February 01, 2021 | Letters from the Lead Pastor by Brandon Lenhart
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he writes, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7.
It’s interesting to note that this specific letter was written by Paul while in prison, and the common theme that runs throughout is “joy.” The words “rejoice” or “joy” occur over sixteen times in this short four-chapter epistle. Paul has learned what true joy is, and he expresses that joy to the believers in Philippi who have contributed to his joyful demeanor.
As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, our theme at North Main this year is “peace.” 2020’s theme was “joy.” So, why do I bring up this passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church? Well, it’s because joy and peace are inextricably linked together. It’s hard to have peace without having joy, and it’s hard to have real joy when there is no peace.
In these few verses (v. 6-7), Paul links being “worry-free,” and “thankful” to God, as the catalyst for real peace. You see, what Paul has come to understand (even from a prison cell) is that like true joy, true peace isn’t something that comes when things are only going good in life, but especially when they’re not. Real peace (peace that passes all understanding) requires complete trust in God and a surrendered life to God. True peace requires a total commitment of life and of circumstances to the Almighty God who loves us and cares for us.
This month at North Main, our sermon series will focus on “Peace in the Wilderness.” We will be focusing on the Israelites history as written in the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy. These years for the Israelites were spent in the wilderness just outside of the Promised Land. These were tough and trying times for the Israelites (and much of this was because of their stubbornness and disobedience to God).
Do you ever feel like you’re in the wilderness, struggling for survival, watching out for pitfalls, and constantly facing difficulty? Does peace ever feel like it’s in short supply? Be encouraged, you can have peace in the wilderness of trying times and wilderness wanderings.
Join us in person, or online, as we explore how God was with the Israelites even in the wilderness, and how He worked for their good even when they were stubborn and disobedient. And remember: God loves and cares for you too!
- Pastor Brandon Lenhart