Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It was one year ago today that I began this blog, seeking to chronicle my church planting internship with the North American Mission Board. While I have been negligent in recent monthly updates, I wanted to provide you with some reflections as my internship winds down. What have I learned this year?
First, I recognize my need to grow in grace. This past year has exposed areas of sin and negligence that I need to work on in the strength of the Holy Spirit. By God's grace, I have been approved by NAMB as a church planter, and I have also been blessed with progress in my spiritual walk. At the same time, the words of the Apostle Paul remind me of my need to continue pursuing godliness: "For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works" (Titus 2:11-14 HCSB).

Second, intentionally reaching out to my neighbors in love with the hope of the gospel needs to be my lifestyle, not simply a year-long exercise for my church planting internship. Loving my neighbors is not optional, nor is evangelism merely an internship requirement. Yet how easily these responsibilities can become squeezed out by other pressing daily concerns. I must remain intentional to continue serving Christ as He has called me to live.

Third, I have seen the necessity of community in evangelism and discipleship. The highlight of this year has been leading a Gospel Community Group. Together, we have encouraged one another, helped one another, held one another accountable, cared for one another, prayed for one another, and loved one another. Christians are called to live life together in service to God, and I have definitely seen the fruit of this biblical truth through our group. I am reminded of the biblical warning of this close-knit life together: "But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception" (Hebrews 3:13 HCSB).

Fourth, the urgent need for a gospel presence in Utah. I assume that I do not need to reproduce the many statistics which clearly show the spiritual darkness which permeates the Salt Lake Valley of Utah. Suffice it to say that my heart continues to be deeply burdened for the light of Jesus Christ to permeate the state. If it is the Lord's will, may He use me in bringing the gospel of perfect righteousness in Christ to Utah!

Fifth, Christ will be glorified through the salvation of sinners and the advancement of His church. Upon Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, our Savior gave a wonderful promise to His church: "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18 HCSB). The kingdom of Christ will advance. And it will become manifest in Utah. Praise God!

As a result, I am excited to enter 2015. My church planting internship may have completed, but my service to Christ will continue as long as He gives me breath. May He be glorified through my life, my family, and my church!