The Weekly Epistle 6/19/24

Hi Living Hope Family,
When it comes to families, we don’t choose our brothers and sisters, we inherit them.  That is true in the church family as well.  I don’t get to choose my brothers and sisters in Christ at Living Hope and neither do you.  It is God who arranges the parts of the body, just as he determines them to be.  God has brought us together to serve His purposes in the Lakes Region.  
I am thankful you are here.  It is no accident that you are part of this church family.  You have a significant contribution to make.  The church needs you!  Not to fill positions, but to carry out His purposes for us as a church.
Ephesians 2:10 is a verse I “feel badly for” because it follows verses 8-9.  Ephesians 2:8-9 are familiar verses, memorized, and they powerfully speak to our salvation in Christ alone by faith alone.  Then there is verse 10.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Let me make some observations about this verse.  First of all, it says we ARE God’s workmanship.  Not “we were” or “we might be” but we are.  It is in the present tense.  God is continuously at work in our lives.  We are God’s masterpiece.
Secondly, notice that it says, “created in Christ Jesus.”  We are His new creations.  What we are now is not what we once were, but we have been made new in Christ.  
Thirdly, this one verse speaks to a meaningful purpose we now have as God’s new creations.  We have been created in Christ Jesus “to do good works.”  We have a purpose.  When God saved us by His grace, He invites us to join Him in the work He is doing.  We get to work with the Master.  
One last observation is that this purpose He has for us is not an afterthought.  For it says, “which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  In advance!  God has something in mind for us to do.  Of course, the question is, “what is it?  What are the good works He has in mind for me?”  
That sounds stressful!  It feels like the pressure is on to figure out God’s purpose for our lives.  But we must remember the opening words of Ephesians 2:10. We are God’s workmanship.  God is doing the shaping.  God is the Potter, and we are the clay.  The pressure is off!  We can relax in knowing that God is in the process of shaping you.  God has an intention for you.  
As we walk with Christ being a part of what God is doing in the moment, we can trust that He is doing the shaping of our lives.  You are a piece of art.  Art is an expression of the inner being of the artist.  You are an expression of the Divine Artist, God Himself!  Not only, you, but all your brothers and sisters in Christ.  
That means, when I look at you, I can see that God is turning you into a beautiful, magnificent masterpiece.  I don’t just see what I like about you now, but I see the great things God wants to do in you.  Church, we partner with God in the development of the splendor of each masterpiece, each Christian.  God is bringing each of his new creations into that place of being a glorious work of art!  
One of His works of art, Pastor Brian