I`ve mentioned before that one of the rare privileges of being a pastor/elder in an international Baptist church in Europe is being directly linked with many precious fellow believers and partners in the Gospel across the continent. Helen and I have recently attended the annual International Baptist Convention Conference in the historic city of Athens where some 120 delegates gathered under the banner of “Healthy Leaders, Healthy Churches.” There were numerous guest speakers and seminar facilitators that shared over the course of the conference but one honoured veteran guest pastor that profoundly impacted our lives was Dr. Bob Marsh, married to Myra for 62 years and as I was told had preached the Word at IBCZ many years ago as well. This godly, humble man shared from the letter to the Colossians on the theme of being united with Christ in His death and resurrection and the implications for us as God`s “In-Christ” people, what a refreshment to our hearts his teaching and example in the faith was on that occasion.
Another guest that warmed our hearts as she shared of her journey with Christ, was Dr. Ingrid Davies, director and founder of Leadership Coaching International, who`s passion is to grow and develop leaders to transform lives. I would love to share some insights with you, gained from her story.
In John`s gospel ch 7 is the record of Jesus attending the Feast of the Tabernacles, concluding with this wonderful invitation: “37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, `If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
So many Christians attempt to live their lives from a spiritual dryness that drains the soul, but the Lord`s invitation in referring to the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, guaranteed an ongoing refreshment for our souls as we drink form that precious fountain of life-giving water. Jesus offered the Samaritan woman at the well the very same eternal water from which she would never thirst again. Dryness of our souls can arise from a wounded heart caused by others or simply life`s tough blows that at times come our way. The speaker challenged the delegates to be cautious as to how we respond from this kind of brokenness. Sadly, as has been said, `hurting people hurt people` which makes it all the more urgent to receive the healing and restoration for the sake of not only our souls but the souls of those that we seek to minister to. It was Dallas Willard who said: “If your soul is unhealthy you can`t help anybody!” The promise of encouragement from the apostle in Philippians 1:6 that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…” rings true, but we need also to remember that this work doesn’t happen overnight, and that requires patience on our part as we allow the transforming work of the Spirit to be completed in our lives: 2 Corinthians 3:18
“18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
The healing and restoring work of our souls begins with inviting the Holy Spirit to search our hearts in order to reveal that which is need of repair or repentance as we allow Him to do His precious work of Grace in our lives so that we can be released again to bear fruit that will bring Him glory. The wise man Solomon said this of the soul:
“23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
I conclude with this prayer for God`s people who are feeling wounded in their spirits today:
“23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thess 5:23,4
Join us this coming Sunday as we prepare for those great Easter events, in celebrating Palm Sunday together: “Hosanna to the King!” Matthew 21:1-11
Yours in His Service,