Letter from Pastor Allen

Dear Friend,

I was working outside on a recent Friday afternoon. A tree had fallen, and I was tackling the job with a chainsaw and a ladder. That’s just not a good formula, is it? A rung in the ladder broke, and the chainsaw went one direction, and I sprawled, landing on some wood I had cut. I rested there for a bit, assessing the situation. Every part of me seemed to be working, and there was no arterial bleed that I could locate. So, after a minute, I stood up and finished the job.

That experience feels a bit like our situation today. It’s been two years since we went home for “two weeks to flatten the curve,” and it feels like a good time to do a self-check and take inventory of our circumstances.

Now, there are some things around us that we would rather not look at, but they’re still true. Our nation has unsustainable debt that’s growing every moment. Our economy teeters with inflation at historic levels, and our supply chains are inconsistent. The shelves in our stores are often empty. The labor market is disrupted. Fuel prices continue to climb. We have the threat of new wars and increasing lawlessness. Millions of people a year pour across our southern border, and we act like we don’t notice.

Yet, even as deception and censorship flourish around us, we’re still here, and we’re relatively intact. Not only that, we’re still free! WE ARE FREE! The Church is alive and well, even after coming through a pandemic! There have been some tremendous losses and great sacrifices, and a lot of impact, but we’re still moving forward. We’re becoming more aware of our dependence on God and His goodness to us, and that we are very much on an assignment from Him. Church, God is awakening us, and we are stronger!

Over the past two years, we’ve learned that stability is not based on what time we gather, or a building, or a set of traditions. As much as we are creatures of habit and we like a steady routine, one of the new routines we’re cultivating is learning to change. I think that’s a part of God’s preparation for what He has ahead of us.

All of this feels important to discuss because it seems there’s a pervasive sense of despair and weariness in the world, and within God’s people. But the reality is we have ultimate opportunities before us. We’re not here to hang on—we’re here to overcome!

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I’ll build my church and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” In this scripture, the Church is not in a defensive posture but offensive; we’ve been sent to overcome evil! Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” You see, it doesn’t really matter who the other team picks or what it seems they are accomplishing. We have the Creator of Heaven and Earth on our side! He’ll part the ocean. He’ll stop the sun. He’ll blind the eyes of the enemy. He’ll do whatever is necessary to accomplish His purposes.

We were created to be ambassadors and defenders of our faith. We’re leaders who are called to be an influence. We’re overcomers. But we’re also presiding over one of the most precipitous declines in Christian influence in the history of the Church, and I want something different from our watch. I don’t know if God in His mercy will give us that opportunity, but I don’t intend to quietly go into that dark night. How about you?

Historically, the reason we’ve had persistent expressions and outpourings of the Spirit of God (awakenings, renewals, revivals), is because they were needed. It’s the same today—we desperately need God’s help. Our foundations are being tested, and this isn’t the time to look away. It’s time to pay attention.

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear for I’m with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I’ll uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

That verse is important to put in our hearts because we’re not finished with the instabilities just yet. In fact, I think there are more in front of us. As we continue to encounter more changes and difficult circumstances, God will sustain us. He will give us what we need. We don’t have to be afraid or dismayed because God, Himself, will give us strength and courage for whatever we face. He will uphold us, and we can trust Him to meet us on the pathway forward.

He will also bless those who respond to Him, and He’s given us an assignment to be salt and light in our world. So, let’s stand up and finish the job!

Onward in Him,

Pastor Allen Jackson

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