“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness...”
-Jesus, Gospel of Matthew 6:33
I’m reading a thought provoking book called, “Essentialism; the Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” which is challenging and coaching me to “cut through the noise” and hone in on just “ONE THING” in which to invest myself wholly. It’s not a “Christian Book” per say, although the author does draw principles from the Bible and quotes Christian authors at times. In reading it, I’ve come to realize that Christ is the quintessential essentialist, and that he calls us to “the disciplined pursuit of less,” in his footsteps.
As I consider the call of Christ to “seek first the Kingdom of God,” and the practical implications of what that looks like for this immediate season of my life, I’ve realized that, presently, my ONE THING (my highest priority & task) is TO CALL THE CORE TO A COMMON VISION FOR PLANTING REDEEMER’S LOVE CHURCH.
This means sharpening and sharing the vision God has birthed in my heart, and it means pursuing prospective CORE MEMBERS; folks who love Christ and His Church, and are in a position to “throw in” with us on this new church plant. It means prayerfully, diligently bringing our CORE TEAM together around this shared vision.
And such a thing will surely require a relentless, disciplined, repentant focus to see it through. It’s amazing how, when we seek (attempt) to “seek first the Kingdom of God,” we suddenly find our flesh fighting us at every turn!
In 1521, with the Western World ablaze in the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther was holed up in Wartburg Castle, supposedly, for the undivided purpose of “working feverishly” on one of his greatest investments in the Kingdom of God, the German Translation of the New Testament. Yet, in a personal letter to a close friend, Luther confides: “I sit here at ease, hardened and unfeeling—alas! praying little, grieving little for the Church of God, burning rather in the fierce fires of my untamed flesh. It comes to this: I should be afire in the spirit; in reality I am afire in the flesh, with lust, laziness, idleness, sleepiness. It is perhaps because you have all ceased praying for me that God has turned away from me … For the last eight days I have written nothing, nor prayed nor studied, partly from self-indulgence, partly from another vexatious handicap [chronic, severe digestive problems] … I really cannot stand it any longer … Pray for me, I beg you, for in my seclusion here I am submerged in sins.”
That letter has never been lost on me, and, down through the years, I have related, painfully. Often, when we seek to “seek first the Kingdom of God” we find it to be a very lonely, difficult place. And, perhaps most discouraging is that we often must limp forward with a divided “self,” as the “Kingdom of our flesh” surges violently against the Kingdom of God.
As I have embarked on this endeavor to plant Redeemer’s Love I’ve encountered various forms of trials, including several health issues (chronic neck pain and a hiatal hernia, which makes it difficult to breathe, to concentrate). I’ve felt the sting of friends in ministry not supporting me as I had hoped, the frustration of doors remaining closed on jobs, the sense of drowning in my own areas of incompetency, the demons of past failures hissing from afar, and most of all, the pain of loneliness, as I sometimes sit in my quiet apartment wondering what the heck do I do now? And where the heck is my helpmate? Far too often, in my isolation, I respond like Luther: I “check out;” become ‘hardened and unfeeling—praying very little, grieving little for the Church of God…”
But, with each new day, like the prodigal son, I find my way back to the gospel; to the truth that, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
And so, today, as I write, I can say with Spurgeon, that I may be weary IN the work, but not OF the work. With renewed hope in the gospel, and renewed energy to invest, I want to focus on MY ONE THING: TO CALL THE CORE TO A COMMON VISION.
TWO WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
1. Above all, as often as you think to, keep us lifted up in prayer. Spurgeon reminds us that, “Prayer moves the arm that moves the world.”
- Prayer Needs: Spiritual Vitality, Clear & Compelling Communication of Vision, Stability/sustainability: (meaning full-time job OR enough support to work part time, housing in Sharpstown by end of June.) For God to send “the workers” (Core
Members), Pray for James & Jane (they’ve both experienced some sickness & exhaustion in this new season as parents…but they’re doing a fantastic job!
2. Help us pursue leads for potential Core Members. If you have a relationship with someone in or around Southwest Houston who may be interested in learning more about Redeemer’s Love Houston, you may direct them to our website: www.redeemerslovehouston.org or have them give me a call 936.222.4260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . I would love to talk with them!
Thank you all for your continued support. You have no idea how much you have blessed me and Redeemer’s Love Church already! Your “presence” is felt in so many ways, and you help us cling fast to the promise of Galatians 6:9, “Do not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Amen, Amen, Amen!!!!!!