There’s quite a bit that I want to say about Sunday’s sermon, so let’s just get right to it.
- Let’s start with things that need some clarification:
- In one point of my sermon, I mentioned that some believe this COVID-19 thing is a hoax. That needs to be cleaned up a bit. Here’s my concern and here’s what I meant to say…regardless of where you stand on government overreaction to this, we simply have to be careful with our words. When I see on social media that some are saying this is a “hoax”, it fits in the categories of people who think that landing on the moon in 1969 and the 9-11 attacks were fake. I realize that this is probably not what people are saying, but I think we’ve got to be careful with our words. There are people who are dying from this and there are loved ones who are dealing with the death of their family members or friends. We MUST be compassionate and caring to those who are in these situations. I don’t think any of us would want to look a son or daughter in the face who lost one of their parents from this and tell them we thought it was a hoax. My point is…let’s be careful and gracious with our words.
- The other piece that I’m not sure was as clear as it needed to be was the association with non-Christians. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this and some things have really stirred me:
- Ask yourself, what are the ‘normal’ associations with people in your life and how do normal associations happen? Does it happen by you yelling at someone? Or by you challenging them on every thing they do? Or does it happen by normal, conversation? Or an invitation into your life and world (maybe for coffee, a handshake, or a kind greeting). This is what Paul is talking about in our associations with non-Christians.
- But those associations are so that we might demonstrate and declare Jesus to them. However (and this is just me talking), I think the best way to do that, is through normal friendships and interaction. Here’s why: this allows a person to “see” and “hear” a clear presentation of the gospel through life and lips.
- With that said, I’m not a big street preaching guy, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s ineffective. As a matter of fact, I “cut my teeth” in ministry doing street evangelism. Did it for 6 years in downtown Dallas. So, I can say what my strengths are and I have “been there and done that”. But, I believe in a “holistic” view of evangelism…meaning that there’s “many ways to skin a cat” and street evangelism and relational evangelism are two ways of getting it done. However, I think attitude, motivation, and tone all matter to our gospel witness. This quote by David Prior really sums up what I’m thinking: “Perhaps the most damaging result of being a church without any distinctiveness is that we resort to a hard judgmentalism towards unbelievers, thus adding a spoken parody of the gospel to our practical denial of its power to make our own lives at all different. We stand on one side of the yawning chasm between the church and the world, and we proclaim loud and clear, ‘How wicked you are!’”
- Now, one point of the sermon that I didn’t have time to elaborate on, was Paul’s point of “not associating” with a so-called brother/sister who continues to live in rebellious, known sin. He even says that we “should not even eat with such a one.” There are a couple of different things I noticed in my studies last week that might help understand this:
- The first thing is that this was a “corporate” church-wide sanctioning. I think that’s really important. Meaning, every person within the church needed to be supportive of this action or else, it would not truly be “sorrowful”.
- Second, there’s some indication that this very possibly meant to not allow them the fellowship meal of communion. In other words, when someone is under church discipline, they should not take the Lord’s Supper, as normal for a Christian in good-standing at the church.
- Third, I have always extended this to personal interactions with so-called brothers/sisters under church discipline but I’m not completely certain that this is the extent of Paul’s instructions here. Here’s why:
- The corporate nature of this.
- The Corinthians had “love feasts” at their church, kind of like our potlucks, and there’s some thought that this is what Paul meant.
- If all Christians, pull away from them, who communicates the value of repentance to them?
- All that to say…I’m still a little torn on this…
- One thing that I’ve noticed in the church, in 30 years of ministry, is that we’re really good at criticizing the non-Christian world and not very good at holding our own accountable. I hope that came through in the sermon. I’m convinced that if the church dealt with our “stuff” and we were distinctive in the world because of that, we’d be amazed at our gospel witness. And to be honest, this is what I see going on at CLF that I marvel at.
- We are an accountable people. We are God-centered; Christ-centered; relationship-driven; and we all see ourselves as ministers of the gospel.
- And…we are having a major impact in our community, by everybody playing their part in that gospel work.
- I am a very thankful and happy pastor about what God is doing among us. I know our elders feel the same way.
From the Cheap Seats:
- A question has come up that I hope to answer this coming Thursday in a video. Many in our church have asked “why don’t we just ignore the governor’s orders and start meeting on Sundays?” In the same vein is this question: “what is the Christian’s response to government overreach?” Well, this coming Thursday, Bill Heard and I will attempt to answer these questions in a video that we hope to get out to you by Saturday. Just as a foretaste, here’s something you’ll hear: “Obedience with patience; appeal/lobbying when obvious; and disobedience as a last resort.” We’re praying that this will help us navigate through these really challenging days.
- Not sure if anyone saw this…but baseball is back…sort of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUSgT0QATfc (begin the video at the 55 second mark).
- I for one, thought the NFL Draft was awesome. Not to mention that I thought the Dallas Cowboys’ draft was awesome. I just wish that it was mean more wins and a Lombardi Trophy.
- I realize that players are concerned with playing games without fans in the stands. But…it would be awesome to watch a baseball game on TV! And I think the NFL will start on time…here’s for wishful thinking.
- By the way…May the 4th be with you…
About upcoming church services:
- Let’s be in prayer that Governor Brown would determine that counties and areas of our state that are less hit by COVID-19 can begin to re-open soon. And let’s pray for our patience in the midst of all of this.
- Our elders met last Tuesday night and we went over the Governor’s phases that were leaked to the media. Some things you’ll notice in her plan is that they differ from the Federal government. For instance, in her Phase One, she does not allow for large gatherings, while the Federal government does. In Phase Two, she allows for large gatherings but no larger than 50 people. So, here’s how we’re planning:
- We’re planning on multiple services and at this time, we’re not yet certain as to the times of those.
- We’re working on how to have people/families “register” for each service.
- We’re working on how to incorporate everyone who might want to attend CLF.
- Due to social distancing requirements, we are not certain about child-care during these services. We need wisdom on this.
- We are anticipating that within the next month (more than likely next 2 weeks) for our state’s restrictions to begin to loosen.
- With that in mind, we are polling our church so we can get a “head count”. A few things about this:
- Would you please go to this site and let us know if you’re planning on attending or not: https://clfroseburg.breezechms.com/form/bf19dd.
- Services will be no more than 50 people and we will not have childcare available.
- Depending on the “head count”, we will have multiple services, but we’re not sure what times those will start.
Have a great week…