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Pastor Matt - January 11, 2021
It feels like 2021 said, “Hey 2020, hold my beer…” I saw someone post this week, “Ok, I’ve tried my 7-day free trial of 2021 and I want my money back.” I laughed out loud on that one. WOW. Really? So, this is how we’re starting the year?
The death toll from COVID is the highest ever. There is civil unrest STILL. Social media fights between friends and family are ever present. AND they took The Office off Netflix!! C’MON 2021, what’s the deal? It’s only January, and many of us are already thinking of ways to hit the reset button.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Yep, the mighty ball drop on New Year’s Eve didn’t suddenly change everything back to normal - back to the way things used to be. And in truth, if we were expecting that to be the case, we were probably not living in much of a reality. White privilege and white supremacy are still rampant in this country. Racism is real. Civil discourse is still hard to come by. Women are still largely underpaid and underappreciated. The economy is uncertain. It’s hard to find work for many people. Food availability is largely disproportionate. Human trafficking is happening daily, and in our backyards. It’s difficult to even watch the news anymore.
BUT HERE’S THE THING…
THIS. Right here, right now is OUR TIME, church. So many people are hurting right now. So many people are feeling lost right now. So many people are grieving and without hope. AND. THIS. IS. OUR. TIME.
We know that hope will prevail. We know that God’s promises are true. We know that this is only a chapter in a very long book - of which we know the ending! The victory feast still happens, church. The resurrection still happens, church. The reign of the Lord forever and ever still happens, church. So therefore, don’t despair. Rather, show the world how relevant the church actually is.
For those grieving the loss of loved ones, there is resurrection hope to share! We will be reunited one day!
For those sick or in need of healing, be reminded that sickness will one day be gone forever!
For those who see injustice or are the victims of it, we stand with you and for you as the church! Don’t give up hope!
For those who feel broken and unable to face the day, know that Jesus is WITH YOU ALWAYS even in the darkness of your depression.
For those who feel abandoned or unworthy, know that you are more precious to God than anything. Not even a hair on your head goes uncounted.
For those out of work who feel like your purpose in the world is lost or fading, remember that you have been gifts by God in your baptism; God will open doors for you!
For those who feel heavy burdened, remember Jesus’ word to us to come to him, lay our burdens at his feet. Jesus will carry them for you.
There is enough peace, hope, grace, mercy and life in the breath of Jesus for all of God’s creation, now and forever. Amen!
Neither 2020 – nor 2021 – get to define this time for us. Our days are defined by the love of the Lord and the hope of what is yet to come. And brothers and sisters, THIS is the TIME when the CHURCH gets to be the CHURCH! WE get to share the Word with the world. It’s NOT the other way around.
So what wilderness is God calling you to follow Jesus into? Remember the sermons from this past weekend? (If you haven’t heard them, take a sec and go back on your campus’ Facebook page and watch them.) The wilderness is WHERE Jesus is at work. So if you’re in the wilderness, start looking around for all the places Jesus is moving. And then, JOIN IN. BE the CHURCH in the wilderness.
Challenge time: Take ONE of the above beatitudes, or one from the Scripture below and tweet/facebook/insta/text/whatever it out. Choose whichever one feels right to you. Someone in your circle is desperate to hear this.
Lord, YOU speak to us and tell us WHO and WHOSE we are. Help us to listen to YOU first and only. God bless all of your children as you call us to be the the church in the wilderness. The world is broken, and you’ve called us to be the hands of Jesus to help fix it. Help us to be the light in the darkness In the name of Jesus, Amen!
Matthew 5: 3-14
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.