Originally written September 25th, 2014
At this writing I’m roughly 35,000 feet above the earth on a flight from Dallas, TX to Charlotte, NC. While there is nothing exceptional about this, what has been on my mind most of the time that I’ve been in the air is that this is the first time that I’ve flown since September 11, 2001.
A small group of the leadership at GBC have flown down to Dallas this week to think, plan, dream, discuss, and envision the future of our church in Groton, and in New London County. What this means exactly we can’t say, but I have bounced back and forth between dwelling on the future of our church (not to mention the impacts of these very near decisions on myself and my family) and a preoccupation with the emotion and memories of that chilling fall day many years ago now- all this while the news stations in the terminal blare about joint air strikes by France and the U.S. against ISIS in the Middle East. To say that these things have left me mentally disjointed is an understatement.
What does it all mean? Does it even relate at all? Perhaps, perhaps not.
What I think it does mean as I distill these thoughts is that the last 15 years have not changed the nature of man.
Ecclesiastes 9:3 (NIV) says…
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.
So despite the amount of money spent, lives lost, and hours spent in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, that we have through force of might been unable to really even curb the sin of man, in fact, it’s gotten worse. We can’t ferret out evil with smart bombs. Evil resides in the heart. It resides in me, and only by the grace of God and the love of Jesus will that ever change.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Where I think there is a connection to the future of our GBC family is that we have a unique opportunity to bring the very need of the world, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to the larger community surrounding the Groton, CT area in unprecedented volume to this date. In an age where man is more wicked, broken, and lost- we could affect our region for God’s Kingdom more than ever, maybe even more than includning the Great Awakening.
Romans 1:16–17 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,* just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
The Gospel is the power that is needed to overcome the evil that we see so vividly in the violent acts spanning the last 15 years from 911 to ISIS, and it is also the hope for our community, that through faith in Jesus Christ and His work at the cross we can know forgiveness, purpose, and the hope of eternity.
It’s what gives us the ability to live holy lives, to care for the needs of others above our own, and even to pray for our enemies. As we consider our future let’s also consider the privileged position we enjoy in Christ, and let’s long for that same hope and freedom for those who are lost in their own sin and brokenness.
I’ll end with the hopeful benediction of the Apostle Paul at the end of his 2nd letter to the Corinthians…
2 Corinthians 13:14 (NIV)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.