Living This Hope Together

I have been preaching the last few weeks from 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 1:3, we get the phrase, “Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Jesus is our Living Hope!

As we move into 1 Peter 2, we are instructed and encouraged to live this hope together as a spiritual house. Peter, no doubt, had in mind that we live this hope together as the church. In Matthew 16, we are introduced to the idea of the church as Peter confesses Jesus as Lord.

Most of us here in South Louisiana think of the Mississippi River as we see it crossing over the bridge as we enter Baton Rouge. The Mighty Mississippi! This mighty river, second longest in the world, has its start as a trickle in northern Minnesota. Before the River empties in to the Gulf of Mexico, 41% of our nation’s rivers have emptied into the Mississippi River. Do you see the picture—hundreds of bodies of water (some small, some big) all becoming one river?

Then there’s the beautiful oak tree so common to our area. We have one on our property across the street in what we call the College House Lot. There’s the beautiful oak in front of St. John’s Cathedral. There’s the Oak of the Evangeline down in St. Martinville. (Thousands of people board a bus and travel to St. Martinville to look at this tree.) And to think that these massive trees began as a small acorn!

We need both of these analogies as we consider the church. We come to Jesus, the Living Stone. The Living Stone is the cornerstone on which the church stands. From one Living Stone, Jesus Christ, the church had its birth. But, we are living stones being built into a spiritual house to be the holy priesthood of the church.

We who have come to believe in this Living Hope are living out this living hope together as the church. Or, are we? Are you? Some have concluded in this age that the church is unnecessary. They have given up on the church. They have become disillusioned by the church. Maybe discouraged? Disappointed? But those who have come to this Living Hope do not get that option. We are . . .

a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Living this hope together requires . . .

Believing what God says about the Church!

You know what I think our problem is sometimes? We believe what the world says about the church instead of what God says about the church? The world says, “Hypocrites!” The world says, “Delusional!” The world says, “Backwards.” But, watch what God says about the church! Chosen race. Royal priesthood. Holy nation. People for his own possession.

We sing it.

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

Let’s believe it.

It is time that the church stops believing what the world says about us and starts believing what God says about us. And, oh by the way, maybe it’s time to stop believing what we believe about ourselves and start believing what God says about us.

 

Why Another Missions Offering?

We are in a season of giving to North American Missions with the Annie Armstrong North American Missions Offering. If you are a regular giver in our church, you have received a special envelope in March’s packet to give to this offering. There are also some envelopes in the pews for this offering. This offering supports Southern Baptist missionaries called and appointed to intentionally evangelize and plant churches in North America on behalf of Southern Baptist churches.

So, who was Annie Armstrong and why is this offering named for her? Annie Armstrong lived from 1850-1938. She was from Baltimore. Her major contributions to missions among Southern Baptists were to rally support for mission activity both in North America and around the world. She was the first executive director of the Woman’s Missionary Union. She also developed the first children’s missionary organizations teaching and inspiring children regarding missionary involvement. This annual offering has been named for her since 1934.

As we have new people joining our ranks every week, it is important to tell these stories over and over again. We must inspire new contributors to the work of ongoing evangelism in our country. Between now and Easter, give an extra gift to missions through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. If you have never given such a gift, you will be glad you did, and others will be glad you did. God-called missionaries are laboring all over our own country today in hard places doing hard things. Surely, all of us can give an offering to assist and encourage their labors.

What’s Happening This Week at FBC?

This Sunday brings some challenges, so make preparations to have a great day of worship. First, be sure to pay attention to the information regarding the running of the Zydeco Marathon and plan your route to church in advance. We are getting used to this annual event, but everyone must plan ahead to make it to church on time.

Second, be sure to pay attention to the time change this weekend. In the busyness of this weekend, don’t forget to set your clocks forward before you go to bed. Go to bed earlier, get a good night’s rest, and let’s be ready to worship the KING Sunday morning.

After a week off from our 1 Peter study, we will return to 1 Peter 2 this coming Sunday. We will see several words in this chapter that describe our collective relationship as the church. So, we will consider our relationship together in a message titled, “Living This Hope Together!”

Have you signed up for your photo session for the new Church Directory? Please go to fbclaf.org/photo or call 866-756-0281. We want every person and family involved. A complete directory is going to be a great resource for us in building relationships with one another. If you have signed up, please remember that photo sessions start on Tuesday. Please be on time for your session.

As we move toward Easter Sunday, let me encourage you to do three things:

  1. Save the date for Here for You Acadiana. This year’s day of service is Saturday, April 13.
  2. Save the date for Easter Week Services. This year we will have Thursday and Friday evening services on April 18 and 19. Both services will begin at 7 p.m.
  3. Pray about inviting someone to join you on Easter Sunday.

See You Sunday!