Your Life Verse

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

This has become my life verse. It is a comfort when things go wrong. It is an inspiration when I feel small and insignificant. It is a lens for me to understand both my past and my future.

This past year, one of my congregations bought and moved into a different kind of space for worship and ministry. It was originally built to be a funeral home and then renovated into a restaurant/bar. The building has been known in recent years as The Spur.

As we gathered and prayed in the main dining room, looking for God’s wisdom and direction as to whether we should purchase it as our new home, we considered these verses:

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24 – 25).

On the one hand it seemed cute that we could find verses that talked abut The Spur. However, as we prayed and meditated, these verses seemed to come alive to us and began to speak into our hearts and minds about ministry in this new place. It inspired us to call the building, “the Spur youth and family ministry centre.”

A last example concerns my own call to ministry and the type of pastor I believe I have been formed to be. I remember sharing this with my peers and counsellors at our guidance conference and having all this affirmed by one counsellor who said she almost could have predicted my ministry scripture.

“One of the two who heard John speak and followed [Jesus] was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’” (John 1:40 – 41).

It is for me an understanding that the primary task of the gospel is to share the gospel. These verses refocus me, energize my ministry and allow me to find direction and purpose.

I share all this to encourage you. Do you have a scripture for your life, for your ministry and for your congregations? If not, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to one.

I would go further. If you serve on a committee or are part of a choir or praise team then find a scripture.

The next time you start a project, a trip or a year, why not spend the time to connect to a verse that will bring God’s word into the core of all you do?

Published in The Presbyterian Record on February 1, 2015.