I will give you rest.
Hello Saints, it’s Pastor Chris, remember me?
I hope you are all doing well and I can’t wait to see you in person later this month (Sunday June 26th). This weekly email was inspired by a conversation I had recently with someone who I would regard to be as rock solid for Jesus as anyone you’d ever meet and yet, was having a bit of a faith crisis. (The faith crisis was not about who Jesus is or that he is God.) If I’m honest, 20 years ago my reaction would have likely involved a combination of shock, disappointment topped with a dose of urgency (to “fix” this person ASAP). But now, I meet such conversations with open arms and a smile because a crisis of faith is biblical and “believe and do not doubt”, AND “help my unbelief” can be true at the same time.
There is A LOT I could say about this subject of “deconstruction” because I firmly believe it’s a sign of health to wrestle with such matters and the church needs to do a better job of providing a safe space for healthy dialogue rather than giving the impression (or overtly stating) that doubts and questions are off limits.
At the end of the day, I encourage everyone to strip down their faith as needed because, and you’ll know this if you’ve heard me preach more than a couple of times, there’s LOTS of things we’ve been told we MUST believe that either simply aren’t true or at the very least aren’t required to believe in order to be a faithful follower and disciple of Jesus. I’m fairly certain of a handful of things and one of those is, that there isn’t going to be a theology quiz for entrance into the new creation (heaven). Don’t get me wrong, I believe (correct) theology is important but it’s not about believing the right things in order to be “in” as opposed to “out” in God’s eyes, but it’s about the fact that proper theology will more readily allow us to see God in a proper light. Jesus is the image of the invisible God and that frees us to live in the loving, healthy and free manner God intends for us to live (“I will give you rest…my burden is light”). Maybe we can do a follow up with some core belief basics like the Apostle’s & Nicene Creeds, but I think that’s probably plenty for now.
Much love & burden free living,
Finding rest in the Lord
Hi SPV Family Grace here,
It was one of the busiest floral holidays of the year- Mother’s Day Eve- when my husband called to let me know that, for the second time in five days, he’d been in a vehicle accident. Both times not his fault, both times with others that were impaired and shouldn’t have been behind the wheel.
It feels like it’s been a year of anxiously waiting for phone calls; a year where one plan falling apart leads to another, and then another, and suddenly the rubble feels so massive that it’s nearly impossible to consider cleaning it up, only to sweep the final bits of dust and find that we’ve returned to exactly where it all began with little to show for it but the battle scars.
I left a lucrative career last summer to teach math, and lasted all of a month in a public school before the pressures and difficulties of post-covid teaching had me running for the hills. I still feel like a failure when I look back on the students I abandoned, still can’t help but shutter knowing I left the security of my years-long career for a month-long chance that didn’t pan out that likely left a mess in my wake. My husband was supposed to be deployed. Instead, we waited for eight long months to find him discharged instead, and not sure through those eight months if he’d still be deployed the next day, and while I’m grateful he’s not overseas, we built our lives around the thought of him being gone. I built a small business, and then was asked to leave one of my best markets for circumstances unrelated to the business or me, and have scrambled to restructure. Summer holds uncertainty in teaching as my students find summer camps and new hobbies. My husband built a business requiring every ounce of him, filled with the constant volatility of a self-employed and hard-working person, and has since decided to take a step back and re-enter the workforce. Family has come and gone, friends more so than we could’ve imagined. Our whole lives changed a year ago, and here they are now, changing once again, in the midst of a year of unexpected curveballs.
Sometimes God works in these ways where I know He is there, but I fail continually to acknowledge Him. It feels like I’m the one holding my world together, and I’ve pieced it together with all of my past failures and thoughts of who I thought I might be, and I use my two small hands to grab ahold of everything within my reach. Sometimes there’s far too much weight, and something snaps, and in the moments after lies the knowledge that I can’t do this alone, and the understanding that I can only let the weight crush me, or I can hand it over to the Lord.
Sometimes surrender doesn’t look like the perfect Hillsong music video, where you fall on your knees to the twenty-seventh bridge of Oceans, and the world feels so light and so filled with joy. Sometimes surrender looks like a deep breath in the midst of it all; the still small voice whispering “we’ve got this,” and the knowledge that no matter how hard the road, He is there to shoulder the load and walk with you. He reminds me that circumstances do not make me a failure, and reminds me that good things are coming, and tells me in the moments where I can’t face who I’ve become that He is still continually working in me.
In the moments where I can’t hold it together- where I haven’t washed my hair in a week and the emails stack higher and the bills and the phone calls and the what-ifs pile higher than that, there is a comfort in Matthew 11:28 Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. - in the simplicity of the short and sweet verse of the Lord offering us rest. He offers it freely, and sometimes it takes that phone call, that last straw to add to the pile building for months and months, to finally accept that His rest is the only comfort we have left to seek, and that while He doesn’t tell us how everything will be okay again, we can rest knowing that somehow it will be, even if the whole world seems wrong.
Celebrate our Mothers
Hola SPV this is Adri,
It is almost here! … that special weekend where we celebrate our mothers and recognize the hard work they put into our lives. It should not be a weekend thing or a one-day celebration as we might already know. Parenthood is something that requires to be celebrated daily whether you are a fur momma, you have your own children or even if you do not have either or you might still have some parents to look after.
As a family, at some point, you might have wanted to have children, but you really did not know what it was going to be like till you had them. There is not a manual that we can follow to make sure we raise children in a good way. There are days that you feel like you are rocking parenthood and some others where you feel like you are the worst parent ever. But regardless of the ups and downs LOVE is what makes you thrive and pursue to do better each day.
As a parent you really want to be the best version of yourself for your little ones even while you are dealing with all your personal struggles and that itself can be overwhelming. God shows us a great example of what a father is as we are called His children if we are led by His Spirit (Roman 8:14). Children mirror their parents in so many ways and sometimes we might think: "Well, I do not know why he is acting that way but if you look closer you will see, it is just a mini version of you” so we might need to look at ourselves and take into consideration that our actions reveal the truth of who we are on the inside. 1 John 3:18 NIV is an encouragement to stay away from words and look more into what our actions are saying “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”.
Let's be real with our Father, let's open our heart fully to Him not just by sections, but fully let him work in our lives. It is ok to say: I am not ok! I need help, but that is just the beginning. Along with that prayer we should add how would God want me to handle this? Let’s mirror our heavenly Father. Sometimes we are so worried about appearances and looking super spiritual but inside we are so far from the Father. Let our actions as children of God speak louder than our words. We will never finish the process of working on ourselves, we will always be a work in progress, but we just need to be careful and do not become a different persona during the weekends.
Let us walk like our Father and if we come back to the beginning of this message where I mentioned the parents that were given to us, I know that this day might be hard because some of them are gone, you might not have even had one as your grew up, you might have also some grudges with them that will not even allow you to reach for them. Whatever it is, I want to encourage you to get closer to your loved ones. Remember that when we forgive someone, it is not because of them but because you deserve peace.
We are always looking for growth so we might not want to be strained in our personal life for lack of forgiveness to our loved ones. Honoring our parents is part of the ten commandments that were given to the Israelites and if it made it to the top ten it is because it is something that will really help us to fulfil our purpose in life. (Exodus 20:12) Additionally, it is a heavenly bonus pack because if you honor your parents this commandment comes with a promise “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-4 Who does not like to live well and long enough to see your family succeed?
So, pick up the phone, make that awkward call, send that message spread the love! And if it is too late and they are already gone, and you have pending business with them just say a prayer where you can close that missing conversation and forgive them.
See you on Sunday! I cannot wait to see all your beautiful mothers!