Fairly Spiritual: Celebrating 8 years of grace and love

It is truly a humbling privilege to be the senior pastor of Evergreen Foursquare Church.

Eight years ago to this week we launched our first service in Auburn. Since that day, we have been faithfully trying to bring the good news of Christ to the world. We believe our congregation exists as a church without walls. It is not our goal to build a big church. Rather, we simply want to advance God’s love and grace.

We’ve been transformed by the love and acceptance of Christ. We’ve been made new by the goodness of God. Marriages have been restored, families have been rescued, and lives have been made new. Most importantly, we’ve experienced Christ’s love.

I am well aware I have many deficiencies as a person and as a pastor. I like to talk, but I’m not a great listener. I enjoy preaching and teaching, but I’m not real comfortable just hanging out. I’m an introvert with an outgoing persona. I like to cast vision, but I don’t like to wait around for the seed to take root and grow. I’m also very insecure and easily hurt. All of these deficits could keep me from being a worthwhile pastor.

Fortunately, I do have some strengths. My greatest strength is my belief in God’s calling. I know I have been called to live my life for Christ. Regardless of the title or the paycheck, I will be serving God until the day I die.

Even if my work is imperfect, it is still work done for God. It is work that overflows from my love affair with God. It is out of God’s pleasure I minister.

Evergreen Church is a faith endeavor rooted in God’s love, grace and presence. I believe God is actively pursuing relationship with His creation. When we make room for God’s presence, God reveals himself in a mighty way. The most powerful way for any of us to experience God is for us to know and walk in the love of Christ. Consequently, I have tried to pastor a church that is first and foremost loving.

Almost everything can be counterfeited. Everything except love. People can whirl themselves up in a frenzy of spiritual exuberance and pious religiosity. They can claim miraculous powers and insights. Yet if they don’t have love, it’s absolutely nothing. The simple truth is real love cannot be faked. At least not for eight years.

Eventually, people will see you for who you are. They see the king with no clothes, they see the control freak, the religious tyrant, the judgmental spirit, the angry prophet. Even if our words are true, they can see the deceptive motivations that can lurk behind seemingly benign religious comments and activities.

With this in mind, we have tried our best to be a loving church. I often tell my church that reasonable people can disagree about all sorts of important issues. Even so, there is no excuse for being a jerk. Love must take preeminence. When love becomes a secondary value, it ceases being love.

Doing my best

I’ve made many mistakes in the last eight years. There are many people I could have loved better. Even so, I’ve tried my best to both forgive and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes the best way I know how to show love is to simply say I’m sorry. In many ways I lead Evergreen Church through my weakness as much as my strength. The best example I can set is one of repentance, brokenness and a willingness to grow.

This Sunday, Evergreen Foursquare Church is celebrating its eighth anniversary in Auburn. The last eight years have been a genuine grace gift. We are truly thankful God has used Evergreen Church to advance his loving kingdom.

With this in mind, we want to invite all of our long time friends to come and give us a visit. If Evergreen has touched your life, then please come this Sunday to our 10 a.m. service at the Auburn Riverside High School theater. Come so we can thank you. Whether it’s been a sermon, a column, or just a smile, we want you to come and celebrate eight years of God’s gracious provision.

One last thing. I want every Christian in Auburn to know I genuinely respect your calling and pray for God’s best in the congregation you so diligently serve and love. May God bless the Church in Auburn. May he bring revival to all of us. Amen.

Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or doug@fairlyspiritual.org.