Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tolerance, and the grace that pays the bill

Church Update
Still no official news from the Airport, but the work keeps right on going. The road seems to be nearing its completion. I'll get pictures up here soon. They painted lines on Sunday, so it looks even more finished than before.

We've been trying to get our final sealer on the metal roof before it gets too cold, but every time we have scheduled to do it, it rains that day. Maybe it's a sign! Anyway, we're planning again for tomorrow (Friday).


Special Update
This past Sunday (October 1st) Crossway Baptist Church held its very first church service in Bakersfield, CA. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Mark and Charity Brock. The result? There were 87 people who attended the first service! There were others who said they would come and did not. Maybe next week. Keep praying!


Scriptural Thought of the Week
Pop-quiz question: Who is that fellow believer that you have a hard time loving? OK, have them in mind? So, how do you handle situations when you have to be together? Let the apostle Paul give you some advice:

"I, the prisoner in the Lord, I urge you to walk about in a manner worthy of the calling by which you were called, with all lowly thinking and meekness, with longsuffering, tolerating one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of the peace" Ephesians 4:1-3 (my trans.)

At his writing, Paul was under house arrest in Rome. This meant he was probably shackled to at least one guard at all times. That must have been pretty difficult, especially since the guards would not have started off being believers, appreciating Paul's teaching, writing, visitors, etc.

Paul said that there are times when we simply have to "tolerate one another in love" for the purpose of keeping "the unity of the Spirit". And how is that done? Through the "bond [read: shackle] of the peace."

Sticking close to each other, spending time with each other, "bonding", will bring out a lot of things we must tolerate in one another. But when we do so, the peace of God will grow our unity in His Spirit.


Quote of the Week
My intention is to share from many books, but I'm milking this one because I like his style and perspective, so here is another quote from Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis:

I was having breakfast with my dad and my younger son at the Real Food Cafe on Eastern Avenue just south of Alger in Grand Rapids. We were finishing our meal when I noticed that the waitress brought our check and then took it away and then brought it back again. She placed it on the table, smiled, and said, "Somebody in the restaurant paid for your meal. You're all set." And then she walked away.

I had the strangest feeling sitting there. The feeling was helplessness. There was nothing I could do. It had been taken care of. To insist on paying would have been pointless. All I could do was trust that what she said was actually true and then live in that. Which meant getting up and leaving the restaurant. My acceptance of what she said gave me a choice: to live like it was true or to create my own reality in which the bill was not paid.

This is our invitation. To trust that we don't owe anything. To trust that something is already true about us, something has already been done, something has been there all along.

To trust that grace pays the bill.

Quoted from: Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), pp. 151-2. ISBN: 031026345X

Until next time,

Dan'l

2 comments:

Mrs. Connors said...

My first question, Pastor is are you writing a translation and commentary of the Bible? I think you could do just that!! Also, do you think that it was hard for Paul to work with or get along with Mark? Is that another reason he has encouraged us to be tolerant of our sister's and brother's differences...he learned from that event? Did he deliberately refuse to have Mark travel with him so that two teams of evangelists were sent out instead of one or did he just not want to tolerate Mark's difference and then later saw how God worked it out in each of their lives? Well, we can get the whole story later....

Daniel Goepfrich said...

Actually, it's long been a personal goal to be able to translate and write notes on the entire Bible. Can I do it? I guess we'll see. :)

That's a great observation about Paul and Mark. I think that Paul was so driven at the outset of his missionary work that he couldn't stand slackers. So when John Mark left the team, Paul found him useless as a team member.

However, as both Paul and Mark grew up, they learned perseverance - Mark from a more temperate Barnabas and Paul from his prison cells.

God used the incident (Acts 15:36-41) to double the efforts, though that was not Paul's plan.