March 2023 Pastor’s Perspective

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
How is it with your soul? I often think of the hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul,” in response:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.
And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.
Horatio Spafford wrote the words to It is Well with My Soul on a ship soon after he passed the location in the Atlantic Ocean where his four daughters (and nearly his wife) drowned in a shipwreck only weeks before.
Far from being indifferent to suffering and trouble, grief and doubt, the hymn is an affirmation of the truth of God’s presence in Jesus Christ and the hope we have in Christ, by faith whatever our state.
Jesus welcomes us to join him today, whatever our condition, receiving his mighty work of restoring us to original righteousness by being born anew. Choosing Jesus and allowing his power to turn us to new life and glory in Almighty God.

When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them and he said. “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of; for the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went on to another village. Luke 9:51-56

Our Lenten faith journey empowers the ministry of Christ’s Church. Making new disciples of Jesus requires we truly serve Jesus as Lord. We have rich resources in God’s Word, prayer, penitence, and intentional ministry to impact unchurched and churched in unique expressions of Jesus’ love, salvation, and transformation available to all. We live and lean into this mission as we follow Jesus and go forward in the power of His Spirit. We profess we need Jesus, and know he is with us! We may be keenly aware of our limitation and failures, yet God assures us of his purpose for us.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:4-8

We know, like Jeremiah, we are not self-sufficient. God takes the initiative in coming to us in Jesus Christ! Lent is a season the Church intentionally professes we need our Savior! We celebrate Jesus’ willingness to birth us again by water and the Holy Spirt!

God loves us with such wondrous love! We know Jesus frees us from the curse of sin and death! God provides what is necessary for salvation and life with him; Scripture, prayer, ministry (our work for the glory of God and to serve others), worship and sharing life in joy with others.

Lent helps us share how it is with our soul in the simple, honest, truth of Jesus’ presence to save and not destroy.

     God loves you, and we love you!
       Paul and Nancy Wier

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