We live in uncertain and anxious times, to be certain. Each week, often each day, the nation gathers around screens with hope for new information that can give some sort of assurances that life will return to normal. Perhaps the greatest anxiety isn’t in what we know, but what we don’t know. I’ve rarely seen times that I don’t find Matthew 6:34 more important in my own scripture meditation:
“Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Jesus gives us this instruction right after assuring his listeners that our focus should be on eternal matters, that God provides for our needs, that what sets us apart from the rest of the world is that we can have peace in knowing that God is still in control, still sovereign, and still provides.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have enough real concerns for today! I doubt there are many people who have no concerns as we look at the stressors of the day. It is not without some validity that fears of a return to some of our most difficult times as a nation could be returning as millions still are without work. Our nation is seemingly paralyzed in response to a virus that we still only know a limited amount about. Perhaps foremost among our fears is that we will never return to normal, that those things we hope for will not return to the way they were.
We hope for a return to work, to old routines, to booming economies, to mask-less grocery runs, to coffee with friends, to dance recitals and concerts and sporting events, to gathering with family and friends, and for the believer in particular a return to our regular gatherings on Sunday.
I do not fear these things will not return, but I long for the day to come quickly! As I anticipate our return to fellowship together, I am praying through 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10…
“How can we thank God for you in return for all the joy we experience before our God because of you, as we pray very earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your faith?”
I pray for you all, many of you by name, as we continue this period of isolation that even in these times apart we are dwelling in God’s word, that we continue to grow in our faith even as we are unable to be in the same room. I encourage you all to reach out to one another for the purpose of spurring each other on to greater Godliness; we truly do live in an interesting timee that provides great opportunity to see God work in our lives!
For His Glory,
Quite honestly, this past week we celebrated the most unique Easter Sunday in my memory. Churches around the nations ramp up expectations for a bumper attendance on Easter Sunday as even in today’s increasingly secularized nation people who would typically not attend put on their “Sunday Best” and come to church.
Not so this year.
Instead of preparing for increased attendance, Churches asked instead how to we magnify the importance of this day when we are still limited in gathering? Many churches (ours included) are still working out the unique aspects of being a streaming-only gathering week, much less how to make the day special! Working out the details, however, was reminder of what was really important as we prepared for the day.
It’s easy to get caught up in the preparations for an event. Just like Martha and Mary, the things that need to get done can sometimes overwhelm our ability to remember the reasons we feel it’s important to gather. We get caught up in the Lilies, bunnies, eggs, special music, new clothes, good things that are a part of Easter but not the main thing! I was very thankful this year that I was able to remember through all of the hectic preparations for the services that it wasn’t just the next task, it was the day that we have set aside to make sure that declare to each other and to the world that HE IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN INDEED!
The interesting thing we need to remember in all of this, however, is that while we would certainly understand why we can get lost in the preparations for a major day, we shouldn’t forget that every Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ triumph over the grave. Every time we gather, we declare to one another that triumph of Jesus over the grave. We gather every week to encourage one another as we live in light of that truth! We gather to grow closer to each other as we become more Christ-like.
As we prepare for this coming Sunday, I encourage you all to prepare for our “virtual” gathering with the same excitement that we have for Easter or Christmas or any other special Holiday…. We are declaring Christ’s victory!
For His Glory,
If you are anything like me, you’ve found that you are spending more time scrolling through Facebook feeds that you did before the COVID-19 Quarantine. I will completely admit that I’ve spent more time that normal looking through the creative and hilarious Memes that have added a bit of Levity to a stressful times!
It brought to mind, however, just how much time we spend and how much influence we allow from social media. Particularly during this time of isolation, we are all reaching out to find community anywhere we can find it… and we may not always think about how much influence those have on us!
My daughter brought her “summary” of 2 Corinthians and it sparked a good conversation around one of the key verses from Paul’s epistle. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says this:
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
The church in Corinth had displayed in their actions and attitudes the influence of the world. They needed to be reminded that as ambassadors of Christ, they needed to be good representatives of their Savior. I was reminded as we talked of Romans 12:1-2 where we are charged to resist conforming to the world and to be transformed through the power of the Word of God, for how else can we know God’s will but through His word?
I am praying for you all regularly, as is the whole staff here at FEFC. We all earnestly desire to be once again in your presence, worshiping together with voices lifted high! Even apart, however, we can continue to grow and become more like Jesus. I encourage you to do these things in the coming week:
1) Add Five minutes to your quiet time in the Word. Not necessarily to get more scripture in but to meditate on it and how it applies to your life. How does this passage change the way you behave or think? How are we changed by God’s revealed word to us in the pages of Scripture?
2) Memorize one verse a day for one week. Start with 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 12:1-2, or Galatians 2:20. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, He modeled a right response by consistently and directly answering with Scripture!
3) Share what you are reading. Conversations about scripture not only help us better communicate God’s truth, the dialogue will sharpen our own understanding! If you have difficulty with a passage, find someone you trust to help you!
Christians have rightly borrowed the term “People of the Book,” for we should be defined by lives that are saturated with and influenced by God’s Word being pressed into our lives, infusing every aspect of our lives with God’s revealed will. Feel free to let us know in the comment section below what creative ways you are using to be a scripture-infused people!
For His Glory,