Pastor’s Letter  ~ February 2021

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“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”             1Corinthians 1:26-31 NIV

     Our life of faith must always begin from a strong confession of our bankruptcy.  We must first realize that we are broken and in need of healing.  In order to come fully to our Savior, we must accept that we desperately need Him. We cannot have His righteousness without denying our own unrighteousness marred by sin.  We cannot receive His holiness without the confession of our fallen nature.  That which is pure cannot live with that which is profane.  We cannot even be redeemed without owning up to our faults.  We must become bankrupt in our self-righteousness before we can be made right with God.  The beauty of the cross is ugliness.  God left us no religion, no law, no self-effort in order to be right with Him.  Jesus did it all establishing a relationship with us and undid all our futile efforts to make it on our own.  The way to become godly is not to think we are godly.  We must declare our ungodliness first recognizing how much we have missed the mark of holiness.  The way to live is to die, take up our cross and follow Him.  Notice how Paul tells the Corinthian believers of how God used them.  They were the ‘foolish’ in the world’s eyes.  They were the non-influential and the weak people according to their way of life.  They were considered lowly.  Yet they were the wisest among the community. Some thought that God would make them into something in order to rise above others.  Yet what God needed was their poverty.  We think that God would make us better people too through works, service, intellect, wealth, philosophies, or religion.  He came to do away with the old things, the old way, and to create something new in Himself through a realistic relationship with Him. We take hold of the ugly cross for ourselves and then the newness comes.  The cross was not gilded with gold to adorn our steeples or to be worn around our necks.  It was a place of disgrace, suffering and pain.  It was brutal and ugly.  On it the Lord hung between heaven and earth with three nails, despised by men and smitten by God the Father.  That is where God’s plan of salvation for us took Him even before the creation of the world.  We often take pride in the things that we do for Him and we boast in ourselves rather than in the Lord.  Becoming the wisdom from God takes a lot of humility.  It does not mean we should always walk around with our head down but it does mean that we must put things into its proper perspective.  Becoming wise in the ways of the Kingdom is like putting on a set of strange new clothes.  We look different and we feel different because we are different.  No superficial spirituality, just a deepening dependence on God’s wisdom and strength.  We are summoned to follow Jesus and to become participants in the works of God.  And that means putting our pride aside and going to the depths to find God’s wisdom.  Let us boast only in what our Lord has done!                                In His love, Pastor Bill ♥