Letter from Pastor Allen

I recently participated in a Zoom call with some pastors and church leaders from Ukraine, Belarus, and the Czech Republic, who were sharing what God was doing in their troubled part of the world. It was not an easy conversation. One woman took the call from her automobile, telling us she was on the front lines. Another person spoke up and said, “I’m no hero. I’m afraid.” Then a pastor said, “We haven’t had water for more than a week now.” Most had sent their families to other places. The church in the Czech Republic had more than 150 people from Ukraine living in their building.

As they discussed their overwhelming circumstances, they weren’t complaining—they had hope, faith, and confidence that God was moving. They understood the war is more than a political or military conflict, and it certainly isn’t about parties—there are spiritual consequences at play. It was humbling and sobering to hear them say, “We’re trusting God to secure our futures.”

In America, we sit in the midst of so many blessings—our affluence, our education, and our freedoms—yet, we seem to have lost our focus. We desperately need a different kind of vision and awareness of what God is doing in our nation, and in the circumstances we face. We’ve spent decades staying silent, drinking very deeply from the idea that if we offended one person with our perspectives, we should keep those thoughts to ourselves. This philosophy has dominated academia, the corporate world, and most social settings. The result of our silence is that, today, we stand in a place where there are worldviews being boldly expressed—in all of those places—that are diametrically opposed to the Bible, and they’re telling us to be quiet. Is it possible that we didn’t see, and we didn’t understand, and we were complicit? I think so. Church, we need to wake up.

Our heroes in the Bible, almost without exception, led their lives with a perspective of the larger purposes of God. Their decisions were informed by the imagination that their lives were one component of what God was doing throughout the generations, and they wanted to hold their space. That was certainly true of Abraham, who left his home and reoriented his entire life because God promised something that was far beyond his own journey under the sun. It was true with Joseph, Moses, and King David. It was also true of Jesus.

If Jesus’ objective was a long life with a ministry that stretched across decades; if He had wanted to establish “the brand” and have more public approval, His life on Earth would have been dramatically different. Staying silent and compliant would have been safer than the choices He made. As I think about that truth, it changes my heart. Are we willing to listen to the Spirit of God if He asks us to do something that will initiate a strong reaction from those around us? Are we ready to follow our assignment, even if it leads us directly into the path of adversity—the kind of trouble those on my Zoom call are facing? We have an urgent need to see in new ways and understand the things of God with more depth. I’m not trying to raise the bar on you. I’m telling you God has more for us than we realize. I want there to be a purpose for my life that extends beyond politely attending church services. I want to participate in what God is doing in this very unique season in human history, and I believe you do, too.

Jesus continuously extended opportunities for freedom, even though it provided fuel for His critics and His adversaries. He was determined to invite the willing into a new kind of a life, and He still is today. It’s unusual for a week to slip past without multiple reports of His supernatural involvement in people’s lives. We’ve baptized hundreds over the past few weeks, and that’s not normal. I’ve done ministry a long time, and people don’t usually travel from multiple states away to say, “I’m beginning a spiritual journey in a new way, and I wanted to make a special effort to honor God in my life.” Miracle stories come to our church campus—people whose lives are changed, and whose physical bodies are healed—week after week, we hear those stories. When we make the effort to stop and give thanks to God for what we see Him doing in the earth, it helps break the heaviness and dispel some of the darkness. We need the hope of those stories! God is moving!

The struggles we face are not new, and they are not because of a political party or any given leader. They are spiritual in nature, and the Church holds the key. So, don’t feel powerless or unimportant. Your voices make a difference. Your choices matter. Let’s open our hearts and ask God to help us see His purposes in a new way so we can be more effective advocates of His Kingdom in this season where He’s placed us. Let’s pray:

Lord, through our lives and through our efforts, may Your Kingdom come, and Your will be done, in our community and beyond. I pray that in the weeks ahead, we will look back and recognize You changed our trajectory in this season. You put a new path before us, and we became Your servants in a new way, with a new boldness, and a new authority, and a new outcome. We praise You for it, and we thank You for what You will do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Onward in Him,

Pastor Allen Jackson

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