His Grace Is Sufficient
The Apostle Paul pleaded three times with the Lord that he would be delivered from a particular “thorn in the flesh.” The nature of the thorn is a mystery. Some speculate that it was diminishing eyesight. Whatever the nature of the affliction, we know that God chose not to remove it from Paul’s life. God declared: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (II Cor. 12:9a).
God loved Paul, and knew what was best for him. And what was best for him was to have a “thorn” in his flesh, a trial that would make him ever more dependent on the all-sufficient grace and power of God. Paul learned this important lesson in our Lord’s school of discipleship. His response to God’s declaration in verses 9-10 is instructive. It is also quite moving.
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Boasting in weaknesses and content with fiery trials? Talk about being countercultural and counterintuitive! Paul did not live by the warped values and self-indulgent principles of this present evil age. He did not embrace a theology of glory; namely, that which only recognizes earthly pomp, wealth, status, and power as signs of God’s presence and favor. No, the apostle believed in a theology of the cross. In other words, he believed that dying to self and to this world was to truly live. In and through human weakness God shows His divine strength. Paul lived by the all-sufficient grace of God. He lived for the sake of Christ, not self. Again, the apostle declared, “For the sake of Christ … I am content with weaknesses … hardships … for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Therefore, whatever trial you may be facing or weakness you may possess, remember that God’s grace is sufficient for you. Don’t fret, complain, or despair. Rather, pour your soul out to the Lord in prayer. Your heavenly Father loves you and He is with you. Cast your cares upon His broad shoulders. Trust Him in your weakness, and by His grace and Spirit you will be strong in Him.
Vacation Bible School
Almost fifty covenant children gathered at the church this week for our first vacation Bible school in many years. The theme focused on God as our great King and Savior. The three day VBS was wonderfully organized and superbly led by Aly Biles and Rachael McIntosh. The amazing and creative decorations were made by Jamie Pepin and Kristin Gee. Jenni Hester and the entire Hester clan were heavily involved in leading the singing, as well as overseeing the different age groups. Alicia Williams and Sarah Bauer served sacrificially in the nursery. Many other women of Christ Church joyfully served through instruction, crafts, snacks, registration, and recreation. I must admit that I was deeply moved several times this week as I witnessed our godly women and youth serving our children. Everything was carried out with such love, excellence, and care. The kids had a blast. One of our covenant children declared, “Christ Church VBS is better than Disney … because it is about Jesus!” This brings to mind to words of the Psalmist, “Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength [praise]” (Ps. 8:2a).
Many thanks to all who sacrificially served at this year’s VBS. We are promised that the Word of God will not return void. Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to bring much fruit in the lives of our precious covenant children. May the praises of their young voices inspire us to greater faithfulness and service in the future, even as we abide in Christ alone for our salvation.
Ministry Trip | UK
On Monday I will be heading overseas for the first time in over two years. I would greatly appreciate your prayers. The ministry trip is multifaceted in its purpose. In addition to strategic meetings with key leaders in the Banner of Truth and Westminster Presbyterian Theological Seminary, etc., I will be preaching God’s Word in both morning and evening Lord’s Day worship services at Oxford Evangelical Presbyerian Church in Oxford, England. Rev. Andrew Young is the pastor. He is also our missionary of the month for Christ Church. We have been supporting this church plant since its inception two years ago. My hope is to encourage them, and to be encouraged by them
After planning my trip I decided to bring my son Hans. Not only will it be great to spend some memorable father/son time together, but Hans will produce a report / video presentation for the youth of Christ Church. The presentation will focus on Reformation and post-Reformation history with live commentary from London, Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh, the four cities rich in history where my meetings and ministry will occur.
Once again, thank you for remembering us and the ministry in your daily prayers.
Christ Church | Growth and Blessing
The Lord is blessing Christ Church with much growth, both spiritually and numerically. To Him alone belongs the praise and thanksgiving! The sanctuary is filling up, and so are the nurseries. Space has become an issue. Many weekly visitors are looking for a church home. We have a membership class with several families, couples, and individuals. We need wisdom, grace, and resources going forward. Please pray. I am so grateful for the eight godly men that were ordained into office last week and will serve in significant and essential ways moving forward. I am exceedingly grateful for all of our elders and deacons who serve with such warm piety, integrity, and humility. A healthy church is only possible under healthy leadership. Please pray for all our church leaders, and for all the dear families of our church.
As we begin another week, let us remember the truths and promises preached today from Genesis 1-3 and Romans 8 on the Doctrine of Man and the imago Dei — a two-part series on a very important and relevant subject for our day (please return for the evening service).
There is so much confusion in the world, and perhaps even more distraction. Whatever is going on in your life, therefore, direct your faith to our Shepherd-King, the One who laid His life down for the sheep. The One who laid His life down for you. His grace is sufficient for you, and His power is made perfect through weakness. Let us find our strength in Him.