Gospel Culture

This week's post is by Refuge Community Group Leader and Treasurer David McLemore. David lives with his wife and family in North Franklin.

Francis Schaeffer said, "One cannot explain the explosive dynamite, the dunamis, of the early church apart from the fact that they practiced two things simultaneously: orthodoxy of doctrine and orthodoxy of community in the midst of the visible church, a community which the world could see. By the grace of God, therefore, the church must be known simultaneously for its purity of doctrine and the reality of its community. Our churches have so often been only preaching points with very little emphasis on community, but exhibition of the love of God in practice is beautiful and must be there."

Ray Ortlund taught me to sum it up like this: Gospel doctrine leads to gospel culture.

As we are planting Refuge Church in Franklin, TN, we are striving for this very idea. We do not want to plant a new church just to have something to do on the weekends. We do not want to plant a new church to bring a new attraction to the suburban landscape on Sunday mornings. We want to plant a new church because we believe our city needs a certain kind of church – a church with gospel doctrine that leads to gospel culture.

So, what does it look like? For starters, the church must be firmly planted in the full belief of historical, orthodox Christianity. To believe in gospel doctrine is to believe in the full-bodied gospel that the Bible presents: God’s grace coming down to sinners. It is biblical teaching about the essentials of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We preach this doctrine from every part of the Bible. Every passage leads us to Jesus, the hero of every story. We talk about this gospel doctrine at every level. It informs and transforms all that we do.

But gospel doctrine, in some ways, is the easy part. Gospel culture is harder. What we say about our doctrine can be unsaid by our culture. The culture that we allow the doctrine to create is the real test of what we believe the doctrine to be. What our culture says will give us the right (or remove the right) to speak to those outside.

Ray uses this simple, but powerful, formula: gospel + safety + time. This is the shared experience of grace in community. We need the gospel pressed in at every level, with many ways of speaking and hearing it. We need the safety to be who we are, where we are. We need to be able to confess sin without fear of being looked down on or gossiped about. We need freedom to be needy. We need time to follow Jesus without pressure to have our lives figured out by the end of the week. We need time to build the beauty of relationships in gentleness and unity.

We have more need than we realize, and Jesus has more grace than we ask for. We need to be low before him - humble, weak, and repentant. We need to ask for his help.

Here are just five indicators that a church is on its way to experiencing this kind of culture.

  1. We rejoice in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    The gospel is not a theory. It’s not a possibility. It’s the only good news in all this awful world. It’s the breath of air that we need at every moment. We rejoice in salvation because we see that we have been purchased by Jesus on the cross. Our sin has made us evil. There is no other word for it. But Jesus has intervened. Now, we rejoice in the hope that we, as sinners, are redeemed for eternity. We rejoice now as one body, happy in Christ.

  2. We follow Jesus courageously.

    Our lives are not our own. We have been blood-bought. More than merely rescued, we’ve been ushered into the kingdom of God. We’re citizens of a new country now. We have a reason to try hard and take risks. We can joyfully pay the cost to spread the good news. We have freedom to fail because all our failures are covered by his blood. We have hope to succeed because all our success is granted by Jesus’ resurrection.

  3. We love one another boldly.

    Most love in the world is weak. Sensual love is weak because it’s based on a fleeting lustful desire. Once the desire is satisfied, the love wanes. Much marital love is weak because it’s based on the individual’s search for meaning and significance. When the spouse fails to provide, the marriage fails to breathe. But the gospel creates real, lasting love in the believer. We’re no longer searching for meaning. We have it in Christ. We have a bold love now – one that cannot be taken from us because it was given to us by God.

    Bold love looks different. It loves the way God loves. It may not even always feel loving, because bold loves beyond feelings. Is it nice for God to show us how bad we are? It hurts. But if we never see it, we’ll never be saved. Bold love hurts when it must. Bold love confronts when it must. Bold love completely forgives without conditions. Bold love is lived out in humility through confession and repentance. Bold love honors one another, for Jesus' sake.

  4. We exult in Christ and forsake self-assurance.

    Jesus is always first. When I laid my life in his nail-pierced hands, I gave up my right to rule my life. In my coming to faith I abandoned all my claim to righteousness. I forfeited all my entitlement. I admitted I deserved hell, and when I did that, I gained heaven. So, now, selfishness is forsaken. Jesus is all the Savior I will ever need. I don’t prove my worth. I have worth. I don’t own anything. I am a steward of everything God gives. My preferences don’t die, but they are not the ruling factor. They are spectators now to what God is doing. He sets the agenda. I exult and follow.

  5. We expect Jesus to be real and beautiful among us.

    Most of our lives are dull. We grow up, get in a routine, and wait for the weekend when our coffee pot turns on at 8:00 instead of 6:00. We live most of our lives in the drudgery of our own making. But when we are included in the kind of life Jesus grants, he will surprise us. No day will be the same. He will change us. No year will be stagnant. He will be real among us and his beauty will overtake the landscape. We will even face opposition because of him. But when we do, we find that he is there in power.

    And as he changes us individually, he changes us corporately. And as he does that, he builds something beautiful out of the ashes of our lives. The church becomes radiant, not because of the beauty of the people, but because of the beauty of Christ in the people.

A gospel culture is not easy to build because it requires constant death. But if Jesus showed us anything in his life it’s that out of death comes life. What’s your hold-out? Why not die a little here and there so that Jesus can resurrect you in glory?

Originally posted at "Things of the Sort": https://www.thingsofthesort.com/blog/2017/1/12/gospel-culture

Thanksgiving for the Rich, Happy & Healthy

Our blog post today is written by Nate Jones. Nate and his wife Alyssa have two children and live in South Nashville. Nate serves as a community group leader and in hospitality at Refuge. This blog post was originally posted here: https://t.co/uDKvNelndo and you can follow Nate's blog here: https://medium.com/@nathandavidjones/


“Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” — Louis C.K

“Thanksgiving is praising God for what he has done.” — Tim Keller

My biggest obstacle to giving thanks is my own spiritual blindness. I can’t always see what God has done for me. We can be grateful that we are not poor, sick, lonely, hungry, or bored. All people can see that and be thankful. But if we are poor, sick, lonely, hungry or lost, then what? Can we experience gratitude when life is not going well?

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened,” (Romans 1:21).

The easier life goes, surprisingly we find the less we give thanks. We are blinded by the feeling of self-reliance as we put our enthusiasm into science and social progress, technology, and personal betterment. In our striving for progress good things can blind us to ultimate reality.

“Cosmic ingratitude is living in the illusion that you are spiritually self-sufficient. It is taking credit for something that was a gift. It is the belief that you know best how to live, that you have the power and ability to keep your life on the right path and protect yourself from danger. That is a delusion, and a dangerous one. We did not create ourselves, and we can’t keep our lives going one second without his upholding power. Yet we hate that knowledge, Paul says, and we repress it. We hate the idea that we are utterly and completely dependent on God, because then we would be obligated to him and would not be able to live as we wish. We would have to defer to the one who gives us everything.” (Keller from his book on Prayer).

If God opens our eyes on this cosmic level then we have opportunity to give thanks regardless of how well or poorly we are doing. It is in a sense rediscovering ultimate wealth, substantial joy and health of the heart as we see what God has done in giving us Jesus.

Our Updated Prayer List for Fall 2016

OUR UPDATED PRAYER LIST FOR FALL 2016:

JESUS:
• that we would grow to love and serve Jesus more, both as a community and as individuals.
• that we would be bold and wise in inviting as many people as possible into a growing relationship with Jesus.
• that THIS church would become established as quickly as possible for greater impact.

PEOPLE:
• that God would send more committed, like-minded people to join us in these early stages. More workers for the harvest!
• that God would send us 15 more volunteers to serve in all our ministries in the next 90 days.
• that God would help us be prepared to serve 200 people by 12/31/16.
• that God would help us connect and deploy the new people that join us every week. Every week is someone’s first week!
• that we would see more people converted to Christ.
• the Shafran family in Finn’s cancer battle, families welcoming new babies, families moving here to join the mission, numerous other requests in our body.

THINGS:
• that our groups would grow in health and multiply exponentially.
• that ALL aspects of our church would grow and thrive.
• that God would continue to stir a culture of radical financial generosity among our core team and our partners. Advancing the mission costs money.
• that God would provide a permanent location in his time, preferably a church building of a dying church we can help revitalize.
• that God would make clear the “when, where and who" of our future congregations and/or plants.

For a PDF version of this prayer list, please click HERE.

It’s Almost Launch Day

This week's post is by Refuge Group Leader and Treasurer David McLemore. David lives with his wife and family in North Franklin.

Christians always want to put themselves in positions to be used by God. On Sunday, August 7, 2016, a group of Christians will do just that at 10:30 inside of a school cafeteria. Refuge Church will officially launch in Franklin, TN.

We have come from different churches, from different areas of town, from different backgrounds, with one sense of calling: to plant a church in Franklin for Franklin. We believe Jesus has called us to this work. He has led us here, for this moment, at this time, for this purpose. He is building something new, and we are along for the ride.

As I look forward to Sunday, I am grateful for a few things, and hopeful for a few more.

I am grateful that Refuge is already a church body. Sunday, in some ways, doesn’t change much. Our worship service will look much the same as it has the past few months. We will sing praises to God, we will come before the throne of grace in prayer, we will preach the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will come to the communion table in remembrance of him. We will come and gather together and go and scatter throughout our city during the week. We will meet in our Community Groups to help one another press the gospel deep into our hearts. We will pray for one another, bear one another’s burdens, encourage one another, confess sin together, be needy and hopeful Christians together. Our commitment to church planting in our city, our country, and throughout the world will not falter. The same Jesus Christ that we love and follow will be the same Sunday as he was yesterday and as he’ll be today.

I am grateful that Jesus has called us into this mission. He has provided for us. We have a place to meet, we have a large core group that has been faithfully praying and working toward this new work, and we have many partnerships all throughout the country. Our sending church, Immanuel Church, has prepared us well and sent us out with great joy. We are, in the hands of the Lord, as ready as we can be.

So in one sense, on August 7, 2016 nothing changes for Refuge Church. We will continue meeting and continue preaching and continue praying and continue pressing the gospel message out into the world. But in another sense, everything is about to change.

I’m also hopeful for a few new things. Of course, I have no idea what God might do with this new church, but I believe that as we give it all to him, day by day, he will work within our church miracles of grace that will ring throughout the heavens and outlast this dying world. He will save and he will restore and he will make all things new to the praise of his glorious grace.

So here are a few things for which I am praying and hoping.

I am hopeful for an influx of unbelievers and tired Christians. I’m praying that Refuge Church will become a Refuge to our city. That those who are tired of church, who have been wounded by the church, who do not know the Lord, and don’t even want the Lord find Refuge underneath his wings of salvation.

I am hopeful for an explosion of joy – the kind of joy that heaven is filled with. Franklin is a great city. It’s my hometown. I love it. And in so many ways it is already filled with joy. Families rush downtown for the latest festival, business move in because of new opportunities, houses can’t be built fast enough. There is joy in that. But the kind of joy I’m praying for is the kind that can only come from above, not crafted by human hands.

I am hopeful for new opportunities. Franklin is one of the wealthiest and fastest growing areas in our state. The median income of Franklin is twice the median of the state of Tennessee. If a majority of the city were to come to saving faith and cause an explosion of generosity our state, our country, and the entire world could be changed. Now, that might sound overly optimistic, but isn’t that what the gospel inspires? What if just 10% more people were to have their conscience cleansed by the Holy Spirit? Let’s say a new 10% begins giving 10%. At our current medium income level and current population, which are both growing rapidly, that would release over $55 million annually into mission. How many new churches could be planted? How many new missionaries could be sent? That’s not just a financial impact, that’s a people impact. 10% more people loving and following Jesus wherever he leads.

I am hopeful for an awakening. I believe that God is not done with this country. I believe that God will bring a renewal to our country as more and more people bend their knee in repentance and faith. Every city has a tipping point. The pastor of Immanuel, Ray Ortlund, calls this the threshold of non-ignorability. It is the point at which something reaches such a height such that it becomes a topic of conversation. I’m really ready for a new conversation, one centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. What would it look like for Jesus to become the topic of the town?

I am hopeful for the advancement of the gospel. One way Refuge Church will advance the gospel in our time is through church planting. Our pastor, Dustin Neeley, is uniquely gifted to do just this. He understands the ins and outs of church planting well. God has prepared him. But Dustin isn’t the only one in Refuge that longs for, works toward, and prays for more churches. God has brought people that want to see the church multiplied. I am hopeful that in our life as a church, for as long as God gives us, we will be involved in training, sending, and planting churches throughout this world. The gospel is going to go out from Franklin, TN and many who hear the message will never know our names. That’s fine with us. This is not about us at all, it’s about Jesus.

Finally, I am hopeful for fresh grace. In Ephesians 3 Paul prays that God may grant us to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in our inner being, so that we can have the strength we need to comprehend all that Jesus is. Essentially, he’s praying for our hearts to be strengthened by grace for grace. Our weak hearts are too frail for all the wonder of Jesus Christ. So God strengthens our hearts to experience more and more of him. That’s fresh grace, and Jesus never runs out.

On Sunday a new church will officially open her doors to Franklin, TN. But it is not flesh and blood who will unlock that door, it is the Holy Spirit of God who will do that. This is, and has been, and, by God’s grace, will always be Jesus’s church. Refuge Church is a gift from God coming through his people to a city that needs the love of Christ. Whatever he asks of us, our answer is “yes.”

Pray with us as we near our launch. May Jesus be glorified. May people be saved. May the gospel go forth. May we find fresh grace and everlasting joy in the only Savior in all the world.

God be praised for his overflowing grace!

Originally posted at "Things of the Sort": https://thingsofthesort.com/2016/08/02/its-almost-launch-day/

Introducing the South City Leaders Collective

We are pleased to announce our partnership in a brand new ministry that is emerging in the South Nasvhille area.

The South City Leaders Collective

This Kingdom-oriented, multiplication-focused, gathering is for pastors, planters, and any other leader interested in seeing the Kingdom of God expand in our area and beyond.

Each gathering will feature two, highly prcatical, TED-style talks, table dicussion, and will last 1:15. Attendees will be encouraged to go to lunch together after.

Our first meeting will be THURSDAY AUGUST 4, 2016 at the Bridge at 3005 Parkfield Loop, Spring Hill, TN 37174.

Additional meetings will follow the first Thursday of each month.

For questions, or to sign up, please email dustinneeley@icloud.com

Partners: Gospel Ventures, The Bridge, Refuge Church, Redemption City Church, Acts 29

The Path of Persecution

This week's post is by Refuge Group Leader and Treasurer David McLemore. David lives with his wife and family in North Franklin.

If Acts 2 shows us the favor of the early Christians in the beginning of the church, Acts 4 shows us the persecution of the early Christians in the beginning of the church. They once had favor will all the people (2:47). Now they’re thrown in jail (4:3). While we pray for the favor of God, let us not fail to create the biblical category of persecution as well.

Thinking about persecution, and the possibility that it may someday come for us, opens up to us at least two pathways that we must heed.

One path opens us up to a romantic view of persecution. When that day comes, the signs on the path say, then we will really be able to test our meddle. On that day we can take our stand for Christ. Along that path we can start wanting persecution to come so that we can prove who we are.

The other path leads us into the dangerous arena of wondering if Jesus is worth it anymore. The letter to the Hebrews was written to a group of Christians wondering this very thing. They had faced persecution, and were going to face more, and they wondered if going back to Judaism might be the wise thing to do. They were ready to abandon Christ because of their tough circumstances.

Both of these paths are dangerous. The first because it puts the glory on us, not on Christ. The second because it causes us to harden our hearts against Christ and deny him. But there is another path that leads us where we want to go. We can accept both the most wonderful of earthly things and the most difficult of earthly things from the hand of the Father when we begin to realize, as the apostles did, that though our circumstances may change, we have a changeless God. Whether we have favor with all men or are being thrown in jail, Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb. 13:8).

Our circumstances don’t change the reality of who Jesus is and the efficacy of the gospel. Peter says in Acts 4:12, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Enduring persecution as a good soldier does not earn us the medal of honor that usurps the need for saving grace. Abandoning Christ as savior will only lead us into a more awful death than what men can do. Sticking near to Christ on the path he leads us is the only way to pursue the glory of God in all things.

There is salvation in no one else. That means the Christ that is with us in the good times is the Christ who stands beside us in the bad times. We can endure persecution, if it comes, as we look to the Savior who endured the ultimate persecution on the cross. We can do it without acclaim, suffering as he did, because he is the only name under heaven given men by which we must be saved. And there is power in the name of Jesus. Don’t run to other gods promising safety and security. While their fortresses may look mighty, the walls are made of paper. The only security we have in this life is the security we find in Christ alone. We are as secure as Christ is.

Let’s fight together to stay together on the only good path: the path Jesus paved for us by his death and resurrection. Following him, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil. And in due time he will lead us, the Good Shepherd that he is, into green pastures and beside still waters. Salvation is by Christ alone. Let’s trust him in good times and in bad. After all, if God is for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31)?

*Originally posted at "Things of the Sort": https://thingsofthesort.com/2016/07/14/the-path-of-persecution/

Seven Questions to Help You Determine and Deploy Your Spiritual Gifts

This past Sunday, the second point of my sermon dealt with the fact that the Holy Spirit guides and gives the church for the glory of God. You can catch the whole thing HERE.

I offer the seven questions below not as an exhaustive treatment of this important topic, but rather as simple conversation starters to help you on the journey of discovering how God has uniquely gifted and shaped you for ministry in his church and beyond.

1. Do I have any sense of an “internal call” toward a particular area of ministry?

I don’t want to “overspiritualize” it, but, at the same time, it’s always good for you to sense the Lord leading you in a certain direction. BUT having an answer to the first question is not a necessity. The point of the process is to figure it out.

2. What do I enjoy doing/What am I passionate about?

Simply put: if you don’t enjoy it, it is probably not your gift. Sure, the Christian life includes plenty of sacrifice, but using your spiritual gifts should typically feel like joy, not drudgery.

3. What do other Christians affirm that I am good at?

Spiritual gifts are given for the common good and to build up the church. Since that is the case, God often uses the Body to help call out and affirm our gifts. Look for where people seem to be helped by what you do. Dig there.

4. What do I NOT enjoy doing/What am I terrible at?

We sometimes find out who we are by discovering who we are not. The same is true with our spiritual gifts. If we hate it, or are terrible at it (not saying we can’t improve…), it’s probably not our gift. Keep experimenting.

5. What kind of fruit have I seen from the use of my gift(s)?

If you enjoy it, other Christians say you are good at it AND there were some obvious positive outcomes, I’d say you are on the right track. Keep digging here.

6. What does the church need me to do?

Again, don’t “overspiritualize" it. If your church needs volunteers in children’s, parking…wherever. Step up and help out. It may not be your “gift” necessarily but it may move you in the direction of what is.

7. What does the world need me to do?

Spiritual gifts are given primarily for the building up of the Church, but their usefulness can extend far beyond. Find needs and help meet them for the glory of God. Do that enough and you will find your gifts.

So, there they go. Seven questions to get you started. Have at it.

Let me know how it goes.

The Cost of Preaching the Gospel

As I mentioned in Sunday’s sermon, faithfully preaching the Gospel comes at a cost.

Look at these statistics from www.opendoorsusa.org,

Each month:
322 Christians are killed for their faith.
214 Churches and Christian properties are destroyed.
772 forms of violence are committed against Christians (such as beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests and forced marriages)

These facts serve as a sobering reminder to be thankful for the freedoms we take for granted in the United States and to stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

Open Doors USA and Voice of the Martyrs give us some practical, accessible ways that we can begin making an immediate difference in their lives.

I would strongly urge you to take a look and pray about how the Lord might have you help.

Speaking of prayer, click HERE to download a FREE “Persecution” map from Voice of the Martyrs that will inform your prayers and help you know how to help.

What Church Planting is Teaching Me

This week's post is by Refuge Group Leader and Treasurer David McLemore. David lives with his wife and family in North Franklin.

Almost a year ago, my wife and I decided to follow the Lord’s call to go out from our beloved church to help plant a new church in our city. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it wasn’t all that difficult either – it was the Lord’s call, and he gives so much grace. As time has passed, we have grown increasingly thankful for the Lord’s leading and for his grace in establishing this young church. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the process (this isn’t my first church plant, but each has something new to teach me. Also, this list is not in any particular order of importance, just thoughts as they came to me.)

You Have to Take Risks:

Leaving an established church to plant a new church is, in itself, a risky move. But that’s just the start of it. One of the reasons I think church plants make such an impact on the community is because of the risks they are willing to take. Church plants don’t have any people so they love outsiders. Church plants don’t have any money so they ask bold things from poor millennials. Church plants don’t have any traditions so doing things is easy, though not without much prayer and wisdom. Church plants don’t know what they’re doing – even if they’ve done it before. Everything is new, everything is possible, everything is risky. Taking risks for the sake of the gospel is the way church plants survive. And it’s one of the hardest things for most people to do.

You Have to Be Flexible:

We are preaching our way through the book of Acts at Refuge Church. And in so doing, we are finding that one trait the Holy Spirit creates in his people is flexibility. We need it. Not only to survive the call of God, but also to survive one another. We are figuring this thing out. Nothing is written in stone. We are moving in and out of places all the time, searching for our long-term home. We are trying things to see what works. We are praying for as many conversions as the Lord will grant. We have people from different backgrounds and different church philosophies. We have need for much flexibility, and that’s hard to do. But it is essential.

Leaders Must Lead:

If that isn’t an obvious point, I don’t know what is. But I also have seen the importance of good leadership. The planter and his small leadership team are the only people guiding this ship. There are no members to vote on things. Sometimes there is no denomination to support and guide (as in our case). So leaders must lead, and they must lead well. With the Bible in hand and prayer on the lips, leaders must look to God for direction and choose wisely the path to follow. They must be humble and low before God. This is his work, but he’s called certain leaders to establish it. Those leaders must lead.

Everyone Matters:

A church plant starts out with maybe one family. Hopefully more, but in many instances it is the planter, his wife, and their kids. If the Lord blesses the work more will jump on board soon. But you probably won’t plant a church with 150 people out of the gate. So everyone matters. Everyone has a place; the trick is finding where that place is. Try things. Give people opportunities. Lead well. Handle issues as they arise. And remember that everyone matters, to God and to his church. They wouldn’t stick around long if they didn’t believe in the work you are doing. Be wise in who you commission, but don’t be afraid to do it at all.

The Bible is Truth:

Ok, here’s the really obvious point: the Bible is the only truth we have. But what a wonder it is to have it! Lean heavy upon its words. Read it daily, diligently, prayerfully, openly. Consult its pages, learn from its authors, draw near to God through it. Let it remind you that there is power in the name of Jesus, and that Jesus will build his church.

The Bible also proves its worth in community discussion. Looks across the room and seeing a newer person flipping though the pages of the Bible, deep in thought over its words, is a joy inexpressible. God is becoming real to that person. May he become so more and more as we grow!

You Will Be Attacked:

Satan hates church planting. Spiritual warfare is real. Be prepared. Don’t be surprised when things start hurting, people act weird, or problems arise. Be mindful that not every bad thing is a demon, but know that they are actively working against your efforts. God is with you and for you. Trust him and ask for much prayer from others. Don’t ignore the devil, but don’t give him too much credit either. Recognize his power, but recognize that it is weak compared to the resurrected Christ.

God Will Be With You:

God will be with you. He will. He has promised it. He will lead you and bless you. He will give you opportunities that don’t make sense apart from his providence. He will give you grace in moments when it seems everything is falling apart. He will send you $10,000 checks as you’re on the phone with someone telling you they're leaving the plant. He will send you people with a heart bigger than yours for a specific purpose. He will supply you with grace upon grace because you are involved in work that will last for eternity.

You Need Friends:

You need friends to plant a church – real friends. You need encouragers for hard days, and you need realists for crazy ideas. You need people to just hang out with. You need someone to watch a football game with and not talk about anything church related. You need people to go to dinner with. Your wife needs friends; your kids need friends. You cannot do this on your own, and friends are the balm that heals the wounded heart and spurs the discouraged one. Don’t be so occupied planting the church that you fail to make deep, abiding friendships.

Jesus Builds His Church:

Jesus is the church planter. We are just involved in his work. He’s the one with the vision. He’s the one with the saving grace. He’s the one who died for his bride. We join him in his mission, and in so doing we find so much joy.

Truly, God is Our Refuge:

There is no refuge from God, there is only refuge in God (Psalm 2 proves this). More people need to know this. That’s why we’re planting in Franklin, Tennessee. Everything man-made will fail. Eveything God-made will last. He alone provides refuge from the storm of life. Find your shelter beneath his wings.

There are a thousand more lessons I’m learning, and perhaps I’ll do another post in six months to talk about those. But for now, this is what the Lord is teaching me. Now, go and write a letter of encouragement to a church planter you know. He needs it.

Originally posted at "Things of the Sort": https://thingsofthesort.com/2016/05/17/what-church-planting-is-teaching-me/