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You’ve Got to be Kidding Me

You’ve got to be kidding me. Right when COVID-19 seemed to be slowing down, and restaurants, businesses and church buildings started to re-open, boom, our nation experiences a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Today’s headline for one news syndicate reads, “U.S. sees 250,000 confirmed new virus cases in first five days of July.” Another one says, “America is still `knee-deep’ in the pandemic’s first wave, Dr. Fauci warns.” Yet another reports, “Hospitalizations are growing in nearly two dozen U.S. states.”

In addition to the numbers, we have the multitudinous extrapolations of self-proclaimed experts on both sides of the political aisle. “The virus is a government hoax to abolish our rights, including our right to worship.” “The virus is a serious threat that should precipitate a national lockdown that should only be reversed when a vaccination is discovered.” I even heard of one church in Texas that has one section in their auditorium for “masked-seating,” and one section for “unmasked-seating.”

These uncertain times lead many to either a state of denial or a state of fear. Neither is the right path forward. Jesus said we should be wise as serpents, innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). Ninety-eight times the Bible says we are not to worry, be anxious or afraid. We do not have to fear, because we know that God is “over all, through all, and in all” (Ephesians 4:6). We fear not, because God is with us. “Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

We listen to wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14). We submit ourselves to governing authorities (Romans 13:1). We stand up for the oppressed and marginalized (James 1:27). And we step out in faith to serve others in the name of Jesus (Acts 21:12-14).

Back in 1527, a deadly plague hit Martin Luther’s town of Wittenberg, and he wrote a letter to a friend, explaining how churches should deal with such complicated circumstances.

I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me, and I have done what He has expected of me, and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith, because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.

May we, too, have an unswerving conviction to live by faith, not by sight, in the wise counsel of others, for the advancement of the mission of Christ.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

The End of the World is Coming

Laura, the kids and I watched a Steve Carell movie the other night called, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012). Spoiler alert: If you don’t want to know what happened, you can skip the next two paragraphs. You have now been properly warned.

Steve Carell plays his typical non-descript, bland character who meanders through life looking for love (which he does quite well). In this movie, however, his character finds love right before the end of the world. He and his new-found love gaze romantically into each other’s eyes as the world is destroyed and . . . the movie ends.

Maybe some viewers come to the end of the movie and say, “How romantic. They found true love, and that’s what’s most important.” Right? Wrong. I’m not intending to sound like a dull, unromantic, but if the end of the world is coming, we’d better find a lot more than just mere human besotted affection.

But guess what? The end of the world is coming. No, I’m not going to carry a sign and shout through a bullhorn while I parade around Monument Circle. But the facts are the facts. This life is temporal, and either we’re going to “age out” or the earth is going to “age out,” but whichever comes first, we’d better get ready. I’m here to tell you that readiness is far more than seeking a friend for the end of the world. That’s a nice thought, but it’s not long-term thinking. We need to seek the Friend who will help us get through the end of the world, and His name is Jesus. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25, NIV).

I’ve been dwelling on this lately in light of COVID. This pandemic most likely will not bring about the end of the world, but it has brought a LOT of disruption, chaos, pain and death. The question I’ve been asking myself is, How am I living differently as a result of what’s happening? Am I seeking Jesus in a daily practice of prayer, reading of Scripture, silence, solitude, and engaging in deeper relationships?

Rich Mullins wrote a song many years ago that said, “Live like you’ll die tomorrow. Die knowing you’ll live forever.” Hmm. That’s what I choose. COVID or no COVID, the end of the world in fourteen days or long after I’m gone—I want to live like I’ll die tomorrow and know that I’ll live forever.

Is eternity just a religious concept left behind by our less-enlightened forefathers and mothers? Whatever you believe, are you willing to stake your destiny on it?

The Teacher writes that “God has placed eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Let’s choose to live as eternal beings in this temporal world, so that whatever comes—a resurgence of the coronavirus, an economic recession or worse, or if things begin to return to “normal”—we’re living like we’ll die tomorrow, knowing that we’ll live forever.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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