Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: https://sothrichfield.podbean.com
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (ESV)
Final Instructions and Benediction
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 25 Brothers, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. 27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Of the various commands in this passage, what is most relevant to our congregation?
Faithful Jesus, I thank You for walking alongside Shepherd of the Hills for the past few years. I thank You for Pastor Doug, the staff, leaders, volunteers, and faithful who worked hard to encourage each other between pastors. I thank You for sending us Pastor Mike at just the right time. You knew that we would be facing this crisis and that would he lead us in the midst of a pandemic. As our new pastor, this must be a hard time for him as well. Please bless him, give him guidance. Let him know how much he is appreciated and respected. Help us as a congregation to continue to consider the needs of each other. Everyone is under stress. Let us be kind and patient with each other and encourage anyone who feels left out as we are attentive to our individual needs. Help us to not complain about all that is not right, but instead actively care for the weak, remain thankful for the ways we are still able to be connected, and rejoice that Your Spirit is still working in and through our congregation. Lord, let us continually lift up prayers for each other and be thankful for all blessings we have received in the past and trust You for the future. Help us to stay true to Your Word and be focused on things of the Spirit instead of worldly things so that our congregation continues to be led by the Spirit to do Your will. We wait patiently for when we can worship and praise You together again. Make us stronger as the result of this trial. You are faithful in all things. Amen