Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | September 5, 2013

September 5, 2013 “Joy In Partnership”

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1: 4-6)

Good Morning Members of God’s Holy Nation!

Thirty-eight years ago, I began my journey as a pastor in a little church in a town named Brilliant, Ohio. When my hometown of Marietta, PA learned of this, there was an article posted in the local paper with the headline “New Brilliant Minister Installed.” Evidently, the editor of the paper was so impressed by this newly-obtained title that the article also noted that I had graduated first in my class at Pittsburgh Seminary. While it was true that I was the new pastor in Brilliant, Ohio, the assumption that I was therefore “brilliant” in my own rite and that I had graduated at the top of my class in seminary was a bit of a stretch, to say the least. Nevertheless, as I began ministry, I let the idea of brilliance go to my head and endeavored to pretty much be the “every-pastor” to every member of the church, more interested in pleasing those in my church than in following God’s directives. Instead of finding joy in partnering in the Gospel work, as Paul did with the Philippians, I tried to do everything, and wound up woefully short in my endeavors. Since that time, I have learned the joy of shared ministry…that each of us has a gift to share and a call to serve, and as I pray, I do so with joy for the opportunity to partner in ministry with those of my flock. I am joyful, for I know that God brings such efforts to fruition.When Paul noted that the Philippians were partners in the gospel, he was recognizing their valuable contributions in spreading the gospel. They did so through financial support, through prayer, and through their service to the kingdom. As you help in this shared ministry by partnering with your pastors, missionaries, and evangelists through prayer, hospitality, financial support, and service, you bring joy as well. God is at work, and he never leaves what he has started unfinished! Let’s pray!

God of All Eternity; We praise you for our brothers and sisters who are fellow-laborers in the vineyard of the Lord. We pray for them to flourish and prosper in their work, and are so grateful for the opportunity to join in that common ministry. Thank you for the promise, Lord, that as these works are undertaken because of your Spirit’s directive, we can be assured they will be completed to your glory and according to your perfect will. This we pray in Jesus’ blessed Name. Amen!

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