Pastor's Message for Sunday April 5, 2020      

      I am sure you have heard every thing about the COVID 19 Virus, and its impact around our world.  I am also sure that you have seen the panic, fear, and casual approach America has toward the spreading of the virus.  I have also seen conflicting prophecies by folks that this will be short, or leading to greater end-time events.    You may ask me “Pastor so, what is your take on the events and where is this leading up to?”
     The Lord has not told me that He has changed His plans or where He is at in His plans.  I can say He is right on schedule. His plan is to continue to offer His Salvation, at His expense, and that He will return to take His people to be with Him in His Kingdom.  He has not changed His plan for His people to be ready at any time for His return.  Matt. 24:44 “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”   And we know that Jesus has gone to heaven to get ready for us.  “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also.”  John 14:2-3 (also see Matthew 25:34)   Therefore heaven is a prepared place for a prepared person.  This world wide pandemic is a sign and a reminder that we need to be a people of God preparing for His return.  
     Whether the days of this virus and following consequences of economic shock waves are short or long, does not change the command the Lord gave to us to “be ready.”    Jesus told us in Matthew 24:7-8 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.”  We know these events will happen, and we can prepare for them as well.  This is not a call to panic like the world does, but an affirmation that Jesus knows, and we are not to live in fear.
     May our present world wide pandemic wake us up to prepare for Him.   I want to encourage you to be a  prepared son/daughter of the King by BEING INTENTIONAL.  What do I mean by this?  There are some things you need to make a priority and put the effort in to get it done.  Let me give you three that are very important for everyone reading this.
     1)   Be intentional of your salvation.  II Cor. 13:5 tells us “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.”  If you have not surrendered your life to Christ as Lord and Savior  I encourage you to do that immediately.  This is a commitment on your part in coming into a covenant agreement with Him.  You come to Christ on His terms.  Jesus doesn’t force Himself on anyone.  See Rom. 10:9-10, & 13.  Turn from your sin, Call upon His Name and ask Him to save you from your sin.  Surrender to Him as your Lord  & Savior.  Follow Him in believers baptism.   If you are not in the new covenant, then nothing else will work for you.  See I John 5:13.
     We only get to do this life ONE TIME and that’s it.  You can not go back and do a “re-do” or hit the “re-set button” and start over.  Therefore there is no time to waste, we have to get it right the first and only time.  Don’t let your opportunity pass you by, for when its gone, its gone.
     2) Be intentional of fruit.  John 15:8 “By this My father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  And verse 16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”  Right now what fruit do you have in your life to present to the Lord for your time on this planet?  Fruit can only happen when we abide in Christ, see John 15:5.         

     What might this fruit look like?  The believer should have the fruit of Surrender, the fruit of Commitment, the fruit of “thy will be done,”  the fruit of Dying to self, pride, fear, sin and the world.   We should have fruit of sacrificially Giving, the fruit of Faithfulness, the fruit of Serving, the fruit of Forgiveness, the fruit of Obedience, and the fruit of Worship.   I encourage you to also have the fruit of Witnessing for Jesus.   I am sure there are many more, but the point here is we need to get with the program, for there isn’t much time left.  Christ is closer now than ever before to His return, and this virus pandemic is our wake up call that opportunities are passing us quickly.
     How might we abide in Christ?  Get into His Word, see John 14:23, Obey His commands, see John 14:15, 21.  And spend time with Christ, see John 15:4. And Pray in agreement with Scripture, see Matthew 18:19. Abiding is the key to fruit bearing.  
     3) Be intentional of doing Christ’s Command.   John 13:34-35  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;  as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one anther.”   The Apostle John goes on to say in His letter of I John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”  To love one another requires action from us.  Paul gives us a picture of this in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  With this virus scare going on in our neighborhoods, we have an opportunity to serve others.  This is an opportunity for us to meet the needs of others.  You can share what you have, you can call up folks and check on them, you can pray with and for them, and you can calm others fears by telling them of the peace that God provides in your life.
     I would like to point out that the Lord is very patient.  But there comes a point when the time is up.  The clock has counted down to zero, and the referee has blown his whistle.  
     In closing,  I have an inverter table at home.  I use it to stretch my back.  When I am upside down, I look at a picture on the wall.  I normally don’t look at this picture upside down, but from this new view point I see it from a different perspective.  I see things I hadn’t seen before in the picture.  I look around our house at the ceiling and under the stairs.  It intrigues me.  And that’s a good thing.  I now plan to paint and clean sooner than later.  Ha, Ha.  
     Because of this easily transmitted virus among us now, we are forced to see our world in a new way.  Panic, hoarding, empty shelves, fear, closed business, social distancing, hand washing, mask,  just to name a few, we’ll never look at our world the same again.  We may think the world is upside down, when in reality for the believer and follower of Jesus, we are seeing a shaken up world that doesn’t understand, but for us we see  Biblical events that call out “get up, and get with the program”  “for the time is near.”  (Rev. 1:3)
     I would ask you to have a prayer time and talk with the Lord of what changes you need to make in your life today.  Start by confessing your sins, then praise Him for who He is, and then surrender control to Jesus all the areas you need to give to Him.  
     If I can be of help, please give me a call, Pastor Daryl Bennett, 527-8977 (that is the church’s number)


NOTES: 
We will reschedule Easter Sunday to a later date.
We have also postpone our baptism service too.  
We have rescheduled the Garden Open House to a later date: the New date is Saturday June 6.   We will review this event 10-15 days before hand to see if it will still work or if we need to make further changes.
We still pick up the mail, so if you would like to make a contribution, offering or tithe, you can send it to 
East Valley Baptist Church 
P. O. Box 3394    
Flagstaff, Az 86003

 

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