In-Person Gatherings Relaunch: Sunday, August 2nd at 9:15 am & 10:45 am Read More

Blog

Blog

Filter By:

Gearing Up For Our New Normal

Over the past few weeks, people have been asking me, “Do you think things will ever get back to normal?” Like you, I would love to go back to the way things used to be. I long for the day when I can sit at a table in a restaurant with Laura and order a steak. I want to be able to walk around a grocery store like we did in the “good old days” without people having to wear masks. I want to go to a Colts game! And, yes, I want to gather with our church family and guests to worship Jesus together, shake hands, and even give a hug or two (which says a lot, since I’m not the “huggy” type).

I’m not the first to declare this, and I don’t like what I’m about to write, but here it goes. We will never go back to exactly the way it was pre-coronavirus. Yes, I believe at some point we will have public worship gatherings, sports arenas will be full, and life, to a certain extent, will feel normal. But if we’re wise, we will think long and hard about what our “new normal” might look like and how best to prepare for it.

In our new normal, people will have greater awareness of the interconnectedness of our world. A virus that starts in China spreads all over the world. The oil industry, stock market, state governments, and global politics are fused together where we are seeing the consequences of when we all work together . . . and when we don’t.

In our new normal, people will have a deeper appreciation for the frailty of our humanity. One small virus turns into a pandemic that, as of today, has taken the lives of 252,102 globally (68, 934 nationally).

Yes, things have changed. Public gatherings have changed. Business models and methods have changed. Education has changed. The economy has changed. Jobs have changed. Shopping has changed. Dining out has changed.

But there are also things that stay the same. The need for kindness, grace and love stays the same. The fundamentals of a healthy society stay the same. The core of family life stays the same. The core of spiritual and emotional health stays the same. The need for creativity, growth, and adventure stays the same. The need for stability, peace and calm stays the same.

All of this is true in the church as well, isn’t it? Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, churches and Christians historically have experienced tension of what stays the same and what changes—the debates over ministry styles, music styles, dress styles, architectural styles, and on the list goes. But, my how the coronavirus changed things! I haven’t heard anyone arguing over whether you can wear your sweats or pajamas to our online church services! So many of these issues sound like “luxury items” when you haven’t even had the chance to gather together for worship services. But without question there are those “essentials” that we hold to at the core of the Christian faith that never change: The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the authority of Scripture, and the mission of the church.

On May 17, I’m kicking off a new sermon series called “Gear Up: Preparing for our New Normal,” and I hope you’ll join us for our online services. None of us knows what our new normal will look like, but as we move into it, there will be, without question, things that become new and things that will stay the same. We all have experienced change in:

Where we worship—but not if we worship.
How we worship—but not Whom we worship.
How we teach—but not the core of what we teach.
How we minister—but not if we minister.
How we disciple—but not if we disciple.
How we care—but not if we care.
How we share the Gospel—but not if we share.

So, let’s gear up and get ready for our new normal. “And he who was seated on the throne said, `Behold, I am making all things new’” (Revelation 21:5, ESV).

 
Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

5 Ways to Reverse the Rush of Anger

For many of us, this season of quarantine has opened the door for more time at home spent with family. And that’s a good thing, right? But for some people, more time with family equals more time dealing with conflict and anger. If we don’t deal with conflict and anger in healthy ways, our disagreements will deal destructively with us.

I’ll never forget a time when I was a senior in high school—and in full rebellion—that my dad and I had a disagreement which escalated into a full-blown argument, which continued to escalate until I almost came to blows with my dad. (I had been lifting weights for a couple of years at that point, and I figured I could take him. That’s how bad it got.) Fortunately, things calmed down, but the brokenness in that relationship took a long time to heal.

Fast forward. About seven years ago I told my, then, fifteen-year-old daughter to do something, and she pushed back, which in my mind was being a bit disrespectful. We exchanged words, things began to escalate, and I lost my cool and said those parenting words that we tend to say in moments of conflict with our kids that never really work, “Yes, you will do this, because I’m the dad, and I said so!” Which means—I’m bigger and stronger than you, and I can make you do this if I have to! That anger I had with my dad back when I was seventeen was being repeated when I was the dad and my daughter was fifteen. Not cool!

Most of us have been there, done that. We’ve either been on the receiving end of someone else’s anger boiling over, or we’ve been the one boiling over. Here are five ways we can reverse the rush of anger.

  1. Request help from God IMMEDIATELY. Anger will either escalate or dissipate with no hesitation. To get ahead of the escalation, we have to escalate our prayers and turn to the One who calms the heart and soothes the soul. Paul wrote, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26, ESV).
  2. Exit volatile situations. Leave the room. Take a walk. Exit the situation, so that you (and the other person) has time for the first thing—request help from God immediately. Five times in the New Testament we are instructed to flee from passions that hold us back from following God (1 Corinthians 6:18, 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Hebrews 11:25).
  3. Get over it. Not to sound harsh, but when you give it over to God, get over it. Don’t live in the past. Step into the future. Love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV).
  4.  Note the root cause.What’s really going on inside your heart and mind? Why are you reacting the way you are? Not until you root out the cause will you root away your anger (Luke 6:45).
  5. Act as the master, not as the slave. We have the power of the resurrected Christ indwelling us through His Spirit. Thus, we can choose to surrender our anger to Him, and let Him rule our hearts. Peter reminds us, “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19b, ESV). 

How wonderful it is when relationships are healed, hearts are set free, and anger is present no more. I hope you find that healing today.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

12345678910 ... 343344