Philippians 2:6-11 is one of the most beautiful hymns of the early Christians. It answers the key question – Who is Jesus? Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church while in prison in Rome after he was sentenced to death. He knew time was short and many questions remained in the hearts and minds of the early church. Paul loved the Philippian church and appreciated their care for him. This hymn is the at the core of Paul’s love for these Christian sisters and brothers.
Is “Jesus Christ Is Lord” True In Your Life?
Philippians 2:10-11 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We come to the end of the song in today’s text. We began at the top left point of the \/ at the throne of God. We end at the top right point of the \/, again at the throne of God. We behold the glory of it all at the very bottom, at the foot of the cross.
The mind of Adam is precisely the opposite. We begin at the bottom left of the /\ pattern. Though given everything, even the image of God, we determined to grasp for ascent to equality with God. We reached the top with a great tower designed to make a great name for ourselves. The result of all our grasping was a great falling down the other side. The /\ forms a dead-end cycle of determination, disappointment, and despair. The \/, quite the opposite, begins with discontent, leading to a descent into our broken ways where we reach the bottom and find surrender and dependence on God. The way back up is one of being lifted into delight in God and onward to true devotion to others.
Remember what happened at our Babylonian building project: “That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:9).
See what happened in today’s text. The great gathering has already begun at the cross, eyes lifted to the throne of God, every nation, tribe, and tongue making the declaration, “Jesus Christ is Lord”! We do not return to speaking the same language, but we do learn to say the same thing.
Jesus Christ is Lord. This is not software-agreement language. This is the totalizing, all-consuming truth of the universe. That’s not enough. Lest this truth, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” become our personal, everyday, walking-around lifestyle, it means nothing. These are not mere words, but a manifesto. These words must be parsed, translated, conjugated, and implemented to the most granular detail of our lives. Jesus Christ is Lord!
To the extent that I continue to run the pattern of the world /\, climbing my own mountain for my own glory (no matter how much it may benefit others), I am a living denial of the lordship of Jesus Christ. As I follow Jesus downward into the valley of the cross, the valley of vision, he will lift me back up the other side, and, for the joy of the cross, I will run in the way of the \/ again and again and again.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, whose name is above every name. We want to follow him yet we cling so tightly to ourselves. Come, Holy Spirit, and give us grace to let go of ourselves that we might follow Jesus with our whole hearts. We are weary of our own determination to make something of ourselves. We are ready to surrender all to you that we might become who you made us to be. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
1. How do you relate to these contrasting patterns of the /\ and the \/? Does this resonate?
2. Is your discontent with the status quo of your life at a place where you are ready to put your feet on the path of descent?
3. Where are you challenged in your everyday life to live out the confession “Jesus Christ is Lord.”
For the Awakening, J.D. Walt, Sower-in-Chief, seedbed.com
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Pastor Tom is REAPPOINTED to Good Shepherd UMC
Dear Good Shepherd UMC,
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Sunday, April 25th, is the official “Announcement Sunday” for the Florida Conference regarding pastoral appointments for 2021-2022. You may announce and celebrate the fact that your pastor(s) Rev. Tom Willetts and Rev. Lia Icaza Willetts (ret.) will be returning for another year. It is my prayer that with your pastor(s) and the entire congregation working together, this will be a wonderful year of ministry as you continue to reach out to the people in your community with the Love and Good News of Jesus Christ!
In His Service,
Rev. Thom Shafer, District Superintendent - South West District
Dear Good Shepherd,
Pastor Lia and I are most grateful and thankful to be returning to Good Shepherd UMC as your Pastor and first lady. We will be entering our 14 year of ministry together with you. We give thanks for your wonderful support and love for all these years and look forward to many more years together. We are doing the Lords work and we give thanks for that opportunity. Thank you. Blessings, Pastor Tom
Holy Communion will be served at all worship services this weekend. Please make a reservation by Thursday afternoon for seating. Seating capacity is limited to 62 persons per worship gathering.
Drive up communion will be served on Sunday, May 2 at 11:30 AM in the East Driveway of the church.
The Finance Team continues to keep a careful watch over the income and expenses of Good Shepherd. The financial information of the church is available to all for review. The mortgage is being completed and will be closed in early May. We are most grateful for all your support. Please contact Bart DeGraaf – Finance Team Leader with your questions.
March Worship Attendance – 1057 / YTD - 3627. 717 fewer than 2020.
March 2021 Collections - $27,675.00. $11,117 less than 2020.
March Expenses - $28,636.06.
March expenses were $921.00 more than income.
2021 YTD Collections $93,985. $20,386 less than 2020.
2021 YTD Total income is $94,252.
2021 YTD Total expenses $90,037.
YTD Cash position $4,215.
$44,361 Checking Balance
$119,296 Dedicated Funds Balance. $13,474 in T & T. $77,762 in Contingency Fund.
While our income is down, our expenses are also down. As a result, we are not eligible for any additional PPE support from any sources. We have received loan forgiveness for the 2020 PPE loan. We must repay the interest accrued of $450.
What does all this mean?
Less Contribution Income presents a real challenge to our church operations. We usually have a large positive cash cushion after the first quarter of the year. We do not have that situation this year. We have decreased operating expenses in reaction to reduced income, but we are working in uncomfortably slim margins of cash flow. To decrease expenses further will require very difficult conversations and decisions to reduce staff compensation and ministry to the church. Less income results in less staff and less ministry. We have been able to avoid these reductions because of careful stewardship and your generous giving.
We would invite all contributors to increase their gifts to the church by $10 per week for the next 35 weeks. This will enable us to continue our current levels of ministry and staffing. Please prayerfully consider increasing your support to Good Shepherd. We also need to be inviting new neighbors to watch our worship services online and as we increase space to come to worship. We are in ministry that is impacting lives for the increase of the Kingdom. We must support that ministry and do all we can to invite others to come and join with us in God’s work.
All gifts should be directed to the General Operating Fund of the church. We will be paying the mortgage from the General Operating Fund as well as all the other expenses of the church. If you designate your gift to a specific designated account, we will honor that designation.