Psalm 47:7 – “For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding.”
1 Peter 5:2-3 – “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Matthew 16:18 – “… I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
For weeks we watched the situation with the novel coronavirus unfold in China. As with anything, it is always easier being a spectator than a participant. Now, most nations around the world are wrestling with finding the appropriate response to what is now being referred to as COVID-19.
Those caught up in making plans, preparations, and decisions include not only national leaders, health experts, and multi-national businesses, but small, local business owners, care home managers, and pastors.
It feels like we simultaneously have too much information but also not enough information.
Daily we receive the latest statistics of transmission rates, the ages of the infected, mortality rates, ICU facilities available; everywhere we receive information on where to cough and what to sing as we wash our hands; as time passes we’re seeing information about historical precedence; and daily we hear of another area of society practicing social distancing.
Yet with all that information there is much we do not know.
Between the known and the unknown is the place where leaders find themselves needing to make decisions.
As a pastor I have a primary goal, a primary concern, a major question, and a deep conviction.
My Goal – Psalm 47:7
My goal is to glorify God. That’s where Psalm 47:7 guides me.
“For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding.”
Whether this outbreak remains less threatening than the seasonal flu or peaks above the history-changing Bubonic plague, God is king and I will praise Him.
- I will praise Him because He is always worthy of praise.
- I will praise Him because He knows all that is unknown to me.
- I will praise Him because whether by disease, accident, or the rapture, because of Christ, my path ultimately leads to Him.
My Concern – 1 Peter 5:2-3
My concern is the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of my brothers and sisters in Christ and the community in which God has placed us. That’s where 1 Peter 5:2-3 guides me.
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
Throughout this situation my desire as a pastor is to help people spiritually, physically, and emotionally:
- Spiritually – I want you to have your confidence in God, praising Him, sharing the Gospel, and pursuing holiness.
- Physically – I want to see you healthy, pain-free, disease-free.
- Emotionally – I want to know you are experiencing the peace of God, that in Him you find stability, resilience.
My Question – Philippians 4:7
My question is if and when do we cancel a scheduled church gathering. That’s where Philippians 4:7 guides me.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I want you to be at peace
- whether you choose to gather with the saints or whether you feel frustration that services are canceled.
- Whether you believe this outbreak will take the lives of loved ones or whether you’re concerned canceling services sets a dangerous precedence.
- Whether you feel ignoring the government’s advice will cause harm or whether you feel obeying the government’s advice infringes liberties.
Wherever you find yourself, whatever decisions those around you make, I want you to be at peace.
Why? Because we have the peace OF God through Christ Who provided peace WITH God.
At present I do not have plans to cancel any services. However, I will not rule out the possibility that the leadership of Bedford Bible Church will choose to do so in the future.
I, and the leadership of Bedford Bible Church, are not afraid, we are not panicking, but neither are we being complacent. We ask for your understanding should we choose to cancel a service in the future or whether we do not. We are doing our best in unique circumstances.
We know that whatever decision we make, as with any decision, some will agree and some will disagree.
Whatever happens, I want you to have the peace of God because you know you have peace with God.
My Conviction – Matthew 16:18
We are the church. Whether we gather at 15 Meadow Lane, in my home or yours, in a field or on a mountainside, we are the church. This is where Matthew 16:18 guides me.
I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ promised that He would build His church and the gates of Hell would not, could not, prevail against it.
Whether we face persecution, natural disasters, or disease we are God’s church, we are the Bride of Christ, and we will praise God, teach His Word, and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
God is King, we will praise Him.
Christ has saved us, we will have peace.
Circumstances are complicated, we’ll look to God for wisdom.
Victory is promised, we will persist.