From Pastor Gunnar's Desk 05/13/20
What wouldn’t you do for family? I’ve spent the last five days in Woodland, California visiting with my dad and helping my mom while he was in the hospital dealing with COPD and heart-related issues. My dad got to come home the day before I left and we had a good gospel conversation – that helped us to focus on Christ’s love for us and what it means to have eternal life (John 17:3). Thank you so much for all your prayers. It was a difficult, but sweet time.
Driving home, for twelve hours, I had time to reflect on my family of origin and our church family – and this time of trial we’re all going through. Things are not the way we’d like them to be – and yet our heavenly Father is giving us opportunities to draw closer to Him and one another. So, the important thing for us to consider is – what is God trying to teach us, and how can we respond to what He is teaching us?
God has given us an imagination for a reason. It can be a powerful thing – which we can use to dwell on negativity or imagine the worst. Or we can use it to open up to God in prayer, to ask for guidance – and lean into the possibilities He has for us to serve others and honor Him (Ephesians 2:10). As Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” This is what Paul described the church doing in 2 Corinthians 8:1-2. “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” Instead of their hardships leading to despair, because of Christ, it led to something unexpected – joy and generosity!
So, at present, we’re deprived of things we once, perhaps, took for granted or didn’t value adequately. What are we learning? How can we adjust? How can we grow?
I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal – but because of all we’ve been through – more than anything, I’m looking forward to our normal being different, better, as a church family, as we help others to experience the radical life of God’s family at the heart of the gospel. So, Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
With that hope in mind, I encourage you to take time to read the Word, with the expectation that God will speak to you through His Spirit – to recognize His great love for you and lead you in paths of righteousness for His namesake (Psalm 23:3; John 14:26). Then as you sense Him prompting you to do something – do it, and that, more than anything, will change your perspective (John 14:21).
May God bless you richly in His grace.
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.