Sun, Dec 6, 2020

Scott Wakefield   -  

Total Reading Time: 4ish mins (Sorry, ’tis a minute more than I said in today’s pre-sermon verbiage.)

Few Upcoming Items

  • Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!) begins discussing The Gathering Storm, by Al Mohler, this Tue, Dec 8. We’ll break it down into 3 weeks, so join us this Tue, at noon, even if you haven’t started reading. You’ll be able to keep up well enough if you start reading this week.
  • This Wednesday’s Coffee Convo is with Sonya Higgs: Don’t miss it, Wednesday evenings at 7:30p on Facebook Live (or replay on the app or YouTube.)
  • Our Christmas/Advent Series is “Lying in Wait”. While we wait for the consummation of God’s work of reconciling the world to Himself, understanding how we are believing certain lies when it comes to personal self-righteousness, political power, and earthly security, will help us properly align and prepare.
    • Sun, Dec 6 – “Unholy Fear” (John 9:35-41)
    • Sun, Dec 12 – “Hopeless Fear” (Luke 24:13-21)
    • Sun, Dec 20 – “Overwhelming Fear” (Matthew 1:18-21)
    • Re Christmas Candlelight Services: We are doing the same thing we’ve done the last couple/few years. (You begin to forget those details when you’ve been somewhere long enough.) We’re having one type of Christmas Candlelight Service on Sun, Dec 20, and we think also on Wed, Dec 23 and Thu, Dec 24 (more details forthcoming ASAP.) Feel free to come to all or one service that week, but please know that all 6 (or so?) that we end up doing will be the same exact service.
  • Our move back to 2 Sunday Services begins Sun, Dec 20: 8:45a & 10a. Details and reasons in last week’s ST. Elders are sending out a quarterly update letter this week.

Words of Thanks Need to be Said Occasionally, or at least Regularly, and Really, Hopefully, Quite Often.

Our messy middle posture of adapting to Covid by providing as much in-person and online ministry as possible has been really difficult to make happen, in ways that extend far beyond paid staff and the tech involved and that have begun to burn out and frustrate some folks. We’ve been doing 6 services a Sunday, with 80% of those who served pre-Covid continuing to serve on Sunday for the last 3-4 months, (which, if you think about the fact that we’ve averaged around 55% of our pre-Covid attendance, is amazing!) We’ve been providing both an online and in-person service every Sunday, as well as doing something similar for re:gen and 180. We’ve had scads of Care Team peeps writing, contacting, and visiting (when possible) our seniors. The faithfulness list goes on and on. So, this just needs to be said, hopefully quite often: we’ve got bought-in servants who care about embodying the Great Commission with Great Commandment hearts. Bigtime thanks to so many who have been faithful week after week. None of this happens without you.

Quick Thoughts & Lessons Learned (Particularly from Leading Through Covid)

  • (Forewarning, this is a typical long and abstract Scott Thought.) Globalization, the internet, marketing, algorithms, material control, unprecedented luxury, reductionistic postmodernism, the loss of Judeo-Christian cultural values, and the politicization of science, politics, and faith now mean that by default, save being a rare careful and intentional Christian who is also Word-saturated, the average person almost exclusively hears and sees what confirms their narrow and sinful biases. Mass isolation will only further exacerbate this dynamic. Ironic that, with more resources, the average person can now more easily be their own authority, value system, faith commitment. The average American isn’t remotely prepared to withstand this cultural onslaught, let alone the average Christian who knows way more about everything other than who God is through His Word. If the Word of God is not your authority, everything else is.
  • (This next sentence may sound like boasting, but believe me, it’s just as much tyranny as help, and it’s just to make a point.) I’m full of lots of internal fire and drive (and, granted, empty blather.) Dunno why, but that’s how God made me. I can go a long time on that drive (though, at 47, it’s clear my youthful (let’s call it) “drive” is learning its limits!) I say all that because I know that, if I’m super long-term tired and ready to pack it in multiple times daily, then I know others are, too. (Plus, well, we Pastors get copious anecdotal feedback from all slices of our community. Comes with the gig.) So, like me, I know many are feeling like all they do is fall further behind in literally every single relational, vocational, physical, and spiritual category in life. I hear and see it in many right now, so I just wanna say… Don’t quit. Don’t give up. We have Jesus. So be faithful, in the small, everyday, and boring ways few see. God rewards that. Your family will reap the benefits of it. And others see it more than they say. Galatians 6:9 says, Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (ESV). Keep being faithful.