April 1, 2021April 1, 2021
April 30, 2021April 30, 2021
Dear Pine Glen Church Family,
I trust you are doing well and rejoicing in the Lord on this fine April day. Just a memo off the bat. Shirley Ott has requested egg cartons for her grandchildren. If you have any extra and don’t mind parting with them, please get in touch with Shirley (717-899-5254).
We can all agree that every day is a gift from the Lord and we want to make the best of it. Here is how Paul puts it in Ephesians 5:15-16. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Time is precious and we simply don’t know what tomorrow holds. The best way to redeem the time is by serving our Master and growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
I want to talk to you in this letter about the importance of growing in Christian maturity. If you are a parent, you will know that you tend to have an eye on your child’s growth and development. You are looking for signs of physical, mental, and emotional growth in your children. When there is not growth, you get concerned and take steps to address it. When it comes to matters of the heart, however, what are some signs of growth? What are some signs that indicate you are growing closer to Jesus and maturing in the Christian faith?
There are several, but let me just highlight a few:
You are experiencing an increasing desire to be in the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Psalm 119:97)
You are experiencing an increasing hunger to pray and call upon the name of the Lord (Luke 11:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
More and more, you see the importance of personal holiness in your life (1 Peter 1:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Hebrews 12:14)
The Lord Jesus Christ is becoming more precious to you all the time (Philippians 3:10-11, Psalm 37:4, Romans 1:16-17)
Do a little self-diagnosis. If you are experiencing these things, praise the Lord. You are on the right track. If you are not, then it is very possible you are spiritually sick and in need of soul care.
My prayer, dear friends, is that your hope and joy is grounded in Christ, and that you are growing in your faith. As Peter puts it, “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love” (2 Peter 1:5-7 my paraphrase). We pursue those characteristics not as the root of our salvation, but as the fruit. We strive to grow in grace not in the hope of attaining God’s pardon, but as a result of it.
One of my professors in seminary was a man named J.I. Packer.
Dr. Packer passed away last year, but I remember that he was fond of saying “all theology is doxology.” In fact, in every one of his theology lectures, we started off by singing the Doxology. That was a great reminder to us students of what theology and our studies in general were all about.
Theology = Christian doctrine and teaching
Doxology = Worship
The reason that we study our Bible and read solid Christian books is that we might grow in our knowledge of God and be led deeper into worship and devotion. If we don’t know God, how can we worship Him aright? We can’t. The husband who never strives to “know” and “study” his wife, will never love her in the way that he could or should. In the same way, a believer that lacks the desire to know God in all His glory and majesty, will never love or worship Him “in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).
Just to reiterate, all theology is done in service of doxology. We were made for worship, but we only worship that which we know. I love what it says in Revelation 15:3-4:
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
As I conclude dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let me remind you that God is at work in our midst. He is growing and strengthening Pine Glen in ways which we sometimes can’t see or comprehend. This is Jesus’ church and He has promised to build it (Matthew 16:18). May we trust the Lord of the harvest (Luke 10:2) to do His good work in His perfect timing. And let us make 1 Corinthians 1:10 our prayer for PGAC: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”
May God richly bless you,