Howdy, Partner

Brothers and Sisters,

Suzanne and I are big fans of the show, Blue Bloods. One of the things that strikes me about that show—much like any other cop show—is how devoted partners can be to one another.

That devotion, of course, stems from something that transcends them. It’s not so much about looking out for a buddy; it’s about pursuing the greater good of justice and public service alongside one another.

This past Sunday, we considered our partnership in the gospel. The Good News about what God has done in Christ to redeem lost sinners is our greater good—the common cause that ought to motivate our every thought, word, and action.

The ties that bind us are deeper than anything you’d find at the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, or even the police department.

We are all radically different people whose paths never would have crossed had it not been for the Spirit who gathers us. But because we are united in Christ, we’re called to partner with Him and one another in the work of the gospel. Our diverse gifts and graces do not cut against that gospel labor; they are our secret weapon.

I pray that as we tread into 2022, the Lord will impress upon us the urgency of our task along with a deep sense that we are all in this together. When you’re in the trenches, the various and sundry differences that tend to divide quickly fade from sight. I’m praying for that kind of unity as we prepare to wage spiritual war for one another and our neighbors.

May we take our cue, not so much from the police as from the Philippians, whose partnership in the gospel brought Paul deep, prayerful joy (Phil 1:3-5). By God’s grace and with everything we’ve got, let’s have one another’s backs as we seek to make Christ known.

I’m thrilled to begin this journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians with you. I believe the Lord will do great things at Hickory Grove and that we will rejoice together as we see the gospel advance both inside our church and in the community beyond.

Your Partner in Christ,