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Beginning Again

Today marks the beginning of my twelfth year of preaching in a campground ministry near my home.  For those who aren’t familiar, I work under the umbrella of a ministry that reaches out to campgrounds near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and provides seasonal preachers for those vacationing.  I have built relationships with the folks for over a decade.  I jokingly say that I am not an itinerant pastor, but that I have an itinerant congregation.

I used to wet my finger and stick it in the wind to figure out what I would preach each week.  For the past few years, I have preached through books of the Bible.  For four years, I preached through the Gospel of John.  Last year, it was Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.  I won’t say that I won’t do a longer book again, but smaller books seem to work out better.

So, this year it’s Philippians.

What is really cool is that Paul starts out giving credit to Timothy.  I don’t really know if Timothy helped him write this letter or not.  Before I actually stand before folks, I will probably find that out.  Maybe I should have before I wrote this, but I wanted to get ahead of the game.  Regardless, Paul is working toward building Timothy up.  I think he realized that he won’t be around forever and someone is going to have to succeed him.  He has worked with Barnabas and Silas, but he’s also pouring himself into Timothy.

What if we took that sort of attitude?  What if we actually made it our purpose to build the next generation?  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked the swat me on the tail, send me out there to succeed or fail mentality.  I would have loved if someone had taken the three prong approach.  You know what I’m talking about: Do it and let me watch, Do it together, and then Watch and let me do it.

Paul also gives a signal to who he and Timothy are.  They are bond-servants of Jesus Christ.  I’m not sure if you know what a bond-servant is, but it’s someone who has been freed, but remains in the service of his or her master.  What is really cool is that when this happened in Israel, the master would take the bond-servant, put their ear on the doorpost and pierce it with an awl.  I have never had a pierced ear, but that doesn’t sound real cool.  Imagine what it takes to enter back into someone’s service knowing that would happen.

Philippians is written to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Phillipi.  Literally, all of the set apart ones in Jesus.  Don’t miss out on the significance of that.  ALL of the set apart ones.  Rich.  Poor.  Man.  Woman.  Child.  Free.  Slave.  All.  No matter their standing, the letter is for them.

Notice that specifically, Paul includes the overseers and deacons.  They aren’t above this letter.  They aren’t so spiritually mature that they don’t need to hear his message.  They are in it with everyone else.

Here is what I love.  Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Life is tough.  I wrote a post describing a time traveling for work recently.  I needed the grace and peace that only comes from God and His Son.  He gives that.  Paul wishes this for everyone and you can almost hear him praying for it.

Paul packs a punch in two simple verses to kick off this letter to the Philippians.  I look forward to sharing what I learn with you over the next few months.

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  1. May 4, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Awesome! What a ministry.

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