I sent this out to our core team at Jacob's Well...thought it might be of some encouragement here on the POCBlog as well.
One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.
- G. K. Chesterton
Today, I ran across this quote from an author which has long inspired me and provoked much thought in the soul. It reminded me again of the beauty and the hope of our task ahead as those who are digging Jacob's Well here in central Jersey. Hope is an interesting thing indeed. It is mocked by the cynic, it is made an idol by the naive, yet remains the ingredient of life that we cannot live without. During a time of public celebration and transition in American today, hope is at the forefront. Hope for change, hope for a better economy, hope for peace in a world of terror.
For follower's of Jesus our hope is always in a different place. It is not in our money, it is not in our success, it is not simply in human leadership and it does not live in pollyannaish optimism. Our hope is in someone, yes. Our hope is in his future, yes. Our hope is optimistic because we trust in the character and love of God seen fully in the face of Jesus Christ.
This past Sunday I read quickly a passage from Romans 15 - it is a verse we will very much live together in 2009. Here is the passage in context:
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Here is our road Jacob's Well - to live for God's glory, for the good of our cities, townships and neighbors, to love and laugh deeply as a church family and through the encouragement of the Scriptures find our hope. This past weekend we encouraged one another, welcomed new friends and with one voice sought to honor our God.
As we are an embryo of a church, we are growing. As we sojourn together in our time and place we cannot help but look up from the valley to see great things ahead. As God looks down on our lives, our struggles, our quarrels, our pains...he knows that we are small. Yet he calls our vision upward and outward and gives us dreams.
I am thankful today after watching the inauguration of our new president; I am even more thankful for the King who was inaugurated with a crown of thorns. He is risen and now guiding his people to his Kingdom which will have no end. As we sojourn in America, let us give thanks today for the nation we possess. Yet let us never waver in our hope in Jesus; for in him we find our greatest longings, purest worship and the true home for our souls.
This week we'll sojourn back to the Thomas' house. We will finish Daniel 1 this week by "Sojourning in the Grace of God." Should be great.
Love to each of you,
Reid S. Monaghan