Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, we are grateful for the faithfulness of the Body of Christ, and you all of First United Methodist Church of Fairbury.
Your willingness to serve and press forward in ministry is a blessing. The ministry with folks in Gibson City and continuing support with response to other natural disasters bears witness to the love of Jesus Christ in your hearts. The unanimous congregational decision to proceed with the purchase of the property currently housing the Fairbury Community Food Pantry is a great joy, along with the ongoing ministry of the Food Pantry!
Your ministry of prayer is a means of accessing and sharing God’s Holy Spirit in power and healing whether nearby or in places around the globe. Several folks have testified in recent days of how wonderful and life-giving it is for them to know the church is interceding on their behalf!
We live in the midst of great despair and hopelessness, and still continue to share the good news of God’s life-transforming love in Jesus Christ, which conquers sin and death, sets captives free and gives us hope and purpose! Wherever we turn, the witness of the Gospel is needed! How can we continue? How can we not?
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Matthew 16:24-28
Have we died to self, accepted Jesus as our Lord and daily take up the cross and follow Jesus? Are we encouraging one another to honestly consider what we have to lose or gain? What can we offer to save our own life if we refuse to surrender to Jesus? Is there anything we may lose that is worth more than our soul and the eternal life God sent Jesus to offer to all humanity? Paul testified to his life in Jesus in these words from Galatians:
For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:19-20
Our witness is not a life of abject suffering, but glory and joy in life discovering the fullness of life God created for us to live. The letter to Philippi shares this clear witness:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11
Our witness and ministry invites all to die to selfish interests and live into the fullness of faith in Jesus Christ. Have we died yet, and been raised to new life in Christ Jesus? Wherever we are, who we are with, this is the witness of hope and life which is desperately needed from us, Jesus’ light overcoming the darkness!
In Jesus, Pastor Paul