Church Planting is a Marathon…

My older brother, a fellow church-planter, made an interesting comment to me recently.  He’s now in year three of his church plant in Oklahoma.  We were discussing Restoration Road’s launch and all the work that went into it.   As I was a bit frantic about my to-do list for the launch, he calmly reminded me that planting a church in a healthy way was a marathon and not a sprint.  So, while the launch and my related to-do list were important matters to pursue, I was reminded that we weren’t planting a one and done sort of endeavor.  We planned and prepared over the last year in order to plant a church which is most definitely a long-term work.

Now that we find ourselves through our first five Sundays together as a church, I’ve had some time to reflect on the truth of my brother’s statement.  What we’re doing here in planting Restoration Road takes time and patience.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will Restoration Road be.  In our culture that prizes immediate gratification, this is not an exciting topic to write about.  And yet we must be reminded that planting a church, in and of itself is a daunting task that requires long-term perspective and perseverance.  When I also consider that we are planting a church in one of the most anti-Christian regions in this country, I am even further motivated to remain patient and long-term focused!

Don’t get me wrong…I believe that God has already demonstrated His abounding grace to us in our first five weeks.  I believe we have witnessed His grace poured out on us in special and unique ways.  I am humbled by the present and excited about the future.  I am fully confident that as we plod along in faithful obedience to plant Restoration Road, our God will change hearts, redeem sinners and transform lives!  God is going to accomplish His purposes here in Wakefield for His glory and for our joy!!!   Let’s just be a people that yearn for the finish line even if it’s far away!

See Grace. Speak life.

We live in a world full of sinners who are constantly tearing each other down. One of the problems is we are one of the sinners who are contributing to the wreckage. We utter words that shred the esteem and character of others who are fellow image bearers of God. Sometimes we do this in the privacy of our own homes and sometimes we do this to each other’s face. How has God commanded us to use our words and speech?

Let’s start off with what are words are not intended to be, daggers. Daggers cut and cause bleeding and sometimes death. When we use our words as weapons to destroy the psyche of others we are using our speech in a sinful way. This could be categorized as “corrupt speech” (Eph 4:29) and is forbidden in the Bible. One of the saddest things I have experienced is listening to countless people talk about how their lives have been devastated by people who constantly tear them down, by verbally assaulting them. On the other hand, how many souls have WE wounded with the words we have spoken?

God has commanded us to build each other up. What a joy it is to receive words of encouragement from a friend! A word of encouragement can bring life to a decaying soul and joy to a mourning mind. Think of the last time you were encouraged by somebody, wasn’t it powerful! Our words were designed to build up not tear down. Our words are important and our tongue has the power to bring death or life (Proverbs 18:21). Please choose to bring life into people’s life and not death.

What if I can’t find anything good in other people? I am not asking you to see good in other people, I am asking you to see grace. There is no good in you or in others. We are all sinners and have fallen short of the Glory of God (Rom. 3:23). What we should be looking for is what God is doing by his grace in someone’s life. Believe me; God through his diving mercy is always extending his grace to his children. It is impossible for him not to be working in the hearts of those he has called according to his purpose. There is grace to see, it just take an eye that has experienced grace to see it.

See Grace. Speak life.