Sunday evening we enjoyed our first-of-the-season “Church on the River.” The weather was perfect. The cotton candy clouds dotting the skies above were delightful, complete with high-soaring birds – almost as if on cue after Sunday morning’s sermon on Creation Day 5. And the cool breeze off the river offered not only splendid relief from summer heat – but also a vivid reminder of who makes the seasons change. This is the God whom we worship.

As I looked out upon a sea of bright green FBC shirts emblazoned with the word “Servant,” I thought about what it means for us to serve our city in the name of Christ. The more we work “in the city,” the more we will encounter the idol of secularism – as well as the symptoms of secularism in the form of lifestyles which resemble a post-Christian culture. As evangelicals, we run the risk of looking very weird in the eyes of others, but we should view this more as opportunity than as obstacle.

Be a servant.

You and I aren’t really “home” this side of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). But – as long as we’re here – we’re to serve. Instead of getting trapped by all of the allures and deceptions of this world, we serve by setting others free. We do this by loving them into the eternal city that is to come (Hebrews 13:14). That’s right. We serve by love.

Be a servant.

Don’t let yourself be sidelined for such a time as this! Organized religion may be viewed with suspicion, but spirituality is not. So here’s our chance to recognize the emerging spirituality of the Western world, and – like Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-31) – to inject clear gospel truth into the assorted mayhem.

Be a servant.

We must not be afraid of our city, or stand back in judgment. Remember Daniel and his friends. It is often God’s call upon our lives that we navigate a non-Christian setting while maintaining a missional witness for our Lord Jesus Christ. Idolatry and sin are hard to stomach at times, but we must remember that from which our Savior has rescued us. We must put on His garments of humility and grace.

Be a servant.

The overriding conviction that WE SERVE BY LOVE is the heart of The Fellowship: Downtown (our campus at 1000 Broadway). It’s also the heart of our 2890 Broadway campus, but the downtown campus puts us closer to the heart of our city. You see, you and I are to be seekers of “shalom” (Hebrew for “peace”) for all of Paducah, and that means praying hard and working hard so that others may delight with us in our Sovereign Creator – who still welcomes with open arms! That’s what I saw happening Sunday night. Just remember that mighty rivers were once just a trickle.

Be a servant.riverfrontfellowship

I want to encourage you to make some new friends outside your comfort zone. Real relationships are the most winsome platform for incarnational outreach. By “incarnational” I mean that you and I can “embody” Christ as we serve in the real world as His hands and feet. Like Nehemiah, whom we studied recently, we have a choice to make. Will we choose the ease of a comfortable way of life, or the obedience of a missional way of life? In Nehemiah’s case he had to travel a thousand miles to answer God’s call. I’m asking you to consider a much shorter journey.

Be a servant.

Is Christ calling you to serve? Go for it! Do the strange thing! Love ‘til it hurts!

Be a servant.

Thank you, Pastor Russ – along with your entire leadership team. You served Paducah well.

And if any of you who are reading the blog missed out on the riverfront worship Sunday evening, it’s not too late to join in. Upcoming opportunities for “Church on the River” are Sunday, September 18 and Sunday, October 16 – with both events beginning at 5:00 p.m. Save those dates on your calendar.


Pastor Charles 

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