May 2023 From the Pastor's Desk
From the Pastor…
Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (ESV):
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Someone has said that the only thing that never changes is that everything changes. Sometimes we are slow to recognize this and often churches have a very difficult time with this fact. Traditions are not a bad thing! However, we must recognize that our traditions are not always based on biblical commands. With our faith, the message always remains the same but the methods often change. We are seeing this reality in the world as it exists today. The world-wide pandemic we experienced had repercussions that will be felt for years – maybe decades (and some churches will not recover).
The good news is that even with all of the changes in attitudes amid the culture wars that are taking place today, Jesus Christ is still on the throne! He loves us and He is working all things together for good. Yet we are facing tremendous challenges as people of faith. If the church ever needed revival, it is now. But we must recognize that revival is not something we can plan or conjure up on our own. Revival is a work of God that may, or may not, be associated with a series of meetings. All of the genuine revivals that have taken place in history began with prayer and genuine repentance of God’s people.
We often give lip service to a desire for revival, but too many times we fail to show up and do our part. My prayer is that we will be more intentional about supporting efforts to pray and worship. For example, we ended the month of April with a wonderful series of services that took place in our Association. We heard and sang some beautiful worship songs and hymns. We heard a number of preachers and we prayed together. But there was a downside… With 38 churches in our Association, there was a total of less than 38 people who attended (perhaps that is a generous estimate of attendance) – over half of those were the speakers and musicians. While we offered transportation and enjoyed fellowship together over meals around the meetings, Roberdel was represented by a total of 5 people. Sadly, other than the host church, we may have had more folks attending than any other church.
Do we really want revival? We often reminisce about the days when church was full and everyone looked forward to gathering for joint services. We talk about the movement of the Spirit when mass choirs sang and preachers delivered the Good News. Many folks came to the Lord as a result of the revival of God’s people. Times have changed. Methods have changed. But God is the same! I pray that we will take advantage of future opportunities to grow in our faith and gather together with our brothers and sisters in Christ for similar experiences. It is discouraging to plan events, only to have a small number show up. We live busy lives (too busy, I’m afraid). But the opportunities for Christian growth, Spirit-filled worship, and fellowship continue to exist – even when they look different from years past. Is revival important? Will you commit to revival? It is my earnest prayer, and our greatest need!
In Christian Love,