A Word from Walker
Oftentimes, we move through life so quickly that we miss opportunities to revel in God’s creation, enjoy his blessings or connect more deeply with others. This need to slow down hit home with me the other day as I was picking up sticks in my backyard. My dog, Beau, was playing “grab-the-stick” every time I tried to throw one into the woods. He then would run around in circles in joyful exuberance as if he were winning some kind of contest. At first, I became aggravated with him for interrupting the progress of my work, but then something made me pause and reflect. I noticed the sheer joy on his face as he engaged me. Then I began to notice how green the yard was and how blue the sky seemed. The crisp air felt invigorating, and I became aware of how peaceful I felt at that moment. I let go of some worries as I stood in the same spot for about five minutes just soaking in the glory of that afternoon.
But, the idea of rest is good in principle but hard to actually implement. Spring brings with it a ramped up need for cleaning up and clearing out. For example, my wife and several family members have been working diligently in preparation for an estate sale of her mom’s property. She is really good at this type of thing, but I know she will be glad when it is finished.
It is so easy to stay busy doing important things, one after the other, that we wake up one day to find that it has been a while since we truly rested. God rested on the seventh day from his creative endeavors (Gen. 2:2-3). He didn’t need to rest but modeled it for us so that we would fix a time in our week when we could enjoy the peace and wisdom that only resting can bring. I am reminded of how poorly I do this, but I am working on it because I really need it on so many levels.
I hope that you make rest a part of your regular weekly rhythm. To lead renewal in your church, you need to be a renewed person, and this can only come through the strength that the Lord can bring. I wish for you and your family a restful, renewing Easter Season.
Your fellow servant in Christ,
“What do You want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have You come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Matthew 8:29
There are some passages in scripture that you can read several times, but certain truths or realities may not really “connect” until you pause, meditate, and study. The reality in this passage that the demons were speaking to Jesus via the possessed men who lived in the graveyard was always a truth that I acknowledged, but had not meditated upon.
These men (or I should say the demons within them) terrorized people for miles around and changed people’s travel schedules. They were known to be some truly notorious men who were unclean, living among the dead and, even worse, among evil spirits. Their lives, reputations, personalities, relationships, and much more had been ravaged by the demons who possessed them. I do not know if they did anything to welcome such possession but, generally, I do not believe that many of our neighbors desire that kind of unruly guest in their lives.
The simple truth that these men were not speaking for themselves has hit me squarely between the eyes. Are there people whom I have encountered, or even judged, based on their behavior when they may have not had any control over their realities? I’m a firm believer in personal responsibility, but there are times and situations in which some people may have no control. How do we respond? Do we judge or will we have compassion? While the demons deserve to be cast out, tortured, etc., the men were simply the instruments of this evil presence.
I look back on my life, and I have had many graveyard experiences where I visited or lived in places that most people would not go. Whether it was the “armpit” of Mexico or the hotbed of jihad in Yemen, I strangely walked among people who desperately needed to hear the good news of Christ. While there were many threats to my personal safety, the experience of seeing lives changed by sharing the gospel and making disciples far outweighed the costs involved.
Within our community, there are populations who struggle to have that voice. We could blame it on any number of things, but that does not negate the reality that they are all people like us in need of a Savior. God is moving in wonderful ways among immigrants, minorities, marginalized, and others in great need among us. This is being accomplished by existing churches as well as church plants that serve in new ways with people who have little access to the gospel. There are so many great things happening among PMBA churches that I can’t possibly highlight them all, but I will celebrate some today.
A few recent events that we can celebrate include:
The opening of a new ministry center on the East Side by Crestwood Baptist Church in cooperation with Greg Jones who started Healing Ministries (pictured above).
One of the newest of nine churches planted in the PMBA celebrated their first anniversary! Citizen’s Church Kernersville was blessed with a great attendance, baptism, and cookout on March 27th. (pictured below)
Hispanic ministry is flourishing in new and exciting ways as well. The pastors’ breakfast was well attended, and we are so thankful to see these leaders engaging in new and exciting ways in the PMBA. Two anglo churches (Griffith and Crestwood) are in the process of beginning or hosting Hispanic church plants in their buildings. A joint service was also held by Glennview and Union Cross churches recently as they plan to do outreach together in preparation for Easter.
Be sure to read about the coming events at the PMBA as well! The Every Child Fostering and Adoption evening and our Easter Hunger Initiative are just two exciting opportunities approaching in the days ahead.
Until He comes…go!