Wednesday, July 16, 2008

4 Minute Devotions: One Church

I have ministered to churches in Scotland and the United States. What would happen if we all became one congregation?

2 Corinthians 7:4 I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

I have been fortunate to serve three great congregations. I know of other pastors who have not enjoyed even serving one church successfully. I sometimes wish that I could merge all three – Maybole West, Fisherton, and Erin into one large congregation – a mixture of Scottish ingenuity and American innovation. It would be a wonderful witness to the world and a great encourager of faith to the Scots-American community.

Both time and tide separate all three of us from doing this, so the faithful individuals in each Presbyterian community – Maybole, Dunure, and Knoxville – have to carry on the work of the Lord alone. Then I start to read some of Paul’s letters to faraway churches that he had served, and I suddenly realize that the bridges of faith remain connected despite the distance and time difference.

Through these devotionals, I get the opportunity to minister with people of many congregations. I take great pride in the faithfulness of those who read these messages and pass them on to relatives, friends, and other church members. Our joy together, through the internet, knows no bounds or geographical limits. Even my youngest daughter in Tabora, Tanzania is part of our cyberspace fellowship!

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: we are all serving the Lord in His Church and that together we fulfill what’s called the communion of saints in the Apostles’ Creed. I have every confidence that the work we are doing for Him – in Scotland, USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Tanzania or wherever – both glorifies and pleases Christ. One day, we will all be together in heaven; at the moment, we are scattered because the Lord needs us to faithfully witness to our own communities. It’s His special way of getting His holy work done.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we live in different communities and yet we belong to One Church. We face different situations, but we share One Faith. Toda,y we pray for one another and ask that You will bless the congregations that we each serve. They are full of good and faithful people; they have the potential to fulfill wonderful and great things for You. Bless us all as one Family of Faith, serving One Lord forevermore. In Your Holy Name, we joyfully pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today's message, please send him an email to

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