So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
Years ago, when Rebekah was first called to Trinity in Pensacola, we coordinated a cutting edge ministry specifically designed for young families with small children.
Like most of our best ideas, it was not only simple but it fulfilled a real need in our own lives. We had small children, little parenting experience, and no idea what we were doing. So of course it was the most natural place in the world for other young families to gather, share ideas, pray for one-another, and provide the kind of supportive, encouraging environment we all needed.
It was, in a sense, the perfect storm. We laughed together, we cried together, we grew in mutual love, we partied both in church and at one another’s homes, we celebrated together, and we worshiped together. We were, quite literally, “Praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to [our] number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
THE KEY: Other than the rampant “We’re all in the same boat”-ness, the heart of the ministry was spiritual growth, nurtured at the core of everything we did together. Everyone who became caught up in the experience was encouraged to grow as a disciple of Jesus.
One key element was the simple discipline of sharing personal faith stories. Not a “testimony” from one, five, ten, or more years ago, but experiences of living faith from day-to-day. The principle was/is this: “If we don’t have at least a couple of fresh ‘God-moments’ we can share since the last time we met, then we’re not spending enough intentional time in the presence of Jesus.”
Of course, the more intentional time we spend in the presence of Jesus, then the more serendipitous, spontaneous, and surprise stories begin to emerge.
LIVING A BETTER STORY: If we are intentionally living – as author Don Miller writes – “a better story,” then we’re not going to have to look very far at all when it comes to finding something to share for the encouragement of our friends.
This is why it’s not that much of a stretch for me to come up with a new “Life, Gratitude, Faith, & Passion” post six or seven days each and every week. And it is my prayer that the simple fact of reading these stories serves to encourage you in your own journey.
Because this life of faith is new every morning! It’s fresh and alive and transformational every day. If you have trouble understanding what I’m talking about, then visit us at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church today. If you’re too far away, then find a faith community closer to home.
Believe me, this journey is just as exciting and full with new life as it was back in the beginning of 1983, when Rebekah and I started the Kaleidoscope class at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Pensacola, launching the first leg of this (ongoing) adventure of our lives!