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A Church in the Park

March 2021

Your Influence for Jesus

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

I have been already thinking about our Easter celebration and the church universal’s remembrance of Jesus’ victory over death.  On April 4th, Christians from many tongues, from every community of America, across many denominations, devout Believers and those less so, those that gather weekly for worship and those that attend biannually, will gather together on Resurrection Sunday.   The day will present us an opportunity unlike most others, not only to shower love upon guests gathered in our sanctuary, but also that we may go further, that we might proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.  The sovereign timing of Easter as related to COVID weariness makes me ponder God’s mysterious ways.

Researchers are confidently documenting increasing Gospel receptivity as COVID lingers.  There is a principle that is put forth during trials, “The more disruptive a life event is to a person’s psychological equilibrium, the more it will cause him or her to be spiritually receptive.”  Through the testimonies of many, we can surely affirm the disruptive reality of COVID; nothing is as it was thirteen short months ago.  The Corona virus has impacted everyone.  Yet, time is short; before long, we will return towards normal and restabilize in our equilibriums. 

All of us who call Audubon home are influencers.  Each and every one of us have family and friends and coworkers and neighbors and coffee shop baristas and others God has placed in front of us.   We see them often.  We talk on the phone and share social media too.  They pour our coffee and walk by us in the neighborhood.  We fret over some because they are precious to us.  God has made each of them in His image.   

Because of them, I long to see the story of His holy nation growing through us.  I long to see more of them brought into the light, finding a love more wondrous than understood, freed from the bondage of sins that ensnare, and finding peace while sitting among us in the pews.  We each have a part to play in proclaiming His excellencies. 

Numerous studies have been conducted spanning decades – studies that document people finding eternal life and church homes, churches where they can be loved and grown as disciples.  Consider the results of one survey in capturing statistics concerning those visiting churches.  Of those visiting,

Pastors receive more than a few suggestions on the top 3.  A more effective question before us all is: “Who will I, who will you, invite to church?”  We understand from latest statistics that only 17% of churchgoers will ever invite another to church.  17%.  Ever.  Such statistics should shake our sense of equilibrium for the sake of those we love.

Opportunities necessarily change during certain eras and historic moments; we will not have an Easter cantata this year, but we will have a very special service, nonetheless.  We are a people of His own possession that hold sway and influence over many and can beautifully proclaim His excellencies.  He has entrusted us with much, including His very Gospel that longs for our telling and sharing with those we love.

I will be preaching in March and a good portion of April, including the Passion Week services.  I ask for your prayers as we consider those services. I ask for your prayers concerning who you might invite to visit our church.  I ask for your prayers that we will make much of the opportunities before us in sharing His beautiful story of grace.  And I will be praying for you too. 

May God be glorified in us! Grace, grace, all of it, grace. Pastor Jeff