A Contemporary Epistle

Recently, I experienced the beauty of Christian friendship and fellowship. Some friends and I sat together in a basement and shared our joys and struggles as we strive to “grow up into Christ.”  I was deeply refreshed by our time together.  So, like the Apostle Paul, I couldn’t resist pulling out my modern-day papyrus and quill — my Macbook — and writing the following joy-filled epistle of thanks to my brother and sister in Christ. Fortunately, my epistle didn’t take several weeks to arrive by ship and horseback. :) -JB

Your invitation to come and “BS” at your place tonight was just what I needed. Thanks! “[My] spirit has been refreshed by you” (2 Cor. 7:13). It’s been so long since I’ve felt safe “taking off the mask” of the confident, I-have-it-all-together pastor. I’m just as broken and sinful as everyone else.

But, again, as God said to Paul of his weaknesses: “My grace is all you need, Paul. My power works best in weakness.” So, Paul concludes :”I will boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me” (2 Cor. 12:9). In the end, we’re all just beggars telling other beggars where we’ve found bread — “the bread of life” (John 6). Grace, grace, marvelous grace — this Christian walk is all about learning to “dance to the unforced rhythms of grace” (Matt 11:28 MSG) — and cutting others slack when they step on our toes, eh? :)

So, thanks again for the chat, and for “sharing with us not only the gospel but your very lives” (1 Thes. 1:8). The following verse was my email footer for many months when we began this journey — perhaps I need to put it there again.  It sums up my call and all-consuming passion in life:

“To this end I strenuously labor with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me: that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28-29). Notice the harmonious interplay between us working our tails off, and yet somehow drawing our energy from Christ’s Spirit in us? That’s the secret to not burning out — which I’m still working on. :)

Now, finally, I have a Scripture for you in light of your being tired out and in need of a rest.  This is the beautiful version of The Message Bible.  Let this promise carry you through the Christmas season, as Jesus looks you in the eyes and says:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt 11:28-30 The Message)

Put that on your fridge and tape it to your dash!

Grace and peace, friends!

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