Well, where to begin…I really have no idea, but off the top of my head, let me start with this past Sunday.
Thoughts on Sunday and Sunday’s sermon (I’m just going to randomly put ideas that have come up and these are in no particular order):
- My wife has always told me that she can tell when I’m feeling awkward or a little out of sorts…I normally crack a joke or 7! And most times, they’re not very good ones…like my welcome to everyone when I said “Live from Roseburg, Oregon”…Unreal…But I have to be honest…I couldn’t get Saturday Night Live out of my mind (reveals what I cut my teeth on as a college student?)…
- I was really uncomfortable at the beginning, which led to one of my friends who knows that I’m not a fan of video church to shoot me a text that said, “Rookie!” LOL!
- It was surreal being at the church building, with only 8 of us in the sanctuary. It was quiet and weird. It made me all the more eager to get together with our church. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that when the restrictions are lifted, our church is going to blow the roof off that place, with our fellowship, singing, and preaching. Can’t wait!
- Perry really helped me relax. He did a great job of leading us in song, didn’t he? He’s much more comfortable in front of a camera than I am, but he did a great job. He simply did what he does…worshipped the Lord and I enjoyed worshipping with him. On a funny note…Perry has told me in the past that I sing so loud sometimes that I mess him up…so this past Sunday, oh man, I had to tone it down! So, when Perry missed that one line…that was on him! (?)
- As for the text and content:
- It’s a tough text because Paul is really dealing with the Corinthians criticism of him and the other Christian leaders. So, the context is about unloving criticisms from church members/attenders to their pastors/leaders. Sometimes, when this text is preached, it’s almost like a “browbeating” for the church…my hope is that it didn’t come off that way, but rather a “we” issue and how we’re all prone to do this.
- It’s not a text about how prone we are to criticize our civil leaders, even though I mentioned that during my sermon. I don’t want there to be any confusion about that. But I do want to say something about it here:
- Our posture towards civil leaders should be prayerful respect, as evidenced by 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and 1 Peter 2:17.
- There are times when we disobey what our civil leaders command of us, but it’s pretty narrow…it seems to be in times when they tell us that we cannot talk about the Good News of Jesus, as evidenced in Acts and 5. But even in those moments, you’ll notice the posture of the apostles was respectful and clear about the gospel.
- And Romans 13:1-7 is perhaps the best set of verses on this posture and attitude toward civil leaders.
- Some things about this: there are stories in the OT that help us see challenging attitudes/actions from civil leaders and other’s responses to them: Rahab the harlot lying about where the spies were (Joshua 2) comes to mind (protecting innocent life in the midst of war). So, there are moments, unusual moments, when we disobey for the sake of the greater good.
- However, there is never a place for disrespect, dishonoring, or disregard for civil authorities. “All authority is given to us by God”…that should sink deeply into our thinking.
- I said this on multiple times during the sermon…while Paul was speaking about the criticisms from the Corinthians, he’s not talking about confronting another brother/sister about their sin nor is he discouraging people from speaking to him about his sin. This will become obvious in 1 Corinthians, because Paul did quite a bit of confronting in this book and encouraged the Corinthians to do so as well.
- Perhaps the best way to see this is to realize that when we biblically confront a leader or a brother/sister, we are to do this in love. Meaning, biblical confrontation is for the other person’s good, not just so we can “speak our mind”, “get something off our chest” or “give it to the man”. We can confront one another and our leaders…charitably.
- A great question was asked today in our Sunday review: how, practically, can we live in the freedom of self-forgetfulness and not connect our identity to our judgments or others’ judgments of us? Great question…here’s my reply…through the years, I have had my fair share of critics (probably not shocking to you)…and I can remember the Lord beginning to convict me about how much I was connecting my self-worth, my identity, and even my sense of being right with God, on what these folks were saying about me. What the Lord began to teach me was that I was not resting in the finished work of Christ and I was not repeatedly reminding myself of that truth. Further, there would be a day, when God would show everybody (my critics included) what the truth was about my thoughts/intentions/motives. So, I literally began to say to myself out loud: “God, right now Jesus is standing before you, for me. He’s righteous, I’m not. And you love me because of Christ and you see me in light of Jesus’ righteousness. Help me to learn from my critics, but not be defined by their criticism.” Honestly, when I get a harsh criticism now, I’ve been able to disconnect my identity from it, for the most part. When I don’t…I work hard to preach the gospel truth about my identity in Christ to my heart over and over.
- Finally on Sunday…thank you so much for your kind words to our team who put the service online. We were inundated with gratitude from you. Thank you! That means a lot to us. It did take a lot to get that up and running (although not perfectly) and Perry and his team really deserve the lion’s share of the gratitude.
- With the latest “Stay Home; Stay safe” restrictions, our online services will continue for the near future. Our hope is to make the experience better each week and we will be adding some technology elements each week, as we go. Lord willing, this week, we’ll be able to add text/links/lyrics/quotes to the screen, while we’re singing and preaching. We were short some hardware and that came in this week!
- We’ve heard that there were some (not many) frozen screens in some parts of the service. We’re working on our end to see what can be done about that, but more than likely it’s due to the load through our provider and/or your provider. Perry is working hard at trying to clarify some of those things and we’ll have something written this week to help your online experience.
- We’ll have an update this week about things coming on Sunday. Please look at our website periodically (clfroseburg.com) and be expecting emails from us, more regularly than normal.
Thoughts about this pandemic:
- I said in my post last week to our church, that at first, I was in the camp that said that this thing was just the flu and we’re all going to get it eventually. What changed my perceptive was the conversation with some medical pros in our church who said that while it’s true that we’re all probably going to get it the rapid pace of this thing could overwhelm the medical system, which would be disastrous. Further, I read a report called the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team that left me speechless and changed my perspective. I actually read that last Sunday night (March 15th) and it opened my eyes to contagious nature of this deal and why it was so important for us to take drastic steps to “flatten the curve”. The shortage of medical supplies reveals why this is so important. To hear the governor of New York talk about the fact that they could be without medical supplies in 10 days or less is simply shocking and very concerning. So, I’ve been in favor of taking some drastic measures to help out my medical friends and keep the elderly among us safe, even if I was late the party.
- Like you, I am concerned over the economic crisis that we’re staring at and I don’t know how we’re going to get out of it. But one thing I do know, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” (Psalms 37:25)
- 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…just like you. My sons are grieving the potential loss of a potential baseball season (one which I’ve waited all of Nathan’s life to share with him); my wife is missing seeing her family; my girls miss serving their extended family and babysitting…and if I’m not careful…I’ll find myself so put out by my own “stuff” that I’ll miss helping them through their grief and struggle.
- Do your best to get in “rhythm” in life. Perry put it best today…”it’s easy to remember to ‘go to the gym’ when it’s open. But not so easy to get on my treadmill at my house.” Good point. You might not be going to work or school, like normal, but set a time to get up, wash your face, brush your teeth, spend time with the Lord in His word and in prayer, and come up with some projects to do that day. One thing we’re doing is taking each day, in the afternoon, to do something as a family…work outside, go town for supplies, take hike, etc.
- 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/
From the Cheap Seats:
- Pray that baseball season can get started…I really feel bad for my senior class…proud of this group and really want them to have a chance to defend their state title (they’ve got a good shot at repeating)…
- I saw this the other day and saved it…and it’s just unreal to me that a professional goalkeeper does this kind of stuff: https://bleacherreport.com/post/epl/c55f48fa-b2e0-43ca-8e1f-43288b2a8468
- If you haven’t seen this…you need to: https://twitter.com/rexchapman/status/1240127212528992256?s=12
- The Babylonian Bee is a treasure…this one made me laugh in the midst of the sobering days we’re living in: https://babylonbee.com/news/god-breaking-quarantine-and-going-everywhere?fbclid=IwAR2vAsOjwKvu35g9_JgKSmeO29PWDX443bOj0T4DLKkTZeAVF8_FK9UPGVQ
- Travis Fredrick retiring from pro football at age 29, in the peak of his career, is shocking to me. Not only that…he’s a really great guy. I’ve listened to several podcasts with him on it and he’s super intelligent, well thought-out, and a very giving man. I’m proud that he played for the Dallas Cowboys.
Have a great week…