To God’s Beloved At Cloverdale Baptist Church:
I am so glad I am a part of the family of God!
So many of you have been a blessing and encouragement to me and to one another, and for that I am so thankful. We realize it takes extra effort and work, but we are fighting to stay connected, and unified as God desires, and I am thankful for that! Keep fighting to invite one and encourage 3!
We have a congregational meeting on May 25 at 7, and so many of you are praying already for unity and God’s will to be found and pursued there. Thank you!
The devotional God has placed on my heart is a call to thrive in the midst of difficult times as a church. The obvious question is, is that even possible? The biblical and historical answer is yes, if we will look to Jesus and do some fairly simple basic things to stay on God’s side together. In fact typically, those loyal to Jesus thrive in earthly heart ache.
When I was a child we used to love to hike together as a family (well, the family for the most part loved it). One of the places that we went to a lot was a little campground just outside of Field, and we would hike from there, almost always including a hike over Takkakaw falls.
Dad would strategize new paths that would take us up and over new mountain passes, and one year we were doing really well, and it was later on in the day, and we ran into a rushing river blocking the path.
It was a night on the mountains, or figuring out how to get across a rushing river without death. I suppose my memory might enrich the story a little, but I was fearful, the river was wide, and I wanted to live, and falling in meant certain chaos (that is my memory, sorry mom and dad). So dad found a place to jump onto rocks and throw ourselves over to the other side so we could continue our journey together to the beautiful view we were hiking to (we came back to the car a different way, which had been his plan all along).
Back to the rushing river…dad found what he thought to be the best place to cross, and mom made it with only a boot full of water, but she was on the other side. We had good shoes (for hiking), and we jumped from rock to rock, and….MADE IT together as a family and continued our journey alive and unified.
We stand together as a church family on the banks of a river, it is rushing and filled with confusion, division, despair, hurt, anxiety and anger. How can we get to the other side together to continue our journey for God’s glory and the good of His Kingdom? How can each of us choose in humility to prefer one another and thrive?
Well, come to the congregational meeting, and you will hear, but for now, the first key is that we have the right shoes on! If our shoes are slippery, we will end up being swept away and the power of the river will overwhelm us and divide us!
The two slippery shoes each of us must remove? 1. Fixate On The Problem, not God and His Word. Some do this by raging against the government, world dominating conspiracies, and online churches, others by retreating into their individualism and closing the door against the river and not staying connected to God’s family. I think if like Peter, we can fix our eyes on Jesus, crossing the river becomes manageable together in His strength for His glory. The Israelites had this problem when they went into the promised land the first time, and missed the greatness of God for the grasshopper syndrome. So, if you find yourself filled with fear and overwhelmed by the size of the giants (Numbers 13:33), or the waves that threaten to sink your feet, and cause you to choose division or despair, get your eyes on JESUS. Together that is the only way we will be able to land on the rocks. Help one another get solid shoes on, and we will get through this journey unified, on God’s side, and joy filled.
The other slippery shoe, 2. Find Fleshly Solutions. Like the first slippery shoe, this one has two extremes, some want to join together in fighting the problem and they identify the problem as a conspiracy, or the government, or weak church leadership, others might think that our problems will never be over and isolate in fear waiting for the next shoe to drop. I am not saying that there is no human truth in the extremes, the problem is when we think human solutions will solve the short term or long term problems and fixate there, we miss what is going on behind the scenes, and the Gospel message will be lost in the noise (Ephesians 6:10-19). I think COVID will be over soon, but there are many more rivers we must cross together coming, and if we think that the solutions are found in fighting against or joining with worldly ways, we are missing the Kingdom call from Jesus (Philippians 3:20). For us, we do not want to be like Asa (2 Chronicles 16:9), we want to be like Hezekiah (2 Kings 19), and see the God of the Bible clearly and trust in Him fully, and obey Him with all of our hearts. Remember our citizenship is in heaven, and here we are to be the best citizens possible as we journey to our home (1 Peter 2:11-12).
If we want to get across the raging river of COVID (and all it has produced), unified and thriving, we need the right footwear. Trust in the Sovereignty of God, and prayer filled submission to His Word. So when the isolation, division, despair and confusion threaten to swallow us up, we have our feet ready to jump to the first rock. Before you try to cross the river unified with us as a church family in full submission to the Lordship of Christ, get rid of your focus shoe, and fix your eyes on Jesus. Get rid of your fleshly solutions, and pray and seek God’s face in full submission to Him. There you will find a selfless humble unity with God’s people and a preparedness to get to the other side and THRIVE! If we will do this God's way, in the power of the Spirit, this family of God, with Jesus as our head will thrive moving forward!
Trust that He is Sovereign, and see Him as He has revealed Himself (a great place to start is Isaiah 40). He loves you and has a plan for your life right now to be an encouragement and blessing to others (Ephesians 2:10). If you have your shoes of trust in God, prayer dependence and total commitment to His Word you are ready to jump to the first stone, and there are three of them….Contentment in Him, Centred On Him, and Called By Him.
Much more on Tuesday, so join us for a time in prayer, God’s Word, and passionate pursuit of unity for God’s glory, so that together we can get to the other side of this river together on God’s side and flourish.
Continued Call To Prayer:
Alistair Begg states, “Prayer is an acknowledgment that our need of God’s help is not partial but total… Yet many of our church prayer meetings have dwindled in size and influence. Ultimately, the explanation can be traced to spiritual warfare. If, as the hymn writer says, Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees, ” then we may be sure that he and his minions will be working hard to discredit the value of united prayer. The Evil One has scored a great victory in getting sincere believers to waver in their conviction that prayer is necessary and powerful.”
Please consider joining our corporate prayer meetings, and being a part of our prayer movement as a church this summer. If we join together in prayer, we will fight powerfully in unity and for success.
Many of you have asked how you can pray more specifically, and we are working on some solutions to that, but you can join our prayer chain ministry (confidentiality is essential) by contacting, prayerchain@cloverdalebaptist.
Sunday Is Coming:
Title: Jesus Is Coming Again
Text: Revelation 1:1-8
- Why do you think that the second coming is so important to God?
- How can you be prepared for Jesus return?
- When is the last time you thought about Jesus return? What did you think about?
- What do these verses teach us about His return?
- How does knowing the hope we have change how we live our lives with eternity in mind?
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 show us how Paul was able to walk through difficult times with joy…what can you learn from these verses?
- How does longing for Jesus return show us that this world is not our home? Why does that matter in the situation we currently find ourselves in?
Privileged to be one of your guides through this journey together for God’s glory, and as we stand on the side of this river together, even knowing soon we will find ourselves on the other side, join me in seeking God’s face, grabbing the hand of a sister or brother, and in trust and unity help us get to the other side as a thriving church. Yes, there are more rivers to come, but each time we get across God’s way we will become stronger, and together have a massive Gospel Impact in His strength for His glory.
Humbly, and thankful for God's people united together for His glory at CBC,
Please pray that we would be permitted to gather in the church building again! We are seeking to courageously follow God’s Word in difficult times, and believe we are doing the right thing together, BUT it would sure be wonderful to be able to gather again in freedom and joy as a family. Pray that God would move in people (remember He is Sovereign) to accomplish this, and that COVID would end soon. We pray in faith, and trust God, together we long for this!
STAY INFORMED AND PRAYING
We have congregational meeting on May 25. Please note this on your calendar and join us in seeking God's will together as a family. Your prayers and pursuit of unity with us are what makes the congregational system of church governance work. We long for the mind of Christ, and a unified passion to do His will together.
Other Helpful Information
please check out our online bulletin that is updated every week:
Please help our search committee as they look for the man of God that will help us exalt His name in song and deepen our love for Him as we celebrate His greatness together. We long for God's man for the ministry, and would like this to be sooner than later (our timing), so please pray, and help us to pursue this patiently and in God's POWER! If you know of anyone...please share with them this amazing opportunity and have them apply!
Kids ministry is seeking to serve you, and help in discipling our children and families even though we are not gathering physically. Please take advantage of this, and continue to make church a priority that your children can see and taste!
Make sure you are taking advantage of opportunities to gather like Connection Cafe, memory verses, Growth Groups, and don't stop meeting where we can. I love the idea of going to a park with 10 others, listening to God's Word preached and sung, and glorifying Him publicly. Try not to bother too many people, but to show them the beauty of Jesus love in a gracious, truth filled way...and do what you can while you can!
Thanks all for staying informed, and for being a family who has a positive impact for God's glory and the good of His church in the world He has sovereignly placed us.
Please join me in making an extra effort to pursue unity, encourage a family member, and share what God is teaching you with someone else.
STAY STRONG, FAITHFUL, COURAGEOUS and FOCUSED!