Monday, November 29, 2010
Mon 11.29 Christe en Moi
Christe en moi
L'esperance de la gloire
24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
The church's motto for the year is
Christ in me
The hope of Glory
That's just makes my heart sing. I saw it Sunday and it was reaffirmed in meetings today with the Pastor Jean-Marc and several other members of the Pastoral staff including Jeff Kim the missionary from United World Missions. We explored the vision for this team's work in church planting and what my participation would look like.
The Church called L'Espace Bethesda is essentially a tight-knit family of French believers who meet in the center of a region of small towns. Some drive almost an hour to attend the only church accessible to them. The team's vision is to plant new church's in each of those villages and for them to grow naturally as God himself nurtures them naturally.
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Phillipe, one of the lay leaders, spoke with Jeff and with me first to explain a little what it's like when lay people join the ministry. He spoke about the period of waiting for relationships to develop naturally over the first year before diving into action. He counseled learning the culture of the church before attempting to serve it. Most importantly he addressed and expanded my understanding of the balance and family spirit of the church as I observed it Sunday. He was easy to talk to , and to listen to!
Phillipe quoted and prayed the passage from Romans cited above. He also spoke of fruit which is a sign of where God has called and is leading. It was a powerful moment as he affirmed almost prophetically that God already knows where I'll end up and that he believes I will know it as well by the time I head home because the SPIRIT IS ALREADY PRAYING FOR ME IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS WILL!
Over lunch we met with the Lead Pastor Jean-Marc. He was also so at peace as he shared in depth about the landscape of the ministry as it was before a recent re-birth and where it is headed. The picture he painted includes foreign missions, small groups and a network of church plants in the region where so far there is only this church and it's first fledgling plant in Comminge, one of the not so near villages. I had so much peace as I listened to him qualify things often with the warning that they are planning but trying to always follow the Spirit's lead and timing naturally without pushing. I was suddenly moved when he echoed a sentiment a was on the verge of expressing aloud...that whatever was done I the future would proceed so that god would get the credit and glory instead of man.
The Kims had some errands so I have spent the rest of the afternoon touring Auch on foot. I spent quite a bit of that time in the Cathedral Saint Marie. I have included pics on Facebook which are accessible if you click on the photo in this post. At the end of my time in the cathedral I knelt in a chapel filled with candles lit with the light of prayers of the faithful in Auch and added my voice to theirs.
I have such a peace that I have seen a sincere view of the picture here. And I feel absolutely welcome. Everyone made sure there was no pressure to influence but a clear invitation and welcome if God leads me here.
I'm still processing but thank you for your prayers during the most important day in the first half of this trip!!!