Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's About Us

First, let me begin by apologizing for being slack with my blogging routine. The responsibilities of ministry and family have been unusually demanding this fall. That could be a direct result of adding to my routine a graduate level class at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary. The class meets for three hours each Thursday evening and between the class time, the reading time, and the paper writing time, this blog has suffered from neglect.

But I must admit this -- in fifteen years of full-time Preaching Ministry, I have never done anything as personally and professionally rewarding as this class. Yes, it is an additional time demand but the benefit of personal spiritual growth and renewal has offset the cost.

As one who's given his life to feeding others, sometimes it really helps to sit among others on a similar journey. No, my 26 classmates don't share all of my conclusions on Scripture, but they do share a common passion to better understand the truth of God's Word. That mutual passion makes for an exciting, engaging three hours of learning every Thursday evening.

Throughout this fall, as I've studied at MBBS and as I've prepared sermon outlines on "Our Place in this World" from First Peter, I've come to a much clearer realization that life in the church is not all about me. Our tendency is to read and understand Scripture through a very individual lens. What does God want me to do? To what career is God guiding me? Does God want me to marry this person or not? Where does God want me to live to make the biggest impact for his kingdom? Like Gideon of old, I've throw out my share of individual fleeces while begging God to make clear His will for me.

But what if it isn't all about me? What if it is more about us? What if the heart of God is more centered on accomplishing something so much bigger than any one of us could pull off?

In the Old Testament, God's call to Abram was so that through Abram, God would create a people. Not a person, a people. And it was through this people that God's promised to send a Messiah. And it is through this Messiah that God continues to work among his people for the accomplishing of God's will in this world.

Read First Peter sometime and notice how Peter consistently refers to his readers in terms of "we" rather than "me."

In a world smitten with the personal pursuit of happiness, it would do us all a great bit of good to remember..."it's not about me! It's about us!"


One of "us" at Woodward Park has gone toe-to-toe with a modern day Goliath and is winning the battle! Lorrie Centeno is a three-time breast cancer survivor and the Tuesday edition of the Fresno Bee shared Lorrie's story.

You can read it here.

On Saturday, Lorrie will be leading a team comprised of many Woodward Park members in the 10th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Fresno State. For more information about the fundraiser or to join Lorrie's team, go here and check out the team "Prevention is the Cure."