Thoughts from
Jim Teague
FPCE director of communications.

I have always been a late bloomer, and the same has been true in my growth as a believer in Jesus. When my friend Larry first led me to give my life to Jesus Christ in college, the initial result was me living in a way that shined with the joy of knowing God’s love for me but without offering much evidence when it came to sanctification or redemption.

Truth be told, the greatest mistakes of my life (sinful acts, really) came in the first few years of my life as a Christian. If you were a “fruit inspector” any evidence of the fruit of the spirit in my life was somewhat stunted. Going off Paul’s list of fruitful attributes in Galatians 5:22-23, I was bubbling over with love, joy, peace, patience (sometimes), kindness, generosity, and gentleness. However, when it came to faithfulness and self-control, I wasn’t displaying much in the way of a changed life.

I was “all in” when it came to enjoying the fringe benefits of a life of faith, but much less invested in the process of becoming more like Jesus. I think if you asked most of my friends back then, they would of chosen “childish” as more accurate descriptor of me over the “Christlike” witness I would have been better off pursuing.

This week, Rev. Dr. Tassie Green continues her teaching series from the book of 1 John. Where last week she invited us to consider all the ways we might “Love God,” this week she will draw from 1 John 3:1-7 as she exhorts us to “Know God.”

1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when hea]”>[a] is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

4 Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

Did you notice how John defines our status in relation to God the Father? We’re children! Hooray for childishness!

But wait. John isn’t finished. While on more than one occasion he refers to us as “children” or even “little ones” he isn’t calling us to conduct ourselves in a way that displays immaturity. No, ultimately, Paul is calling us to “doing what is righteous.”

Don’t get me wrong. We have always been and will always be saved by grace through faith. Obedience does not result in salvation. Rather, it is evidence of it.

As I mentioned before, I have always been a late bloomer/slow learner. In junior high school, while on the football team, I was so small compared to everyone else that I had to go out and order special smaller shoulder pads, football pants, and a helmet before I was allowed to play. (Eventually, I decided that getting run over by behemoths was not my idea of a good time and switched to soccer.)

In much the same way as my football experience began, I started out in faith taking my doses of Bible study and discipleship in tiny sips rather than big bites.

I would stress that I don’t recommend going about starting your walk with Jesus in this way. Much as Paul is saying, I would suggest “all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” It just makes life better. Believe me. I know from experience.

This Sunday we will be taking our worship service outside into the parking lot. I would strongly encourage as many of you as possible to come and take part. We hope to be a witness to our neighbors of the joy Jesus Christ brings, and then offer some hospitality through the Deacons’ Hot Dog Social, which will take place on the front lawn immediately afterwards.

The FPCE Youth will also be selling snow cones to anyone who wishes to make a cash donation towards their upcoming mission trip to Oklahoma City. Any free will offering will be accepted, and, of course, no one will be turned away empty-handed.

The forecast looks good (sunny and cool), and I hope to see our entire church family out in force Sunday morning!


Jim Teague
FPCE director of communications

Photo: Adobe Stock image 207703865