Happy New Year everyone! Here we are again at a new year and I know many of you may be happy to see 2020 in the rear view mirror. We are all hoping that 2021 is a better year, but remember we move just one day at a time. And each and every day is a gift from God.
This past year may not have been a good one for many, but looking back on it, I can see God moving in so many ways. We are still living in the midst of a pandemic, but God has provided for so many. He has given us hope, he has provided for our needs, he has heard our prayers, his word is spreading.
The motto for me this year has been, “The Church has left the building.” For obvious reasons, many churches have moved to on-line services and while I love to see people face to face, the Church is not the building, it’s you and me. Many have moved closer to the first churches we read about in the book of Acts. Many small gatherings in peoples homes sprung up, many being virtual (thanks to God for providing the technology to still meet safely in this fashion).
I’ve been a part of a men’s Bible study group (again on-line) with some great men that I now consider my brothers. This group, men who are local and currently attend our church, has been meeting weekly since before the pandemic started and we’ve been able to continue on virtually. This study group has helped me to recharge each week and grow stronger in my faith and knowledge of God’s word.
Despite this year, churches are still being planted. My home church, RiverTree Fairless, began this past October meeting in person and it’s been growing week after week. While there are already a lot of great churches in the area, we still see so much opportunity to work in partnership with the other churches and the community as a whole to bring the light of Christ to our area. We may meet like most churches on Sunday mornings, but we see this not as a service, but a celebration. A time to recharge and fuel us for the upcoming week, because truly the Church has left the building.
So now I sit here on the first day of 2021 and am thanking God that I’m still here to do his work. Will everything magically change today? Will the fears, threats and hardships that we’ve seen this past year suddenly disappear? No, it won’t. In fact, I suspect that things will continue on much like they are now. But here are a few things that we can start or continue to do that will make 2021 the best year yet.
Continue to trust in God. This is a given but an important thing. We have faith in Jesus Christ and what he has done for us on the cross. God is in control and always will be. While each year brings change, God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Expect God to make this the best year yet. The God that created the universe, but knows our name can of course make this they best year yet. In fact, wake up each morning for making the coming day the best day yet. Each church celebration, thank God for making it the best one yet. Every time you spend quiet time with the Lord, start off by giving thanks for making it the best quiet time yet. If we thank God ahead of time, He most often will make it the best ever.
Be still and know that He is God. I often hear that God doesn’t perform miracles today like we read about in the Bible. But I feel that he might, we are just too distracted to notice. All the media, the work, the activities… all these signals coming at us can block out the still quiet voice of God. We may just not be in-tune with the voice of God enough to see everything that He is doing.
Be a part of God’s work, not just a spectator. God doesn’t need us to help him with his work. He could do it just fine without us. But he wants to share in his knowledge and the joy of his work. Just as a father wants his young son to help him work on the car, even though it will likely slow down the work, God to loves us enough to want to include us in his work.
Remember that the church has left the building. Even when we all can come together again in worship. When all the restrictions are lifted, let’s not forget that what we’ve learned through this last year. We are the church, not the building. Let’s not fall into the trap of being weekend Christians. Let’s make it a 24-7, 365 thing.
I’m hoping we all have the best year yet in 2021. I know God wants the same for us. God bless you all and I’m excited to see how God works in all of us this coming year.