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Living Your Dash

wells_tombSeveral years ago I was doing a computer search for a ‘tombstone picture’ to be used in a Bible lesson; I do not recall why I decided to add my name to the search but there it was.

The following concept is not original to me but it makes an interesting point. Tombstones generally show a birth date and a death date. While the dates are interesting the most important issue about that particular Richard Wells’ is the symbol in between these dates, namely the “dash.”

The “dash” represents our lives as lived, and we (still living) have an option to impact our “dash” if we pay attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit and continue to grow as followers of Jesus. As Christians we know that God controls not only the dates that begin and end our lives here on earth, but He also controls and participates in every aspect of our “dash.”

Job tells us: “… naked (with nothing) I came from my mother’s womb, and naked (with nothing) shall I return…” Job 1:21b (ESV)

In Sunday’s sermon (9/28/2014), Pastor Paul provided an outline for 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Gospel-Centered Pastoral Ministry involves:

  • Sharing the gospel
  • Sharing one’s life
  • Modeling the effects of the gospel
  • Calling the church to live a life pleasing to God

Pastor Paul mentioned my name several times during the sermon; it is always beneficial to be reminded of our responsibilities as Pastor-Elders. Pastor Paul also pointed out this teaching extends to all church leaders as well as those who will serve in the future. The sermon is available on the website and I recommend we all review it at least once; our effectiveness depends on how we follow and understand the Bible’s teaching, as well as our dependence on God’s leading.

Near the end of his life, the Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy and testified of his own life, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come,” (4:6). In 2 Timothy Paul passed on instructions and exhortations to Timothy.

Instructions from 2 Tim 1: (ESV)

  • v6 Fan into flame the (spiritual) gift of God,
  • v8 Do not be ashamed of the testimony (gospel) about our Lord,
  • v8 Share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,
  • v13 Follow the pattern of the sound words (gospel) that you have heard from me,
  • v14 Guard the good deposit (gospel) entrusted to you.

God’s provision for us:

  • v7 God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
  • v9 God saved us and called us to a holy calling,
  • v12 God is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to us.
  • v14 The Holy Spirit dwells within us

2 Timothy chapters 2, 3 and 4 also include instructions and God’s provisions for us as we seek to be followers of Jesus. As we listened to Pastor Paul’s sermon on 2 Thessalonians and consider the Apostle Paul’s instructions and provisions from 2 Timothy, we cannot escape the realization that we all can improve our “dash” in sharing the gospel.

The Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:17–18 (ESV) wrote:

17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Blessings and Shalom as together we continue Living Our Dash,
Rich