Thursday, 14 May 2020 13:52
What Matters MostWritten by Jeron Parkins
Church, I’m so sorry if you’ve lost something (or someone) during this crisis. I’m sorry if your dreams have been sidetracked. I’m sorry if your plans have been put on hold or what you’ve been working so hard on has fallen apart. But as you grieve what you’ve lost, don’t forget what you’ve got. I read through Philippians this morning and was struck by Paul’s outlook on his circumstances and his life. At one point in his life he could boast about all he had. He was a rising star in Jerusalem and in Judaism, and he could boast about what he had accomplished and why he was important – “if anyone thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more; circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (3:4-6). But as he wrote to the Philippian church he is in jail. He is hated by those who once thought him special. He has enemies who want him dead and he has critics who hounded him. From a worldly perspective he has lost all that mattered. But he didn’t believe it for a moment! He had what mattered most! And in your sufferings, dear Christian, you shouldn’t look at your losses as catastrophic or through worldly glasses. When Paul met Jesus Christ and when Jesus entered his life all the things of the world – the prestige, the wealth, the applause, the sense of being “someone” before others, it all vanished – but he found what really mattered. Our society is built on gaining. The accumulation of wealth and material things is set out as the goal by the world. We are successful if we gain a fit body or an advanced degree or a respected reputation for business. We believe that such things are the key to happiness. And now that these attainments are being lost or taken, people are devastated. Maybe you are growing depressed at what you’ve lost? Consider Paul and his thinking! “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish” (3:7-8). Paul was in jail and his life was at risk, but he had what matters most! He had the greatest thing a human being could have – a knowledge of Jesus Christ. Compared to a relationship with God, well, all the things that people boast and brag about, they are rubbish. What Paul wanted most was to know Jesus more, to experience what Jesus had experienced. He made it his life’s passion to know and love God, to know and identify with Jesus: “Not that I have already attained all this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:12-14). In spite all his losses he had what mattered most, and that’s what really mattered! Because he had Jesus (or because Jesus had him) he could say: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (4:4). Paul was full of joy and he wanted the Philippians to be joyful in what they had in Jesus, not depressed because he was in prison or because they were suffering. We have what matters most and because we have God in our lives we can suffer the loss of all things and still be ok. The world is suffering loss and turning to drug and drink or porn or food. As we grieve our losses we take a different a different tact. We remember what we have. We renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We focus on what is good (Philippians 4:8). We remember we have a God who is working in our lives. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work will carry it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (1:6). We have a God who humbled himself and gave up everything for us: ”Who though he was in the form of God… he emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant… he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (2:5-8). We remember we have future that is secure: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (3:20). And we rejoice that we have a God who takes care of us: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (4:19). Though we suffer loss, we have what matters most, and so we know we will make it. Church, you will make it! You will get through this! God’s Got You!
Here’s some of what’s happening at Living Water in the near future…
Our plan at this time is to resume worship services on Sunday, June 7 at 9:00 and 10:45 am. We are waiting to hear from the State of Colorado on what the gathering limitations will be when the new phase kicks in (or Alamosa County is granted a variance); what we anticipate is 30% or 1/3 of a room’s capacity (though it could be less). If this is the case we will be able to seat about 85 people in the sanctuary in each service. But we will also have overflow rooms set up in the Fellowship Hall and in the Cross Building. Please be praying for churches to reopen. When the Lord opens the doors (Hallelujah!) we will clearly communicate what to expect when you come to worship. In the meantime please continue to seek out community in small groups and Bible studies.
NEW BUILDING PROGRESS
Yesterday was a big day as we finalized our construction loan and the Reign Building started to be deconstructed. We’ve had a delay in the demolition with Excel not being able to come and shut off the utilities, but it has turned out to be a good thing as folks have been able to pull out more of the useable materials, including windows, lights, plumbing fixtures - even the trusses will be reclaimed. It’s been great to see so many people from the church participating in this project. If you want to learn more about what we are planning and why we are building, please go to https://www.bringinglifeproject.org/ If you want to make a financial contribution to the project you can go to our website https://www.livingwateralamosa.org/ where you can contribute securely.
EAGLE LAKE CAMP
Eagle Lake Camp is happening at Living Water July 6-10! The First 100 kids registered get 50% off. It’s $100 (instead of $200)!
Online Registration: www.eaglelakecamps.com/livingwater
COMMUNITY GROUPS AND BIBLE STUDIES
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
VBS has been rescheduled to the week of July 27-31
9:00 and 10:45 a.m.
FAMILY IN NEED
Valdino and Frances Gallegos from Romeo lost everything in a recent house fire. There has been a Go Fund Me account set up if you want to help. https://www.gofundme.com/f/204whqvgpc?utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR2nRr7a_2ceAuayuN-Olq922Iy1o-b5adHa5B4vtaKteR8FvMonpQO8swg Here’s the latest update from the organizers of the fundraiser: We are doing fairly good with clothing…we are now really looking for a storage trailer or container to place on their property for donations coming in…we will not turn any donations away…prayers, monetary donations and keeping them in your thoughts are so appreciated...please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you can help 719-298-6396.
TITHES AND OFFERINGS
Thanks everyone for continuing to give faithfully to our general budget so that we can continue to do ministry and be on mission. If you are out of rhythm with not being able to bring your gifts to a worship service, you can easily give electronically through our website (www.livingwateralamosa.org) or by texting GIVE to 719-298-3401. Don’t forget to save the number in your phone as LWBF GIVING. You can always text EDIT to update your information, set up a recurring gift, and check the status of a gift. You can also drive by the church and drop your check in the church mailbox, or send your donation to Living Water Bible Fellowship 2910 Clark Street Alamosa, CO 81101.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Thanks for reading!