How to Make Sense of it All?
What happened to the world we thought we knew 4 months ago? One day they’re talking on the news about a strange virus from China, and the next, we’re being ordered to shelter at home, with schools, businesses, and churches around the world closed. Everything about this has been confusing – exactly where and how it originated, how it spreads (touching your face or breathing a cough?), whether masks do any good (first we’re told no, now we’re required to wear them), whether staying at home is good or does more harm than good (unless you’re in a high risk group like the very young, the very old, or anyone who has health problems), what the real goal is (flatten the curve? develop a vaccine? no one else ever dies?), whether the experts really know what they’re talking about or are just guessing, whether the situation is being used for political purposes by one side or another, etc.! Many are sick of the whole thing and going about as before, while others are taking precautions, and still others are scared to death and staying at home. Cases are up, deaths are down, schools are in question, and some states are clamping down again.
On top of all that, there is deep racial tension, with some sincere people protesting in the streets, others looting stores and burning down businesses, anarchists taking over city blocks and police precincts, some are tearing down statues and defacing memorials, while the police are vilified by some as the bad guys and criminals are being set free; and leaders seriously talking about defunding, re-imagining, or eliminating the police, who are holding back in many places for fear of blame, while violent crime is skyrocketing.
One thing’s for sure – the world around us is changing, and we are not in control. It’s times like these that we need to turn to the One who IS in control for wisdom, direction, and hope. More on that in a moment…
But first, thank you to all our staff and their teams, our Color Guard, and all who made our annual Freedom Services last Sunday so special. We broke 300 for the first time since returning from the COVID shut-down, with 321 enjoying an inspirational outdoor service about Freedom, which concludes our Journey of Faith series through Exodus.
What’s next? A series through the little book of James. A Christian writer says, “When I polled a group of 50 friends about their favorite books of the Bible, it surprised me how many of them mentioned James. But when I took a closer look, I remembered the practical wisdom James offers… This short book challenges us to take practical steps towards acting out our faith, instead of just talking about it. James begins with special encouragement for people undergoing trials and for those who need wisdom. It continues with sage advice on listening before speaking, obeying God’s Word, taming our tongues, and showing generosity to the poor.” – Betsy de Cruz, Crosswalk.com
So for the next 10 weeks, we will dig into the book of James, about half a chapter a week, starting this Sunday with a message on Faith Under Trial from James 1. Could you use more of God’s wisdom in your life? Do you ever struggle with your faith during trials? Then join us for this series called Wise Up! that offers practical wisdom for everyday living, especially in tumultuous times.
Bring a chair if you can (or we have some) and come enjoy outdoor worship on our beautiful patio & lawn, where you can safely distance yourself and enjoy singing, prayer, communion, and a message from God’s Word underneath the shade of our patio or pop-up canopies; or watch us online on our website or YouTube; or on TV on Saturdays from noon-1:00 on KOCT (ch. 18 on Cox in Oceanside). May God give us all His wisdom and peace during these turbulent times!
Mike Openshaw, Senior Minister