God is at Work

God is at Work

            One of the benefits of being a Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) Campus Minister years ago was receiving training for that ministry ministry.  Mark Lowery and James “Bebo” Elkin laid the foundations for the philosophy of ministry for the PCA’s campus ministry and I was privileged to sit under their teaching for a number of years.

            We learned that one of the presuppositions for ministry that undergirds any work, including ours at HLPC, is that “God is at work.” What does that mean?  We believe that God is active and always has been.  By His Word and Spirit, God is changing hearts and lives.  He is saving for Himself a people.  He is sanctifying them, and making them more like His Son.  As it says in Philippians 1:6, And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  The Lord is fulfilling His purposes in His people. God is at work building and establishing His Church as Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 …I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  As we’ve noted many times, the gates of a city were for defense.  Jesus speaks of the church’s advance and ultimate triumph in this passage.

            That said, it’s easy to be discouraged by looking at the church in the United States.  A growing segment of our society identifies themselves as “nones” when asked for religious affiliation.  Secularism is on the rise.  Religious freedom is under threat when it comes to living out our Biblical convictions, particularly in regard to Biblical definitions of marriage, sexuality, and the treatment of the unborn. 

            This doesn’t mean God has abandoned the church in the United States.  He is always at work.  He’s always regenerating and preserving a people. Who knows, but if current events are serving to diminish “cultural Christianity” and will foster deeper commitment among believers here in the United States?

            Also, we need to note that God is at work around the globe.  It’s easy to be focused on our own culture and not see what God is doing in other places.  I was very encouraged to attend the fundraising banquet for Seminario Reformado Latinoamericano (SRL) last week.  In English, this translates as Reformed Seminary in Latin America.  This is a ministry supported by HLPC that trains indigenous pastors in Latin America.  Noe Accosta is the founder and President of SRL.  I’ve had the privilege of teaching for SRL twice in Colombia and have been recently asked to serve on the board of trustees. 

            God is using this ministry to bring the truths of the gospel to Latin America. Opportunities are flourishing to train pastors and these men are then planting and pastoring gospel centered churches.  This is happening in countries like Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba and other nations. You can learn more about SRL at www.srlseminary.org

            God is indeed at work.  We can remain encouraged that He is on His throne.  Let us not lose heart in our own lives, our own families, and in our ministry here at HLPC.  He is faithful to His own purposes.  Let’s pray for SRL and for our own ministry that the Lord would give us glimpses of how He is drawing people to Himself, strengthening His church, and expanding His kingdom.  Let’s pray that He will be pleased to use HLPC in a mighty way to that end.

Paul Bankson
pbankson@gmail.com

Paul was born and raised in Birmingham, AL and graduated from Auburn University in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration. It was at Auburn that he met his wife, Connie. They were married in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and moved to Jackson, MS where he attended Reformed Theological Seminary graduating with a Master of Divinity in 1991. Upon graduation, Paul served as a Campus Minister with RUF, the campus ministry of the PCA, at Tennessee-Martin where the Banksons lived for 5 years. They moved to Macon, GA in 1996 to work with RUF at Mercer University and then Paul joined the pastoral staff at First Presbyterian Church of Macon as an Assistant Pastor in 1999. In 2004, Paul and his family moved to Warner Robins where he served as a church planter and then organizing Pastor of Houston Lake Presbyterian Church. In December 2014 Paul completed a Doctor of Ministry degree through Reformed Theological Seminary of Orlando. Paul and Connie have three sons, Andrew (23), Stephen (20), and Matthew (15). Paul enjoys grilling, camping with his family, and Auburn sports (War Eagle!).