Pastor’s Paragraph— September 20, 2018

“Life in the Meantime.”   That was the title of last Sunday’s sermon based upon Jeremiah 29:1-14. The events described in this passage of scripture took place in approximately 594 BC. Many of the people of Judah (God’s people) found themselves in a dilemma. No longer were they a free people living in their own country. Instead, they were captives of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian government. Forced to leave their homeland – the Promised Land of Canaan – they were exiles, living in Babylon.
Now living in Babylonian exile was certainly not equivalent to being in prison. Indeed, the children of Israel were free to mingle with one another, to hold jobs, to get involved in Babylonian society, and even to practice their religious faith.
But as exiles, they were not allowed to go back home to Judah. Estranged from their native country, denied access to the Temple of God at Jerusalem, separated from family and friends who had been left in their war-torn Jerusalem homeland – those Babylonian exiles were miserable.
They did not want to become involved in Babylonian society. They did not want to even think about adjusting to life without the Jerusalem Temple and their home in the Promised Land. All they could think about was the day when they could leave Babylon and get back home. What they wanted was for life to be “normal” again.
This was the context in which the prophet Jeremiah (who had been left in Jerusalem) was inspired by God to write a letter to those exiles. And in essence, this is what that letter in Jeremiah 29:4-11 said:
“The day is coming when God will end your exile and lead you back  to Jerusalem. But this is not going to happen for awhile. In the meantime, God wants you to live and minister for him. So even while in exile, you are to “build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their produce, take wives, have families, and multiply while you serve the Lord.”

“In God’s timing, He will end your exile, lead you back to the Promised Land of Judah, and help you find the “new normal” that He surely has in store for you. But, in the meantime, worship the Lord in the present. Serve the Lord in the meantime. Don’t be just “Someday People” who dream so much about the future (when life gets back to “normal”) that you miss the blessings and waste the opportunities of the present. Be sure – even during this transitional, interim period – that you live life in the meantime.

As members of Calvary Baptist Church, we are certainly not in exile. But we are entering a time of transition and change. I will be retiring as your pastor on February 28, 2019. After that, there will be an interim period (of searching and seeking) before a new pastor comes.
But in the meantime, God is calling us to continue to worship and serve Him. The Lord is certainly not calling us to be “Someday People” just waiting around and coasting until a new pastor comes. God is calling us to be His People on mission for Him “in the meantime” of the present.
So in the five and one half months that we still have together as pastor and people, let’s rededicate ourselves individually and congregationally to be the best church on mission for the Lord Jesus Christ that we can possibly be.
I am committed to giving my best efforts in making this transitional journey with you. May God bless, guide, and strengthen us as we “live life in the meantime.”
Blessed and grateful to be your pastor,
P.S.  Be sure to come to the Mission Exposition in the ROC this coming Sunday following 11:00 am worship. There will be food (via food trucks), fellowship, fun, and numerous booths describing some of the various ways that you can serve God through our church in the meantime.

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