Monday, March 12, 2018 By Craig Stimpert
2 Corinthians 3:2: You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.
Last year, our church decided to step things up for Lent with a more focused celebration of the season. One of the things we did was to send out Lenten Devotionals each day of Lent to the Charis online community.
What makes these devotionals so awesome is that they aren’t written by John Piper or Tim Keller. They’re written by you, our Charis family. They reflect what the Lord is doing in your life and as a pastor I’m greatly encouraged, refreshed. God in his divine providence has so moved in our lives that we get to live out our faith in Christ in community together. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than that.
Several observations about all this….
-Writing is difficult, but I’m convinced more than ever, it’s a necessary part of God’s work in our lives. As many of us have struggled to put in writing what God is doing in our lives, we’ve been forced to think, remember and organize our thoughts. The writing process can teach us things we didn’t know about ourselves, or remind us of something we forgot, or clarify things that were hazy. This process reinforces the importance of God’s written word, reminding us that God does not give us random disorderly thoughts, but an orderly, coherent message that we can return to time and again (Luke 1: 1-4).
-God’s work in our lives is to be shared with others. The Christian life is not to be lived in isolation to others. One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches (Galatians 6: 6). Lenten Devotionals reveal what God is teaching in people’s lives through their families, their jobs or their own personal circumstances that are not lived in a vacuum. These things need to be shared with our brothers and sisters at Charis. As they are, others are encouraged, and can identify with each other’s struggles, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
-Writing chronicles our personal faith journey. As people submit their devotionals to me for formatting, I’ve been blown away by what I’ve read. The collective work of Christ at Charis is astonishing. Just this morning a dear brother submitted his devotional to me through email and I was overwhelmed by the progress he’s made in his faith journey just in the last year alone. I trust as you read them, you too have the same experience.
So, if you’re struggling to finish your devotional (you know who you are) I hope this is that extra shot of encouragement you need to do so. Or, if you are so moved to write one without being asked, I’m certainly not refusing your submissions. But, more importantly I hope we’ll all stop for a moment to consider God’s collective work among us at Charis and be drawn to worship our great God.