Happiness is learning that your sons spent part of their Saturday evening discussing things like predestination, what it means to be reformed, scripture texts like Ephesians chapter 1, and the "C" word (Calvinism) with some of their non-reformed friends who are heading off to college soon. Happiness is also having one of those young men join us for our Sunday evening bible study, the topic- WCF 5.1, Of Providence. How providential! This young man said he would like to come back to our Bible study and wants to bring others with him. We are praying that they do come. We sent this young man off with a copy of "Confessing the Faith" by Chad Van Dixhoorn* and encouraged him to use it as a resource because our confessions are our guard rails. Quite a few of our son’s friends are leaving for college at the end of this week. We are praying that the Lord will protect, guide, and strengthen their faith as they head off to college and battle with the gods of secular humanism and the post-modern, progressive minds they will be encountering in our institutions of higher learning.
Church planting is just like the rest of our Christian walk, its a series of ups and downs, as Pastor Mark reminded us in the sermon he preached from Psalm 73 entitled “A Heart for God” during our last informal worship service in Adamsville. Its mountains and valleys and sometimes its mountains and valleys in the same day. It seems like a valley every time another living stone doesn’t accept an invitation to join us or when someone leaves one of our Bible studies or informal worship services. Its peaks and troughs or "undulation" as C.S. Lewis refers to it in "The Screwtape Letters",
"So you ‘have great hopes that the patient’s religious phase is dying away’, have you? I always thought the Training College had gone to pieces since they put old Slubgob’at the head of it, and now I am sure."
“Has no one ever told you about the law of Undulation?”
“If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life—his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it.”
It can be discouraging waiting for the Lord to bring living stones (1 Peter 2:5) to his house (Psalm 127:1), but then we are reminded of things he has already said and we can be assured that he is building his Kingdom,
1 Corinthians 3:5 (Berean Study Bible) what then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, as the Lord has assigned to each his role. 6 I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
In the same week that someone walks away from our Bible study (valley), someone else is brought to our Bible study giving us another opportunity to water what someone else has planted (mountain). It feels like undulation, but what an amazing privilege to serve the Lord!
Life in the already but not yet is filled with peaks and valleys and there is something in most of us that longs to be free from these undulations. For those of us who know Christ, that longing will be satisfied in the world to come. Until then, the ups and downs will continue.
If most of us are longing to be free from undulation, why would anyone want to be involved in starting a new church? Aren't there already enough churches around? Our answer would be that God has given us a strong desire for things related to his kingdom, his Word, his church, the lost, and the community he has placed us in. How could we not be involved in starting a new church here even if that means we will experience undulation? There are people moving into our area who do not have roots in any of our established churches and if statistics are correct, anywhere from 60-80% of people in America are no longer attending any church at all including churches in the Bible Belt. The Apostle Paul understood the nature of the Church— it is the covenant people of God gathered for worship, instruction, and fellowship (Acts 2:42). The Orthodox Presbyterian Church understands that which is why we have joined with them. We want to be the most Biblical church in town, following the example of the Apostle Paul going first to those who know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; to those who honor God's Word and who look for the return of Christ. Like Paul we proclaim Christ and invite others to study the Scriptures with us. Paul has given us a time-honored church planting methodology- he formed core groups of believers who knew God and His Word in every town he visited. These core groups formed the worshiping and discipling center for reaching the lost. We want to be a group of people who are grounded in God's Word, who are ready to form a new worshiping covenant community here in Adamsville, and we are asking God to bless it.
We want the people of Adamsville, McNairy County, West TN and beyond to know “….that you, O LORD, are God,” and that we are your servants (1 Kings 18:37).
*For more info on “Confessing The Faith” see: http://www.mortificationofspin.org/mos/podcast/43806
We meet every Wednesday evening at 7pm and every Sunday evening at 5pm for Bible study.
Pastor Mark holds informal worship services on the last Sunday of every month at 5pm.
We meet at 1st Presbyterian church in Adamsville, TN 328 Old Stage Rd.
West Tennessee Reformed is a conservative Presbyterian church planting effort where Christ is preached consistently and where God speaks powerfully through his written word, The Holy Bible.