Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Encouragement to Press On

The following email is from a man who recently moved across the country to join our church. In case anyone misunderstands, it's not my desire to have people move to join my church. This is a unique situation. What's inspiring is his willingness to make the local church a priority. His words strengthened my resolve as I plunge into another chapter and face another blank screen. The writing of this book is being carried along by the prayers of the members of my church. Here's the email:


Mindy and I were reflecting on some of the influences that brought us to Maryland. One thing that was catalytic in our decision making process was your message "Commitment to the Local Church." There were two areas that you touched in that sermon, if memory serves, that aided us immeasurably.

The first was by way of discussing your own testimony of coming to Covenant Life Church. You saw your Paul, and put yourself in the way of his counsel. Since being here, I have been the recipient of dear and priceless counsel. Biblical fellowship and discipleship is a priority in the pulpit and among the pastors, and has rightfully affected the whole body! We are truly blessed to be here!

Secondly, you made the observation that people would move across the country for a job, but not for a church. At that point Mindy and I truly resonated with your words, and we knew that there was a church out there for us, and if we needed to move to find it, then so be it.

We got a chance to apply your message. Covenant Life Church is home to us. God carried us here, planted us here. There is no comfort zone worth clinging to, no job, no house, no neighborhood, no ministry, no money, no family worth the neglect, the trivializing, or the trading away of the local church. Dear and sweet is Christ's church to us, and dearer every day is Covenant Life. There is NO sacrifice in us being here!

This being said, we wanted to give you some encouragement in your writing task this week. We were terribly excited when we heard the topic for your book. In my estimation the local church has never been more marginalized in America than it is today. Never has more of the local church's role been handed to others, be it parachurch, media, or government. We need your voice, Josh. We need a call to revival of coherent, Gospel-centered, Biblical koinonia, and a revival of LOVE for His church. May your pen draw thousands to look with fresh eyes on the church as Christ's bride and never settle for less than passionate commitment!

Our family is praying for you this week!

In Christ,

P.S. I'm going to reserve a case of the new book. I plan to distribute it to all my family members in hopes that upon reading it they will downgrade me from "insane" to "nuts."


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