Dear CBC Partner in Ministry,
This Sunday is a challenge for me as a Christian, a Baptist and a pastor.
Each of us as Christians have the capacity to worship God on our own through faith in Christ and in the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to gather together to worship our God and Savior. This is a good thing.
Each of us as Baptists don’t need someone else to direct us in worship or to tell us what scripture means or how to apply it. We believe the word of God is accessible to each one of us through the Holy Spirit, so long as we have the gospel in our own language. This is a good thing.
As a pastor, it is reasonable and possible for some in the church to be insulted by the pastor intruding or inserting himself into your Sunday worship at home. If this is the case for you, I don’t mean to intrude. So please stop reading and delete this email. This may be a good thing as well.
But as a pastor, I haven’t been in this situation before, certainly not in a circumstance like this. This has been a week of firsts for a lot of people, perhaps too familiar for others.
Some people thrive on change and challenges. Some people long for long quiet alone and with routine. But for some, all of this changes when someone says you must isolate yourself, while you feel fine.
Even the opportunity to skip school, turns into a trial in these circumstances.
Two biblical authors were able to see trials of difficult times as opportunities for worship, growth with God and strengthening of community. Even when isolated.
For this reason I commend James and Philippians for your reading, prayer and guides for worship and conduct in the coming weeks. Each book has 4 chapters should 4 weeks be necessary. Both are challenging and practical books, but each has a different perspective.
James writes to Christians, scattered into distinct groups, with internal challenges. Trials of scarcity and trials of abundance are addressed. Trials of quarrels and changes of plans abound, as do trials of illness and drought.
Philippians is written by Paul from prison, while he is bound, his audience is free. However, Paul is the most joyous, even under the threat of death, even as people he knows have hard situations.
God has written long ago about dealing with hardship. He knows what we need on the inside. Both of these books have shaped my life for a long time and in hard times. I invite you to take, read and learn from the Lord.
Please be praying with those who are facing trials with you. Please communicate with those the Lord brings to mind. Encourage one another as James and Paul do for those they love.
Let us rejoice in the Lord always, as partners in Christ’s gospel, together always.
Rick Bishop, fellow Pastor
Community Baptist Church