I am trusting you are having encouraging time with your family and with Jesus. I trust the Holy Spirit is illuminating the Word in fresh ways that are filling your soul, mind and heart.
I have been listening to the Psalms being read through my phone as I walk each day. It has been refreshing. Our family has been praying and enjoying each other. I have been really busy trying to figure out how we will shift from a face to face church family to an electronic church family.
One Psalm I keep coming back to and letting Jesus anchor me with is Psalm 46. I hope you are familiar with it. I shared an outline about it last night in our first Zoom Prayer Encouragement meeting. It was wonderful to see so many faces, hear your voices, see your confidence in Christ through the Zoom technology.
Psalm 46 is a true worship Psalm. We can see the chorus being repeated in v 7 and v 11.
We can see the Psalmist proclaim four powerful characteristics of God in v 1.
The Psalmist helps us imagine the worst case scenarios that could happen to us through Natural Disasters and Warring Nations in v 2-6. This allows us to enter into both the worship song and personal wrestling with God as we face whatever bad circumstances that lie before us.
We see in v 8 and v 10 how we are to shift our attention off our bad circumstances and focus on the Living Lord by...
-Remembering what great things God has done
-Being still in His Ever-Present Characteristic
-Thinking through, talking through, praying through the amazing six characteristics this Psalmist writes about...
2. God our Refuge
3. God our Strength
4. God our Ever-Present
5. The Lord Almighty
6. The God of Jacob
Which of those names of God are feeding your soul right now?
Which of those characteristics are peaking your interest?
The Lord Almighty in Hebrew is Jehovah Tsaba.
Jehovah means self-existing, always existing, God is always, never a beginning and never an ending.
Tsaba is hosts, armies, warriors.
God is our Warrior God. God is the God of the Heavenly Army.
What does Elohim mean? I'm leaving that one for you...
Why did the Holy Spirit inspire the Psalmist with “The God of Jacob”?
Jacob, the heal grabber. The schemer. The liar. The sinner.
Aren't we all just like Jacob, a selfish sinner in need of a Savior? God is communicating to the world that He is a God who loves the world. He is a God that loves each person no matter who we are or what we have done. God is the God of Jacob who is seeking to wrestle with each person until they say "Yes" to Jesus' overwhelming, personal love for them.
What a God!
Let's remember the great things “The God of Jacob” has done in our lives.
Let's be so encouraged that we cannot help but watch for opportunities to share this characteristic of God, along with the other five characteristics, with the people we encounter today, this week and all the time.
Let's keep coming back to Psalm 46. Let's learn to sing it in our hearts and minds. Let's be encouraged by it, so that we become fearless and wise as we face this pandemic.
Psalm 46ing it together,
How was your time with Jesus this morning? I hope and pray that it was empowering for your soul to the point you are experiencing 1 Thess 5:16-18 - JPT (Joyful, Prayerful and Thankful).
Here is the link to watch last night's encouraging prayer time with 4 servant leaders of SBC.
As a church family, the leadership is seeking to continue to be the church family with each other, for each other and for those far from Jesus around us.
We have functioned in these three ways... large group, small group and one on one. We will continue to do these three electronically.
1. Large group worship experiences.
-Live stream through facebook. Then we will email or post the recording.
2. Small group experience.
-If your group is less than 10, you can meet together. If you want, you can schedule a larger room at church to meet to spread out in order to follow the distancing suggestion.
-Zoom meetings is a way to meet electronically. Our Small Group Leaders and Sunday School Leaders are working on getting this set up hopefully by this weekend.
3. One on one experience.
We want all of you to continue to connect with each other in any way you feel most safe.
Know that the church leadership, Staff, Deacons and Church Council, are all a phone call, text or email away to connect with you about a need, concern, prayer request or a visit.
Again, here is the link from last night's encouraging prayer time.
Please let me know any needs, concerns or prayer requests.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Heb 10:23-25
Seeking to connect with Jesus, each other and those far from Jesus together,
How are you doing with the continual updates of the Coronavirus news?
Are you fear-filled?
Are you avoiding the news?
Are you seeking Jesus and experiencing His confidence?
Or maybe your reaction is something else.
Southtown is continuing to monitor news and updates from the Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Currently, the advice is to "Be cautious but carry on."
What does that mean for us?
1. It means Jesus loves you and is in control of all of your days.
Matt 10:29-31 Jesus taught, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
2. It means we do not know what tomorrow will bring, but we know who holds tomorrow in His hands.
James 4:13-15 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
3. It means we live fearlessly and wisely in Jesus.
1 John 4:17-18 In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Eph 5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.
4. It means we serve others in the midst of this crisis.
Luke 10:36-37 Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
God's Word is a light unto our path. Let's continue following Jesus and His Word. He is our light and hope. As He lives in us, we are light and hope for others.
Here are a few things we have been doing and will continue to do...
-Pray for God's remedy, for those sick, for protection and more...
-Knuckles, elbows and foot shakes instead of handshakes.
-Wash hands regularly, especially after coughing and sneezing.
-Stay home if you are sick.
-Doug (our awesome Custodian) sprays and washes touched surfaces before and after church events, especially Sunday morning and Wednesday evenings.
-We will provide hand sanitizer and have bathrooms fully clean and supplied.
-All nursery, children's and teen toys and equipment will be cleaned.
-Sunday Snacks will be pre-packaged food.
We have plans and ideas in place if things change. We are open to your ideas and suggestions.
How we respond reflects our faith in Jesus. Let's continue to trust Jesus and love and serve others.
Trusting Jesus, the Light and Hope of the world, together,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.