Posted by Dr. Wade Smith on October 29, 2014
“For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5
On October 27, 1889 eleven charter members formed the “First Baptist Church of Christ” in Norman. Four years later the church received her “patent” from the Oklahoma Territory for the purpose of “disseminating the word of God and of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…and to hold, sell, and convey real estate,” Those early members committed themselves to both propositions: building a faith community around the word of God and completing their first church building at the corner of Comanche and Webster. One hundred and twenty five years later, the people of First Baptist continue to love God, serve Norman, and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ from that same location. This weekend First Baptist will celebrate the generations. We will welcome former ministers and church members, as well as current members, friends, and the Norman community to our celebration.
In the midst of the deadlines, struggles, and the brokenness of life, have you found time to celebrate? There is always a reason not to celebrate. But, at some point, no matter how large or small, we need to celebrate. Celebration is a part of life and when we do not practice regular seasons of celebration our lives are diminished.
The Psalmist reminds us that we always have a reason to celebrate. He declares that the “Lord is good,” and then identifies two characteristics of God’s goodness: His lovingkindness and His faithfulness. The Bible continually reveals God as loving, compassionate, forgiving, and gracious toward His covenant people. Through Jesus, the New Testament invites all to enter into this covenant relationship of love. John writes (1 John 4) that God is love and there is no fear in love. Interesting! How many of us understand the “love” relationships we have (even our relationship with God) in terms of fear? Instead, let us celebrate a good God, who loves us unconditionally and perfects His love in us apart from fear.
Equally remarkable and worth celebrating is God’s faithfulness. He has proven His faithfulness across the generations. And, because God has been faithful in the past, we can be confident that He will be faithful today and tomorrow. When we break covenant with God, He practices faithfulness with us. He is the faithful, longing Father, watching for the return of His prodigals, eager to greet and welcome us home. Unfortunately, many of us project our unfaithfulness upon God. We think that because we are unfaithful that God must be unfaithful. Thank God that He is not like us.
In preparing for First Baptist’s 125th celebration, I have been blessed to read histories of the church. There are great stories to tell and much to celebrate as we look to the past. But mostly, we will celebrate a good God, who is loving and faithful to all generations, and we will recommit ourselves to being good, loving, and faithful as we serve our community and disseminate the Good News.
I hope that you will find reason to celebrate this weekend and in your celebration recommit yourself to a life worthy of a good God.