I made an amazing Biblical discovery the other day when I was reading through the Psalms. I discovered Psalm 23 comes after Psalm 22. Amazing, right? I went to seminary, and, I can count, in order. Actually, the amazing thing I noticed was the content of these two Psalms as they unfolded in God’s Word. Psalm 22 is famous for its depiction of the crucifixion of Christ, written about 1,000 B.C. Psalm 23, of course, is King David’s song of praise to God as he walks through the valley of the shadow of death. In the last verse of Psalm 23, verse six, David states, in light of God being his Shepherd… “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Another way to translate “surely” in is “only,” as it’s translated in the Christian Standard Bible. “Only goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…” That’s quite a statement, especially considering all the trials we undergo that may not seem good. However, in the context of Psalm 22, we recognize that even though we may not see the immediate outcome of our faith – we know God is bringing about something glorious.
That said, as we face new trials and uncertain times – as we fix our eyes on Jesus – we don’t need to be afraid. God’s rod and staff comfort us, as He sets a table before us. It may even be your experience, as it has been mine, that your cup overflows in unexpected ways.
For instance, last week I communicated about the opportunity we have to contribute to the East County Food Bank. In this season of hoarding, I was blessed to see the abundance with which many people shared. Thankfully, this is an ongoing ministry we can take part in. Again, they are looking mostly for groceries, especially canned goods, but monetary donations are also greatly appreciated. (If you write a check remember to make it out to East County Food Bank.)
Another sign of God’s faithfulness, Pam Cardin and a team of volunteers started making masks. This is a great way to bless and protect our neighbors.
Further, I’ve heard of people reaching out in Christ to loved ones. What an incredible time to introduce others to our Shepherd, who is with us now and forever.
So, this Easter season is not what we would’ve expected or wanted – and yet God is causing us to see His provision in beautiful ways. With that in mind, some further adjustments regarding fellowship. We will no longer be conducting Life Groups through ZOOM. If you would like to join, either the Wednesday night group at 6:30 or the Thursday morning/afternoon group at 11:00, contact me at 360.470.8406. We’ll be using Google Duo, which you can get by downloading the free app. Then on Wednesday or Thursday I’ll call you and you’ll automatically join the conversation.
Finally, to make things more accessible, and so you can hear and see us, Shawn and I are going to make a YouTube version of our Easter service. All you have to do is go to YouTube on Sunday morning – search for the First Baptist Church Elma, WA Easter Worship Service, and we’ll be there. That said, as always, the audio version of the message will be available on the church website.
Thank you for all your doing to live by faith in these days. I’m continually encouraged by your care for each other and those around you. May God bless you richly in the One who did not come to be serve, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
Because of Christ,
Gunnar began serving as pastor at First Baptist Church, Elma in July 2012. He and his wife Corrine – and their three children Trinity, Eli, and Ian moved to Washington with a vision to help build a vibrant community of people who know the truth of God’s love for them in Christ, and express that love as they gather, and go out into the world. A veteran of youth, college, and young adult ministries for almost twenty years – Gunnar enjoys being in God’s Word, obsessing over sports, and spending time outdoors with his family.