‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice...’ - Romans 12:1
I read Romans 12 earlier this week. One word stood out, “urge.” I’d never really stopped on that word before. Why does Paul use it? Why this word? The more I thought about it, the more that one word began to make sense of how we’d been feeling the last couple of months.
We’re weary, and at times discouraged. Often exhausted, and usually overwhelmed.
More than ever we are convinced that the mercy of God in the Gospel is what our community needs. But our lives are consumed by this mysterious paradox of “living sacrifice.” In his mercy, we have life in the Gospel that we never had before. At the very same time, in his mercy, we are sacrificing that life for the Gospel, and sacrifice, by its very nature, feels like death.
So, with every new day, we desperately need to be “in view of God’s mercy.” We need to see the Gospel, hear the Gospel, sing the Gospel, and have that Gospel “urge” us over and over again. “Urge” is the right word. The emotion in it, the heart in it, the appeal in it, the seriousness in it, the persistence in it, and the persuasion in it. We need to be urged!
If you were going to pray one thing for Sarah and me, or for the members of Gracemount Community Church, pray that we’d be “urged” by the mercy of God to plod on.
Here are some specifics you can pray:
We are thankful for the opportunities to proclaim the gospel over the summer to some youth clubs, in a baptism service, and during a community fun day. Everyone who came to the fun day went away with Mez McConnell’s wee testimony book.
There have been many encouragements at the church. On Sundays, we have been working through the Sermon on the Mount, and we just kicked off using the New City Catechism as part of the meeting. Through the week we are studying the book of James, and in the small groups, we are working through various things from like Discipleship Explored and Bible studies on addictions and abuse. Please pray for fruit as the Word is sown each week, both for maturity in believers and salvation in unbelievers. We continue to be grateful to all our members for the way they serve our church and are seeking to reach the people of Gracemount with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. Our staff team has the particular privilege of equipping the rest of the church to do that. It’s a joy to continue to have Sarah working part-time leading our youth work and shouldering a lot of the admin.
Please pray as Sarah’s health continues to be a challenge. She still battles pretty intense fatigue most days, although nausea has been less in the last month. We’re still waiting on the latest results from the last set of blood taken, so please pray for clarity in what’s going on, and for patience, energy, and perseverance for every day. In the midst of the unknowns, it’s helpfully forcing us to trust in what we do know about our Heavenly Father.