Musings from October 4, 2021
What a Sunday! I’m sure that my excitement for gathering with our church had a lot to do with my absence over the last two weeks. I really missed church. I missed singing together in unity. I missed hearing God’s word preached…in the same room it is being preached. I missed praying with the saints. It was wonderful to be back in church.
Which stirs something in me about CLF at this particular time in our life. Over the last several months, the COVID surge in our community has led to church attendance dropping substantially. I get it. As one who is on the mend from COVID, it can be very challenging for some who get it. Totally get it. However, I am concerned that we don’t make “Live-streaming” or “Church on Demand” the norm in our lives. Here’s why: we need to be in Church. Our souls need it. We’re not made to live in isolation. We were saved from “out” of the world to be “added into” the Church. The Church gathered on Sunday mornings is a cosmic event. It’s a moment in time when we gather together to say, “Jesus is King.” It’s a moment when in unison, we sing praises to the One true God. It’s a critical moment for our souls to be reminded of the One truth that matters most. So, in all of this craziness, chaos, and uncertainty, let’s make sure that we make Sunday gatherings as important as God has made them.
It was good for my soul to be back this past Sunday. It will do your soul good to be back as well if you’ve been gone for a while. And listen, if you’re missing church due to health reasons or overall COVID concerns, please be sure that you’re communicating that to your leaders. We want to make sure that you’re being cared for, and quite honestly, that can’t be done in silence or in isolation.
Application of the last two sermons:
Bruce Wells and Luis Castellanos did a wonderful job filling the pulpit for me the last two weeks. Not to mention Dave Quilla before that. But because my head was beginning to clear up on Bruce’s sermon and I attended church during Luis’ sermon, I was hit afresh by a couple of things that I think are good applications.
Both sermons were “reminders” of what matters most. Bruce’s sermon about not being disheartened and remembering that God is at work in us was a great encouragement and challenge to me. I was very discouraged during COVID. About 8 days in, I began to wonder if I was ever going to feel better. I found myself spending more time in front of the news than I did in front of listening or reading good things. I was super discouraged. A text from a church member helped tremendously. And then Bruce’s sermon was like a sledgehammer to my heart. I easily forgot what matters most.
Then Luis preached on what matters most. As he said, “we’re all prone to forget.” And I find that especially true in the midst of life’s pains and sorrows.
So, how can we protect ourselves from forgetting? Here’s what I learned and what I’m trying to apply:
- Regularly read God’s word. Have a plan. Not just a “daily verse” that pops up. But read through chapters and books of the Bible. I’ve spent the summer reading through the Psalms. Now I’m reading Proverbs. But make it a regular routine.
- Have verses that remind you of God’s grace, your sin, and His love for you. I love Romans 5-8. Those are my “go-to” spots to remind myself of God’s grace. What’s yours?
- Soak in and listen to worship music. Listen, I can’t sing, but I love to sing. Over the course of COVID, I realized that I had stopped letting the passion and good emotion of worship music fill my soul. Find the time in your day to just sit and listen/possibly sing along to 2-3 worship songs.
- Pray regularly and often. One of the key things the Lord stirred in me over COVID was revealing my prayerlessness. And for me, I’m a spontaneous prayer-er (not sure that’s a word)…I love to just take short times in prayer throughout my day to pray over key things. I stopped doing that recently, and it’s not been good for my soul. COVID has reawakened this.
- Give lots of thought to what God has planned for you in the future. In Bruce’s sermon, he mentioned Jonathan Edwards’ high thoughts of heaven. One of things I did during COVID was re-listen to Jonathan Edwards’ “Heaven is a world of love” sermon/short book. It took me one hour to listen to it, but it lifted my soul. I needed it.
“Now I keep your word”
In Bruce’s sermon, he pointed out how God uses affliction in our lives. He used Psalm 119:67, which states: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” It was one of the most convicting moments during the time I was sick.
Here’s why: my church knows that I’m a very transparent person. Sometimes, almost too transparent. My dear friend, Linda Heard, would remind me of that regularly (and I do miss her). But in all transparency, I have not been very thrilled with myself over the last few years, spiritually. I have felt more like I’ve been “going through the motions” rather than intentionally and passionately seeking the Lord. I’ve found myself relying on gifting and persona rather than God’s Spirit. God has used COVID to truly stir up Psalm 119:67 in my heart. I’ve been reminded of how frail I am, how the world doesn’t revolve around me, and how much grace I truly need each day. So, if COVID is used by the Lord to snap me out of my malaise, I’m all for it.
From the Cheap Seats:
- From the English Premier League and the Champions League…
- This NFL team with the Star on the side of their helmets…I don’t recognize you. And for that…I’m grateful. 3-1 is a nice start.
- The Seattle Mariners had an incredible baseball season…there, I said it. It was hard, but I said it. Grace at work in me!
- I read this stat the other day: The Dodgers had their best 2nd half since 1953, and they did gain 0 games on the Giants during that time. Simply unreal.
Use the links below to watch or listen to the sermons discussed in this week’s musings.
Enjoy your week as you look to Christ!