Uncertainty??

I can’t speak for you but I am very tired of hearing that we are living in “uncertain” times. While things may be different for us on a daily basis there is a great deal that is indeed certain. Much of society lives without the certainty that the peace of God provides His followers.

While there is an element of uncertainty over the times we’re in, I am thankful for what is certain. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ then there are many things that have not nor will change. These are the truly important things of life. We know with certainty that we are loved by God and that He has not turned His back on His creation. We also know that we can have a personal relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.

I John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

I also know that one day we will begin an eternity beholding the glory of our Savior, enjoying the fellowship that God intended before man’s fall into sin. God has never told us that we have guarantees for this life but we look forward to what has been promised. Consider James 4…

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Let’s be thankful for what we know is true in Christ and what we have to look forward to for all eternity!

Collision Course

When one is navigating a boat on a body of water and it becomes apparent that another craft may intersect your vessel, the one who has the approaching vessel at about 1 o’clock (directionally that is) must yield to the other. This rule of the road as it were insures that a collision does not take place.

I am currently watching the Church on a collision course with our culture and government. We are thankful that we can worship this Sunday but many others in our country cannot. This has led for example to prominent churches declaring the difference between our allegiance to civil government and our allegiance to God’s Word. This will place churches in opposition to those in authority and create a potential collision.

My mother’s church in NJ has a hearing next week and a potential trial in August over reopening. (please pray) Judges have not been kind to churches and the outcome is anything but certain. In fact in the state of Nevada an appeal was made that went all the way to the Supreme Court over the discrimination of Churches. ( they allow hundreds to be inside a casino but only 50 people can be inside a church at one time ) Sadly the Supreme court ruled 5-4 against the Churches yesterday.

This places the Churches in Nevada and California and elsewhere on a collision course with authority. For certain this is an odd place in American history, one that we have never experienced before. Who will change course and avoid the collision? I pray that the Church will stay on the course of following God’s Word and that the world will change it’s course.

Collision Course!

Wise Words…

Just recently a motion picture icon passed away. His name was James Drury and he starred on the unusual western “The Virginian”. He of course was known as the Virginian and the show was different from others because it was actually almost an hour and twenty minutes long versus the typical hour. It is one of few shows that I can endorse without reservations. Some are funny with a little junk thrown in or they may be off color etc. but not the Virginian, it remained pure and committed to demonstrating the virtues of doing right.

I am not sure of Mr. Drury’s faith but he had a saying that is needed more today than ever.

“If it’s not yours, don’t take it; If it’s not true don’t say it; If it’s not right, don’t do it!” Mr. James Drury

Not exactly true..

Well in case you missed it the “experts” have determined the risk factors for our activities and the results are in rated from 1-10.

Bars and large music concerts = 9

Sports stadiums, gyms, amusement parks, churches and buffets = 8

Public pools = 7

Movie theaters, hair salons and barber shops = 6

Planes, beaches, bowling alleys and backyard BBQs = 5

Busy city sidewalks and dentist offices = 4

Libraries/museums, grocery stores, hotels and golf courses = 3

Pumping gas, walking/running and biking = 2

Restaurant takeout and tennis = 1

So as I read the list I had to wonder why churches are lumped in with buffets? I mean really, using the same tongs, hovering over the salad bars, walking by tables filled with diners not wearing masks! If you visit Faith Community Church you would find that it is far far less dangerous than going out for groceries ( a 3 mind you). You literally can park far from anyone else. The greeters are outside where known transmission is unlikely and they are masked. You are too and now you move inside where seats are marked and you sit down. Everyone wears a mask inside except for those up front and they are about 20 feet from folks up front. But you can sit in the back if you like and leave without shaking hands or getting within 6 feet of another person as rows are dismissed from the back. So the whole hour long service would involve you not touching a single thing. How simple is that and definitely not on par with Camden Yards or Golds Gym!

The Hypocrites are Exposed

Well it didn’t take long for the “officials” to shut down churches as we were warned about the consequences for our community and we complied. As the time came to reopen we were cautioned and told that it wasn’t quite time yet. In NJ my mothers church has been given several citations (not the good kind) for being open and they even have a court day in a few weeks. Nice… I don’t believe that they can still meet legally.

Now this excerpt from my personal Doctor here in Maryland, something that he does each week for the patients, a corona virus update is interesting:

“In response to the recent unrest, a group of 1200 healthcare professionals based at the University of Washington signed a letter supporting the protests, declaring that they were more important than the potential harm that could come from tens of thousands of people coughing on one another in close proximity during a Pandemic.   This prompts the questions, “where did you go to medical school?”   and “how long have you been taking that Prevagen?”  (I am not passing judgement on the protestors, only on the medical professionals who have recommended the equivalent of licking the handrails in Penn Station)” Dr. Katz

I appreciated his sarcasm and his humor but this points to a serious issue. In the mind of medical professionals it is more valuable to our society to protest on our cities streets but less valuable for Churches to be meeting! Yikes!

I think if more people attended church and heard the gospel of our Savior then none of this would be happening. Our society has been pushing God and His church out of the mainstream for a long time now and the fruit you can watch on your favorite news station. I imagine Jesus saying; “How do you like Me now?” But the attitude of these medical professionals speaks volumes about what many leaders in our country think about the value of Christ’s church.

Let’s us take the good news of Jesus to the streets and offer the things the world is desperate for (even if they don’t know it) and that is Peace with God and the Blessed Hope of the Redeemer and all the benefits that come from knowing Christ.

It was good to see some of you!

Well I must say that Sunday was a special day for the Church as we finally were able to meet. However it was different for all of us in attendance. As I looked out among the congregants I was at first taken back by all the masks being worn. I know it was required but it was shall I say odd. I actually was on my way over to greet what I thought was a visiting family and it was Brian and Meridith! Brian is our youth pastor but with the mask I didn’t recognize him at first.

So my title of the blog is “It was good to see some of you” because as I looked out there I could only see part of the person. Faces were obstructed by a mask of various colors and sizes. That said I probably should not have been so surprised because as a Christian my whole life as a believer is masked according to scripture.

1 Corinthians 13:9 “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 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.”

So while I am looking forward to a worship service when we don’t have to wear a mask but we can be “face to face” I am as you are looking forward to the day when we are face to face with our Savior Jesus the Christ. v. 10… But when that “perfect comes”, O what an amazing day that will be, when the followers of Jesus who now only know in part shall be as the Bible says fully known.

My friends I believe that Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready to take off the mask ??

We’re Back in Business!

This is a slogan that my father used to say quite a bit and I imagine that if he were still alive this would have been his line. Of course I am speaking about the reopening of the Church. Yes I did say reopening! The earlier post was written on Monday and by Wednesday the landscape changed

The county executive has given us the green light to meet this week. There are restrictions and recommendations but there is nothing that we did not anticipate. To this end we are preparing for a single service this Sunday June 7th at 10:00 am. This will be a family service so feel free to bring your children into the auditorium with you and don’t forget your mask. Our website will have a list of steps we are taking to comply with recommendations and maintain a high level of safety for all those who attend. We recognize that we cannot guarantee your total safety from this virus or from the common cold for that matter but we want to do our best. We all live with risk every day it is something that we often don’t even think about but still it’s there. So everything is sanitized, even the filters in the AC have been changed and they are some kind of high end filter. So all we need is you!

I hope we see you this Sunday at 10 am. and again don’t forget to check the website for details regarding do’s and don’t for this week.

What they can’t understand

PLEASE NOTE THIS POST WAS WRITTEN FOUR DAYS AGO AND SCHEDULED TO GO OUT TODAY. AS OF TODAY, THURSDAY, JUNE 4 WE ARE PLANNING TO RE-GATHER FOR WORSHIP BEGINNING JUNE 7 PER OUR COUNTY’S LIFTING OF THE RESTRICTIONS ON CHURCHES.

The astronauts were ready to launch last week and at the last moment they had to postpone due to poor weather conditions. Later they were able to take off and reach their destination. Recently we proposed opening up the church on June 7th however the local county executive is not allowing the church to meet in Anne Arundel, despite the go sign from the governor.

Last week the county executive met with 50 clergy/officials to discuss what churches were to do in order to open and the discussion did not result in any clear direction or timetable. Someone who was present on the call told me that some on this special board were suggesting August openings as the earliest or more likely the fall would be when the Church could meet again.

Only time will tell when the Church is given the “green light” to restore worship. The same person who was present on the call stated to me that many pastors were considering reopening without permission. Why would they do this, you may ask ?

What the magistrates can’t understand is simply a question of authority. In some of their minds the highest authority is government. Yes the Apostle Paul instructs us to be subject to the higher powers in Romans 13. Paul also makes the assumption in that passage that they are operating with our “good” in mind or that they are enforcing the God given ethics displayed in the Bible. Peter however acknowledges that for the Christian we must obey God rather than man, ie government.

Even Jesus determined that obedience to God the Father was more important than obeying the Jewish leaders. Consider the healings that took place on the Sabbath. Even though the Sanhedrin was irate and forbid Jesus to heal on the Sabbath He continued to do so as the opportunity arose.

We as a church have to decide who is our authority when it comes to worship. The world cannot understand our allegiance to the Word of God as it pertains to life, worship or morality. They see no valid reason for the church to assemble. However we are reminded that the Bible instructs us to not to forsake assembling together as this is necessary to carryout our stated purposes. Pray today for the churches in Anne Arundel county and around the country who are considering their actions in light of the governing policy.

Keeping the right perspective

I recently came across a testimonial from a 9 yr old girl who got sick in 1957 during the Asian flu epidemic.  This flu spread like wildfire from China to the Philippines and then to India and Pakistan and then to Europe, Latin America and the United States. 

The flu affected Latin America in such a way that they said that nothing like this had ever been so bad there. 

In the U.S. the flu hit hardest in 1958 where almost 70,000 people died. Worldwide there would be an estimated one to two million deaths.  Current statistics indicate the U.S. has just now hit 100,000 deaths after three months of sickness. Don’t forget the population of the U. S. was about 40% less than it is now, back in 1958. 

Reading the description of the Asian flu it sounds very similar to this Covid 19. Remember Solomon says that there is nothing new under the sun. So much for a “novel” virus.

Here’s the quote: “Similar to the 1968 flu pandemic, the 1957 outbreak was associated with variation in susceptibility and course of illness. Whereas some infected individuals experienced only minor symptoms, such as cough and mild fever, others experienced life-threatening complications such as pneumonia.” 

During the Asian Flu pandemic there was never the hysteria that exists today with Covid 19. No economies were halted, sports didn’t shut down, no gestapo actions were taken to force people to stay inside and lastly churches were not closed.  It seems it all comes down to what your perspective happens to be and that largely depends on the information that in this case “science” is telling us.

The science on this has been all over the road from the very beginning. Do you recall a couple of months ago we were told NOT to wear masks and that they did no good? They had to know differently but they told us that so we didn’t buy them up at that time. Now the CDC has come out and formally stated that they don’t think the virus is being transmitted on solid surfaces. I think it’s time to get the mail out of the garage! I’m sorry folks but I think the science on this subject was well known. Either you tested the virus on solid surfaces and found it alive for “weeks” or you didn’t. Which one is it?

The bottom line from where I sit is that this is having a huge negative impact on the church which has in some ways continued to function digitally but in almost every ministry related area ceased to accomplish the mission. Certain things can be done online but most areas of ministry have been placed on the shelf. This is my perspective today, I realize that. But the question we should be asking is what is God’s perspective on Covid-19?? Doesn’t the church exist to bring God glory through corporate worship? Of course that is just one of the reasons for Christ’s Church.

Lord what is your perspective ?

Avoiding Double Mindedness…

While out riding recently I looked up and noticed a motorcycle coming toward me. The bike was loud and the rider was about my age. His hair in a pony tail was white and blowing in the wind. But the things that really stood out to me was the fact that he was wearing a mask. Now I am not sure that a mask is necessary when you are out in the country whipping around at a high speed but the crazy part was what I didn’t see. The mask was evident immediately but it took me a moment to realize that he was not wearing a helmet.

To him the risk of the virus was greater than the risk of having an accident. It struck me as being double minded thinking on his part. Concerned about a possible risk and unconcerned about another.

The problem with double mindedness is that you never are fully at peace in your heart. The Bible speaks to the man who is unstable in all his ways. This refers to our prayers of course. James says that if a man is double minded he is unstable in everything. James 1:8

On the one hand the motorcyclist was concerned about disease but not so much about the consequences of a crash without a helmet. But it was his decision to make..

Often times we are very concerned about our current situations in life and we ignore the reality of eternity. The Bible teaches us that we must live life in light of eternity. What this statement means is that our actions here today or tomorrow have far reaching implications for us. If we choose to lay up treasures in heaven as Jesus taught should be our goal we will live accordingly. But if we are consumed by living for today we have to be reminded that there are consequences that will be felt in the near and distant future.

As a follower of Jesus Christ I find it imperative to be of a single focus. Will you decide to today to yield your life to Him in all things ?

How are choosing to live your life? With today in mind or with eternity in mind. Just like the guy on the Bike we have a choice to make. Choose wisely…