The last few days of our swap began with writing the final sermon and fitting in a lunch with the 2 Associate Pastors. We are all so different, yet, each of us has the call of God upon our lives and each of us enjoyed the discussions.
Next day we are on a visit to the Theme park, with our 9 year old guide (Alexis), but I am not feeling well, not well at all. My colour has gone, my head hurts and I am sure I will be sick before the day is out.
I struggle on for an hour, but I need to lie down – so I head back home and to bed. Yes I was right, when I wake up I am sick – Though the family are all going out to a Church dance event, I am still not up-to-it, but they have a great time.
I wake next day better except for energy levels and still have a dull head. We do some final shopping and rest for a few hours before we go out for a meal with another Church family.
What a fabulous time we have, appetite returned and fabulous company for us all. Some great stories, but the “swat team” is the best one. It is so reassuring that I am going to bed well with Sunday arriving overnight.
It is Scottish Sunday here; 3 Pastors in kilts and lots of the congregations in tartan. The bagpipes begin worship and are involved again in “Be thou my vision” and also at the end.
I get to preach my last 2 sermons here. Our family are all out at the front for gifts and to be thanked, and it is a very moving celebration.
People have really enjoyed the 5 weeks in 2nd Timothy. I am ambushed by many who insist that we will “have to be coming back”. There are many positive comments, but my favourite is that I preached as if I was “Paul, passionate, commanding, alluring and speaking God’s powerful word – it has certainly left a lasting impression.” (Genuinely think they meant the Apostle, though I am not certain and that does seem most unlikely).
One other special moment here was during one of those American hugs. Men and women hug me and all my training tells me not to seek out these kinds of things. One man weeps as he hugs me – he has spoken to me over several weeks, but he has been so moved to hear the series each week. We embrace for the primary reason of our Christians faith – making disciples. We praise God for 11 new converts here in the last few weeks!
It is certainly nice to be liked. However I don’t pull any punches, and I often think that many people will see me as hard or strict rather than someone who deeply desires that all people get to hear the full gospel message so that they will respond and discover the full measure of God’s grace.
Now we are tidying up and preparing for home. That is the place God has called us to in His service and the challenge is to encourage everyone there to let Him build His Church in Dunbar and elsewhere.
Here are some things the scriptures teach:-
A. The CHURCH is -
1. The word “church” in the Greek means those “called out” to serve God.
2. The Body of Christ (Colossians 1:18).
3. The Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-27).
4. The Family of God (I Timothy 3:15).
5. The Pillar and Ground of Truth (I Timothy 3:15).
B. That means we MUST meet the MASTER BUILDER while we live on earth for JESUS is the only safe foundation to build our lives upon for this life and for all eternity:-
1. Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18).
2. He purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28).
3. He is the Head of the church (Colossians 1:18).
4. The church is His spiritual body (Colossians 1:18).
C. We also need to know what God offers:-
1. Forgiveness of sins through the Church (Ephesians 1:17).
2. Salvation through the Church (2 Timothy 2:10).
3. Redemption which is in the Church (Colossians 1:14).
4. All spiritual blessings are in the Church (Ephesians 1:3).
5. The saved are in the Church (Acts 2:47).
So all our efforts, tithes, time and service is for Christ and His Kingdom and the salvation of the lost. Have a think about how many people are not in the Church each week?
We, every one of us, are responsible for this generation so may we all give as we are able, and remember what Christ can do with faith as small as a mustard seed!
Hope to see you all soon – Love and Prayers Pastor Gordon