The Time Is NOW

Things are getting pretty crazy out there. It seems as though every few hours there are reports of new cases of the virus. Various governments continue to announce new restrictions in order to “flatten the curve.” Social media is filled with opinions and hot takes. And the U.S. Surgeon General recently told us, “this week is going to get bad.”

People are scared. People are worried. People are frustrated.

That is why the time for selfishness is over. The time for hoarding goods is over. The time for “I told you so” is over. The time for “this is so annoying” is over. The time for preference is over.

It’s time to talk about Jesus.

Talk about Jesus to anyone and everyone you know. Talk about Jesus to your church friends. Talk about Jesus to your family. Talk about Jesus to your non-believing friends.

Please. Just. Talk. About. Jesus.

For those who need hope…Hope can only be found in Jesus.

For those who need peace…Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

For those who need joy…Jesus is our Joy.

For those who need answers…Jesus is Truth.

For those who need life, now and forever…Jesus is Life.

Do not waste this time. God has you alive and breathing right now for a reason. Who will you impact? Who will you share this good news with? Who will you be a good neighbor to?

I don’t mean to make this post sound so direct, but our current situation calls for it. I wanted to end with a quote by Martin Luther that I have seen floating around lately. It is timely, but also a good reminder that we, the church, have been in this sort of situation before.

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely, as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

May the church rise up in this time, and may we be found faithful.

What Can We Do At A Time Like This

I don’t want to write about the Coronavirus.

I’m sure you don’t want to read about it (more than you need to) either.

So, the only time you will see that word in this post is there in that first sentence. However, there are so many things that need to be talked about. We need to think deeply about the issues and circumstances in which we find ourselves.

As Christians, how we act and react right now matters more than ever.

So, in order to speed up the reading process, since I am sure any moment now there will be another press conference or breaking news article, I will list my thoughts in bullet-point form.

As believers in Jesus Christ

  • We will not fear.
  • We need to use wisdom.
  • We need to love our neighbors.
  • We need to be proactive and not reactive.
  • We must use this time to talk about the Hope that is within us.
  • We must be praying that when this is over many people will say, “I became a Christian during the pandemic.
  • We must be willing to care for those who cannot care for themselves. (Shopping for supplies, etc.)
  • We should hold fast to a sovereign and almighty God.
  • We should use this time of forced “slowing down” to grow deeper in our faith and time spent with God in the Bible and prayer.
  • We should use technology as a tool to continue to interact with and encourage people during this time.
  • We should continue to be The Church.

Will you commit to doing these things with me?

And will you commit to prayer even more so during this time?

Let’s pray

  • For God’s Will.
  • For a cure.
  • For those who are weak, hurting, sick, or mourning.
  • For the Gospel to spread and take root in people’s hearts.
  • For an unprecedented Revival to take hold in Jesus’ Church.
  • For God to be Glorified in our words, thoughts, and actions.

Philippians 4:6-7 | John 14:27 | 2 Timothy 1:7

Stocks & Socks

2019 was a big year for me.

My son was born! I got to scratch off 6 more countries from our countries visited map. We remodeled our kitchen. A Chick-Fi-A opened just a 5-minute drive from my house. I got a driveway basketball hoop for my birthday. I ate bear meat. And I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks.

If you don’t know what Birkenstocks are, go on Amazon right now and buy a pair, your feet will thank you. If you do know what they are, why don’t you have a pair already? (No, they are not a paid sponsor of this blog.) I bought the waterproof kind and so, they provide the comfort and support of the standard kind but with the benefit of being waterproof as well as incredibly light.

But enough about the shoes, this isn’t a commercial. What I wanted to talk about today is how I choose to wear this fantastic footwear. I’ll admit the embarrassing truth…

My name is Josh and I like to wear socks with my sandals.

I have found myself walking out of the house even when there is snow on the ground in this “Socks ‘n Stocks” combo many times. Why? It’s incredibly simple, it’s crazy comfy. The socks keep my feet warm and cozy while the “Stocks” allow me freedom and comfort.I don’t have to give in to the rigidity and stuffiness of shoes, but I also can keep my feet warm. It’s the best of both worlds!

Unfortunately, while this kind of compromise and dual living is OK for footwear, it is no way to live our lives.

Far too many people who claim to be Christians are trying to live dual lives. The temptation to try to “follow Jesus” while chasing after our own desires is very great. Far too many have fallen into that trap.

You can’t live for Jesus on Sunday and live for yourself the remaining 6 days a week. It doesn’t work like that. It looks funny and it’s uncomfortable.

Jesus told us that it is impossible to serve two masters. We cannot love both God and money. We cannot follow both Jesus and the ways of the culture. We cannot serve both God and ourselves.

I don’t have to choose between sock and sandals, I can have both. But I must choose between Jesus and myself, I cannot have both.

Jesus told us that in order to follow Him we must be willing to die to ourselves. That means dying to our own plans, sinful desires, and selfish expectations.

Don’t live a dual life. If you say that you follow Jesus, then follow Him in every aspect of your life. Follow Him when you make your budget. Follow Him when you use technology. Follow Him when you talk to your coworkers. Follow Him when you sit in traffic. Follow Him when you plan for your future. Follow Him when you are alone, and no one is watching.

Serving Jesus and serving yourself is a combo that just simply will never work….unlike my sock and sandals. 

Good Looking Trash

I was at the store the other day and I saw a garbage can on sale for the bargain price of only $265.99. I must assure you I did not purchase the garbage can, but it did get me thinking, what can I learn from an expensive garbage can? Turns out, quite a bit.

I got curious and did some research and believe it or not there are such things as “smart garbage cans” that are capable of (among other things) compacting your waste, playing music, and opening and shutting with just a simple voice command. These cans can cost over a thousand dollars.

Aside from the functionality of “smart cans” I began to think about the concept of spending a large amount of money on an item that, while it may look good on the outside, when opened is still simply full of garbage.

If there is garbage on the inside it doesn’t matter how good the outside looks, it will still stink.

  • 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that while people tend to focus on outward appearances, God is focused on our hearts.
  • Peter tells us that finding ourselves beautiful in God’s sight is far more important than being outwardly adorned.
  • And in 1 Timothy we can read that even though being physically fit has some value, being spiritually fit (godliness) is valuable in every way.

The Bible makes it clear that what is on the inside is far more important than what we can see on the outside.

As a human being, we do tend to care deeply about what others think of us. We will get certain haircuts or buy a specific style of clothes to fit in. And while being trendy is certainly not a sin, seeking the approval of people over the approval of God is. How we dress and how we look physically need to always be secondary to how we love, trust, and obey God.

Another layer of this discussion is that we, sometimes, will “dress up” in more ways than just hair, clothes, and jewelry. Sometimes we try to dress up our lives with little “white lies” that make us look better than we actually are. Our straight-A kids have C’s, our promotion was really just a cubical change, and it only took 8 tries to get that candid photo we posted on the ‘gram.

God knows us. God sees what and who we truly are.

Now, please don’t walk away from this thinking that I am calling all of us trash. Well, maybe I am. But if I am it’s only because, compared to everything that Jesus has done and everything that He is…we kind of are. Our own goodness could never ever compare to His ultimate righteousness.

So, let us commit to worrying less about what’s on the outside, both in our own lives as well as how we view others. Let us also commit to asking God to not just make our outsides look good, but more importantly, to take away all the garbage that we have been storing up on our insides.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10