Dear Grace Family,
“The Sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which the child of God rests his head at night, giving perfect peace.” Charles Spurgeon
These words are not only timeless and true, but needed in what can only be termed as surreal and sad days. If God were not in control, we would be without hope or joy in the midst of the relentless consequence of sin that we observe in the world around us, as we are also struck by the fact that there is nothing new, which means it will continue to happen. Wrongful death and murder is not new (Luke 13:1-3). Riots and confusion are not new (Acts 19:21-41). Looking to government to solve a heart issue that only God can is nothing new (Psalm 146:3-9). They are not new, but they are wearying. They remind us that the Lord is a God of justice (Isa. 30:18), but evil men do not understand justice (Prov. 28:5). They remind us that Jesus came to bring justice to the Gentiles (Matt. 12:18) and in that salvation there is hope. We are reminded that at the cross, justice and love were intertwined, as Jesus took the wrath of God’s justice on Himself, being both just and justifier to all who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:26). We are reminded that our sin was worse than we ever thought, but God granted us repentance and faith so that we can know forgiveness, restoration, and hope. These days remind us that our mission has not changed, and the need for the message of repentance in Jesus Christ is needed now more than ever. He is the only one who can change hearts, can deliver peace, and bring justice.
Based on all of this, here are a few things I’d challenge us to do during these days:
- Think Biblically as we process the various emotions we are feeling. Take time to process in God’s word, give time for facts to come out and tempers to cool, and trust the Lord to avoid over-reacting.
- Pray that God will bring repentance and comfort to all involved
- Pray for the many police officers and firemen of our church who will be on front lines in these days, putting themselves in harm’s way. Pray for their protection and wisdom as they interact with angry people looking to vent.
- Prepare our own hearts to give the hope of Jesus to all we interact with, to not get caught up in cultural thinking, to remember that unbelievers will act like unbelievers, and that we have an answer to the mystery of godliness, Jesus Christ the righteous.
We had a wonderful time of looking at 1 Timothy 5:1-2 this Sunday, reminding ourselves that communication and confrontation in the church is like the home, as we treat older members as fathers and mothers, younger as brothers and sisters. What a great opportunity to love each other, to be intentional to ask thoughtful questions, to listen to life stories, and infuse the truth in love. We do this to spur each other on to love Christ and to continue to perform the good works that God has prepared for us beforehand (Eph. 2:9-10). We were challenged to evaluate how we communicate with our spouse, children, friends, parents, roommates, etc, and make sure we are not avoiding the real issues, which is so easy to do.
We will continue our process and preparation for opening our doors for corporate worship in the next weeks. Pray as we strive to be wise, considerate, and thoughtful in all facets.
Love you all, and look forward to seeing you face to face.
Pastor Jordan Bakker