June 22, 2020 | John Teevan
We've all witnessed COVID-19, riots, opposing voices in your circle of friends, worrying about losing your job, fretting about going back to your job, and the tension of educating your children at home. And that's just the beginning of the list in mid-June!
I think we can all agree that the changes in our culture and society have been dramatic would be an understatement.
Whenever our American culture shifts, those of us as followers of Jesus in the local church need to be aware of the changes.
All of which serves the larger purpose of reaching our Ashland community with the message of Christ.
When we gather as a church body, it has always been more than just the service, our groups, the childcare, the worship, or the message. Our local church is a community of believers on a shared mission in which relationships with insiders and outsiders are central. It's all about the people.
Do you remember the 1990's? It was just two decades ago that if you wanted to hear phenomenal preaching, you had to go to church and be there to listen to it during a set time on a Sunday morning.
Now that it's 2020 with an unexpected pandemic and racial tensions, every church in America had to shift to an online platform. Virtual services, podcasting, and online groups have changed everything.
Let's be careful to avoid consuming all the Biblical content that is available through Grace Church and thousands of other ministries in order to fill the void that we each have for community. That need for community still won't go away with more content.
We're more connected than ever as a culture, and many people are lonelier than ever. Sure, technology connects us in astonishing ways, but it can also dramatically intensify our feelings of isolation. You may know loneliness's cousin as well – boredom.
Speaking of decades, it was over 200 decades ago (2000 years) Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for us so that we could be set free from sin and death. Are you living in that freedom and making Christ known to your friends and neighbors?
Now more than ever, it's time to help our friends and neighbors realize that Jesus didn't do this for any specific group of people, but for all humankind. In God's eyes, every one of us, regardless of color, nationality, or creed, was made in His image.
What a beautiful thought – that we are all valued and loved by God equally. My prayer and hope for the people of Grace Church is that we are known in our community for the way we love our neighbors, just as Jesus has first loved us.
May I encourage you to take time this week to look after your own soul – put on some praise and worship in your home and lift your eyes and your spirit to the God of all peace, hope, and comfort. A God who is committed to justice and righteousness.