Truths That Transform

It has been the privilege of most of us to have heard profound preaching delivered by personalities that have left an indelible imprint upon our minds.  Some of them were pastors, some teachers, some wise friends, parents or just a voice we heard coming over a radio, through a book, in a lecture, seminar or Bible conference.  Like many others, I have written some of those nuggets in my Bible for safe-keeping and for future reflection.  I recently reviewed some of the transforming truths that I thought too good to let go of and therefore put them inside my Bible cover for future reference.  Here are a few:

“The world today doesn’t need to be convinced of anything.  They need. to be convicted of their sin, and they have to be convicted before they can ever be convinced.”  This from R.V. Clearwaters, Pastor of the 4th Baptist Church of Minneapolis and Founder of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, now with the Lord, under whose ministry I was privileged to sit for four years in the mid to late 60’s.

“There’s nothing dishonorable in attempting to do great things for God if you believe that God will supply all your needs.” (Dr. Arthur W. Allen, past president of the Minnesota Baptist Convention, who gave my newly wedded bride and me a room in the MBC attic the first night we arrived in Minneapolis in August of 1965 to attend Central Seminary, a homeless couple just finishing a two week honeymoon after our August 14th wedding in North Wilkesboro, NC).

“The wonderful thing about the Christian life is that one learns eternal truths in time.” (The late Dr. Charles MacDonald, professor, Central Baptist Theological Seminary who had pastored a church in the Detroit area for 18 years prior to coming to teach at CBTS).

“God guides the animals by instinct, but He leads intelligent human beings according to His Word.” (R.V. Clearwaters).

“I am determined that though people may leave because of my position, they shall never leave because of my disposition.” (Dr. David Cummins, at one time Deputation Director, Baptist World Mission, now with the Lord).

“Jesus had three habits:  He stood up to read, as was His custom; He went into the mount to pray; He taught them as was His custom.”(Luther Peak, a founder of Bible Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, along with G.B. Vick and J. Frank Norris, all mid-20th century fundamentalists)

“One should not rationalize in the mind what you should reason in the faith.” (Pfaffe).

“I believe in going to places to pray and I believe in praying in going to places.” (Luther Peak, Pastor of Buckner Boulevard Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, where Ellen and I attended when I was a student at DTS, 1970-71).

‘If there ever was a myth, evolution is that myth.  Belief in creation is a faith based upon evidence.” (Dr. Charles MacDonald)

“God throws the heavy hand of grace on you and says, ‘You’re under arrest.’  You’re convicted of your sins; Jesus Christ is your judge and also your ransom.” (R.V. Clearwaters).

These are a few of the choice quotes I have saved in the cover of the Bible my parents gave me fifty-six years ago.  It is good to save important quotes and to read them once in a while to remind yourself of the wisdom your teachers have tried to instill into you.  Most if not all of the pastors quoted above are with the Lord in glory now, but their input into my life lives on and someday when I am at Home with my teachers I hope the wisdom they put into me will live on because of what I have been able by God’s grace to pass on to you.  May God bless these truths to your life 

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)

Birthday Of Our Nation

This July 4th will mark the 244th birthday of our nation.  It will be the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document to which 56 men affixed their signatures knowing when they did that their lives and fortunes would be at stake.  In part, that historic declaration which most of the original signers lost their lives for, read: 

The 56 signers of that document were highly educated and successful citizens.  Twenty-four of them were lawyers and jurists.  Eleven were merchants.  Nine of them were farmers and plantation owners.

244 years after most of those men lost their lives in freedom’s cause, we enjoy the fruit of their sacrifices.  Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg address, reminded the nation of his day of the “unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced—that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

May we join the slain President in concurring with that resolve:  that those slain in wars to ensure our freedom shall not have died in vain.

The greatest heritage that we can pass on to the next generation is that which we received from our forefathers:  faith in God as our Deliverer.  We are of all nations the freest because we have built a House upon the Rock of His Word. As evil men chip away at that foundation of faith, our nation crumbles. Lawless anarchists are attacking America at this hour viciously on the streets having been motivated by un American propagandizers in college classrooms other-wise known as “professors” who have instilled a doubt if not a denial in the impressionable minds of the youth of our nation that a democratic republic governed by elected officials chosen of and by and for the people, with an economic free-enterprise system as opposed to totalitarian socialism, driven by people who can freely work and faithfully worship in the place and posture individually and without coercion chosen, is the best experiment in government known throughout the histories of nations past or present.

The answer to the monumental social, political and moral problems we now face nationally is spiritual.  We must commit ourselves to firming up the foundation of faith upon which our country was built.  No amount of money can produce the integrity, courage and moral fortitude it will take to bring America to its senses.  We cannot move forward from here except we move upon our knees, as it were, in fervent and faith empowered prayer.  It begins with me and it begins with you.  Will you join me in this?

“At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck it up and to pull it down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.”  (Jer. 18:7,8)

Managed Anger

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun down upon your wrath:  Neither give place to the devil.”  (Eph. 4:26,27).

The Lord Jesus was demonstrably angry on more than one occasion, two of them recorded in the gospels when He visited the Temple and seeing the money changers desecrating His Father’s House, He turned their tables upside down and with a whip drove them from the Temple, once at the beginning of His public ministry and once near the conclusion of it.

Paul no doubt had dealt with the emotion of anger as had many of the apostles, as have we all!  Someone who cannot be angry because of heinous crimes against God and humanity is not well but is at least spiritually anemic.  That is why Paul acknowledges there are times when anger is a fitting response to sin (for instance, child abuse or a myriad of other injustices).  But anger that seethes and is not dealt with spiritually will become a source of sin.  

Aristotle said that becoming angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time and in the right way is not easy!  

How do we manage anger?  Well, we must yield always to the Holy Spirit, our indwelling Guide and Teacher.  We must not carry unresolved disputes over from one day to another, and another and another.  We must be forgiving, knowing that we too have offended God but that God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us.  And, we dare not “give place to the devil,” by allowing the anger to morph into bitterness, estrangement, and finally hatred.  We can and should address the offence and the offender in the spirit of Christ who was and is longsuffering, gentle, compassionate; but Who was able to be angry with the right persons, to the right degree, at the right time and in the right way.  He was angry and yet He did not sin; nor should we, His followers who are called to imitate our Lord.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31,32).

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Golden Opportunities

Having been shut in or semi-shut in for weeks during the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak, we have been driven to slow down and to reevaluate what we do, when we do it and why.  Lessons too many to enumerate have come to the forefront, but here is one that has been apparent to our family:  we have had (golden) opportunities to do good, as Paul admonishes, “to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Part of the Coronavirus task force directives, besides staying at home and washing our hands often is to look in on our elderly, shut-in friends.  This is something the Body of Christ does with regularity, but more so during a crisis such as we are, at the time of this writing, going through.  Paul began Galatians 6:10 though by saying that we should do good to “all men.”  That may be more challenging, but it can also be very rewarding, as the following story will show.

A Methodist minister in the East of London who had pastored there for 38 years visited an old man who was gravely ill.  But when the sick man found out that his visitor was a minister, he showed very little if any hospitality and in fact, did not utter a word.  The pastor, noticing the barrenness of the small sick room and the paltry fire assumed that the provisions were running pretty low, so on his way home he stopped at a butcher shop and ordered two lamb chops to be sent to the house.  

He called again a few days later and the elderly infirm gentleman was still far from talkative but at least a bit more friendly.  On his way home following this second visit the pastor put in another order and by the third visit there was a decided change in the attitude of the patient.  He even allowed the man of God to offer a prayer for him.

An out of town trip caused the pastor to be absent from his parish for a few days and during that time the old man had died.  At the end, barely able to speak, the dying man said, “Tell the minister it’s all right now.  I am going to God; but be sure to tell him that it wasn’t his preaching that changed me, it was those lamb chops.”

What a small thing, but a man of God saw a need as a golden opportunity to do some good to one of the “all men” and God used it to bring a soul to himself!

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the of faith.”Gal. 6:10

End of World Issues

In the last week of His life on earth with His disciples, the men who had followed Him closely during the three plus years of Christ’s pre-crucifixion ministry asked Him point blank what would be a sign of the end of the world. Two thousand years ago committed disciples of Jesus Christ had the question of end times events on their minds, and those who are students of the Word of God still do.  What are the events happening in 2020 that might indicate the end is near?

Jesus did give them, in answer to their question, all they needed to know.  He shared with them some precursory signs that He would label the “beginning of sorrows.”  The phrase literally means “birth pangs” as that which precede a mother’s delivery of her new-born.  These events include wars; international war tensions; famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places (Matt.24:6-8).  There would be an increase in false prophets and false christs.  Jesus then said that the gospel would be preached in all the world before the end would come.  As one reads Matthew chapters 24 and 25 and follows the discourse of Jesus in His answering the original question about the sign of the end of the world, it is striking that He says in the middle of His eschatological message that a general apathy and unawareness would prevail during the time preceding His age-ending return.  Life would pretty much be going on as usual.  The actual end would take men by surprise, Jesus warning that one should “Watch therefore for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matt. 24:42; 25:13). To illustrate this warning the Lord told a parable about 10 virgins who were excitedly planning participation in a wedding feast, waiting with expectation the groom’s return which would begin the festivities.  They were told to keep their lamps ready because the groom’s return could happen at any time.  Five of the young women heeded the admonition and kept their lamps trimmed and ready for use; five became lax and preoccupied and when the moment came for action, their lamps lacked the necessary oil to get them going, thus those five unhappy ladies were left out.  Jesus concluded the parable with the warning “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” (Matt. 25:13).

We are still watching and waiting.  The second coming of Jesus will be in two phases; one, commonly known as the rapture when Jesus comes back for the church (I Thess. 4:13-18); and, two, when He comes back with the church following the seven years of tribulation during which time God’s wrath shall be poured out upon the earth in the form of seven rapid fire seal judgements, seven trumpet judgements that will be executed and finally seven bowls of wrath poured out upon what’s left of a sin-wrecked, judgment-riven world full of a God-blaspheming humanity.  A war will occur at the time of Christ’s coming, Armageddon, and Satan will be bound for a thousand years while Christ reigns with His saints upon the renovated earth during what is known as the millennium (Rev.20:1-6).  The time between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ to the earth with the church is called the tribulation, the latter part (3 and 1/2 years) known as the Great tribulation.  Interestingly, Jesus said that the nation of Israel, which rejected Him at His first coming and crucified Him at Calvary, will not have been obliterated by the antichrist though he will have waged his fiercest war against Abraham’s descendants during those seven horrific years (Matt. 24:34).

Not a few are wondering today, in light of the current world health and humanity crises, if this is not the tribulation which Jesus warned would precede His return to earth to end this present age.  The best answer we can give is that what is happening now is at most “the beginning of sorrows.”  The rapture of the church will precede the unmasking of the antichrist.  But with the “birth pangs” intensifying, it behooves us all to “watch therefore.”

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Matt. 24:33).

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matt. 24:36)

Lord, Make Me A Man

To the memory of fathers whose lives are a finished work; and in loving reverence of all Dads living on this year’s Father’s Day, I’d like to share a poem I penned a few years ago which perhaps reflects the deepest desire of every godly father’s heart:

Lord, make me a man; 
A man not of muscle and brawn,
But a man of purpose and will,
A man whose face is like flint
To do your most holy will.
 
Lord, make me a man;
Not a man of stone nor of steel,
But a man of wisdom, and grace and love,
A man who will labor and pray and serve
To please His Master above.
 
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man of selfish pride and power,
But a man serene and humble and strong;
A man who will know that he’s only a man
As God helps him daily along.
 
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man who breeds fear,
But a man who is tender and cares,
A man who his wife and children respect,
As a man who unselfishly shares.
 
Lord, make me a man
Not a man independent,
But a man who will pray, trust and wait;
A man who will weep, laugh and love,    
Who will share with his family his fate.
 
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man without care,
But a man of the Book who will live by your Word;
 A man who will order his life by your truth,
Who will take it to heart when preaching is heard.
 
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man who is gruff;
Not a man who us known as outwardly tough;
But a man who will suffer, will hurt and will cry,
When a brother is broken and ready to die.
 
Lord, make me a man
Not a man who can’t feel, 
Not a man who won’t suffer in woe,
But a man who can stoop to lift up another,
A man who will carry the load of a brother.
 
Lord, make me a man
Not a man who’s self-made,
Not a man who is haughty, high-minded and proud;
But a man who will live with his head on straight,
A man’s whose life is a message that’s loud.
 
And,
 
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man of large boasting;
Not a man whose story is all about me;
But a man who will glorify God,
A man whose time spent here is all about Thee.

Anthony Slutz, 2014

Check out the latest sermon by Pastor Anthony Slutz here:

“And he gave some…evangelists….”

That’s right.  The Lord God, when building His Church, gave to it not only apostles and prophets, but evangelists.  These are gifted people who have been burdened and blessed with a desire to evangelize lost souls and strengthen weary churches.  In the era of the church-age in which we now live, we have come to consider the gifted person known as an evangelist as one who ministers in church after church, preaching revival to saints and the urgency of salvation to those who are not yet born again.  It has become known, in our day, as a calling, a vocation if you will. The work of an evangelist, which missionary-evangelist Paul of Tarsus encouraged Pastor Timothy to do, complimented the work of the pastor who is the gifted under shepherd of the flock of God called to feed and lead the local assembly.

I have loved evangelists from my earliest days.  Maybe it was infatuation with the office, usually held by a powerful personality whose preaching commanded the attention of six-year-old boys and sixty-year-old men.  Maybe it was admiration for the ability of one to stir the saints to prayer, surrender and holy living. Maybe it was the tug of God’s Spirit at a young, tender heart to cultivate a love for God’s man who was sold out to preach God’s Word wherever and to whomever the opportunity would present itself.  That love for the evangelist has never left this preacher’s heart in the 70 years since it was birthed there. I have loved them, been honored to serve alongside of them and at one time very early in my Christian walk with God felt like the Lord was leading me to join their ranks. I admire a God-called evangelist immensely and some of my life-long friends are evangelists.  Glen Schunk, at one time a house-hold name in independent Baptist homes, was holding special meetings in my home church in Ottumwa, Iowa, in the fall of 1961, and it was in that meeting that I surrendered to full-time ministry.

To be sure, I have never known an evangelist that did not have some inexplicable, inimitable idiosyncrasies, but that just made you love them all the more.  They were extroverts yet often withdrawn.  They exuded self-confidence yet up close would show a marked insecurity.  They were called of God and gifted by His Spirit and such a man would leave any church that had an ear to hear stronger in faith and busier in works than what he had found it.  God bless you who are such and know that pastors love you, pray for you, thank God for you and beg the Captain of our Salvation that your tribe will increase!

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ…And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”  (Eph. 4:7,11).

All Lives Matter

Life is precious, so much so that Jesus asked that if a man should gain the whole world and would lose his own soul what would he be profited?  “Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36, 37).  We have been asked to give consideration to the value of all lives, and rightly so.  God has given us exhortations and examples to affirm the truth that every soul is valuable and every life matters.

Consider one family that God saved when the universal flood came, Noah and his wife and their three sons and their wives.  God brought the flood because of the universal wickedness that pervaded the world then which caused Him to say that “every imagination of the thoughts of his (man’s) heart was only evil continually.” (Gen 6:5). He would tell Noah that he and his house would be spared in the flood because “thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Gen. 7:1).  But the fact He saved only eight people when the flood came does not mean that the multitudes of humankind alive at that time did not matter to God.  Peter makes that clear in his New Testament commentary on Genesis 6 and 7 when he speaks of that time “when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (I Peter 3:20).  The waiting Peter spoke of lasted over 100 years!  A longsuffering God waiting for more people to turn to Him because to Him, all lives mattered!

God spared Joseph, one of patriarch Jacob’s sons, certain eventual death in an Egyptian prison, elevating him to Egypt’s first prime minister, so to speak, because one life mattered to God even though it apparently mattered little to Joseph’s eleven brothers.

Two million lives mattered to a compassionate God when Joseph’s posterity came under oppression in Egypt after Joseph passed off the scene, along with the sympathetic Pharaoh that Joseph served under in Egypt; God delivered miraculously 2 million Hebrews from living in dire conditions as slaves on the night of redemption as recorded in Exodus chapter 12.  Hebrew lives mattered.

God spared one woman and her family out of the Amorite/Canaanite city of Jericho when those walls of the city were toppled by nothing more than the vibration of marching Israeli feet and the sounding of trumpets because to a merciful and compassionate God, one believing family in a city full of pagans mattered.

One woman, considered by the average contemporary Jew of Jesus’ day to be the scum of the earth, a woman who was living with a man who was not her husband though she had known five men at different times as her husband, mattered to Jesus so much so that He went out of His way to meet her and to invite her to have her deepest thirsts quenched by the living water that He would offer her. (John 4:14-18). All because one life mattered.

Jesus was not cow-towing to public opinion when he asked the despised publican tax collector Zacchaeus to descend from the Sycamore tree in which he was perched so that he could see Jesus as He would pass by; nor was he bowing to political correctness that day; rather it was because one life mattered that Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house…This day is salvation come to this house…For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:5,9,10).

So, yes, all lives matter: red and yellow, black and white “they’re all precious in His sight.”  And that is what those who are His followers have always believed:  every life is more valuable than all the wealth of the world, and all lives do matter.  It is not a matter, therefore, of being politically correct and yielding to the demands of a frenzied mob; it is a matter of God’s love which has been shed abroad by His Spirit in the hearts of His family of faith that causes us to affirm without equivocation, “ALL LIVES MATTER!”

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (I Tim.1:15) 

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Conduct of Kindness

“In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.” (Isa. 54:8)

Bombarded day by day and hour by hour by images of anarchy, rebellion, rioting and ruthlessness, triggered by a Memorial Day image of police brutality in Minneapolis, God’s Word about our response to those who offend us has to come to mind as we try to gauge and guard our attitude about what we are seeing and hearing in this current culture disintegration where what were billed as “peaceful protests” against racism have too often devolved into lawless and criminal outbreaks of violence and the worst displays of the depravity of humankind.

Kindness.  It’s has become an almost Victorian character trait; not that it is not seen or seeable, but that often all that is focused upon in our current national dilemma is the worst of that which is diametrically opposite of kindness.  Refreshing is the story about kind deeds of caring people.  And, probably people who practice kindness far outnumber those who do not, but the latter usually makes the nightly news and if, on occasion, a kind act is highlighted, it is an after -thought and not what is the attention grabber part of our daily digest of that which is noteworthy.

But, God has so much to say about this Christ-like commodity.  “Put on…bowels of mercy, kindness; Be kindly affectioned one to another;” Paul admonishes (Col.3:12; Rom. 12:10).  As in the Isaiah text quoted above, God is set forth always as a God known for His everlasting kindness.  In the same context God assured His beloved covenant people that “the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee….” (Isa. 54:10).  

Jonah knew of God’s kind character and said that it was that quality of God’s nature that motivated him at first not to take the message of pending judgment to the wicked Assyrian city of Nineveh because “I fled before unto Tarshish:  for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness….” (Jonah 4:2).  Naomi, having been in the country of Moab where she suffered the death of her husband and two sons, returning with only a daughter-in-law, Ruth, came back to her homeland bewailing her plight with “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty;“ (Ruth 1:21) in a few days would change her mournful song to “Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead,” (Ruth 2:20) acknowledging that the goodness of Boaz in his kind treatment of Naomi was of the Lord.  Paul reminds Titus in his New Testament epistle to his pastor friend that the kindness of God had appeared to all men (Tit.3:4) and in writing to the church at Ephesus the Apostle said that God would spend eternity shewing His saints the “exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7).

David, Israel’s second king, promised his “soul mate” Jonathan, Saul’s son, that he would never forget to shew kindness to Saul and his house (I Sam. 20:14,15); twenty three years later, after King Saul and his son Jonathan had died in battle, David, established firmly on his throne by then, asked “Is there not any in the house of Saul that I might shew kindness to him?” (2 Sam. 9:3).  David had experienced incalculable grief because of Saul’s wicked jealousy, but he had pledged himself to kindness.  That can only come though people whose hearts have been changed by the one whose “merciful kindness is great….” (Ps. 117:2).  Isn’t it what is need now?  The conduct of kindness by the grace of God; let us who name His name shew it freely and frequently.

“The desire of a man is his kindness and a poor man is better than a liar.” (Proverbs 19:22)

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Where Have All the Families Gone?

Most who read this will have been a member of what has been known as a “Nuclear Family,” consisting of a Mom and Dad and usually at least two children.  The family of four was a post-war phenomenon that flourished from 1950 to the mid 1960’s, a “golden era” of prosperity in the United States when two parents and “2.5” kids lived usually in a family dwelling in some quiet suburb.  One word that defined that neat little family was “togetherness.”  This cozy family arrangement, sociologists tell us and experience and observation has confirmed, was short-lived and replaced by fractured families that have majored more on self-fulfillment than holistic family well-being resulting in a major cultural shift that has had devastating effects upon our society in general and upon our societies’ most vulnerable, its children, in specific.  Adults in today’s world marry less, marry later and divorce more often.  In 2012 one author noted there were more households without any children than with; and not infrequently many homes have more pets than offspring. Affluence has afforded us larger homes, bigger yards and more space for isolation.  The big family clans that gathered on special days such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are pretty much history.  And, it is self-evident our nation is not the better off for it.  There are too many reasons to enumerate in this brief statement, and it is not the purpose of this preacher to analyze societal shifts, but it would do all of us well to contemplate the impact these changes upon the family fabric have meant to our lives, especially spiritually.

Children are reared to become independent adults as soon as possible.  Elderly parents can too often look forward spending their last years in an institution which is designed to make sure they have their medication and meals on time, with limited social interaction with either family or friends.  It is not a pretty picture.  Sometimes adult offspring, who are marrying much later if at all, of necessity move back home and live in the basement of their parent(s) but often as an appendage rather than a vital member now of the transformed family or household.

The churches we attend reflect all of the morphisms.  Churches have also changed.  Once “togetherness” was what we relished and our most cherished moments of any particular week were the hours spent with one another in worship with those of like precious faith.  The current Covid-19 crisis has made us aware that though we miss those family meetings with the folk of faith, we can go nine or ten weeks and survive without them.  The internet has provided us with a valuable tool and through this medium we have been fed and led by not only our pastor(s) but others whose messages we have tuned in to as we have enjoyed a smorgasbord of spiritual culinary.  We can attend our classes while the kids can plug into zoom youth meetings.  At first, we felt somewhat cheated because of the lack of “fellowship,” but after weeks and weeks of this unprecedented church life, we are now wondering if the spiritual thaw will ever come that brings us back to the warm oneness that characterized the household of faith of the past.

So, homes are in flux as well as churches.  No one can anticipate what the face of the future will look like.  The family will survive as will the church; but in what shape?  It is a sobering question and one that bears thoughtful consideration:

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)