Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Decapitation is lethal

Our church is likely going to be introduced into a season of transition in the near future as it has appeared possible and very likely that God is calling a great man, leader, and pastor to another church to advance the gospel. I am in a state of bittersweet prayer about this as I very much enjoy the preaching and teaching of this pastor, as well as who he is at his heart and core as a man convicted at the power of the gospel and the need to bring it to all people, regardless of their response. I have come to grips with the knowledge that God uses each of us for specific roles in His Kingdom to advance and exalt His Glory. One of these roles is revitalizing the local body of Christ and building them, through the power of God, into a body working in unison to accomplish the mission of the gospel to the benefit of their community. I count it a privilege to have been led by such a man,  and I am confident that the mark he has left on FBC-Nixa has equipped us to continue to reach into our community and serve our neighbors for the sake of God's glory and the expansion of His kingdom. I pray that this man's potential new church knows what they are getting into if they call him to be their pastor.

With that in mind, I have also been having these thoughts, provoked during discussion within our small group bible study, the question asked (in some form or another) How do we stay focused in times of change in the church? My answer is simple, we must remember that we are quite literally the body of Christ. Each of us important and vital to be a complete body, yet none of us so important that our absence is truly fatal to the body. To take this metaphor to a more literal place, I think of my patients... There is very few things that truly end up being a cause of death. In the ~75 deaths I have been involved with, when I am asked what the cause of death is, I usually respond with, "their heart stopped". But here's the thing, I can make their heart beat, I can make it restart, and when I can't I can hook you to a machine to make it continue to work. It is the head that truly defines the life of the body. In the field of battle, we can suffer numerous wounds and injuries, and many of them can be life-threatening, and many more can cause long-term alterations to the life of the body from that place forward... but what is the only guarantee of immediate, split second death? Decapitation... you remove a the head, the body dies right there, right then. All other maladies and injuries, when given proper attention, care, and work can be treated, resolved, or coped with. The success of these treatments depends mightily on the health of the body. A young, healthy, strong person stands a much higher chance of surviving any incident, yet a frail, poorly cared for, weak body can succumb to the minorest of afflictions.

So, how do we stay focused in times of change? We take stock of the health of our body, we recognize that we have not been decapitated, Christ is still our head, we must keep Him there if we are to survive. We identify the injury caused by the injury or destruction of the part of the body affected, did we stub our toe, or get shot in the heart? We identify the required action and treatment to mend the injury, we use our resources and those more qualified to help, sometimes we have to call in a specialist, sometimes we just need a band-aid. We determine the long-term effect of the injury, and adjust our daily activities as we rehab from the injury. We come through it stronger, more intentional, and better for having gone through the trial. We learn from our former wounds, we prepare for the next.

We are not defeated, we are merely hurt

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