"Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow." -Psalm 25:4 NLT
Has there ever been a time when we needed God to show us the right path more than right now?
As we approach the fall season there are many things we don’t know. Some schools will open, others won’t. Will it be “in person” instruction, virtual, or a hybrid? What will parents do if children don’t return to school? Will businesses and churches reopen? Will travel, conferences, and events begin again? If so, will we experience a second wave of the virus?
What about the economy, unemployed workers, and the social and political division in our country? How will the coming presidential election impact these current crises, let alone our long-term future?
Though we long for “normalcy,” this fall will be filled with GREAT UNCERTAINTY.
No one has answers to the questions above; but it seems ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that there will be significant and historic implications for every aspect of life: our children, our churches, our communities, and our nation in the next few months.
KEY QUESTIONS: What does it look like for a Christian to TRUST God and really live like a Christian in the fall of 2020? What should we do? What can we do? What must we do?
To ANSWER those questions, I’ve outlined three specific things in this month’s Coffee Break recording that are critical for moving forward in God’s wisdom.
1. We must accurately DEFINE reality.
We are living in a day of sound bites, misinformation, conflicting expert opinions, and simplistic narratives to explain our current situation. We have a 24/7 news cycle driven by sensationalism and “the extreme” because it sells. Our personal social media feeds are orchestrated by algorithms that reinforce our particular perspective and big tech companies arbitrarily censor some opinions and facts rather than provide objective reporting. The result is a constant flow of emotionally loaded, biased information, and narratives that promote fear, division, and discord.
“Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” -James 3:15-16 NIV
It’s easy to get sucked into social media wars or become paralyzed by fear. God instead calls us to follow His wisdom which is “first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” -James 3:17 NIV
In a world of hate, anger, violence, discord, and division, we know that “PEACEMAKERS who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” -James 3:18 NIV
That’s easy to say but very difficult to do. We’re human, we have our own perspectives and prejudices that cloud our judgment just like everyone else; but we are called to suspend our personal bias and in humility share the TRUTH of God’s love and hope in this broken world.
We are called to live above the noise, above our own fears and emotional reactions, and silence those who slander us by our exemplary lives of integrity, words of kindness, and good deeds done to all people regardless of their race, gender, social, political, or ideological persuasion.
There’s no wiggle room in Jesus’ command to:
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” -Luke 6:27-28 NIV
Unfortunately, sincere believers through the ages have tended to fail in this assignment. History is replete with our willingness to accept “3 Myths” that promise to provide a more immediate and less demanding alternative to Jesus’s command.
2. We must REJECT pseudo-solutions. (FULL EXPLANATION HERE)
A. The “Silver Bullet” Myth: The belief that there is one big thing to do, or one great person (almost Messiah-like) that can solve all the problems if we only give them control.
B. The “Simplistic Solution” Myth: All our problems are really the result of “one thing“ or one group of people. All of society’s issues are communicated through this false narrative that polarizes and blames a group or an ideology as the source of all our problems and promises a quick and radical solution if only “X,Y,Z” agenda is followed.
C. The “I’m Powerless” Myth: The problems in the world are so big and so complex that I am powerless to do anything about them. Fear of the future or for personal safety promote a mindset of personal isolationism and protectionism of “my own world and my own interests” that are seen as the only alternative until Jesus returns.
3. We must FOLLOW Jesus’ action plan.
It would be naive to suggest that we are not living in troubled times and that the challenges before us are not epic. But I would remind you that our current challenges are strikingly parallel to the first century world in which Jesus launched His world-changing revolution.
Jesus warned them (and us) that life would be filled with trouble but that we could REJOICE and BE CONFIDENT because He has overcome the world. WHY?
- Because love never fails.
- Because good is more powerful than evil.
- Because the power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us.
- Because we are more than conquerors through Christ.
- Because we are the light of the world.
- Because the gates of hell cannot prevail against His church moving forward.
- Because we have everything we need for life and godliness through His precious promises.
- Because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
- Because His kingdom is coming and His will…will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
It was ordinary people like you and me who claimed those promises in the first century. Their resources were minimal and their challenges were formidable. Their faithful obedience changed the world!
His eyes today, as they were thousands of years ago, are moving “to and fro throughout the whole earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” -2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB
God is raising up an army to make a difference and you are a part of that army. We have a unique opportunity and a high calling. God’s greatest movements in history have always occurred during times of significant crisis.
In my Coffee Break audio, I’ll share some very specific ways to be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might; to put into practice the most basic and powerful “Difference-Making” activity of all time—how to love your neighbor as yourself!
Please listen to this Coffee Break prayerfully and then pass it on to those, like you, who refuse to live in fear or look to the pseudo-solutions of our day.
It is an honor to stand with you and not let the world squeeze us into its mold. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.
May we, together this fall, be the LIGHT, live the TRUTH, and share the LOVE of Jesus in every word, action, and attitude.
Pressing ahead together,
CEO & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge