Pastor's Corner

25 Mar
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Mid-Week Challenge

This is certainly becoming one of the most unique and easy to remember years of our lives! World events, political battles, dangerous weather and now COVID-19 social distancing.  It is amazing how events can quickly bring us together as a people and just as quickly separate us.  I have been blessed to learn of the number of things people have done over the past month in an attempt to reach out and support those around them.  Everything from money, to giving blood to collecting basic supplies for our community (and nation for that matter) has really shown our compassion for others.  But just as soon as you get emotionally involved in the movement reality pulls you back to Earth.  In the midst of our compassion and expressions of faith we have to be realistic in the message they send.  When asked by government leaders not to meet, as to not spread the virus, most churches looked for alternatives and but others chose to meet.  One church in Louisiana decided to meet and had more than 1800 people attended! Just a few days later it was announced that cases of corona in the state had jumped from 100 cases to more than 1,000.   In Arkansas 34 cases of COVID-19 were connected to just one church.  Liberty University, in an expression of compassion to students with nowhere else to go, is allowing them to return to campus. As you might have read, most every college and university told their students not to return after Spring Break out of corona concerns. President Jerry Falwell, Jr. is now taking intense backlash for working with his displaced students at Liberty.

All of these, on both sides, are expressions of concern and compassion for others, but polar opposite responses by their critiques.  Some deserved, but compassion and personal choice none the less.  If anything, I hope we are learning in this process that all life’s actions have consequences and we have to weigh our choices based on the information we have before us and how our actions impact others.  Even how we respond to the way others are responding in times of crisis needs to be evaluated.  Seemingly innocent expressions left unchecked can have unintended consequences. Take for example the Instagram video posted last week by Gal Gadot that featured her and a few dozen other celebrities singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” It came across as a kind response to those worried about the events of the past few weeks.  It was intended to encourage people, but was the song the best choice?  Have you listened and thought through the words of the song? In a time of emotional and spiritual need do we really need to imagine no Heaven? Imagine no religion, no possessions and people just simply living for today? Is that really what we need to be thinking about at this time? Shouldn’t we be thinking about the opposite of these things?  

I like the way John Stonestreet replied to the video, “In such a world, without ultimate standards of right and wrong, what makes a so-called “brotherhood of man” or a “life in peace” any better than one of greed, or survival of the fittest? …. In other words, the imagined conditions of “Imagine” can never produce the imagined result of “Imagine.” And herein lies the problem with just about every utopian vision: They’re for a world that’s imaginary….. If the history of the 20th Century teaches us anything, it’s that this-world-only political utopianisms always lead to catastrophe, in which individuals are sacrificed on the altars of the collective good.”

Even comedian Dan Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy) saw the irony in the video. “I’m not imagining no Heaven, Jesus gives hope. Government can’t give people a heart change or hope…Here’s a message from people with a lot of possessions that can take a year off of work and not flinch telling everyone outa work to imagine a world with no possessions while people are living in the street a half-mile away from ’em,” he said in response. 

The underlying lesson in this is that in your efforts to make it through the next few weeks be generous with your compassion but wise in your expressions.  Thinking about others sometimes means distancing yourself for the moment and at the same time trying to find others ways to reach out to them.  And in every decision thinking through what you are about to say or do through prayer! 

I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves.  Matthew 10:16

Serving the Savior

Bro. Jonathan


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