To The Edmonson Voice:
I would like to personally thank Darren Doyle of the Edmonson Voice for reaching out to not only me, but also others within the Christian community during this pandemic. He has asked some of us to respond to a questionnaire concerning impact of the Coronavirus on the church, its members, and community with regards to safety, functionality, and faith. I hope everyone understands that the opinions and thoughts given are solely those of myself and do not reflect upon the opinions of others. I do not speak on behalf of any church. I have tried to openly and sincerely address the matter to the best of my ability. While I don’t have the answers to all of the questions, I have tried to speak upon the matters/issues that I feel may be a help to anyone that may read this.
To all the brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus of the churches in Edmonson County or elsewhere: Grace and peace unto you.
There are many questions that are being asked in these uncertain days that I would love to able to answer, such as when will things be back to normal or how will services be conducted moving forward. The truth is I don’t know when we will be back to worshipping in our cherished customs of shaking hands and embracing in Godly love. Some may be already, while it may take others time to have that level of comfort. There isn’t a definitive answer that would please everyone and I’m not going to try. What I want to take this opportunity to do is encourage people to seek the Lord because even if I or someone else doesn’t have the answers, He will lead you right. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
“If there ever was a time that God’s people need to be coming together, it’s in this day and hour that we’re living in today.” This is a quote that we have heard during many services but it’s one that’s very true for this situation that we face. If a person has been born again and saved by God’s amazing grace, then we are brothers and sisters in Christ and we are part of the same church that’s unseen with human eyes. Our names have been written in the same book in Heaven, which is the Lamb’s Book of Life. This county and the surrounding ones as well are blessed with a multitude of “Old Time” Baptist churches. We are many members but part of the same body, not because we belong to any certain association but because we share a common salvation. In the 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians we are taught that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. This doesn’t mean that we won’t have disagreements with each other because our customs and traditions vary from church to church, but we can come together and pray for one another in a time of need. Sometimes the Apostles had disagreements such as when John and James asked to be seated on either side of the Lord (Mark 10:35-45), when Paul withstood Peter to the face (Galatians 2:11-14), and when Paul wouldn’t travel with Mark (Acts 15:37-40).
You might think this doesn’t sound so encouraging but I want you to understand that those that got upset at John and James broke bread with them during the Lord’s Supper. Even though Paul withstood Peter to the face, Peter referred to Paul as a beloved brother and mentioned Paul’s epistle in his own letter (2nd Peter 3:15-16). Lastly there was a time when Paul didn’t travel with Mark but changed his mind and sent for him later, for he was profitable to Paul for the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). We, too, can come together as they did to shine a light to a lost and dying world.
Satan would love to divide us so that he might accomplish scattering the power of the holy people, but remember that Jesus prayed for his disciples that they wouldn’t be taken out of this world but that they should be protected from the evil. He not only prayed for them but us also saying, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me.”
So brothers and sisters, let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. If God has saved you, He has given you a gift to use, and I want to encourage everyone to be not afraid to use it. If you feel you need to assemble yourselves together as the manner of some is, then go and serve with all you heart as unto God. If you still feel the need to stay home and pray, then do as Mary, John Mark, and Rhoda did the book of Acts (12:12-13) and pray without ceasing with all your hearts. If you feel to pray out on a hillside, pray the prayer that God gives you with all your heart because that’s the only prayer that will work. If you feel to put a song on social media or send someone a text message, then I encourage you to serve with all your heart as unto God. Whatsoever you do, do all for the glory of God. Offer unto God thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High.
As things move forward in this unusual time, let us walk with patience with one another realizing that how you view things may not be how your brother/sister views it. This is demonstrated in Romans 14 as Paul says, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth everyday alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” I use this as an example because someone might question why would someone gather in a group of people and take a risk while others will wonder why people won’t come to church. My thought on the matter, to both sides, is because every man is full persuaded in his own mind, they are each doing what is right. Let’s remember that we are all part of the same body and pray in the place where God convicts us to be at.
We are no doubt in some troubled days, but the word says all things work together for good to them that love God and even though there are things I can’t answer, I do believe His word is true. There will be blessings for those that faint not.
God is still on the throne. He still has some people holding on and the lost still has a little more time to get ready. Church, let’s be of one mind and do all to stand and fight the good fight.
This pandemic has affected all of our churches and though our services stopped for a time, the good part is that our hope and faith in Jesus has never ceased. I have been uplifted during this time by things that I might not have expected to bring so much joy, such as hearing the church bells ring. There has been times that my heart would have broken to see only one or two show up for service, but over the last couple of months, when just a few came together on Sunday morning, it has sent thrills of joy to my soul. God is still good. Let us take comfort in knowing that He is near all of us when we call upon Him in truth.
As we move along, let’s hope for the day where we can see the house of God full but remember that, “for where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20).
May the Lord bless and keep you and may He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
In Christian Love,
Brother Joe Logan