“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” (Ephesians 1:16–18, ESV)
A year ago today my family was loaded up (including Sparkle our rabbit) into our minivan with Joe and Grace Peper chasing us from behind in my old "Merc" leaving the relative comforts of my in-laws and venturing into the unknown of Plymouth, Michigan. A year ago last Sunday the membership of two churches, Woodside Bible Church and Plymouth Baptist both voted to become one church and to launch a new campus of Woodside Bible. What an amazing year it has been.
Lately, as I have read Ephesians I have felt a sense of unity with Paul in how he thinks of the church; with gratitude. I am so thankful for each of you at Woodside. But Paul also couples his gratitude of the church to the Lord with a request for the church. He prays that the Father would open the eyes of the hearts of the church to see and know the hope to which they have been called. Effectively, he prays that the church would have a clear vision of how incredibly great, in Christ, our future will be.
So how do we have any clue about how great the future will be for us? That’s what Paul tells us he is praying for in the first part of this passage. That the Father would give us a view of his glory, the Son’s authority, and the Spirit’s wisdom and that beyond just knowing these attributes about God we would really know, or maybe better said experience, who he is for us. Paul wants us today to know how great our tomorrow will be by the reality of knowing the kindness and love and grace that God has for us.
You may have heard me, here or there, say something to the effect of “in Christ our best days are in front of us.” That is absolutely true because of what Jesus has accomplished for us. He endured a lifetime looking forward to his future death so that we might, in this lifetime look forward to future life with him. And because of what he has purchased for us, all the best days lie in front of us, even if they are difficult day, because of the hope we have in Christ.
So I am praying that whatever the Sovereign Lord holds in his hand for each of us, and Woodside Bible Church, this next year that we would know and experience the hope to which he has called us. I want our eyes to be open to see God at work and his grace and mercy moving powerfully among us and through us to the world. Our future is incredibly bright!
Sunday Gathered Worship!
This Sunday will mark for us the one-year anniversary (or birthday) of Woodside Bible Church’s Plymouth Campus! So we will sing, and give thanks, and worship God as we usually do. Here’s what we will be singing, which you can listen to this weekend via Spotify.
- Mighty Warrior
- Grace So Glorious
- Lamb of God
- It is Well With My Soul
- Jesus, Thank You
Our Senior Pastor, Doug Schmidt will also be preaching this Sunday as we look forward to a new year.
Ice Fest Activities
This weekend is also the annual Plymouth Ice Festival in downtown Plymouth. Tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday we will be making our parking lot available as well as a free shuttle into downtown to serve and bless anyone who is attending the festival. We’d love to have you serve with us on Friday evening or Saturday as we want to be as hospitable and welcoming to anyone who comes. Please let me know if you can serve for a few hours on Friday or Saturday.
Also — be sure to come out on Saturday at 4pm as we host the “Ice Fest Movie Night” for everyone. We’ll be showing the movie Frozen and there will be plenty of popcorn and hot chocolate. Even if you don’t have children, come and join us for the sake of shared life together! It’s going to be a lot of fun to just gather together and have a great time! Of course invite your friends, neighbors, family members, grandkids, coworkers, worst enemies, whoever else out to join us. We’re going to have a great time and this is an easy way, low-key way to introduce someone to Woodside. Perhaps we will be able to experience more of the hope to which we are called as we share life and the goodness of God together.
I am thankful and praying for you this week! Because of Christ our best days are ahead.