Wow, I had such a great time on Sunday. I loved singing as loud as I could. I loved seeing lots of new faces and lots of folks I hadn’t seen in a while. I loved kneeling for prayer and communion. I loved giving thanks for 5 incredible years as a church. I loved being with people I love.
We talked about a guy named Timothy and a young church that was making the transition from ‘random assortment of people who like Jesus’ to ‘reproducing institution that will change the world and have a cultural impact that has no rival.’
The apostle Paul found Timothy, discipled him, and at the end of his life, sent him 2 letters. He wanted to give his wisdom and ideas to this young leader who would help transition the churches he had planted into reproducing institutions. The letters were not just for him but were intended to be read widely and referred to over and over again when questions came up about ‘how things should go.’
‘1 Timothy’, is perfect for where we are as a church. Restoration is no longer a church plant, but we are also not ‘all grown up’. We want to use this new space to mature disciples and to launch new church plants. And I think this letter will help us as we seek to do both of these things with excellence and in a way that honors God.
To help us get in to it, I want to give you a quick introduction to Timothy:
- He was young when he received the letter– and pretty inexperienced– probably in his mid-30s(!!). However, he was also gifted and full of promise— some of that was his natural talent, some was spiritual because of the ‘laying on of hands’ that he experienced. Being young and gifted is a dangerous combination. And it describes so many thousands of people in the Arlington area. It is dangerous to have great skill with out great character, to have great power without great humility. So pay attention if you are one of the DC up and coming world changers. Suffering is always God’s laboratory for teaching character that is commensurate with one’s calling.
- He was timid, shy, insecure, and needing affirmation. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he asked the church to ‘put him at his ease’ (1 Cor 16:10) to be gentle and nice. And in his second letter to Timothy, Paul exhorts him to not be ashamed of the Gospel, to resist a spirit of timidity. All of us know what it is like to be worried about what others think of us, to be a people pleaser, to be timid about our relationship with God and about the opinion of others. So pay attention as Paul reminds Timothy of Gospel courage.
- He was physically infirm. It seems that he had some sort of a gastric problem. At one point Paul exhorts him to ‘take a little wine’ to settle his stomach. It is a tender, father to spiritual son, moment. And we are reminded that all of us have weakness that slows us down, that keeps us from feeling 100%, that keeps us humble. We are reminded that we are desperate for God’s power to do the work to which He calls us. So pay attention if you are discouraged by a body that get older every day.
And Timothy was circumcised. You can listen to the story right here. But the take away is this– Timothy wasn’t circumcised in order to be reconciled to God. He was circumcised as an act of love for the people he was pleading to be reconciled to God. Great love, indeed.
It’s going to be an incredible fall. See you around the new place…