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

Special Announcement

Ego.

It was one of the reasons why I took a few months off from blogging. (Why I Stopped Blogging And Why I’m Now Back)

Well, let me explain. Maybe it wasn’t exactly ego, but maybe more so a desire to not gain an ego. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t just simply adding to the noise. And I desperately wanted to be sure that I wasn’t doing what I was doing in order to gain more followers or build a brand.  

I don’t want to be the star of my own show.

First of all, it’s not my show. I chose to die to myself in order to allow Christ to live through me. (Galatians 2:20) I have decided to pick up my cross and follow my Savior.

Secondly, I am not the star. If anyone would see my actions, hear my words, or know my character the goal is that they would see Jesus. Not because I am some “Holy-Roller” but because God has and is doing incredible work in and through me.

I want to look more and more like Jesus every single day.

And that is why I have decided to start a podcast. Not to build a brand. Not to gain fame. Not to make money. But instead…to build up His Church. To make His name great. And to use the gifts that God has given me.

I have toyed with the idea of starting a podcast for a long time now and one thing that kept holding me back was that I didn’t want to be perceived as narcissistic or self-important. Thankfully, my time away from blogging helped to show/remind me that it’s not about me. None of this was ever about me. It’s about my Savior.

And so, if my Savior has put things on my heart then it would be wrong of me not to share that with others.

Don’t worry, the Sidebar Blog is not going anywhere. I will continue to post every Tuesday. But in addition to the blog, I have started The Sidebar Talks podcast, available wherever you listen to your podcasts. Listen to my first episode HERE.

In the future, there may be some cross-over between the blog and the podcast, but for the most part, both will be separate entities.

Thanks for reading, and I hope that you will listen as well! Feel free to join the conversation and leave comments!

Let’s keep making His name great together!

Thinking of Others

In order for a commercial to be successful, it needs to communicate to the audience what the product is, why the audience should need or want it, and cause the audience to remember the product so that a purchase can be made. Companies usually accomplish these goals by either appealing to our humor or by tugging on our heartstrings.

Every once in a while a commercial will grab my attention, not because of the product being peddled, but rather because of the underlying message in the ad. These messages can be intentional or completely by accident. Either way, I do appreciate when the message is positive.  A while back I wrote about McDonald’s subtle, fresh, and positive perspective on The Importance of Dads. And now, the Golden Arches have delivered once again.

Just the other day I came across a commercial for a new product that McDonald’s was introducing. It began with a kindly elderly man ordering at a drive-through. He was alone in the car and yet he ordered two coffees. After a brief pause, he then ordered way-too-many orders of the new product being introduced.

When he pulled forward to collect his order the employee said something along the lines of, “wow you must really like these things!” And the man responded with, “oh, they’re not for me…they’re for them.” And just then he looked in his rearview mirror and the camera pans to a tired looking dad with a car full of energetic and loud pre-teen girls enthusiastically singing a song.

Perhaps the funniest part is when the song lyrics play “I’m losing my mind just a little.” We, the audience, are treated to a zoomed in shot of the dad wearily mouthing the words.

But that’s not what drew me to this particular ad. I remember this commercial because of the underlying message.

It is good to think about someone other than yourself.

The kind old man bought breakfast for a family he, more than likely, had never met before. And he supplied some much-needed coffee to a weary parent. And it made me think…

How often am I putting the needs of others before my own?

How often am I kind to others while expecting nothing in return?

Luke 6:31 records Jesus’ words, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” And Philippians 2:3 says that we ought to count others as more significant than ourselves. Colossians 3:12 urges believers to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Now you may be thinking, “ok slow down this is just a fast food commercial.” And yes, you’re right it is. But I also think that small and silly little things like commercials can cause us to stop and do some serious self-evaluation. Do we care about others enough to go out of our way for them or are we too self-absorbed to even notice?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 22 that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. And then He says, “and the second [greatest commandment] is like the first, that you love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now, am I saying that in order to love others you need to buy them McDonalds? No, not necessarily. But what I am saying is that there is a Biblical mandate for us to love others.

We are called to show kindness, to love and care for people, and to put others before ourselves.

I am grateful that a silly commercial can remind us of those truths.

I pray that we all would be kind and love like Jesus loves each and every day….even when we are not in a drive-through line.