Go Ahead. Take the Next Step

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

Who will win the election? What will the country be like four more years of Trump’s presidency? What will our country be like under Biden’s presidency? How many more hurricanes? Fires? When will the deaths of African Americans by the hands of police officers come to a halt? When will the vaccines be ready? When will we finally be over covid?

There are so many unknowns. No one knows.

What are Christians supposed to do in such days as these?

Listen. It’s okay not to know what our future holds. It’s okay not to know as long as you’re following the One who does know. It’s God’s job to lead. It’s our job to trust and obey.

How does God guide Christians in the thick of the fog of today’s confusion?

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

Here’s the thing about the Scriptures. We can be certain of our ultimate destination. The Scriptures are clear. God wins. God triumphs. God will make all things right. Those who reject God face God’s judgment and wrath. Those who receive Jesus, God’s gift of eternal life, will be welcomed into God’s eternity.

As for day to day illumination…God’s word shows us where we are and our next step – “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

Ever go camping and use a lantern? Lanterns are great for illuminating a closed space and the area right in front. God’s word is like that. God doesn’t show us what next week, month, years will look like. What God does reveal to us is how we ought to live in the present. God’s word shows us the next step. And when we take that step, God’s word illumines the next.

That’s how it works. And it’s probably for the best. I don’t think anyone of us would have chosen to take steps into 2020 had we known how this year has been playing out.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

It’s okay not to know the way out of this fog as long as you know the One who knows all. All you need to do is to stay close to him. Trust and obey.

Go ahead. Take the next step. Begins with studying and knowing God’s word. God’s word is the light.

Everything Needed for Abundant Life

“His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Remember the saying, “I wouldn’t touch him with a six foot pole!”

Who knew that this would become the rule for everyone in 2020?

These have been strange and difficult days. There’s no sugar coating it. The level of racial unrest, the economic turmoil of covid-19 shutdowns, the hurricanes, the fires, the social distancing.

That’s why I find God’s promise in our verse so surprising. God tells us that he has given us everything needed for life and godliness. The word for life in our text is “zoa”. The Greeks had another word for life, “bio”.

  • Bio refers to being alive, breathing, existing.
  • Zoa is totally different. Zoa refers to life as it was meant to be lived. This is a life that is full of God’s shalom and peace. This is thriving in life. This is the life Jesus promised in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

God really does expect us, even in 2020, to live “zoa” life.

However, this life is contingent upon us living life according to God’s way, God’s truth, God’s word.

So, here’s the thing. God didn’t ask us to like what is happening right now. But God does expect us to live fully God’s blessed life today. Because it’s by living God’s “zoa” life that the saints can be a blessing to a world desperate for God’s blessing.

Why Worship

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

A recent study of worship habits since covid-19 says that 49% of those who used to regularly attend church prior to covid-19 have stopped worshiping altogether. Let that sink in. Half of all church going Christians haven’t worshiped since March.

As I have been speaking regularly with our church people, I know that the numbers aren’t as bad at the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace as the study suggests. But I do know that there are people in our congregation who have stopped worshiping. Some have done so because they have no way to connect online or have difficulty doing so. But there are those who have the capacity to worship online and have chosen not to worship.

This breaks my heart. I ache knowing that there are Little Church and Lakewoodgrace people who haven’t worshiped in months. This is not good. This is not healthy.

No one can force you to do anything. I certainly don’t want to guilt trip you into doing something you don’t want to do.

But here’s what I’ve realized. Whether you choose to worship or not is up to you. And should you choose to not worship, you will have to answer to God. But if I don’t tell you the truth about worship and you choose not to worship, I will have to answer for God for not telling you the truth about worship.

I would not be meeting my pastoral duties if I did not tell you that worship is not about whether you want to or not.

If you are a Christian, you worship God. You worship God because God is God.

Our circumstances have changed due to covid, but that Christians worship God because God is God has not.

And, no. You cannot worship God in nature, or in isolation apart from the church. There is nothing in scripture that backs that. You need to be in the body of Christ, the church. And even if we cannot be together in person, we still can be together and worship God through the technologies God has given us.

I love you. It is an honor to be your pastor. The Little Church and Lakewoodgrace is healthy and we are growing even in the midst of the pandemic. Our online attendance is higher than our membership numbers, and what our average attendance was prior to covid.

We are absolutely committed to seeing God make new disciples, grow faithful disciples, and share the love of Jesus with all people. We do that by committing to weekly worship, small groups, and through acts of service.

This is not Pastor James’ or Pastor Brad’s or Pastor Bill’s idea. This is God’s idea.

Because I love you, I encourage you to commit to worship. Worship is what Christians do.

Know you are loved and you are in my prayers.