Sleep on This: March 17

Sleep on This: March 17

Good evening my Chapel Hill Family:

During this season of disruption, I feel the need to connect with you on a more regular basis. The word “pastor” means “shepherd”; my favorite image of the privileged role to which I am called. I am an under-shepherd of Jesus, the Great Shepherd, and you are my assigned flock. Jesus once taught that the sheep know the shepherd’s voice. I hope and pray that as you “listen” to my voice each evening, it will be an encouragement to you as you lay your head down for a good sleep.

Philippians is my favorite of Paul’s letters. Written from prison where Paul was awaiting the executioner’s sword, it is ironically the most joy-filled book in the Bible. If a man facing his own death can do so with “rejoice” upon his lips and joy in his heart, surely he has something to say to us in this season of lockdown. So, I will meander my way through this book in hope that it will bring YOU joy…and sweet rest…as well.

After his introductions to the Philippians, in 1:3, Paul says this: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…”

I wonder how many pastors could say that every single time they remember their church, they thank God and offer prayers of joy because of their faithful partnership in ministry? He probably couldn’t have said that about the Galatians. Or the Corinthians. But the Philippians…they were Paul’s sweetheart church! They never disappointed. They had been stalwarts from the very beginning…and he knew they would continue to be faithful even as he faced dark days. 

May I just say…this is the way I feel about you! You are my sweetheart church. You have been faithful from the beginning. You have endured hard times, calamities, disappointment…but you have remained resilient, hope-filled and sweet-spirited. It is fun…and an honor…to shepherd such a flock. And it gives me every hope to believe that as we face these challenging times together, you will do so with the same Christ-centered, Spirit-filled attitude you have shown for decades past. I thank MY God in all my remembrance of you…

Lord, I thank you for the people of Chapel Hill. Your Spirit has been at work in and through them for decades. May that same Spirit fill them this night, chase fear from their hearts and bring sweet rest. In the name of Jesus. 

Pastor Mark