Pastor's Corner

1 Apr
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Mid-Week Challenge

April 1, 2020!  This morning I wish I would have awakened to the news anchor’s exclaiming, “April Fools! The last few weeks were just one big joke! Ha, Ha, not funny, everyone go back to your normal routine.”   But you know it’s no joke, we are still living the nightmare of COVID-19.  On Monday, Governor Lee issued a “Safer at Home” order requesting residents to remain at home whenever possible for the next two weeks.  https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2020-03-30/tennessee-governor-announces-safer-at-home-order During the daily briefing yesterday, the President said that we were in for a hard couple of weeks.  So if feels like today is not so much April Fool’s Day but more like Groundhog Day!  That is, of course, until you start reading the headlines. You have heard about the pastor in Florida who was arrested for refusing to close his church this past Sunday. https://www.foxnews.com/us/florida-pastor-arrest-church-service-coronavirus-tampa Last night a church in Louisiana saw worshippers flock in to hear their pastor who is facing misdemeanor charges for holding services despite a ban on gatherings in the state. This all despite the Louisiana health department report that more than 5,200 people have confirmed virus infections, and 239 state residents have died.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-louisiana-life-tabernacle-church-packed-services-again-charges-against-pastor-tony-spell/ So in response to the foolish behavior of some in the Christian faith, some news reporters have acted just as foolish by grouping all Evangelical Christians into the same camp and blaming COVID-19 on us!! 

In a New York Times opinion piece, Katherine Stewart, says that President Donald Trump’s conservative, religious supporters are not helping the coronavirus pandemic.  The author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, writes in her piece that “the denial of science and critical thinking among religious ultraconservatives now haunts the American response to the coronavirus crisis.”  She goes on to say, “In his daily briefings from the White House, Mr. Trump actively disdains and contradicts the messages coming from his own experts and touts as yet unproven cures.”  For some reason she connects the administration’s response to the outbreak to what she calls “Christian nationalism.”  She goes on to slam Christians by saying, “if you examine the political roots of the life-threatening belief in the privatization of everything, you’ll see that Christian nationalism played a major role in creating and promoting the economic foundations of America’s incompetent response to the pandemic.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/opinion/coronavirus-trump-evangelicals.html 

In times of uncertainty some people act hastily in an attempt to comfort their doubts and fears.  With the best of intentions they will ignore warnings and proceed.  I think these are the Proverbs 22:3people (A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences).  But then there are people who take advantage of a situation to push a personal agenda.  Stewart’s article does nothing to inform or educate, it just exposes the deep hatred for Christians that she already had in her heart.  One has to go no further than the title of her book to see this truth.  In a time where we should be looking for ways to build people up we don’t need to hear from people looking to make a name or promote an agenda.  Like him or not, I applaud the actions of news host Tucker Carlson who last night expressed his well wishes for CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.  Carlson and Cuomo cannot stand each other’s politics and often take shots at the other, but after Cuomo announced he had been diagnosed with the coronavirus Carlson spent a few moments to wish his rival and his family well.  

It looks like we are going to be living Groundhog’s Day for some time to come.  I hope that we can be like Bill Murray’s character in the movie.  When he recognized he was forced to relive each day he attempted to make himself better by changing his behavior.  At first it was with selfish motives but what he discovered was that his changed behavior was having a positive impact on his heart.  When everyone else acted the same each day, he was the one changing his behaviors.  In the end his changed behaviors caused lasting change on the inside!  

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Serving the Savior

Bro. Jonathan

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