Fourth of July

For several years while I was a child and teenager, my Dad’s extended family and friends gathered every Fourth of July at a remote spot on Lake Greeson.  We called it “the Fourth of July point.” We spent the day together. 

I can still take you to that exact spot today.  Papa and Granny Wright, aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins, babies, children, teens, and old folks gathered together.  The Wright’s, Grant’s, Bright’s, McGrew’s, Tidwell’s, and also the Sorrel’s, a family who were close friends with us all came.  

We brought ski boats, picnic baskets, iced soft drinks, playpens, lawn chairs, and a relaxed attitude.  We ate, swam, skied, sunburned, and played practical jokes on each other.  Cousin A.G. (Alan George) jerked away the lawn chair my pregnant Mom was about to sit in.  She hit the ground hard.  BAD practical joke!!!  Anyway …

We experienced a togetherness I sense few families understand in today’s culture.  We could be who we were with no pretense.  We were family.  To my knowledge, no one brought an alcoholic beverage.  Just pure fun for a day!

“Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?”  1 Corinthians 3:16

The New Testament word for ‘temple’ or ‘sanctuary’ was used of the temple at Jerusalem, but only of the sacred edifice or sanctuary itself, consisting of the Holy place and the Holy of Holies.

The ‘you yourselves’ in this verse is plural.  Paul is referring to a GROUP of believers, a congregation, a called-out body of saved people.

WE (plural) are the temple of the Spirit of God!  Sermons I heard over the years just referred to ME being a temple of God’s Spirit.  This is true.  But the first meaning of the verse is in reference to US.  Jesus taught us in His model prayer, to pray in the plural, it begins, “Our Father…”

I sense at Balboa Baptist this kind of family closeness similar to that of many years ago in my own extended family.  Many of you have extended family many miles away.  This church is your regular “Fourth of July get-together.” This congregation is your extended family.  You mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve. It is a privilege to be your pastor.

Billie Sue and I are looking forward to our first Sunday School picnic at Lake Balboa!  Barbeque!  Yummy.

Our Father, thank-you for the unique fellowship you give to us as believers.  Thank-you for indwelling US. Please protect our fellowship from conflict that will result in harm. Enable us to love each other, even in the differences we have with each other which every family experiences sooner or later.  Forgive US OUR trespasses as WE forgive those who trespass against US.  Father, thank-you for adopting US into Your family. 

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Pastor Denny

Pastor, Husband, Father, PawPa

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