This is my last Bellpost as an Elder at FBC Tarrytown. I have been transferred to Boston for work starting October 23rd. It is bittersweet for me and Jennifer. We always knew we would relocate back to Massachusetts someday, to be closer to our aging parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, but that does not make the transition any easier. We have lived in Westchester for 20 years where we raised our three children (also now all in college in Boston), became involved in the local community, and grew physically and spiritually alongside you, our FBC family. We are most saddened to leave behind good friends and our church family as we begin this new chapter in our lives.
Although we are sad to go, we only need to look at our own experiences in the last 20 years to know that our relationships, especially with our brothers and sisters from FBC, will stand the test of time. Many church members have moved away one, five, and even 10 or more years ago, but have returned to the area and FBC to visit. During these reunions, it feels like no time has passed since we last saw each other. That is the power of the everlasting bond we share, belonging to a fellowship of believers, knowing that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Not only will our friendships be steadfast here on earth, but we will see each other in eternity.
We were blessed to have been invited to an FBC Sunday Service by a neighbor over 20 years ago. It was no accident as the Holy Spirit was at work then and continues to be now. We know that FBC Tarrytown is in good hands, not because of the Elder Body, the Trustees , or even our new pastor, but because the church is in God's hands, and He is good! Our house in Dobbs Ferry is still on the market. I will return to New York in November for work. We'll say goodbye for now, until we see you again.
Romans 15:5 in the CEB version says, "May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus' attitude."
Throughout our lives, there will be times when we feel discouraged and lack motivation. These moments are often caused by difficult experiences and challenges that seem insurmountable. But Romans 15:5 reminds us that believers in Jesus receive three gifts from God.
Firstly, God provides us with endurance. When we start feeling tired of doing good or living for God, it's usually because we're motivated by the wrong things. True motivation comes from living for God, not ourselves. Through the Spirit, God gives us the endurance to make good choices and live for Him.
Secondly, God encourages us. When we feel discouraged or let down by others, God provides us with lasting encouragement. He reminds us of His love and that we're being transformed. As children of God, we don't need to seek approval or acceptance from others because we're already loved and accepted by Him.
Lastly, we can pray for unity of mind with others. This means we should view others as Jesus would, seeing them as loved and cared for by God despite their flaws and mistakes. Instead of causing division, we should work towards unity with each other.
Spending time praying for endurance, encouragement, and unity with others is important. If you're feeling fatigued, ask God for the strength to continue doing good for those around you. If you're feeling discouraged, ask God for the encouragement that only He can provide. And most importantly, ask God to give you the same heart and mind as Jesus so that you can unite with others instead of dividing them.
God, thank you for loving and serving your people. I want to live a life that honors you, so please help me love and serve your people with the same attitude. Give me opportunities each day to express your love to others and help me to go out of my way to serve those around me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
We're about to conclude the book of Habakkuk this Sunday. One of its central themes is waiting – waiting for God to answer and waiting for God to take action.
In our fast-paced 21st-century lives, waiting is not often seen as a virtue. We grow frustrated when traffic moves slowly, annoyed when someone takes too long to respond to a text or email, or even angry when a restaurant delays bringing our food.
This quick-paced lifestyle often extends into our spiritual lives. We expect God to respond to our prayers immediately and resent it when His answer is simply to wait, especially when the matter is of great importance – waiting for the love of your life, the right job, justice to be served, or healing for a loved one.
I can share plenty of examples illustrating the perils of not patiently waiting for the Lord to take action. I have a friend who rushed into marriage with someone he barely knew, and it ended in catastrophe. Another friend quit a job he disliked without another lined up, then turned to the church to pay his bills.
Far too often, when faced with a problem, I immediately want to fix it. However, my ability to do so in most situations is quite limited. More often than not, I'll make the situation worse if I don't turn to the Lord in prayer, seek help from others, and wait for God to address my needs.
It's challenging because sometimes God instructs us to wait for an extended period. In even more difficult situations, such as terminal illness, He asks us to wait for the life to come when Jesus will renew all things.
I could provide examples of good things eventually coming to those who waited – successful marriages, fulfilling jobs – but in reality, we don't always fully comprehend why God tells us to wait. We can't see the hidden dangers He's protecting us from, and our imaginations are too limited to grasp the goodness He has in store for us.
So, we face the difficult task of choosing to trust God. We choose to believe that He is good and has a wonderful plan for Jesus' followers. We choose to believe the words given to the prophet, which remain true today:
Though it delays, wait for it,
since it will certainly come and not be late (Habakkuk 2:3b).