Monday, May 4, 2020
What Are You Doing for God’s Sake During COVID-19?
What Are You Doing for God’s Sake During COVID-19?
Back in the mid-70s during a big church meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. James I. McCord, President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches with the same title in a seminary of inflated self-importance, took a deep draw from the largest Cuban that I’d ever seen, exhaled and urged, “Boys, I don’t care if you succeed or fail. Just do something for God’s sake! It’s not about winning or losing or being successful or failing. It’s about fidelity to God. Just do something for God’s sake!”
It sounds like a Christianized Nike commercial: “Just do it for God’s sake!”
Influenced by that moment ever since, I’ve often counseled leaders of any kind, “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Excellent! If you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, do the right thing!”
If we’re gonna catch anything but heaven no matter what we say and do, let’s try to do God’s thing!
Just do it for God’s sake as exemplified in Jesus, explained in Holy Scripture and inspired by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book!
“But Pastor Bob, don’t rock the boat! Don’t go out on a limb!”
Boats don’t move unless they’re rocked.
Ships are safe in the harbor but that’s not what they’re built for.
The best fruit is out on the limb.
How about this metaphor?
If Jesus is calling us, the safest place to be is out of the boat and walking on water with Him!
Or as you may have seen on a bumper sticker: “God said it! I believe it! That settles it!”
Really, who cares what people think in conflict with the Word revealed in Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book?
“I know that’s what Jesus and the Bible say, but I think…”
How big of you.
Really think you’re ready to correct God on Biblical faith and morality?
I’m reminded of the fellow who asked his pastor, “Why is Jesus the only way?”
The pastor replied, “Because Jesus is the only way!”
Parenthetically, every messianic prophecy of the Old Testament was fulfilled in Jesus just as every other prophecy has been and will be fulfilled.
Around 500 of the 1000 Biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled historically; and remember, history is His story.
Biblical prophecies have always been a peek at history, His story, in advance.
While I may be wrong but think I’m close with a margin of error much better than the COVID-19 models that are floating around, Jesus fulfilled at least 109 OT prophecies to certify Him as Messiah; so if those 109 OT prophesies certified Jesus as Messiah, it’s quite logical, let’s say certain, that the at least 321 prophecies in the Bible about the second coming of Jesus warrant our attention.
Let’s get this straight once and for all.
Christians aren’t interested in “more light” because it’s usually hawked by someone who thinks she or he knows more about God than God has revealed in Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book.
Christians will always admit they are wrong if they are proven wrong by Jesus according to Holy Scripture as tuned in time by common sense which is the province of the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book.
Recently, I was asked how COVID-19 is affecting financial support of the church. The person went on to ask if I thought church attendance would stay the same, increase or decline after things open up and what I plan to do to inspire people to cough up to help pay the bills and fill the
I thought of my first vocational mentor – The Rev. Harold F. Mante who is in heaven by grace through faith in Jesus.
Here’s what he taught me about filling the coffers and pews of the church.
First, a quick reminder about him.
He would always shout to people, “Blessings on you! Keep the faith!”
When I asked what that meant, he said, “I am always praying God will bless you even though you don’t deserve it. Blessings on you! And I always encourage people to keep the faith or keep keepin’ on trusting and obeying Jesus!”
There’s that echo: “Do something for God’s sake!”
Anyway, here’s what my pastor and mentor taught me about church attendance and financial support of the church.
He said, “If you need gimmicks to get them in the seats or fundraisers to keep the church going, you’ve got a church that needs more Christians in it.”
O.K., back to the truth test with illustrative specificity: “If you can prove my pastor and mentor was wrong by Jesus, Holy Scripture and common sense enlightened by the Holy Spirit that never contradicts Jesus by the Holy Spirit, then go for it. If not, then you’d best keep your infidelity to yourself.”
I go back to my time with Eugene Peterson in October 2011 when he said, “You don’t have to motivate Christians. Christians are already motivated.”
Or as famed football coach Lou Holtz responded when asked how he motivated his players, “I recruit motivated players.”
You don’t have to use gimmicks to fill pews; some do with motivational speeches aka sermonettes that produce Christianettes.
You don’t have to beg for money as some churches do because Christians are always looking for ways to honor God with what has been entrusted to them by Him for worship, service and soul-winning.
Christians don’t need to be motivated to be Christians.
People who are not regular in worship and financial support of the church are posers.
Authentics never have to be asked where they’ve been when rarely spotted in worship or why they don’t fork over to feed the world with bread for tables and, most important and lasting, the bread of life by grace through faith in Jesus.
Christians are preparing themselves as they urge others to prepare themselves for the return of Jesus as a bride prepares herself for the coming of the groom.
Christians are always doing something for God’s sake.
After providing the eight ingredients of His divine recipe for living happily ever after in the beatitudes that opened His Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus taught us how to do something for God’s sake: “You are the salt of the earth! You are the light of the world! Salt and Shine!” (Matthew 5:13-16).
We’ve got a job to do.
We’re loved by God and God wants us to help not hinder the growing of Christ’s Body the Church that lives confidently because it lives forever by grace through faith in Jesus.
He tells us how to be a part of the saving solution: “Salt and Shine!”
Salt has many qualities that make our material lives so much better and God expects us to have analogous qualities in making the lives around us so much better.
Don’t miss the big point before we go on!
When we follow Jesus by loving like Jesus with salt and light, we are preparing all of the below for all of the above at the return of the groom (Jesus) for His bride (Church).
Jesus wants us to do that by being salty.
To preserve what is right and honors God; or as we say on the corner of Lincoln and Main, “Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus! Salt! Shine! Leavenate! Heavenate!”
To purify what is rotting in our world which includes the church. So much of what those little churches are doing is such an insult to the holiness of God by watering down the Word to get along with the spirit of Antichrist with its lies, deceit and murdering of life, breaking marriage boundaries and too much else; betraying too many of today’s little churches are only coincidentally related to Jesus by the book. Part of our job as part of the Body of Christ aka Church is to identify the infections, isolate them and be salty enough as remedy or saving antidote to prepare ourselves and everybody else for His return to claim His own. Antiseptics sting on open wounds pero save people/us from crippling to terminal diseases.
To add flavor or pep up and sprinkle people with a contagious zest for living. Christians love and laugh and party! We know how to celebrate! And we’re calling everyone, “Celebrate good times…[with
Jesus]…C’mon!” That’s right! We write songs about having so much joy, joy, joy down in our hearts that its explodes through our talk and walk and looks. We’re so excited! We just can’t hide it! We’re about to lose control and we know we like it! Oh, yeah!”
Jesus tells us to shine: “You are the light of the world! Shine!”
Of course, the goal is to reflect His light: “I am,” said Jesus, “the Light of the world!”
The transliterated Greek word for light is photos.
Jesus is the picture of perfection.
Jesus is the perfect pattern for life through eternity.
Jesus is the master model as the only way, only truth and only life worth living from here to hereafter.
So when He tells us that we’re the light of the world, He is saying He wants us to reflect Him in all of our relationships.
He wants us to love others like He does with grace, mercy and forgiveness.
He wants us to be a picture/photo of Someone better.
He wants us to shed light on the subject(s).
He wants us to expose what’s wrong in our world and worldly churches as the spirit of Antichrist increases its intensity and frequency of getting its unwitting as well as witting accomplices to violate, water down, hinder and distract from the saving Word to an accommodation with satanos itself.
Jesus wants us to show and point to the best and only way, truth and life in time and after time by grace through faith in Jesus.
Jesus wants us to wake up, look up, stand up, speak up, act up, salt, shine, leavenate and heavenate.
In short, Jesus wants us to make a difference in the lives of everyone around us for His sake; and the best thing that we can ever do for God’s sake is to honor His desire for all to know Him and live happily ever after.
That’s our job.
If we’re not doing our job, well, uh, sigh, we’re not doing our job and not worth much to anyone including Jesus: “If you’re not salty, how will people taste and know the Godly? If you don’t shine, how will people ever find their way to Me? If you don’t salt and shine, you’re pretty worthless when it comes to soul-winning.”
Now turn in your Bible to Acts 29.
“But Pastor Bob, there is no Acts 29!”
We are Acts 29 when we join sisters and brothers who love Jesus and love Jesus by loving like Jesus with grace, mercy and forgiveness as we salt and shine with the greatest love of all which is to point everyone to Jesus as Lord and Savior!
That’s what we do for God’s sake!
Blessings and Love!