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encouragement from steve wise

Thursday, April 29 2021

Dear Friends, 

“Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

- Hebrews 12:1-3

On April 20th, we celebrated the life and resurrection of Kitty Wilson. Kitty and her husband Paul, who passed away in 2000, were charter members of Westminster. They were leaders in this body of believers from the time our forebearers began worshipping at Spartanburg High School (now McCracken Middle School). Kitty played piano for their services and for the children in Sunday School – going from classroom to classroom leading their singing. Paul played an important role in the building of our present sanctuary and in the beautiful stain glass window. They did this as they raised their son (Paul) and two daughters (Jane & Barbara) and did their jobs (Paul worked for Milliken and Kitty taught science in District 7). They were faithful people, deeply rooted in Scripture with an abiding faith in Jesus, and a deep joy they shared with others. They ran their race and passed the baton on to others who would run the next leg. I am grateful to be a part of this church they helped establish and grow. They are now part of that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on as we run our race. 

As I think of them and read these words in the letter to the Hebrews, I am encouraged to run with endurance despite internal and external obstacles and entanglements. I am challenged to name those obstacles and “the sin” that hinder my progress and ultimately drain me of needed energy. I am also encouraged to look to Jesus – the source of faith, the object of faith, and the One who will complete and mature my faith. So often, my attention gets diverted or distracted by other things. Finally, it reminds me that we are the center of Jesus’ attention as He ran His race. We are the joy that was before Him as He despised the cross, endured its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God the Father. We are His joy and He is dying to give us joy. 

As we round into spring and the multitude of distractions and demands on our time and attention, how are we running the race set before us? What are the obstacles and sin that hinder and hurt us? What are the distractions that keep our eyes off of Jesus? Do we know and understand that we are Jesus’ joy? Do we realize Jesus’ desire is to give us His joy? 

News:

  • The staff and session are working diligently to continue to move forward with our re-opening. It has been great to see growing numbers in our worship service and the resumption of several of our small groups and Adult Bible Studies on Sunday mornings.
  • We will celebrate together on May 23rd with a picnic – I hope you will make it a point to be part of worship and our lunch that day.
  • This summer we will continue our series looking at the Stories of Jesus.  
  • Coming in the Fall – an opportunity to dive into the study of the Bible in multiple ways as individuals and as a church. Details will be forthcoming but we are excited about this adventure together. 

Your friend,

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 03:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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