Epistle to the church at Peachtree City
With apologies to Paul for plagiarism, paraphrasing, editing and reordering Philippians
1 Tom, servant of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Peachtree City, together with the staff and leadership board: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…in all my prayers for you….because of our partnership in the gospel….a good work in you will carry it on….
7 I am in the chains of a pandemic and defending the gospel…and this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more….and you may discern what is best and pure and blameless….11 filled with the fruit of righteousness…-to the glory and praise of God.
As I close my service as your Lay Leader, I wanted to find an appropriate way to celebrate and say thank you to all the congregation for your prayers, support, critiques, and encouragements along the way. I was led to Philippians as it is to some the most joyful book in the Bible. It contains wonderful gratitude for a generous and caring congregation that supported Paul throughout his ministries (Phil.4:10-20). You have certainly been that congregation during these strange and difficult times. We are entering 2021 with a firm foundation – thanks be for your continued generosity.
There is excellent recognition of those who labor with Paul and work within the congregation to keep the main thing the main thing (Phil.2:12-30). When Pastor Mark invited me on this journey, we had Plan A for 2020 and what we thought would be our agenda. You know the “rest of the story” as we are now on Plan X or Y and that may change tomorrow. Certainly, Pastors Sean and Shannon have been great guides and sounding boards to make all these changes both well vetted and brought to the life of our church. My thanks to our Leadership Board for the open and honest discussions as the challenges unfolded in a year like no other.
The third chapter of Philippians deals with some conflicts within the congregation, and I recommend we all read this chapter often. The idea of strong opinions and interpersonal conflicts are contrasted against that wonderful phrase of pressing on toward the goal (Phil.3:12-16). Let us press on together so that the Joy and Peace found in Phil.4-7 forever describe our shared life and shared faith.
Lastly, there is the astounding Poem of Christ in Phil 2:5-11 which highlights the humility of our Lord. If you read nothing else in this letter from Paul on how to order our Christian lives, please spend the time to read and reflect on the Humility of Christ as a model for each of us.
Blessing to you as we move into a new and exciting year of ministry together.
4:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and your spirit. Amen