Odessa

Heritage Church

Pastor Jon Hayashi

Heritage Church
302 S 1st
PO Box 509
Odessa, WA 99159
(509) 982-2951
Pre-K thru Adult
Education 9:00
Sunday Service 10:30

Pastors Page

Pastor’s Musings – March/April 2020

 

It’s crazy how much things can change in a week and how life has a way of stopping you in your tracks.

I have to admit that less than a week ago, at the time of this writing, I was rather snarky about this whole COVID-19 ordeal. I was less than gracious in my comments and chalked some of it up to conspiracy theory stuff. That is, until I started to do some of my own research this past Friday morning.

I not only looked into what the CDC, the WHO, and the Seattle Times were saying and what Governor Inslee was mandating, but also updates from respected Christian leaders and organizations. As I read and prayed, God convicted me of my nonchalant attitude and I immediately confessed my sin of arrogance. In that moment God brought three words to me on which I preached this past Sunday from Psalm 31.

If you’d like to view it, you can go to our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6vEX0WmuN-R-CTNCsBLldA

The first word was: Trust in the Sovereignty of God. Don’t forget that God is ultimately in control of all of this. None of this was a surprise to Him. Put your trust in Him and not in the “false idols” of government, vaccines, or even money. In the end He will bring this all together for His glory and our good. One proof positive point in this is that months ago we had scheduled a leadership training meeting for this past Sunday morning before church. This is an annual church leadership training meeting that we have been doing for about five or six years. At the time we scheduled it, we were having a hard time finding a Sunday to do it. We finally just picked a Sunday and those that could make it, would make it. Well, this proved providential as it gave us the opportunity to discuss what our response to everything would be as a church. That’s how God works. He knew that this past Sunday would be crucial for where we are going as a church in light of this crisis even when we had no idea. And except for a couple individuals we knew wouldn’t be there for legitimate reasons, the whole Council showed up.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9, ESV)

The second word was: Employ Wisdom, but don’t Worry about it. This falls on the heels of the first. If God is in control, we do not have to worry about what’s going on. But we do need to employ wisdom in how we approach the pandemic. We don’t just throw caution to the wind. I love what Peter says:

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:7–9, ESV)

We are to be under control, not paranoid or panicked, and we are to be level-headed. And that is so that we can pray accurately for what really needs prayer. We also need to keep on loving one another earnestly and show hospitality to one another which means looking out for one another and helping each other out. This leads me to the third word I received.

We need to be Compassionate, but not Careless. We need to keep looking out for those around us. This craziness of emptying shelves is a little too far. I saw the title of an article that said something to the effect of: “You with all the beans and toilet paper overflowing your cart, leave some for your neighbor!” So my first application of Careless is closer to: we need to care less about ourselves and be considerate of others in this time of need. But this also applies in being careless in regards to protocol set by the leaders for this crisis. That being said, please see the article later in the newsletter regarding the leadership teams decisions in light of current events.

Also tying in to this thought of showing compassion is the following quote I pulled from an article I read in my research.

Throughout history, Christians have often stood out because they were willing to help the sick even during plagues, pandemics, and persecutions. They loved people and weren’t afraid of death because they understood that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). By stepping into the mess of sickness and disease, they were able to demonstrate their faith to a watching world. So, rather than just asking “How do I stay healthy?” Perhaps we should also ask “How can I help the sick?” Let’s be quick to help and slow to hide in basements…

Follow the example of those who’ve acted faithfully in the past. In 19th century England, when thousands were dying of cholera, Charles Spurgeon visited homes to care for people. The church of Jesus in Wuhan China, the virus’s epicenter, is faithfully leading even today.

And I might add, there are countless examples of faithful Christians who tended to the sick and dying without worrying about their own health, trusting in the Sovereignty of God in that He would protect them. And for many He did. For those He did not, they understood that they served their purpose and their lives were in God’s hands from the beginning anyway.

Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth…But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me. (Psalm 31:5, 14–15, NASB95)

As long as we are allowed to meet for worship on Sunday mornings, I will be preaching on these themes and our response to the ongoing pandemic.

Join us as we strive to Give Hope, Teach Truth, Share Life, and Love God together as a family of believers in Jesus. Finally, as David says at the end of this magnificent psalm:

O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful And fully recompenses the proud doer. Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:23–24, NASB95)

 

Until next time, I think, therefore I have thought and I share those musings with you (Psm. 77:11-14, NASB).

Pastor Jon Hayashi