“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Phil. 1:3-6 NIV
I’ve had some opportunity this past week to be very blessed as I’ve reflected on relationships that God has allowed me to have in my life. It’s almost overwhelming when I stop and consider all the folks that God has brought into my life at various points—people I’ve ministered to and with, family and friends who have supported various aspects of ministry that I’ve been involved with, and those who have added so much to my own life.
I can relate to Paul as he writes to the church in Philippi about how he thanks God every time he remembers them. There are so many people in my life who bring that kind of thought to my mind as well as a smile to my face. As I think of them, and how our paths crossed, I am happy to bring them once again to the Father’s throne, asking Him to bless them and watch over them and for Him to continue to make Himself known to them.
I thought of those who helped support my recent trip to South Sudan, who offered to pray or helped me to raise the funds needed to go. I thank God for every one of them. They were a part of an amazing trip where I saw God at work as we ministered to more than 900 people, making gospel presentations to all of them, and knowing that each was seen by a medical professional to help improve their health in some way. 45 of those who heard the gospel made a profession of faith in Christ. Many others were renewed in their faith as they recommitted their lives to Christ and returned to church.
While in South Sudan, I was given an opportunity to speak at a retreat for young men that was going on at the same time while we were there, and in the process of that opportunity to preach, I was able to greet and encourage a man who had been my translator on two previous trips, and another who had been placed as a pastor in a church I had helped to plant. It was exciting to renew those friendships, and catch up with where they were now in ministry.
On the long journey home, we landed in Atlanta, (the next to the last stop on the way home) only to learn that our flight had been cancelled and due to the number of weather related flights cancelled, that there were no rooms to be had in the Atlanta area that evening. I posted an update on Facebook relating our dilemma, and got a response from someone that folks here might remember, Alyson Bomberger, now Alyson Nagle. She and her husband and family lived in the Atlanta area, and were willing to drive to the airport, pick up myself and the two ladies traveling with me at that point who were also stranded at the airport, host us for the night, and take us back to the airport in the morning. Who, but God could take a long difficult day of travel and turn it into such a grand blessing?
Now that I was getting home a day late, and at a time that Nancy would not be available to pick me up, I had no anxiety at all about getting home from the airport, as I knew I would only have to make a call or two to find someone from the church here who could help me get home from the airport. Sure enough, I was able to reach Glenn, and he gladly met me and brought me home.
Then as I made my breakfast Friday morning before heading into the office, I listened to Mark Kell preach the message from last Sunday’s service as he filled the pulpit for me. As I think back on these and many other ways that I have been blessed by connections God has allowed me to make through the years, I can only echo the words of the apostle Paul once again. “I thank my God every time I remember you…because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
By His Grace Alone, and with a heart full of gratitude,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen