Through Holy Week I have been meditating daily on Scripture through the Book of Common Prayer. There will be some psalms every day, an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading.
Today, the reading from Jeremiah 17 exploded into my foggy brain.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:7-8, NIV)
I was honestly still trying to wake up when I was reading this passage. I had to look back to see what I had read out Psalms!
But I came to these verses and I sat up in my chair as the Spirit grabbed my attention.
“This is what you are doing at Heights Church. This is what Heights Church is becoming. This is about preparing people for any spiritual climate and when ‘drought’ comes, they will be prepared.”
This month is my 19th anniversary as pastor of this church. I have apologized over and over to them because I am a slow learner. I discover things but it takes me time to process what the Spirit is saying and then implement it.
But it is the deep work of the Spirit that has been my commitment. The title of a Eugene Peterson book has been my mantra: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
This work has been slow, but it’s also been purposeful. The Lord positioned me in prayer several years ago to hear him speak about this church planting more churches regardless of how “small” I thought this church was at the time.
The Lord then positioned us three years ago to make a radical move and change how we did ministry and he led us to a new location and a new focus by adding in a retail business to keep blessing the community in beautiful ways.
We then walked through a time of training and teaching last fall about “Living in Babylon” because of the radical cultures shifts that have happened and will soon turn in an even harder way.
We haven’t always listened. We haven’t always understood.
But over time that water has hit our ground and has sunk deep. It has caused our roots to grow deep. Over time, it has positioned us to be ready for all kinds of “weather” conditions.
Let our trust be in the Lord. Let our confidence be fully in him.