Message from July 18, 2021

Direction in a Time of COVID

How many times over the last year have you heard the word “unprecedented”?  I am guessing an unprecedented number of times.   I don’t think that any of us would have predicted the way our lives would change with one little virus.  COVID has caused us to have to figure out how to navigate some of the simplest tasks in life, like seeing family or getting groceries. Every area of life from our jobs, to our recreation, to how we do church has been impacted.  How do we navigate life in a time like COVID?  There are many voices that are looking to direct us; so how do we discern what to follow?

As Christians we look to God for guidance.  There is an account of Paul in Acts 17 that has a lot of similarities and lays a foundation for us to build on. Paul is in Athens waiting for his traveling companions, Timothy and Silas. While he is there he sees that the city is full of idols (17:16) and the Bible says that it troubled him. It troubled him because he saw a society that was chasing after lifeless idols for purpose and direction and so his heart was stirred with compassion for them.   As you look around at our society and the fear and worry that COVID has caused, is your heart stirred?

Paul responds by going to the center of town and preaching the good news of Jesus to all those who will listen.  Athens was the cultural center of the known world at the time and had a number of different philosophies for life, but they had never heard anything like what Paul was preaching and so these philosophers invited Paul to speak at the most prestigious place for education. Paul gave a message that addressed the three fundamental questions that every human is seeking to answer; the first about Origin (that is where did I come from?), the second about Meaning (what is the purpose of life?), and the third about Destiny (what happens when I die?).   These three questions are at the root of every man-made religion and these are the questions that our neighbours, family and friends are still asking today.  

Paul starts by stating that it is God that created the world and everything in it (17:34) and He is the author of life.  We are not just a random bunch of molecules that came together by chance; rather we are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14). This foundation of a creator God means that each of us has infinite value and purpose. 

Paul then goes on to explain the purpose for which God made us. God chose the exact time that each of us would be born and He desires that we all would seek Him and find Him (17:26,27).  We are His children, created for relationship with Him. But how can we have relationship with an infinitely Holy God when we are sinful creatures who have rebelled against Him and chose to do life our way instead of His way?  What will happen to us if we die in this state?

Thankfully God has made a way through Jesus for us to be saved (John 3:16) and to be with Him for all eternity after we die.  God has called us to repent (17:30), that means to turn from doing life our way and to choose to let Jesus be our Lord, which means to follow Him and let Him lead our lives.   Because one day we will all stand before Jesus, the one who created us and who died for us, and we will be judged by Him on how we responded to the offer He has given us for eternal life (17:31). 

This is the message that our world needs right now.  This is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that gives the foundation for all our direction in life.  And Jesus has given this message to His church to share with those around us in hopes that “some may believe” (17:34).  

God bless you as you share the love of Jesus.

Mike Stanley 

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