Perhaps you were able to join our worship experience via the website Sunday. If not the service will remain in place for a few more days. During the message we spent time talking about Psalm 91. Would you take time to share your experiences with finding clarity from God's word during these confusing times? Perhaps share a verse with us that we can meditate on together. Last week I posted a blog at www.fromtheporch.org. If you have a moment click on the link and share some comments here. At the end of the link is a book I highly recommend. The book is written from a therapy perspective and contains some raw and challenging illustrations of folks who have been through trauma. You might find some strong language in the book and some approaches that you might not necessarily agree with. I'm recommending the book because if helped me at an important time in my life and not as a book that is a spiritual guide. Be encouraged friends.
Well dear friends, here we are on Tuesday morning still practicing physical distancing and wondering when all of this might come to an end. Sunday morning's online service didn't quite go as I had planned, but hopefully many of you took the time to experience a Sunday evening time of worship. You had to engage a little more than normal by clicking a few buttons, but hopefully you figured it out. I heard from Mrs. Betty, from Dorothy and Jeremy, and a couple of others that the service finally came through. We will certainly try again next week since it looks like we won't be gathering at least for one more Sunday. Maybe by Palm Sunday all of this confusion will be over.
Perhaps you struggled on Sunday. I certainly did. I have always tried to be transparent, and I will not stop now. Sunday I felt tremendous defeat because I could not stop myself from thinking how I had let you down by not having everything easy for 10:30 am. I know I could not control the technology issues, yet still Satan's forces screamed "LOSER!" into my Spirit. Then, our family did what hopefully some of you did and watched the service from Gateway Baptist Church in Irmo, South Carolina. I hope you will click on the link www.fromtheporch.org to learn what God taught me Sunday.
You all are special to me and to my family. We can't wait to be back together. Please reach out and let me know how things are going. You are loved!
My dear friends, social distancing stinks. Instead of posting two blogs, I will occasionally provide a link to another blog that I have restarted that has a wider audience. Will you join with me in relationship over these next few days as we learn to love each other in new ways? Click on the link below to take you to my blog for today. You are loved. You are valuable. You are wanted.
Growing up in small town Mississippi taught me several realities. One of the realities is that for many Christ followers, the church is a destination. As a church body gathered together, we have talked about the importance of gathering together and the danger of anchoring our relationship with Christ to the gathering. You might remember that as we have been inviting the Holy Spirit to train our hearts to long for Christ we have been reminded that even in the early church, the church was a passage way, or a fulcrum, that helped turn people from an old life to a new life in Christ. The church is defined by the believers who make up the body, and as the body gathers together a full expression of our worship and allegiance radiates in worship to God. This gathering, though, is not the end result of our faith. Knowing Christ fully is the end result of our faith. Glorifying God is the end result of our faith. Notice Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13:12.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV
One day we will know Christ fully, and the days we live now are days filled with wonder, challenge, joy, and sorry on that journey to knowing Him fully. Christ followers around the world daily face persecution and hardship on their journey toward knowing Christ. Gathering together is impossible for many of our brothers and sisters in other places. In the United States, we are faced with a temporary limitation as we consider what our government leaders and medical leaders have asked our society to do in an effort to contain the new virus that seems to have captured the world for a time. This temporary limitation does not have to defeat us, though it may discourage us. Together we as a body of believers can turn the table on the virus and its affects by capturing the moment instead. This opportunity is our chance to show the world how real the Holy Spirit is in our lives. Not gathering as a large group does not have to diminish the influence we have with friends and family in our community and beyond. Let's join together to be the church in the world over the next few days and weeks. I am reminded of what happened in the early part of Acts. Would you consider stopping for a moment, reaching for your Bible, and turning to Acts 8:1-8?(www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+8%3A1-8&version=ESV) A persecution against the church in Jerusalem caused the church to scatter to regions all over the world, just as Christ as told them in Acts 1:8. The church gathered became the church scattered. From that scattering, a worldwide movement of the Spirit took hold, and the message of Christ could not be contained any longer.
Could it be that God will use a temporary scattering of His people to spark the revival we have been longing for and praying for? Could it be that God will use you during this time to reflect His character so brightly that others will see the difference Christ makes? We could respond in fear and frustration, in disgust and defeat. Or we could respond in victory and in hope that the resurrected Christ is not limited to a building or to our weekly gathering. Will you embrace this time to personally develop your walk with Christ, to know Him more fully, and to honor Him more authentically? Check back to this site for various resources and helps during this time. Most of all, turn to the Word of God. Seek His face. Let others see Jesus in you.