I hope that you are enjoying our study of the Book of Romans as much as I have been. Perhaps “enjoy” is not the best word to use. Maybe “benefitting” or “appreciating” would be better. Nevertheless, “enjoy” is not a wrong word to use. I am enjoying it. And I have been very thankful for the way you, as a congregation, have responded. It has been wonderful to be hearing from some of you how this series has been of benefit to you. I can say, as a pastor, there are few things as encouraging as hearing how God is at work in your lives, through his Word! In these past few weeks we have dealt with potentially touchy subjects, as we explored Romans 12, about how we ought to live our lives in response to “God’s mercies”; and into Romans 13 this past week, considering what God says about our relationship with the civil government. At a time in culture when people are so divided, and many conversations with even a hint of political implications have the potential to explode like a powder keg that has been ignited, you have been incredibly gracious in response to the messages I have had the privilege to share, as well as to the thoughtfully challenging message Camper delivered to us a few weeks back. For that I thank you.
One thing I have found particularly interesting is the response a number of you have shared to my recent references to the writings of Francis Schaeffer, a theologian and culturist in the late 20th Century. Many of you were already familiar with his work. Several people, some who have read Schaeffer in the past, others who had only been familiar with his name, asked if there is any Schaeffer work that I would consider a “must read”. While I have shared my response to that inquiry with those who have asked, I thought it might be worthwhile to share a link to the writing I have commended. I have long thought Schaeffer’s The Mark of the Christian to be a treasure, outlining what it means to live our lives in line with our calling in Christ. It is not a long essay, only 16 pages; and while spiritually challenging, the language Schaeffer uses is not at all technical. I commend it everyone. And I would welcome hearing your thoughts, from those who choose to read it.
Shifting gears, I want to congratulate David Hoffman! David was recently appointed by his fellow Deacons to serve as Chairman of Deacons at Grace Covenant. I am thankful for David’s willingness to serve, and I ask you to join me in praying for David as he serves this role. With Hebrews 13.17 in mind, I am praying that David will experience joy through his service and leadership. At the same time, I want to thank Peter McHenry for the tremendous job he has done these past few years as Chairman of our Deacons. Peter will continue to serve as a Deacons, but he thought it time to pass the gavel to another. Thank you, Peter!
While it is our practice to not engage in politics, several people have asked that I touch on a piece of legislation that will be presented to the US Senate next week. It is officially Bill H.R. 5 – more commonly called “The Equality Act”. I am going to maintain my commitment to eschew partisan commentary, but I am convinced that this is an issue that warrants attention. While the stated objective of supporters of this piece of legislation is to ensure the rights of all, something which I believe as followers of Jesus we are to promote, there are many who have great concerns about potential unintended consequences of this Bill, specifically this Bill as written could promote the rights of some at the future or subsequent expense of others. Again, I will not offer any commentary here; and I do not want to make practice of addressing specific legislation; but I do think it appropriate to encourage you to become familiar with this proposal, and then to share your thoughts with our elected Representatives.
Finally, I want to invite you to join us for an important event this week. On Thursday evening, March 4, from 6:30 to 7:30, we will be gathering online to pray for our community. Ordinarily we would be gathering for one our quarterly prayer dinners, but the pandemic having not yet subsided enough for us to gather in-person, over dinner, we have moved our time of prayer to Zoom. Our focus comes from Jeremiah 29.7, where the Lord instructs his people, living in exile, to “seek the welfare of the city..” As God has placed each of us here for his purposes, part of tht purpose is for us – and for all the Christians in town – to be a blessing to this city where we live. God’s instruction through Jeremiah specifically tells us to pray for our city, so that is what we will be doing. Through a series of breakout rooms, we will pray together for different aspects of our community, and for God to be at work in this place we call home. To participate, simply click the Zoom link: GCPC Prayer Gathering.
Grace & Peace,
W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor