Eternity Church Morwell has been around since the 1960's! And in that time there have been name changes, location changes, building renovations, many faces come and go, different pastors and leaders and so much more. Some current members have been in the church for more than 30 years! Faithfully serving God and the local community. One thing I've noticed is that each leader has individually had a unique impact during their time in leadership. Looking back, God has done some amazing things here and He has built his people up by using many different messengers with their different styles, skills and passion. They each have brought something unique and the church has benefited immensely.
When doing some light research about where the church has come from, I started to reflect upon my own journey over the many years. I can see how the different leaders have influenced my life and how God has worked through many people (whether they know it or not) for my good.
But in reflection, I could see times where my leaders and spiritual mentors have created hurt in my life. Now, this is a subject that is spoken about a lot at times, but I write this not as an attempt to criticise, but to hopefully empower people to move beyond their past and into a much brighter and blessed future that is within their grasp.
So when praying about this God showed me that in my life, these influential people (some family, some friends, some leaders) have inputted two things into my life;
Strength - through their hours of encouragement and building up, speaking life into me and guiding me through important decisions and understanding, counselling and hearing me out, praying for me and investing emotional and physical resource into me.
Scars - times when they have lashed out, missed a significant moment in my life (which they were probably unaware), said things out of frustration or from their own emotional dealings, given advice that seemed offensive and unrelatable, shown disregard to my emotional state, neglectful.
These are things that many people may have experienced from a range of people in their lives, both the positive and the negative. I know that when speaking to people in my time in Morwell, people have shown glimpses of how their scars are holding them back from fully grasping the future.
When seeking God about this in my own life, I realised that the scars that had once been a burden for me had actually become my strength. The times when I had been mistreated were no longer memories filled with bitterness but were now opportunities to relate to others. I can honestly say that my scars have become my strength. They are not crippling or anywhere near a limp in my walk. They are examples of how Christ has healed me after I had chosen to forgive. Paul boasts of the persecution he faced and continued to face at the time of his writings. His confidence and self-image was anchored in the unshakable. He knew who he was in Christ. What an example!
Once I had forgiven these people in my life, God opened my eyes to see that the hurts that have been inflicted were not a reflection of my character but were often a miscommunication or more often an indication of the emotional state (sometimes brokenness) of the other person. Where once my heart may have been filled with anger or spite, it is filled with empathy and love! I can honestly say that I love dearly all those that have influenced my life and my walk with Christ (whether I loved it or hated it at the time). God's grace abounds in my life, so why should I hold back from pouring it out?
I honour those that have gone before me here at Eternity Church, and in my own personal walk with Christ. You have done a service for the good of the Kingdom of God, and we intend to stand upon the shoulders of those who have gone before us and push further into the things that He has in store.
Senior Pastor at Eternity Church.