October 2015


“One thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal.”
Philippians 3:13-14

During the month of October we have the opportunity to respond to God’s call to take the Gospel message to the whole world. On Sunday, October 4 we will begin collecting the World Mission Offering. The scripture above is the theme under girding this year’s offering. Every time I read this text I envision a runner sprinting toward the finish line, running with all their might, stretching and straining every fiber of their body to meet the goal – to cross the finish line. 

As we prepare our hearts and minds to participate in God’s work I want to share with you some reflections on this text prepared by Stan Slade, Associate Executive Director for Program and Global Consultant for Theological Education with ABC-USA International Ministries.

“…Paul assured the early believers that God had acted in Christ to put the world right. God had changed the fundamental truth about all those “in Christ,” transferring them from death to life. But in God’s infinite wisdom, there was still a place for human action, a place for human response to God’s gracious work on the cross and in the resurrection.”

“So Paul called Jesus’ followers to respond. He called them to live on the basis of the resurrection. He called them to follow his example, on the way to, but not yet having arrived at the goal, stretching forward. Paul called Jesus followers to strain every muscle stretching toward the new creation that is surely coming.”

“Through Paul’s inspired words, God calls us still today. Jesus is alive. God is very much at work.  The kingdom of God, decisively inaugurated in Jesus, continues to draw ever nearer.  We are called to stretch toward it.”

“One day, God will wipe away every tear. (Revelation 21:4) Today, we can stretch toward that day. We can wipe away tears and join God’s work in overcoming the things that bring tears.”

“One day, God will be all the light we need. (Revelation 22:5) Today, we can stretch toward that day. We can share the Light of the World with those who do not yet know him. We can walk in his light, and encourage others to do the same.”

“One day, the nations of the earth will bring their greatness into God’s New Jerusalem. (Revelation 21:24, 26) Today we can Stretch toward that day. We can declare God’s glory among the nations (Psalm 96:3), reflecting that glory in all the life-giving ministries that the Spirit of God makes possible and in all the many-splendored cultures of God’s children.”

“Give yourself to the power of God that works within you, to both desire and do what God wants. Give to the work International Ministries and support those who are stretching toward God’s future all around the world. Stretch forward!

Throughout the month of October we will be sharing about the work of International Ministries, the people who serve as our missionaries and the work that is being done in the name of Jesus. You will find special offering envelopes in the pew racks and in each week’s bulletins.

Stretching Forward,
Pastor Teresa