Editor’s Letter August 2012

Rick Warren’s 2002 best seller, The Purpose Driven Life, has been translated into 56 languages and has sold more than 30 million copies. Regardless of your opinion on Saddleback Church or Pastor Rick’s theology, you have to agree that the wide appeal of the book says something about a deep human need and a heart’s desire to live our days on this earth with purpose and meaning. It is also clear that the search for the answer to “Why am I here?” is not peculiar to one class, one gender, or one age group…or even one religion.

I recently ran across an article on Christianity.com that told the story of Francis Schaeffer’s relentless quest to connect the dots between Biblical promises, the finished work of Christ in the lives of believers, and life in the present (i.e. the flesh). In case you don’t know, Schaeffer was an American Evangelical theologian, philosopher, and a Protestant minister who founded the renowned L’Abri community in Switzerland. Schaeffer stressed in all of his writings that the Christian life is about much more than conversion. Authentic Christian faith is a very relevant moment-by-moment reality that includes living in the here and now out of the grace of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. That probably sounds very “wordy,” but it describes something that I just love to run across in the lives of some Believers—people who live large because they serve a very real and present God whose plans are so individualized that He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7) and has gifted us in unique ways to bring joy and blessing to ourselves, to others, and most of all, to God our Father. Those Believers exude a confidence in Him, in His sovereignty, and in His certain promise to work all things to good purpose in the lives of those who love Him and are “called” according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28). Do you think the “called according to His purpose” involves a Christian worldview where God, our Father is indeed writing the narrative, that we are each one unique and open to His plan for us? Remember the line in Chariots of Fire when Eric Liddell says, “He made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” We are never more fully alive than when we are using the gifts God gave us, offering them back to Him as an act of worship, and so often experiencing the inexplicable joy of touchingothers with that God-given and God-honoring gift.

Lynn Fitch, Mississippi’s State Treasurer, exemplifies this sort of stewardship. Your humble editor, who does not do numbers in any shape, form, or fashion, is in complete awe of this gracious lady who chose a career path recognizing that God had given her a certain skill set and an unusual passion for public service, a courageous mettle of armor, and then opened what would seem an odd combination of doors to place her in the marketplace touching lives and unashamedly explaining herself by a commitment to God and to her family. Keep reading. We have such an array of the “called” this month. In “Salt and Light” we feature the Lantern Medical Clinic in Pearl where gifted healthcare professionals donate their time to care for deserving, hard working, and uninsured families. This clinic provides spiritual resources along with medical care.

Do not miss “Living My Call” and read about a family who puts a whole new spin on the term “ministry.” God calls us all to different vocations, and Rita and Clayley Webster have been called to serve great food and pray over their customers. Read about C’Paw’s, and then, by all means, go sample their cuisine and be blessed! Do not miss our special feature on Goodwill Industries that holds its annual fund-raiser during August and also celebrates the concept of voluntarism in our entire metro area. I am very partial to Goodwill Industries after serving six years on its board, and I am eager for every person who tends to become cynical over the ‘welfare’ mentality of today’s culture to read about Goodwill and see what a totally opposite approach they take to giving others a “leg up” rather than a “hand out.” Please read the article and then go to the internet and learn more. It is so easy to do something meaningful by helping Goodwill continue its work.

As always, MCL is a smorgasbord of information. It never ceases to amaze me how it all comes together and there is always a central theme even when we don’t start out with a lot of structure. In my old age with so many decades of just plain living, I realize with a fresh and authentic awareness the total cohesiveness of the Gospel. I love the fact that our God is Immanuel—God WITH us. He is indeed involved, aware, and simply THERE every day and in every way.