Above is a brief word of encouragement to our Church as we continue to navigate this trial. Psalm 46 reminds us that, “God is our refuge and strength.” Now is a better time than ever to open our Bibles, to draw close to Jesus, and trust in His promises!
Each of you have already received an official Churchwide communication from Park Community Church on precautions we are taking at each of our Church locations to protect against the spread of germs and to be wise in our gatherings during this season. It certainly seems like the Coronavirus fears are increasing quickly and I wanted to write this to each of you as your Pastor, to help equip you and shepherd you through this moment, and perhaps to prepare us for the unknown future that lies ahead.
Sabbath…. Let’s start with the basics. God’s people were commanded in the fourth commandment to honor the Lord as Holy by resting on the Sabbath from all work. Here’s the passage from Exodus 20:8-11
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
In my “inner-being” (as the Apostle Paul so liked to speak of the depths of his heart’s longings) I regularly long for greater and greater intimacy with God through the power of the Holy Spirit. When I read the Scriptures and consider the work and joy and power of the early New Testament Church, I am forced to wonder what we are missing. Make no mistake I recognize and agree with Paul that the ordinary work of the Church: teaching, exhorting, admonishing, equipping, defending, and sending are all only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones considered all of that work the “regular work” of the Holy Spirit. And that brings me great joy to see this kind of fruit develop steadily within our Church body. But Lloyd Jones always clarified that while “regular work” is good, there is also “exceptional work” of the Holy Spirit which ought to be present in our lives.
Last year I read the biography of the life of William Tyndale. Tyndale was an absolutely incredible hero of the Christian faith, who defied the persecutors of his day, and tirelessly labored to produce a Bible in the English language. In the middle of that book I came across a very short story of a man name John Tewkesbury.
Parenting is a very difficult responsibility. But more importantly, parenting is a very difficult stewardship. To steward something is to recognize that that which we have has been given to us by someone else. As Christian parents we recognize that the children we have have been given to us and entrusted to us by God. He has given us the tremendous and joyful task of developing their hearts and their minds. Just as shepherds lead their sheep to green pastures, so do Christian parents lead their children towards that which is most satisfying to their soul, God. It is the responsibility of parents to shape a child’s worldview to be in alignment with the Biblical worldview.
“He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake… I guess in girl and boy land, we’ll have a jubilee. We’re gunna build a toy land, all around the Christmas tree.”
I didn’t grow up in a Christian house. For me as a child, Santa was always a special part of the whole Christmas tradition. There was something magical about the entire month of December that Santa just seemed to fit nicely into. I didn’t become a Christian until my late teens and so I never truly had to wrestle through what I would do with Santa as a parent. When I grew up and had children of my own I remember feeling an interesting turmoil about Santa Claus. On the one hand, I looked back with very fond memories of my own childhood looking up to the sky hoping to get a glimpse of his sleigh, and I didn’t want my children to miss out on such magical anticipation. On the other hand, I had grown deeply over the years as a man of Christ. I loved His Word and I desired to deeply form the message of the gospel in my children unapologetically and uncompromisingly.
The lord has been impressing on me the need to equip our Church for Spiritual Warfare. So, over the last few months I have begun teaching classes on this exact topic to a few different groups within our Church. These times of Biblical learning have been both intense and vitally helpful. It’s been good to wrestle with the Scriptures and consider the reality of how Spiritual Warfare impacts so many areas of our lives. The Bible paints a very clear picture that much of what happens in the real world of our lives and the lives of those around us is impacted by Spiritual forces unseen to the human eye. We are told in Ephesians 6 the following: