My dear son,
I realize you will be serving Christ in a world far different than the one where I was trained and first released into ministry. Your methods, your dress, your vocabulary, the technologies you use and even the problems you face may have little in common with the world I knew, or even the world in which we both minister today. You will be a faithful servant of Christ not because you mimic my words or imitate my ministry style, but because you live out the timeless values we share – values that come to us from the Word of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So while I still have the opportunity, I want to take a few minutes to summarize in writing the values and life lessons I have attempted to live out before you and most want to pass on to you…
The first thing I want to make sure you have caught from me is that you need to put the practice of Loving God and Loving Others into action. Don’t let these be phrases that easily roll off your tongue and yet are far removed from your heart and actions. It has been my prayer that you have clearly seen these lived out in my life. Wanting more to love God and Others, than my desires, my interests, and myself. And when you fail in loving God and others, remember that we have a forgiving Father and remember the example our Lord has set for us. Loving us when we didn’t deserve it. Providing forgiveness when He didn’t need to, but because of His love, He lavished this upon you and me. So forgive as we have been forgiven.
When you face trials don’t lose heart knowing that He is faithful and will ultimately bring you through the trials and temptations. Remember Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Just as you have seen God be faithful to me in my life, he will in yours. Just as He is allowing me to finish strong in His grace, He will do the same in you. Don’t lose heart. Keep your focus on Him and His Word. Hold to the truth and don’t let anyone cause you to stray from it says. Our enemy the devil desires to distract and cause you confusion. Don’t let the earthly distractions keep you from your true focus, but be wise because our enemy is cunning. He will look for your areas of weakness and try to exploit them. Never consider yourself above a sin or certain transgression, remember the deceitfulness of our hearts.
Preach the Gospel:
When you wake up in the morning and before you put your head down to rest at night. Preach the Gospel to yourself. Remember that you are daily in need of our loving Saviors grace and mercy. It is never by your good deeds that He has chosen to love and forgive you. It is His gift to us, and what a gift, what a joy, what a hope. Then as you preach the truth of the gospel to yourself let it be your passion to share it with others around you who are in need of the same grace and mercy. Remember that He takes dead men and brings them back to life. So preach it out of love and with a heart of thankfulness and not superiority. Don’t forget our Savior’s High Priestly Pray, where he prayed for you to be in the world but not of it so that the light of the gospel would go forth. So preach with the knowledge that you are never alone! Let the results rest in His hands but be faithful in doing all you can to make sure the message is clear and often.
So, even though there is more I could share, please hold these most close to your heart; Stand Firm, Keep Focus and Preach the Gospel.