Monday, June 29, 2009

58th Convention of the Texas District-LCMS

"Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Jeremiah 29:4-7 (ESV)

The 58th Convention of the Texas District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was an instructive and edifying experience. The worship services were beautifully done and solidly Lutheran. The Bible study leaders were excellent. I was especially pleased by the presentation of one of my old professors—Dr. Bob Newton—who is now a district president. His inspiring presentation reminded all who were assembled there that at the very center of God’s purposes in the word is his saving mission and that ought to be the primary purpose of the church as well.

Another one of the presenters talked about the purpose of the church in a three-fold way: Reaching Up (worship)—Reaching In (our care and concern for one another in the congregation)—and Reaching Out (our care and concern for the material and spiritual well—being of those outside of the church). I thought that this was a great way to think about our life as a congregation!

It seems to me that we at St. Paul’s are doing a good job with reaching up and reaching in—but we could do a better job reaching out. We have a great congregation that those in our community would be blessed to be a part of!

Even while the Israelites were in exile they were not permitted by God to draw themselves into a “holy huddle” and ignore those who did not know and serve and worship the True God. Instead, they were to seek the welfare of the city.

I would like to ask you to pray with me in the days ahead that God would set before us ways in which this wonderful congregation can serve the material and spiritual needs of the city in which we live.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, You have called your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the Good News of Your salvation in our community so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.