FJWL (Custom)

Whether we like it or not, we all live in a world of crises. Sometimes the cumulative effects of these crises become almost unbearable. This has been one of those weeks for me.

One of my sisters had her house broken into by thieves high on heroin. One of them ended up passing out under the bed of their eight year old son, without their knowledge. Long story, the main thing is that God protected them and the police got the thief before he woke up. Scary…

Then I heard from a dear childhood friend that her favorite uncle had committed suicide. A man who never owned guns, a quiet, church-going, kind gentleman admired by everyone… How do you even try to explain that? Rationally, you can’t. Funerals are today at Penn Valley GBC, if you could pray for the family.

And don’t forget the fire that destroyed about 100 homes and displaced more than 1,000 people in my home town of Macapa, Brazil. Though there are no known fatalities, four blocks of homes were destroyed. I spent 12 of my formative years in that town and that is where I spend most of my time when I go back to Brazil. My Mom and Dad and four of my siblings and their children still live there. As I watched the videos, I could pinpoint the streets and even recognized some of the buildings. It was a sad moment…

This all in a week when my message on Sunday has to do with living above the line of selfishness. I am supposed to say that the Christian life is not about me and here I am writing about me. I am going to be asking all of you to go on a “Pride Fast,” where you will cease to be number one for a time and be totally focused on the needs of others around you. And yet, here I am, having my own moment of focus on “self.”

Such is the nature of humans, isn’t it? And I guess that is one of the reasons Paul said of Timothy, “I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.” (Phillipians 2:21-22). This trait of forgetting self is so rare that Paul singles Timothy out as a prime example of selfless service and Christ-ward living.

And yet putting others first is commanded in Scriptures. Caring not only for your own needs but also for the welfare of others is commanded in Scriptures (see Philippians 2:3-4). And most importantly, love for one another is COMMANDED in Scriptures (see 1 John 3:23). And what to make of Luke 6:35, where it says that God is compassionate even to those who are unthankful and wicked. What? That’s right. And just in case we miss it, Luke draws the net: You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36). Must? What if I can’t?

The short answer is: with God, you can. So let’s all try to rise above our own crises, however deep and wide, and live above the line of selfishness. God will be pleased and Grace Church will thrive for His glory.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

P.S. Please pray for all my friends who are struggling at this time and for the church in Macapa as the people rally to respond to so many needs around them as a result of the fire.