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A Letter to my Gospel Community…

By Alex Smith
January 2, 2017

beauty in the barren

As I came across a testimonial video from Bethel music this week my heart was stirred. The video was about finding beauty in the barren seasons of life. There is so much beauty that exist in the barrenness of winter.  More and more this winter I have been shown just how beautiful Gods design is for each and every season. God’s purpose for the barren trees that will one-day burst with new vibrant colorful leafs, is a beautiful illustration that as we pause and slow down to reflect, we are able to see the areas that aren’t always so pretty to look at. But by God’s grace we are able to see our desperate need for Jesus and following Him we are made whole and new! It’s here that we are transformed into the imagine of Christ and it’s here where we find genuine worship.

Just like we can see further into the distance when trees are without vegetation, when I recently have been able to pause and rest I’ve been able to see my brokenness and sin. It’s sitting in the not so pretty aspect of myself that my worship and intimacy with God grows. As I have been able to slow down and take time to be still, the Holy Spirit has been able to minister to me, to show me the idols of my heart and the ways I’m forgetting the gospel. God’s design for each season is perfect. I have learned that I have so much more to learn as a husband, as an aspiring elder of Mid-Cities, and a soon to be father. I praise God for His continuous grace upon my family as we learn more of what it means to love, trust and follow Jesus!

Take this as a reminder this winter to hit pause, reflect and listen. If you know me at all you know I don’t do this well, sitting still is hard for me, not only because I like to move, but because it causes me to reflect on myself. My brokenness and my sin, which like the barren trees doesn’t look as good as the beautiful colors of spring. But when I am reminded that there’s beauty in barrenness and God is working to reveal more of His character and nature to me, It’s then I am reminded of the love He has for me by Him sending His son Jesus to live the life we couldn’t live and die the death we so deserved to die. Christ is our banner.

When we feel broken and barren in our waiting just remember to sit and interpret this season as exactly what God has for you! That He wants you to see further and deeper into your need for Christ and His love for you! This is where we are able to express our adoration to God. For Him knowing just how much we needed saving and then stepping into our brokenness and sin and solidifying our salvation in Jesus Christ! If that wasn’t enough He is with us day by day and the Spirit is sanctifying us to make us holy and without spot or blemish, carrying us to the final wedding feast. There is so much beauty to come!

As this New Year is quickly approaching, I am filled with a refreshing hope and sense of wonder for what the Lord has for us in 2017! Going into the new year, each one of us have our own hopes and expectations for what the year may hold, but God alone knows what this new year brings for each one of us, and only He can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. We know that God is still after the same thing. To fill the earth with His glory!

Our desire is still the same for this year as in every year, that as our great gospel changes the hearts of God’s people, that change would flood out into our communities and to the nations.

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Would you all join me in praying for this up and coming year in these 3 areas?

 

Christ

In this new year may we see Jesus’s life death and resurrection as more central in our lives. He is our hope, our example and our everything. Therefore, may we be unashamed of Christ and His glorious gospel to share with the ones around us that in Him is where we find life.

 

Community

In this new year may we see our communities as display of God’s redemptive work in the world. May we be unified, shoulder to shoulder follower Christ and participating on His mission.

 

Commission

In this new year may we be reminded that the Gospel not only saves us from our sin & death, it also saves us to a new and glorious purpose in life. That we get the privilege of participating in God’s redeeming work on the earth. May we proclaim and show God’s coming kingdom through love, sacrifice and service to our neighborhoods and workplace.

 

 

As we look back over this past year I hope each one of us can thank God for His continue goodness to us, find a sense of rest and reflection and prayerfully walk into this new year together.

 

Happy New Year Family!

Love you all,

Alex

 

“We are a family of Christ followers empowered by the Holy Spirit to live life together on Gods mission!”