Thursday, 04 June 2020 11:40
What Would God Have Us Do?Written by Jeron Parkins
The unjust death of George Floyd and the destructive protests remind us that the world is still bent and not what it should be (did we really need to be awakened to this fact?). While there is still so much good in the world and things aren’t nearly as bad as they could be, we should all feel a sense of sadness at the sin we’ve witnessed. I don’t know about you but I long for Jesus to come back. I long for the Kingdom of God to replace the fallen systems and broken politics of humanity. Jesus said we should pray for the Kingdom to come. So let’s do that. But, what else? Shouldn’t we be doing something to make a difference in people’s lives and change the world while we wait?
Currently I’m taking a course at Denver Seminary (thanks church family for letting me do this – I think it’s making me a better Shepherd and Elder) and the class is focused on applying theology and doctrines in practical ways to ministry. Honestly some of the books I’m reading are over my head, but one of the things that keeps coming out is that our future as Christians should influence our present activities in this world – in fancy language, our ethics should be shaped by our eschatology. We understand that the world God is bringing about is going to be much different. When the reign of God is fully implemented there will be no more injustice or sin or broken-ness. But these future realities mean that as citizens of the coming Kingdom of Heaven we should live by different values than what is emphasized in fallen human culture, which has no hope. Not only that, but we who are of the Kingdom should seek to change our world in the present to reflect as much as possible what is to come. We are mistaken, suggest my authors, if we think God is happy with us sitting back and waiting for the glorious day of the Lord’s arrival, without attempting to help people or change the world as it stands. A quote that sticks out: “One cannot live in the present under the announcement of this reign and remain passive in the face of everything that contradicts it” (Andrew Purves).
While we are happy to keep ourselves out of the world’s messes, I don’t believe that God is happy with us Christians minding our own business and living in our Christian safe houses while the world burns. I know my impulse is to circle the wagons and take on a bunker mentality of withdrawal - but that is not our calling. To not engage is wrong because God in love engaged this lost world to reconcile it to himself and we are now his representatives, his ambassadors who are called to participate in his same mission. While understanding that the world’s fallen state isn’t going to change dramatically until Jesus comes, we should come to grips that we were made to be salt and light, to represent his values and truth in the world, which is rotting and in the dark without his salvation and love.
So what would it mean to seek to bring the future into the present? A short description of life in the eternal kingdom: Under God’s reign there will be no shortage of love. We will live with people in community from every tribe, people group and language. There will be perfect justice. Everyone will have what they need. There will be no one without a home. Joy and Peace will be the norm. Sickness and death and loss will be unheard of so also grief and sorrow will be no more. God will be worshiped and loved and receive what is due him. Nobody will be without purpose or meaning.
If we catch a vision of what’s ahead, we can see the contrast with the present and then seek to change current situations or circumstances. Since this email isn’t meant to be a book, let me throw out just a few ideas. One day there won’t be any orphans or widows; in the kingdom everyone will be family. Right now there are lots of children who need a home and need parents. As Christian activists and ambassadors for Jesus, is God is calling our church to engage in bringing forth a reflection of the future kingdom by becoming foster parents? Adopting orphans or moving widows into our homes? Another idea: Right now there are some very lonely people in our community because of Covid-19 policies or because there is a separation between different racial groups. As we think about the future community we will have in heaven, maybe we work to bring isolated and lonely people together in Jesus’ name in some way? Or we seek to bridge the racial divides through some creative program or initiative? Maybe it’s just a matter of starting to invite people to our homes who we haven’t in the past hosted? What do you see that isn’t in keeping with God’s vision? Maybe you can see it changed in Jesus’ name? While this world won’t be unbent completely before Jesus returns, we can take our dissatisfaction with the way things are and seek to do something about it in and through Jesus’ power.
Obviously the best thing we can do is to share and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the ultimate counter-cultural, get people in line with the kingdom action we could ever take! Let’s be known as a church that is all about positively changing lives for the glory of God in the name of Jesus.
Thanks David Bower and Crew for Donating your Time, Talents and Machinery toward the removal of the Reign Building
The Reign Building was a tool we used intensely for about 8 years. We bought the old house and converted it for Youth Group Meetings, Bible Studies, Community Groups, Community Gatherings and Meetings, Overnight Stays for Church Groups, Staff Offices and Safety Team Offices. My best memories of the house was taking some power naps on the couch! Over the coming year (The estimated timeline for the new Christian Education and Community Building completion is July 2021) the Cross Building will be heavily used. Reign Youth Group will be meeting on Wednesday Nights in the Cross Building. As the Reign Building was coming down it was great to see how many parts of the building were re-tasked or donated towards other projects. Over the years its been incredible to see how Jesus has blessed us with the tools we need for participating in his work of ministry. Please be praying for the Bringing Life Project – there are prayer cards in the lobby packets – but we are lifting up three prayers regularly to the Lord right now – 1) Safety of Workers 2) On Time and Under Budget Completion of Building and 3) Though we have a construction loan we are praying that God would provide the funds to see this project finished debt free.
Our doors will be open this Sunday for worship! Service times are 9:00 and 10:45 a.m. We will be observing the Lord’s Supper so please use the opportunity to spend time with Jesus this week in prayerful, self-examination and confession in preparation. There will be a table in the lobby where you’ll find bread and juice in a safe, prepackaged form – please pick up the elements as you come into the sanctuary. If you joining us from home, please prepare cup and bread so you can also participate at the appropriate time. Children’s Ministry and Nursery will likely resume in July. Regarding the receiving of financial offerings and tithes for the Lord, Tithe and Offering Boxes are mounted on the lobby walls. If you have little kids we have taken out a lot of seats in the balconies so that there will be plenty of room for little ones to move around. We understand that not everyone will be ready to return. Everyone’s situation is different and perhaps in your case it’s better for you to stay home. No problem! If however, you are coming this Sunday to bless the Lord, we want you to understand that Covid-19 is still being spread. Participating in a worship service is potentially risky (and not only because you are coming into the presence of the Living God!). With a lot of people being asymptomatic there is always a chance that you’ll be at risk of exposure, especially in a context where there will be singing and where people will want to shake hands or give hugs. We want to encourage you to wear a mask (we’ll have some on hand if you forget yours), and ask that you refrain from physical contact and keep some distance from others, but we understand some will choose not to be masked and that some will have a hard time not hugging! So be wise and do what seems best in your circumstances. If you are sick stay home and join us via the live stream of the service. Also, we’d love for you to use some hand sanitizer when you come in, or wash your hands upon entry. Rose Bertin is doing a great job of keeping the church clean, but the less germs we can carry in, the better!
PASTOR BO AND JENNA HUTCHES UPDATE
Thanks for those of you who have been praying for the Hutches! Jenna worked at the hospital and last week she learned that she tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. Jenna is in the last month of her pregnancy and is obviously tired, maybe more-so with the presence of the virus. Bo said that they haven’t had fevers for several days, and are both doing fine now. They were told that the baby shouldn’t have any issues. Bo will be out of the office probably through next week. Please pray for them as they prepare for the arrival of their son.
SUMMER BIBLE READING
Are you in the Word? Is the Word in you? With the month of June arriving Monday, it’s a great time to start a new Bible reading goal. For instance, have you ever read the New Testament? You can easily do it in 90 days at about 15 minutes a day or if you can do it in 60 days at about 25 minutes. If you want to download a plan check out https://www.bible.com/reading-plans or if you want to explore different plans here are some websites I’d recommend: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/ or https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/chronological-new-testament.html Pastor Bo has also printed out a summer reading plan that he borrowed from another church, available for you on the lobby desk here at the church.
EAGLE LAKE CAMP
Eagle Lake Camp is happening at Living Water July 6-10! The First 100 kids registered get 50% off. It’s $100 (instead of $200)!
Camp Update Video:
ON THE JOB DISCIPLESHIP
Some of you have been helping Kenny and Clair Minnick feed and minister to a group of local homeless folks. Kenny’s hope has been to share the gospel with them and at the same time help them change their station in life. As we enter summer he has an idea about how to help them prepare for a career. He has launched a landscape ministry / business that seeks to get these folks working. Here’s what Kenny said in a recent email: “We started out with a rake and the power of Jesus and went door to door soliciting work no job too small or too big and Jesus has blessed our efforts – we now have a weed eater, a lawn mower, shovels and rakes and various hand tools. So now we are praying for a blower, chain saw and rototiller – we are willing to buy and would graciously accept donations. This is all at the ground level. Please continue praying for the ministry for protection, work leads and if anyone has any lawn maintenance, clean up or light hauling please contact me at 562-569-0424. The apostle Paul said if they don’t want to work don’t let them eat – help us help them and train them up in a way they should go, when they are old it will not depart from them”
TITHES AND OFFERINGS
Thanks everyone for continuing to give faithfully to our general budget so that we can continue to do ministry and be on mission. If you are out of rhythm with not being able to bring your gifts to a worship service, you can easily give electronically through our website (www.livingwateralamosa.org) or by texting GIVE to 719-298-3401. Don’t forget to save the number in your phone as LWBF GIVING. You can always text EDIT to update your information, set up a recurring gift, and check the status of a gift. You can also drive by the church and drop your check in the church mailbox, or send your donation to Living Water Bible Fellowship 2910 Clark Street Alamosa, CO 81101.
9:00 and 10:45 a.m.
Thanks for reading!