In the weirdness of our times, I really cannot thank you guys enough. Our church has been so encouraging and helpful throughout this time. I’ve heard from many of you, expressing your gratitude, as well as giving us areas of improvement. The gracious critiques, as well as the encouraging words from you have been amazing. Thank you!
Also, coming up in the coming weeks, after hearing from some of you, we’ll be sending you a Thursday devotional thought or explanation fo questions that of you have. It’ll be in a video format and we already recorded the first one on Sunday and it should land on our website on Thursday. In this first video, I talk about Luke 13 and Jesus’s comments about how our attitude should be when disaster hits. I pray that these will be helpful for you.
Now, onto Sunday’s sermon. I don’t have a ton to say about Sunday, but here are a few things that really stick out to me:
- Since I’m a manuscript sermon guy, many times I can get a feel ahead of time how long my sermons might be. Length of time, is not one of my top 3 concerns when delivering a sermon. My concerns in order are: 1) does this glorify God; 2) does it serve the people of God?; 3) is it faithful to the text that we’re covering? After that, I work on being as concise as I can, but without compromising these concerns. A pastor friend/mentor of mine told me that “being concise takes more discipline than being lengthy” and that has served me quite a bit. Now, I say all of that because something odd happened when we had to do our live-stream service: normally, I preach from a 4.5-page manuscript, but have needed to go to a 7-page manuscript during these odd times. The reason?? When there’s a congregation in the building my pacing is different due to interaction. It really has been an odd dynamic. I miss you guys!
- One of things about this sermon that was difficult was taking 12 sermons (the number of sermons from 1 Cor. 1-4) and summarizing the things that we’ve learned. I found myself sifting through these sermons, re-thinking some of the things I had studied, and then doing my best to summarize those thoughts.
- Finally, and I say this with great joy, our church is really enjoying a sweet season right now. My concern is that we don’t take it for granted and we stay vigilant against indwelling sin and the strategies of our enemy who would love nothing more than to destroy us. My prayer for us, regularly, is that the Lord would help us to submit to Him, do the “little” things well (like reconciling with one another, loving and serving each other), and that He would bring new souls to Himself by our corporate witness. I’m grateful for what God is doing and I’m eager to see what He’s going to do.
From the Cheap Seats:
- I was sent this from a friend a few weeks ago. This was proven to be a factual picture and not photoshopped. It’s from a casino in Nevada. Odd times indeed.
- In my personal devotions the other day, I was thinking about all the places that God’s presence is in. There’s not one square inch that He doesn’t inhabit or is absent. That thought boggled my mind. Then it gave me great peace when I thought: God is present in the secret counsel of evil dictators and countries who want to harm others. Further it’s given me great peace when I’ve been worried about the power-plays at work in our federal and state leaders. God is present…He will never be absent!
- On Saturday, as we were crawling out of bed, our youngest, Caleb asked us what we were going to do that day…which is a normal question from him. But his answer was hilarious. I said, “I’m not sure yet, Bub.” And he replied, “It’ll probably be another yesterday.” I found that hilarious. Ground Hog Day or another yesterday…
- Like most of you, we’re getting lots of home projects done. One our major ones has been cleaning up our property from downed limbs and blackberry bushes. I cannot tell you how much the Genesis 3 curse has seemed to take over your property. I hate blackberry bushes, so I rented a great brush hog and took dominion of the earth! I’ve got cuts on my ears and I even found 2 thorns in my scalp from Saturday’s work…but, as we say, “you should’ve seen the other guy!” Next up…raised garden beds.
- This from John Piper is really helpful: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-to-talk-to-children-about-the-coronavirus. But I would also like to recommend his book: “Christ and Coronavirus”. It is free.
- Finally, this is from a recent musing that I sent out: I am concerned that during this pandemic, that we as Christians, not forget that we’re Christians! Here’s what I mean by that:
- Don’t forget that personal holiness still matters…just because you’re locked up at home, doesn’t mean God doesn’t see and that he doesn’t care about what you watch, listen to, say, or act.
- Be aware that others around you (kids, spouse, neighbors, etc.) might be grieving or stressed…
- Don’t waste this time with your family.
- And pour out your heart to Christ! This is a remarkable time to grow because the pace of life is much, much slower than normal. Take time to pray, read your Bible, and worship God. Here’s some ideas to help you grow spiritually:
- Ligonier Ministries is offering all their online courses for free here: https://connect.ligonier.org/p/ligonier-connect/
- Crossway Books is offering free online studies: https://www.crossway.org/articles/free-digital-resources-during-coronavirus-9-study-bibles-original-language-resources-and-more/
About loosening restrictions:
- We are anticipating within the next month for our state’s restrictions to begin to loosen. Now, I realize that our Governor needs to act and I’m praying that she will. More than likely, large gatherings (worship services), will be allowed to gather while maintain strict social distancing. So, we would ask of your prayers for a few things:
- God would give us wisdom on how to configure the church building for this.
- God would sustain those leading the services, since it will probably mean multiple services on a Sunday.
- God would give us wisdom about how to “cap” these 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 are meeting on Tuesday night to discuss these things. We would really appreciate your prayers.
Have a great week…