and i will continue be a church leader throughout the process.
i am by nature a very upbeat, optimistic guy (some might say “jolly”), so it is with some concern that i recognize a gloomy, contentious tone as i look back over some of my previous posts. i love the local church and i am genuinely distressed by some of the attitudes i find there. but there is much to celebrate in the church and, besides, i am really tired of worrying about it.
if god wants me to be joy-filled, i want to cooperate with him.
at my fellowship, we’ve been studying peter’s letters on wednesday nights. i love peter’s perspective: he was so myopic when jesus was on earth, and with the advantage of many years of retrospect, he writes with wisdom and insight to the “scattered” churches suffering under nero’s empire. consider the introduction to his first letter…
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-4a)
and this next passage is the part that has me jazzed up…
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. (1 Peter 1:8)
joy is a concept that is hard for me to get my mind around. it is a fruit of the spirit: beyond the capacity of human manufacture. in fact, happiness–the great pursuit of humankind–is a temporal counterfeit of joy. where happiness is completely dependent on circumstances, joy persists in the face of grief and pain. joy is absurd, fantastic, overwhelming.
and peter tells me that because i believe in jesus, he has filled me (filled? really?), not just with joy, but with “an inexpressible and glorious joy.” wow!
who knows…i may even become a better pastor and husband this year.