Thankful For Grace

July 15, 2020


Leadership Notes


"Awe, gee Pastor Richard, last week's Leadership Note was too short," said no one ever. For the sake of my long-winded self, this week we're back to normal!


Our fall worship series is on apologetics. I am really excited about where this will lead us. Here's a good quote about why, generally, this is important:


"The mind becomes a battle ground for deceiving one's own self, where we begin to question God and His Word, God and His character, and other aspects of saving faith."

- Virgil Walker


Regardless of what the rest of the summer holds, come fall, kids need to be back in school. From an infectious disease angle, mortality rates for people under 15 is barely on the radar. Drowning deaths are a much greater risk for this demographic. Plus, less the 2% of known COVID cases have been in children. So, closing schools may be worth considering in order to protect the adults who work in schools, but it doesn't seem necessary to protect children. And even then, adults call follow tried and true protocols to mitigate against getting the disease.


On a more practical side, analysis has shown that Zoom school is a dismal substitute for in-class learning. Also, what about single-parent households and families where both parents work? That seems to be an untenable situation. Like one 8-year-old said back in May, "I don't like Zoom school. I want to go back to room school." I could not agree more.


In 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3, Paul writes, "We sent Timothy, our brother and God's co-worker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this." John Piper explains the passage this way - "The knowledge that we are predestined for affliction is to keep us from being shaken by them."


In related news, in Anderson, South Carolina, vandals tore into an historic cemetery belonging to a local Presbyterian church. It's been there since 1833. The vandals spray painted "Black Lives Matter" over head- stones and desecrated more than 20 graves. May Christ be glorified in the community's response to such horrible behavior.


The Barna Research Group surveyed people's worship habits during this current pandemic. They asked folks who identified as regular worshipers before the quarantine about their current worship habits. 33% have neither returned to in-person worship nor worshiped through live streaming. What does it mean and where will it lead us? Are people letting current circumstances keep them from worshiping God?


As Paul Washer observes:


"Questions: Are we committed and contributing members of a local congregation? Are we dying to self and laying down our lives? Are we laboring for the edification of the church? What do we actually do to build up the people of God and advance the cause of Christ among the nations?"


By the grace of God, we can do these things even in the midst of a pandemic.


Finally, two thoughts that merge in my mind. Charles Spurgeon once said, "If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you are." And then there's this - "As soon as you realize that God owes you nothing except judgment, you become more and more thankful for grace" {Pastor Nate Pickowicz}.


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard