Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

In All My Remembrance

Think for a moment about Paul’s opening words to the church at Philippi:

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:3-11)

When I look back at the seven years with the church at Vestavia, there is much here to which I can relate. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed. Over a life-time, preachers may generally experience the spectrum of the good and bad in working with churches. Some works they will remember as encouraging, loving, and peaceful. Such has been the case for me at Vestavia. The work has been challenging, yet encouraging, peaceful, and, I hope, beneficial for all of us.

I am confident that I will always be able to say, as did Paul for Philippi, that I thank God in all my remembrance of you. Yet I also pray that there will be opportunities for further interaction and work together. Your participation and fellowship with me in the gospel is meaningful and worthwhile, and no matter where any of us find ourselves in this world, our kingdom work together will continue in the Lord. For Christians, earthly separations are not final, nor do they stop the joint participation in our labors. We are simply finding more opportunities to expand our kingdom work together.

Again, with the apostle Paul, I can say that I am confident “that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” If all of us will give ourselves wholly to God and His kingdom, then God will continue to work through us. In the same epistle, Paul wrote, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (2:12-13). God has begun a work in us, and His will is to continue that work so that we will ultimately bring it to completion. Therefore, continue to carry out the goals of salvation to the very end. There is to be no “quit” in the child of God.

It is right for me to feel this way about you as a congregation “because I have you in my heart” and, while I have not suffered imprisonment for His sake, it is still true that you all are partakers of grace with me. We share a common faith, a common salvation, and a common hope. If we stay dedicated to Him, that will never change. I pray, then, with Paul, that your love abound still more and more in real knowledge and discernment. We are in this “until the day of Christ” and all that we are and do are to be “to the glory and praise of God.”

I thank God and I thank you, then, for the work that we have able to share and will continue to share in the kingdom of God. Things are always changing, but the commitment we have to the truth of God and His word ought never to change. I will always maintain a strong affection for this group. I have been abundantly cared for both physically and spiritually. The shepherds here have demonstrated wisdom and spiritual maturity, watching for our souls and seeking to act in the best interest of others. I could not ask for a more gracious and pleasant group of men with which to work, and I thank God for them as well as all of you. May God richly bless you all.

Finally, I simply want to mirror Paul’s words as he closed his epistle to the Philippians: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Phil 4:19-20)