Dear First Pres,
If you’re like me, yesterday’s events in our nation’s capital were disappointing and disheartening and sad. There were many reasons for this, but underlying it all is a pervasive human condition called sin. As many of us have read in our 2021 Bible reading plan, Adam and Eve chose to reject God’s judgment on right and wrong. They decided to choose right and wrong based on their own preferences and desires and benefits. This, of course, is our story too. And from our underlying rebellion against God comes idolatry, pride, hatred, insecurity, and selfishness. Yesterday wasn’t just someone else’s sin, either. As I watched things unfold, my heart’s response to seeing sin was sinful. I’ve had to repent from the judgment and disdain and apathy and pride that swirled in my own heart. And I hope you will do the same.
We have a problem, Beloved. But we know the ultimate solution. His name is Jesus. And the hope that we have in Him shines brightest in the dark. So, as people in Christ, rather than despair or retreat in the midst of a global pandemic and injustice and deep political divide and cultural angst and violence, we put our trust in Jesus and walk in step with His Spirit as ministers of His reconciliation in a broken world.
That’s why this upcoming 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting is so important. The theme comes from 2 Chronicles 7:14. It is simply, “Heal our Land.” It starts on Monday, January 11 and goes through Sunday, January 31. If you haven’t ever truly participated in this annual event, I pray the Lord will use yesterday’s events to stir your heart to join in the effort this year. Think about how you can fast. To fast means to intentionally abstain from a normal feature in your life (food, social media, TV, etc.) for the purpose of pursuing the Lord in prayer more diligently. How might the Lord call you to fast this year? Then, think about how you can intentionally lean into prayer for God’s healing during these 21 days. Each night there will be an online prayer gathering. You can find all the details HERE.
Another way that we can put our trust in Jesus and walk in step with His Spirit is to spend time reflecting on His Word. That’s why I’m inviting the church to read through the Bible this year. We started on Monday. Today’s reading was Genesis 12-15. If you’re already behind, remember that grace abounds! Just jump in on today’s reading. You can get back to those earlier chapters another time. Spending time in the Word reminds us of who God is and what He has done for us in Christ and who He makes us to be when we put our faith in Him. To be people of hope, we need to be people of the Word. So, please check all the information about jumping in HERE.
Finally, the only way for us to be a people of hope is to intentionally come into the Lord’s presence with thanksgiving and praise. Please note the changes this week in our worship schedule. At 9:00 a.m. we will have an online-only service in our Classic style (organ, hymns, etc.) and at 10:45 a.m. we will have an online-only service in our Modern style (band, praise songs, etc.). At 1:30 p.m., when it is a little warmer outside, we will have our outdoor service which is best described as an acoustic style.
Beloved, may we remember today that our hope is solely in Christ Jesus. He has been given all authority in heaven and earth. God’s plan of redemption through Him has not been shaken. As we turn our attention to Christ, the Holy Spirit will strengthen us for the mission of reconciliation He has given us. So, let us press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.