This morning as I spent time in scripture, my Bible reading plan put me in Proverbs 20, 1 Chronicles 18, Acts 4, and then Titus 1. It’s wonderful how when we read scripture with our current context in mind, God so often causes it to speak into our context.
I read this morning how the Lord gives us wisdom for victory for whatever we undertake (Proverbs 20:18). He gives us stamina and strength for victory over his enemies (1 Chronicles 18). He calls us to prayer and gives us victory over those who would mute our witness — and even amplifies our witness by calling us to selfless acts of love (Acts 4:23-35). And he calls us to establish churches in each city (Titus 1:5) and to gain victory over the rebellious who lead people astray (Titus 1:10-16).
One would think that killing the whole world’s church gatherings would kill the Church. But wow, not at all! To the contrary, the Church has risen to its feet and is alive! Our services were killed on a Friday and alive by Sunday! What a resurrection story! And now, suddenly the entire social media sphere is flooded with the gospel, in every tribe and tongue, from every slant and perspective, to every audience, at every time. Truly, what the enemy meant for evil the Lord has used for good!
And not only are each of the churches proving that they are still a “church,” but all the churches together are proving that we, together, are THE Church!
From an “insiders” conversation, I just want to give witness that the churches are working together, sharing information, cheering each other on! Sure, there are some who have made a public spectacle of themselves, taking a rebel’s stance to defy advice and keep meeting, but they are very few — and I believe it is revealing a stark contrast, even if mockers like to lump us all together. But all the thousands and thousands of churches are rising up as the Lord's Church, and I believe he is being glorified in this. He is giving victory through counsel, strength and stamina, amplifying our witness through selfless acts of love, and calling us to recognize the “elders” of our churches as all working for the same cause. This is good. Is this the end times? Sure. It’s been the end times since Jesus ascended! And his return is nearer now than when we first believed!
This week we enter not only Holy Week, but week one of a 30 day stay at home order. What an opportunity. May your home become holy, set apart for godliness. May you forever be refined and the Lord honored by how you conduct yourself and choose to worship him. May this Easter stand out as a time when God refined your worship of him. He desires that we would take time with our families to bow in worship, and to pray together. Worship him where you are. The Lord is near.
This weekend we plan to bring our Good Friday service as well as an Easter service. Your prayers are appreciated as we work hard at these preparations with our new restrictions. Visit https://sarasotacommunity.online.church for the schedule of events.
We also are hosting a noon prayer Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday again, by Zoom.
Thank you to the many who continue to support the church with prayers and finances. What an encouragement you are. And for those in need, please let us know. We are family.
Love and prayers for you all!
Pastor of Sarasota Community Church since 2009.