Dear Church Family,
Psalms 122:1-2 A Song of Ascents. Of David. I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!
It was a blessing when word began to filter in that we were moving into Phase II in Pierce County! In a Webinar early last week some hope was held out, but the expectation was that it would not happen until this week. Thankfully, it came in time for us to gather together this past Lord’s Day for true corporate worship.
My thanks to all who made it possible; it was the effort of many minds and hands.
The attendance at our first two services, as things are starting to get back to normal, was encouraging, and we hope that it will keep growing and that we can safely move into Phase III. It was a blessing to be able to join our voices in song and to know that others were with us over the live stream broadcast. Truly, the week looks brighter when it begins in God’s House with God’s people—looking forward to this Sunday!
Thanks, too, for your cooperation in regards to the limitations that are still upon us, and for your patience as we make adjustments as advised by our insurance company and others.
One of the other matters of praise has to do with the way the Lord has sustained us as a body. We need to mark how He has heard and answered our prayers as we continue to bring new requests to Him.
This update is a little longer than usual, but take heart and read on.
Grievous or perilous times – this is how one might describe this present day. The last few weeks have been very unsettling to be sure, but our opinion of what is going on at any given moment is usually hyper-focused, with the past and the future nothing more than a blurry image on either side of the present.
It tends to be very tightly self-focused, with the circumstances and the plight of others, again, just a blur at the edges of our attention. Let me put it this way, do you think that the person in the refugee camp who is threatened and hounded by thugs and criminals every day, who is worried about how he or she will find enough food to eat every day, feels quite the same about what is happening in Seattle, or the other cities in America, as you and I do?
Don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t make your concerns any less legitimate and it doesn’t mean that these are not grievous times—no, people are self-lovers, money lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affections and so on, just as Paul said that they would be in the “last,” “perilous,” days. But the point is, the intensity with which you perceive these realities ebbs and flows with just how close they come to your life.
When it happens in some refugee camp in some part of the world that is obscure to most of us, you seldom hear someone invoke Paul; but when it touches your territory, when it impacts your life, suddenly the picture changes dramatically and we begin to speak differently about the days in which we find ourselves.
The truth is, that though this is an age of trouble, it is also the age of grace, and we pray that in the midst of all that seems unreasonable and chaotic, the Lord will show Himself strong in behalf of all those who are His, and let the light of the Gospel shine brightly through the darkness.
1 John 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
1 John 2:15-25 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.
This will be my last update of this nature for now. Perhaps there will be occasion for special ones as the news of any day unfolds. I hope and pray that they have been of some use and encouragement to some of you over the last few months and not just clutter in your e-mail box.
I want to close this out with just a few observations.
We will see what the courts find, but from the raw tape of the events leading up to George Floyd’s death, it was an unnecessary taking of life; and if nothing surfaces to suggest otherwise, those responsible should be held to the highest standard of justice. Such an abuse of power cannot be tolerated.
It was grieving to see that officer acting as he did while looking into the camera. This is the sort of thing that happens when you cheapen life in general and that is what has been going on in our nation for some time now. The life of that poor man mattered, and so do the lives of all those being institutionally exterminated, as well as criminally, or otherwise.
This officer, along with every other person who takes an innocent life should be held equally accountable.
Romans 13:3-4 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
Secondly, when I was on my first round of duty with a police officer, I was partnered with a serious, quiet, officer who had served in the US Air Force. During our shift we stopped at a fast-food restaurant for dinner. We were sitting at the table and as we were talking, I noticed the officer, who ate at attention (his posture was ramrod straight in the seat), was obviously distracted. He was looking past me with an intense look of concern.
I was a little uneasy. I tried to make conversation, and he gave short, abrupt answers. I wondered what was going on behind me, but didn’t want to look, for fear it might cause trouble (I was brand new at this).
Suddenly, he jumped to his feet and rushed past me. I pivoted in my seat to see if, in what was about to go down, he would need my assistance. I was assessing all my training, trying to remember what I might do—everything was in slow motion—I finished my pivot and my eyes fell on this classy, serious law enforcement officer, lifting a little boy up to the drink dispenser so he could fill his own cup.
When he sat back down he said, “I was watching the little guy and he was trying so hard to get that drink for himself, but he just could not reach it and he was getting frustrated—just thought he needed a little help.”
There are bad people in every walk of life. Their actions are their own, but they often reflect on others. For every philandering, covetous, or self-righteous preacher, there are a hundred simple, faithful men serving for the love of Christ and His Church. It is the same way in every walk of life and the police force is no different. It is a shame when one man or woman’s outrageous actions reflect on everyone else, but another man or woman’s kindness and sacrifice is not allowed any reflection at all.
We are quickly becoming a nation devoid of common sense and it is destroying us from within and making fools of men and women in every level of our society—how does such a thing happen?
Isaiah 29:13-16 Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work Among this people, A marvelous work and a wonder; For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, And their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?” ( Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
It is God who ends the prudence of a people and leaves them to their own foolishness, and it is God alone who can rescue us from ourselves.
Psalms 80:14-19 Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; Look down from heaven and see, And visit this vine And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, And the branch that You made strong for Yourself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance. Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. Then we will not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!