September 2, 2020
My computer is taking too much time processing commands. I'm accustomed to clicking the mouse and things happening quickly. Now the spinning wheel shows up for a second or two before the action happens. Yup, I am defining "taking too much time" as a second or two. Wow, talk about first world problems! But it is a good example of how easy it is for us to become conditioned by our surroundings. Technology has sped up many things in our lives and has enabled us to do many things faster. The promise was, we could enjoy life more if we didn't have to take so much time doing certain things. We took the bait, but we didn't slow down. We've just tried to do more, and we are as busy as ever, probably more, and it isn't all good. Not only do we have the attention span of a fruit fly, but we are so easily bored. Things that take a long time are highly frustrating. We cannot believe that we have to wait in a line at the post office, bike shop, or grocery store. We want resolutions now.
But it is an illusion. Real life has real problems that last for a long time. In some cases, problems last for a lifetime. Some of you have been fighting an illness for years, and you will for the rest of your days. Some of you live with a hole in your heart from a loss that happened decades ago. It is not a new grief, but time has not made it go away. Instant information, microwave popcorn, watches that tell me how many calories those M&Ms were and the 28,724 steps I will need to take as health-maintenance penance do not prepare us for long nights of the soul, nor for conditions that take a long, long time to be resolved.
Covid-19 is a new reality that we are living with for a while. (I like the church sign that said, "I want to be like Saul. I want to be on the road to De-mask-us.") The seriousness of this disease has uprooted many of our routines and, along with other things, has contributed to a general level of angst. We are not accustomed to inconveniences for a long time. But God has promised grace and joy, not only for the short-term problems, but also for the long-term weights. Call upon the Lord. Really. Call upon the Lord to MAKE you lie down in green pastures, to lead you beside still waters, and restore your soul. We would all love these circumstances to be changed, and we are tempted to think that if we changed our circumstances, we would be changed, but it simply is not true. Circumstances never make us what we are, they only reveal it. Allow what this has revealed about you to be the occasion to lean and lean and lean upon the Lord.
Now for some reminders:
This Sunday, we are going back to one service! The two services were better than no services, but we need to be together at the same time because we are one body. Note the time changes. ABFs meet from 9:00-10:00a. Pre-service singing starts at 10:20a, and the service begins at 10:30a. There will be additional congregational singing in the 10:30 service. The gym will be open with the service live-streamed for families with younger kids who need the break. The service will go from 10:30-11:30 (maybe 11:35 with communion) and will include a kid's message. Click here for some more information on that. We will be providing some "Sermon Notes for Kids" (designed for kids aged 6-12) in order to help them benefit as much as possible from the service.
With a shortened service, we will be relying upon this weekly email and other notices to keep you informed, because we will simply not have the time in the AM service for some of that. For example, this year has continued to be a very exciting year for our Missions focus. The paying off of our building has allowed us to substantially increase our funding for missions, and the Missions Team has been working very intentionally on this. It may feel as if you are getting inundated with missions information. GOOD! We want you to know what is going on with the people who we are interviewing, the plans that we are considering and proposing so you can be informed, be engaged, be praying, and have a wider heart for more missionaries and ministries. This is something that we have wanted to do for a very long time, and it is beautiful to see it actually happening. I want all of us to know what is going on. Therefore, when we send out video links and provide updates, appoint yourself as the chairman of the missions information committee (I just made that up) and commit yourself to being informed. After all, isn't that one of the biggest goals of the church? We exist to make Christ known all over the world. And guess what? The more we engage with the glorious mission of making Christ known around the world and praying for those directly involved in that, the less we will be bothered with inconveniences.