we are not sovereign individuals who get to choose when and where we will live and work. In fact, scripture affirms time and again that it is God's providential hand who places us where we are, for whatever time we are there, in order that all people may know him (Acts 17:26-28). What makes it difficult is that we must always put our relationships in God's hand and be grateful for them for the time we have, not wasting any moment. We want our friends and family to be around forever but in this life it is a request that can never be granted. This life by nature is transitory; it only serves to fuel our longing for the eternal heavenly city, where sorrows never touch our shores.

Despite the difficulty of saying goodbye to people we love, we can rejoice and bless them as they go. We know that God is sovereign and that he controls even the nations in the palm of his hand. We can trust that wherever he places his people he will continue to make Jesus known. It is a fearful thing to place yourself in the hands of the living God. For you know that he may do with you as he wishes, when he wishes. Yet, he does not do this for selfish reasons or for some deranged form of entertainment. He does it so that others may be saved; we give our lives for the sake of others just as His Son did for us.

Our prayers of blessings for the Helvestons may be reluctant blessings, but they are blessings of hope. Looking forward to what God may do through them in Chicago and what he will do through us here in San Jose by his sovereign grace. Then when we get to the Great Wedding Banquet of the Lamb, we then can say, "This is what he did. This is what he did. This is what he did!"

Godspeed Jason, Laura, Glori, and Jedidiah Helveston.

Pastor Chris

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