Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No Letdown!

This is my 100th blog entry since entering the blogosphere in January. I can think of nothing more fitting than to relay a personal exhortation to my Redeemer brethren (and "sistren"):

My experience as a soccer player and coach has taught me the most dangerous time to be scored upon by the opposition is immediately after our team scores a goal. Soccer is a marathon sport with relatively few goals scored. The field is huge and the game time is longer than any other team sport at a minimum of ninety minutes. To the ignorant observer soccer games can seem boring with so little scoring. To the soccer aficionado, a 1-1 draw or 2-1 victory can be a thing of action-filled beauty. Despite the general lack of many goals scored, it is remarkable how goals come in clusters when they do come. It is very common for a game to go scoreless, then, when one team scores, the other roars back with a goal or two. Ninety minutes can go by with two or three goals scored in a short five to ten minute window. I believe this phenomenon is largely psychological. It takes so much teamwork, effort, and perseverance to put a soccer ball in the opposing teams net, a let down in intensity just after finally scoring can be common. This “let down” can cost a team dearly as the other team capitalizes on the depleted intensity and scores almost immediately. Over the years as a player and a coach I have learned to speak very forcefully to my team after we score a goal. I simply repeat, “NO LETDOWN”. The players know exactly what I mean. We have to maintain intensity; we are at our most vulnerable after a high point like scoring a goal. I am sure of this phenomenon; I have seen it too many times.

The so-called “let down” can happen in the life of a church as well. The ministry of our Church is a marathon not a sprint. We are coming up to a tremendous high point in the history of our church- the completion of a landmark sanctuary for the worship of God. This new sanctuary will be a bold statement in the midst of our burgeoning community concerning what we believe about the greatness of God. Hopefully, such a statement will draw many inquirers in for a closer look and we, as a congregation, will rise to the godly task of welcoming many new faces so they might come to know Christ, grow closer to Him, and join the ministry vision of our Church. I am excited and I am certain the congregation is also. There was a buzz in and around the church after the steeple was placed on June 20. We are on the cusp of a tremendous high point in our church’s short life.

Therefore, my dear sisters and brothers- “NO LETDOWN”! It might be natural to have a psychological letdown of some sort after entering the new sanctuary. A new sanctuary is an awesome blessing and an effective ministry aid, however, it does not somehow symbolize that we have arrived. We are only just beginning to fulfill God’s directive for us. The sanctuary is a new beginning, not the end of a journey. Please, commit this to consideration and prayer, we cannot “let off” or “let down” in our ministry mindset and effort. There is far more that has to be done.

Redeemer’s goal is not to become a mega church but rather a healthy, self-duplicating mid-sized church that maintains a sense of community and personal spiritual nurture for all it’s members while at the same time having a major impact on our immediate surroundings through the transformed lives of our members and consistent, faithful proclamation of the doctrines of grace.
NO LETDOWN! Catch the long-range vision with me! On the most basic level I can see transformed Redeemer members and families being agents of transformation in multiple spheres of society-used of the Father to bring many to the Son. Beyond this I envision paying off our financial obligation and being able to use half of our general budget to support local and foreign missionaries (some of whom will come from our church) and outreach. I can visualize our school growing through high school and being a major “culture transforming” discipleship center through the students trained and educated here. I picture Redeemer starting a church-based theological education night school and biblical counseling center that gives interested Christians and current church leaders in the KC metro area the opportunity to study God’s Word and world more formally- a sort of mini-seminary right here on our property- The Institute for Reformation. I look forward to Redeemer planting her first daughter church some day. All of this to say- NO LETDOWN”!


William Perry Guilkey said...

Excellent point, pastor. When my eyes were truly opened to the truth of the Gospel by the Holy Spirit, there were four major influences (means) that He used . . . #1. John Piper's "Desiring God," #2. J.I. Packer's "Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God," #3. Pastors Tony Felich & Nathan Curry and #4. R.C. Sproul's "Chosen by God" (and other works). It was through the preaching I heard at Redeemer that I was able to apprehend that perhaps "grace truly was available for me." While I was deeply entrenched in a serious life of sin and addiction and was "on the surface" in danger of appearing to be the "stoney" or "thorny" soil that never produces fruit (and thereby reveals that it was never truly regenerate), God has proven Himself to be MORE than faithful to me. Today, I have assurance, which is something I never had in the Arminian, Pentecostal church of my youth (where you literally "lost your salvation" with each sin --THAT REALLY IS THE MESSAGE I WAS TAUGHT). While the people there were sincere Christians, I am saddened that they lived with such a burden. Grace, true grace, saving grace (when comprehended) has NEVER let me think I had a "license to sin." On the contrary, I am so humbled that God would choose to save a proud, arrogant, blasphemous, lustful, gluttonous, covetous wretch like me that all I want to do is live in Him. It was when I lived in "daily insecurity" that I felt hopeless and had the attitude of "well, I can't make it, so I might as well sin." Thank God that He opened my eyes to the Gospel. Thank God that Redeemer Presbyterian Church was one of the primary means of that. Thank God that there was "No Letdown" that Summer a few years back when I entered that church on a Sunday evening after hearing Pastor Tony on the radio. Today, I am a member of "a fruit of that congregation," Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church in Liberty, MO. Thank God for His truly Amazing Grace. May we all "RUN WELL" and rest in the all sufficient grace of the one who died for us.

AJF said...

Praise God for this testimony. You have a solid shepherd at Christ Covenant, you will hear of God's great grace in Christ every week. We have never forgotten your testimony one Sunday night a couple years ago. God will not leave you or forsake you.

Qayaq said...

I too have grown to appreciate the good teaching that can be found at Redeemer. In a year-and-a-half long quest which led my wife and I to various chruches, both Baptist and Presbyterian, trying to find a place we could call home. Chruches which ranged from "contemporary," which were Presbyterian in name only, seeking mostly to bring people in the door and make church "relevant" to their needs as people in a fallen world, never facing the fact of actual sin, instead seeking to find remedies for thier problems, anything but what the Bible says, or what is taught in the doctrines and creeds and confessions of the church. Had they even turned to their own Confession, they would have found answers to most of what they struggled with on a daily basis, seeking instead solutions in the next big fad "fix it solution." In light of everything we have seen in the past year and a half it is good to know there is one place to go for good teaching, where you don't have to worry about the church getting sucked up into some abherrant teaching, but sticking to the Bible and the Confession.
I am grateful for Tony and for Redeemer, now more than ever. Hopefully I can somehow be a part of the future of Redeemer and give back some of what has been given.

Thanks to all.

Qayaq said...

In that whole time I never learnee how to spell chruch... I mean church!?!

Phantom495 said...

Praise Jesus for these testimonies and many more from those that He has touched through RPC!! I am not nearly as eloquent as these gentlemen, so I will quote Winston Churchill, "We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire...Give us the tools and we will finish the job."

Even better, though, our brother Paul, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it." 1 Cor. 9:24.

Also, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." Heb. 12:1

I hear alot of "NO LETDOWN!" in that!

Frontier Forest said...

What a blessing to be called by God and to serve under such dynamic leaders! Nothing more needs to be added to the brothers moving testimonies. As we move forward with “NO LETDOWN” I know God’s hands are directing Redeemer’s every step. Great and mighty things lie ahead for all who enter these new doors.