Generations Church is a five minute sunny walk down a beautiful tropical street.
Churches in resort style towns often have transient worshippers who are vacationing. Yet there will always be a core of locals.
Generations Church has a healthy and often forgotten point about the WHOLE church. They take time to speak to other members outside their age group making a point to sit on the “other” side of the church.
Generations Church suggests the following three commitments as beneficial for individual and church growth:
- Sunday worship
- Midweek service OR small group OR Sunday School
- Ministry Involvement in one area
Here is their Discipleship Model
Get In – encounter Jesus and come inside
Get Healthy – grow in knowledge of the Lord
Get Strong – learn to share and care
Get Going – engage with those outside
The service started with the worship leader quoting this Bible passage followed by prayer.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The radio station called Vision FM 87.8 was recommended as uplifting. Let’s not focus on what we can’t do. Let’s focus on what we already have: Amazing Grace. We sang that song which reminded us of our hope.
Father, we ask for stability during this time of chaos. Strengthen us with your steadfast immoveable love. You control all things. We praise You for what You are doing. May we look at the life around us with Godly wisdom. Amen.
We observed communion but they did not hand out the bread and the fruit of the vine. We are asked to remember what Christ has done for us. A time of meditation was encouraged instead.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
Declare and set forth your case;
Indeed, let them consult together.
Who has announced this from of old?
Who has long since declared it?
Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.
Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side;
Every Australian holds the ANZAC soldiers of WWI in high regard and ANZAC Day is celebrated every year for all Australians who have served in the time of war. The theme is always LEST WE FORGET. Every community has an ANZAC monument, park and even street.
The same is asked of us who remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross which is what we are called to do during communion.
Australian female Christian singer Rebecca St. James has recorded a song called Lest I Forget. Watch the YouTube video here
The congregation was less than 20 people. An usher with basket went around to each of us so that we didn’t have to pass it. We prayed that the collected money would go to the right place and at the right time.
(I am reporting the sermon as given as I have throughout this trip. Rob was uncomfortable with the political nature of the message. I thought that the pastor gave some good points. However, I usually look at the big picture of what is being said which means to fully rely on God in all circumstances.)
The pastor, Paul, asked to raise the following points for us to think about and consider. “If I tell you what to think, I am deceiving you.”
Even though we have very few cases of COVID-19, everyone is talking about it.
It is great that we have instant information where we an know about things as they are happening such as fires, floods, wars, and in this case the pandemic.
Is that good or bad?
Would the outcome of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 have been different if information was readily available?
Today we have real time information about coronavirus. Something started it. One person panicked, the media reported it, then everyone panicked…over toilet paper.
Predictions always are worse than reality. In 2019 32 million people got influenza and 30,000 died. The prediction was that 50 million would get influenza and 80,000 would die. Could that outcome be due to an overestimate or due to access to life saving information?
The death rate of the coronavirus is lower than other related influenza and coronavirus outbreaks.
Is this an overreaction by media and politicians as we are inundated with warnings? In the past, there is a lot of hype and nothing happens as in the case of cyclones. Here they go again, but we must prepare for the worse and pray for the best and ask for God’s protection.
Remember the fable: The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Mixed messages lead to confusion. Science, government, and educators try to explain the unexplainable.
Five years ago, it was called global warming. Now it is called climate change which seems to be getting more attention…or maybe it is becoming more observable.
Some people ask: Is coronavirus a sign of the end times? Jesus said that there would be birth pains. This sure feels like a birth pang for the world. The purpose of the tribulation is to rattle and undermine great wisdom that man thinks that he can control and stop things. Man isn’t as important as he think he is.
They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.” Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
Jesus is encouraging us with that statement. He is the one who knows what is going on. Others claim to know in times of chaos, but they have been proven to be wrong.
Don’t panic: Be Patient
God is in control.
When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
Why does God allow catastrophies?
Death is unavoidable. We are told many times in the Bible: “Fear not!” We don’t fear the first death because we won’t experience the second death. We have eternal life with the Father.
1 Corinthians 15:21
For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
We don’t ask to hasten death. We have a purpose on earth that needs to be needs to be fufilled.
To accomplish His purpose
God used the plagues to get His people out of Egypt. The Egyptians suffered because they thought that they controlled the world.
To teach obedience
To oppose pride
Humble yourself before the Lord.
We have more legislation that goes against God than supports God.
To abolish idolatry
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Money is the biggest idol. It does not equal happiness. It is easy to say, “I need more money.” However, often when one doubles the money, one doubles the problems.
The government will find ways to take money from you by taxing what you have. Take a lesson from history. Overnight the Nazi’s took everything of value from the Jews. If you think that it cannot happen again, it can.
This money idol can also include hoarding, education, job, etc. by making and keeping as much money as possible. Society needs people to do other jobs that don’t require a college degree.
Sports is another idol. There are many complaints about the cancelation of sporting events due to the coronavirus. Fans are willing to risk their lives and the lives of others to serve the idol of sports.
During the news there are two minutes of news, 25 minutes of sports namely football, and wrap up with some weather. It would be better to call it The Sports Report.
In Numbers 11, the Israelites were complaining about the manna that God had provided for them. They were craving meat like they had in Egypt. God answered their ungrateful prayers. He sent an abundance of quail and then a plague. They were on their knees.
And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases.
To defend His honor
The Philistines didn’t return the ark of the covenant to Israel. When they placed the ark next to their god Dagon, the next day Dagon had toppled over. They set Dagon back up, and he fell over again and his head and hands had been severed. Read more about this in 1 Samuel 5.
To reveal His power
God is in control.
There were sensationalized stories of man-made or man-released coronavirus. There is no foundation for this but it made for good news stories.
In Job, God revealed His power. He was always with him during his trials.
2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.
We treasure the salvation of Jesus. We have the same trials as the rest of the world. However, we demonstrate to the world that there is something in us that isn’t in them.
What are we to do?
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1. Pray with other people.
Tell him our needs and thank him for his answers.
2 Chronicles 7:14
and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
The world is not being healed. The people of Nineveh were warned of their wicked ways. They repented, fasted, and prayed and God spared them as recorded in Jonah.
2. Patiently ask for God’s wisdom. We live in a world of instant everything.
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Trials produce patience. Don’t dodge problems. You will be wiser for working through them. We don’t know everything so we must ask for God’s wisdom.
The pastor, Paul, had a son who died. It did not make sense. He read the Bible but they were just hollow words on lifeless paper. He knew that God was faithful but felt nothing at all.
Then he read Acts 1:6-7. It spoke to him through the pain. There was the assurance he sought.
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.
One simple thing: TRUST GOD
That is better than what the world wants to give us. Be practical in what you do but remember that He is the only guarantee that we have. The world gives no guarantees.
May He go before and behind us as He is Light of the World. In Him, we will believe and trust.