Focusing on Christ During Challenging Times [Video]

[fa icon="calendar"] August 20, 2020 / by Wayne Spriggs

 

August Message from your DS

During these days when things are not what they should be and maybe not what you would like them to be and certainly not what they've been, my encouragement to you lay leaders and pastors and CPD family, is to use this again as an opportunity to know Christ.

Let's focus on the Christ who came and the Christ who will come again, the Christ, who is our holiness, who is our sanctifier.

Let's increasingly get to know Him.

It's in Him that we live and move and have our being. This is our opportunity during these days. This is our privilege during these days.

Watch the video above or read the transcription below:

Greetings

Hey there, CPD family. It's a delight to be able to talk to you today. I haven't done a video for a little while. Had a number of blogs that I've sent to you and some emails but seeing that it's the middle of August I thought maybe this is a great time just to talk to you via video again.

This time of year, many of you would be full-court press towards the fall. Everything from getting ready for new Bible studies, to things like AWANA for children, to your youth ministry, to maybe a new sermon series, some outreach, some evangelism you'd be doing, maybe some conferences. Some of you would be engaged in Missions conferences. This is normally a pretty busy season of getting ready for the Fall. But this is unusual this year. We're still in the midst of pandemic, protests and politics, and things are just not the way they've been in the past, maybe not the way they should be, I don't know about that.

I can tell you this, that four or five months ago, I would have figured by now the pandemic would be way behind us and we would be back to somewhat of our regular operating procedures, but we're not there. Some of you are still going through the interesting experience of online services. Others of you have been able to worship outdoors. Some of you can even worship indoors with social distancing. Even those of you who can worship indoors, you've told me, "Hey, we're seeing maybe 30 - 40% of our congregation."

But God Has Given Opportunities

I was talking to a pastor just recently who shared with me how eight people have been baptized, new converts, people, the result of the pandemic that had been exposed to the Good News who might otherwise have not heard. Then at the same time, other pastors have told me about people in their congregations who have just kind of disappeared. They don't even know where they are.

And I wondered to myself when the day comes, and it will come, when we can get out of this pandemic, what will church look like? What will your church look like? It may be quite different.

So, I want to encourage you today. I want to express my gratitude for your creativity. The ingenuity of pastors and churches in the CPD has truly been amazing. I want to let you know that we're praying for you and we will continue praying for you. Feel free to reach out to us and let us know how we can pray for you, but you are most assuredly in our prayers.

Promise of the Coming of the Branch

As we have entered into this season that may not look like we've ever known before, we may end up asking ourselves the question, “What do we do and how do we do it right now?”

I found myself in Scripture recently in the book of Zechariah, and there in 3:8, I was reminded of the coming of the branch. The promise of the coming of the branch, who we know to be the Lord Jesus Christ, is done in the context of Joshua, the high priest and his friends who sit before him as a sign the Scripture says. These men are a sign.

That struck me unusual. I had to contemplate that for a moment and thought, isn't it interesting. God's promise of the coming of the Christ is done in the context of witnesses.

And what does the New Testament say? And we shall be witnesses unto the Lord Jesus Christ to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. And then as I was reflecting on that, I couldn't help but think about the fact that in Acts 1:11 Christ ascends into Heaven again in the presence of witnesses, His disciples. The promise of Scripture is that He will come again in like manner as He went into Heaven.

That tells me what we see otherwise echoed in Scripture is that when Christ comes again it will be visible. He will be seen.

And again, what a promise to us that we are called to be witnesses of what we have seen, what we have experienced. It's interesting that the men of Galilee were gazing into Heaven and the angel says to them, "Hey, listen, guys, don't do that."

You might feel paralyzed right now. This might be a time in which you are wondering, “What do I do?” Well, instead of gazing into Heaven, this is an opportunity to renew a focus on the coming of the branch and His soon return. What an opportunity to connect our people afresh to the person of Jesus Christ. As I was reflecting on that, I thought about 2 Peter 3. And in 2 Peter 3, we read words to the effect that since all these things are thus to be dissolved, by the way, speaking there of the heavens and the earth, what sort of people ought you to be in holiness and godliness?

Christian Missionary Alliance, we're part of what historically was called the Holiest movement. But you know what differentiates us between some of the other parts of the Holiness movement? We teach and believe that Christ is our holiness. Christ is our sanctifier. Holiness is not something or righteousness is not something we work up ourselves. It's not something we do. No, it is rather a person we know, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

My Encouragement to You

And during these days when things are not what they should be and maybe not what you would like them to be and certainly not what they've been, my encouragement to you lay leaders and pastors and CPD family, let's use this again as an opportunity to know Christ.

Let's focus on the Christ who came and the Christ who will come again, the Christ, who is our holiness, who is our sanctifier.

Let's increasingly get to know Him.

It's in Him that we live and move and have our being. This is our opportunity during these days. This is our privilege during these days.

Then finally, I want to say to you a word of encouragement in this regard. We're here to serve you as a CPD family. Our staff may be a little reduced right now and therefore we may not have made as many contacts with you as we have in the past, but please reach out to us.

One of the tools I hope to get out to you this fall is a flyer or it will probably be electronic tool as well that will have a menu of how we're engaged to serve you from church planting to church advance, what we used to call church health, to missions mobilization, to accreditation and ordination.

All of the things that we serve the local church in, we want you to know about those things so that you can access them and resource them. We're here to serve you and I want to remain 100% committed to that, whether we're in pandemic or protests or politics off the wall as it is today.

Friends, we are still as a family part of what God is doing in these days. So I encourage you, press in towards God's purposes. Let's not be discouraged. Let's not fall by the wayside. Let's instead keep our eyes on Jesus. Let's use this as a time to anticipate what the Lord Jesus Christ will do in our midst as we look forward to his marvelous coming again.

Appreciate you, praying for you.

Bless you, CPD family. Talk to you again soon.

 

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