Pastor's Corner

18 Dec
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Mid-Week Challenge

About this time each year the Bible app YouVersion reports the most popular verse searched, downloaded and sent over the past year.  The Bible verse for 2019 is Philippians 4:6 “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”  Since its launch 11 years ago by Life.Church, YouVersion has been installed 400 million times around the world. And the thing that gets lost in those numbers is that the majority of the 400 million installs have taken place outside the United States. Poland, for example, saw a 75 percent increase in installs this year. India experienced 51 percent more engagement on YouVersion compared to 2018. The free Bible app grew by 50 million unique installs this year. 

Previous verses of the year have been: 2018, Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” In 2017, it was Joshua 1:9 Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  In 2016, it was Romans 8:28 we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. 

Over the past four years there seems to be a pattern.  People outside the US are downloading God’s Word more and the key verses have something to do with fear and uncertainty.  Isn’t telling that when people come to the end of their rope they reach out to God and they look for a source of hope.  Could it be that since things are going well for us in this country our natural reaction is not to reach to God but to wealth?  It’s no secret that we all might have extra money in our pockets but our relationship with one another is more strained than ever before.  We still have cares and uncertainty, but many think that as long as we have money there is no reason to cry out to God.  That only comes when we are really in need.  In our nation’s history the times we were unified as a people and looking to the Lord were the times when we were at war.  We don’t have a good track record of recalling the deliverance the Lord has given us when we call on Him.  At any other struggle we give His Word lip service but we don’t fully rely on Him until our life is threatened.  The article reports record number of downloads in Poland and India; I bet they would love to have the freedoms we have in this country.  

Over the past 3 years I have become more embarrassed for our leaders and for our media.  As other countries look to the US as role models of freedom and democracy what must they be thinking?  How childish we act? Is this what it means to be free? They turn to the one Book that influenced our founders and they don’t see a connection to them and to our leaders today.  Where is love your neighbor as yourself and be kind and compassionate one to another? My prayer is that they look past our leaders and directly to our people.  We are what it means to be true Christians, people of the Book and people of faith.  That’s our challenge in the New Year, but that’s been our challenge from the beginning.  We cannot take our cues from the media or Washington.  We must put into practice what the people of the world are searching the pages of God’s Word trying to find.  If they see it in the way we live, then they too will not find their strength in the things of this world, but in every word that comes out of the mouth of God. 

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:11

Serving the Savior

Bro. Jonathan

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