"Thoughts from our lead pastor"
In speaking with our builders last week, we have set a tentative date of having our first service in our new building on June 20, 2010 (Father's Day).
It is an exciting time in our church.
Some nights I lay awake thinking of all of the wonderful possibilities that will present themselves as we move. God is going to do a great work in the Southland!
As we draw closer to the move, there is a lot to be done. We are going to need all of us pulling together, working together to make the transition.
We need to "stay together"!
It's the principle of synergy. Two working together can do far more than just one. Ecclesiastes 4:9,10,12 tells us, 'Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up....though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Carl G. Conner writes, "A few winters ago, heavy snows hit North Carolina. Following a wet, six-inch snowfall, it was interesting to see the effect along Interstate 40. Next to the highway stood several large groves of tall, young pine trees. The branches were bowed down with the heavy snow--so low that branches from one tree were often leaning against the trunk or branches of another.
Where trees stood alone, however, the effect of the heavy snow was different. The branches had become heavier and heavier, and since there were no other trees to lean against, the branches snapped. They lay on the ground, dark and alone in the cold snow. When the storms of life hit, we need to be standing close to other Christians. The closer we stand, the more we will be able to hold up."
We really do need each other, especially in fulfilling the vision that God has for our church family.
In the book, "The Good Fight", author Mark Buchanan uses a movie scene to describe the necessity of unity for the church.
He writes, "General Maximus comes to Rome dirty and shackled. This is not the way it's supposed to be. Where's Rome's legendary pageantry to greet one of her war heroes—the heraldry, the burnished armor, the laurel crown? Where's the honor due him?
Maximus comes as a slave.
That's the premise of the movie Gladiator. Through a maze of events, Maximus goes from celebrated warrior, favorite of one emperor, to despised traitor, nemesis of another. He becomes a fugitive, then caged slave, then unvanquished gladiator. His growing fame in the arena brings him to the sport's pinnacle: Rome's magnificent Coliseum to face her elite warriors.
The games open with a re-enactment of the battle of Carthage. The gladiators, all foot soldiers, are cast as the hapless Carthaginians. It is a stage for slaughter. They are marched out a dark passageway into brilliant sunlight and met with a roar of bloodlust.
Maximus, their leader, shouts to his men: "Stay together." He assembles them in a tight circle in the center of the arena: back-to-back, shields aloft, spears outward. Again he shouts, "Whatever comes out that gate, stay together."
What comes out that gate is swift and sleek and full of terror. Chariot upon chariot thunder forth. War horses pull, with deadly agility and earthshaking strength, wagons driven by master charioteers. Amazonian warrior princesses ride behind and with deadly precision hurl spears and volley arrows. One gladiator strays from the circle, ignoring Maximus's order, and is cut down. Maximus shouts once more: "Stay together!"
The instinct to scatter is strong. But Maximus exerts his authority, and they resist that impulse. The chariots circle, closer, closer, closer. Spears and arrows rain down on the men's wood shields. The chariots are about to cinch the knot. Right then Maximus shouts, "Now!"
The gladiators attack, and decimate the Romans. Commodus, the evil emperor, caustically remarks to the games organizer: "My memory of Roman history is rusty, but didn't we beat Carthage the first time?"
Whatever comes out that gate, stay together."
In the next 5 months, whatever comes our way - let's stay together!
That echoes what Jesus prayed for us in John 17:23: "May they be brought to complete unity". And He promises that the gates of hell will not overcome His church.