Regina Miskovsky has attended Covenant Church since she was born. Her uncle was the founding pastor. Along life's journey Regina picked up a love for photography. She has won many awards and been president of a photography chapter in Charlottesville. What amazes me about Regina is that she produces stunning photos of the most ordinary objects or scenes. Focus and emphasis on color and texture reveals the beauty of nature. She has facilitated photography seminars during Sunday morning Bible study focusing on God's Creation.
It is Tuesday AM. This letter will be printed and emailed or hard-copied to about 1200 families today. I write from my living room looking out at the mountains so majestic and serene. In the quietness of the morning the Holy Spirit is reminding me to focus.
Our building program is setting the stage for steel to arrive in about four weeks. Our bank loan may close this week. We are on a journey as a congregation to serve the Body, our community extant, and to fulfill the Great Commission to go, send and resource until all have heard.
The greater Charlottesville area is about 200,000 population. Not a large number. But consider that the University of Virginia, two world-class hospitals, numerous military and federal installations are part of our community. Consider that liberalism is comparable to mega cities. Consider that politics tends to lean LEFT. Consider that for one reason or another our community often makes national or international news.
1. Mayor declares Charlottesville to be a First Resistance City. 2. UVA student is held by North Korea a for over a year and sent home only to die days later. 3. Father of soldier killed in war was in news during Presidential race. 4. Soon to be visited by extremist groups that give us concerns for violence. 5. Home of Best Bagels in America. 6. One of most beautiful cities in America. 7. Ranked among top places for retirement in America. 8. Home of Thomas Jefferson, primarily credited as author of The Declaration of Independence.
Here we are: Covenant. Bible-based. Determined not to cave in to pressures of liberalism. Determined to preach the gospel that Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of our salvation, no salvation in any other. No compromise. Respectful of civil liberties, but not putting Jesus in the boat with gods of this world.
Focus. We must focus. The lens must be adjusted until our hearts and passions are totally devoted to Our Lord and His Kingdom.
Post-modern deconstruction is working at our moral foundations like a wretched acid. An anti-christ spirit is eroding values of womanhood and manhood, marriage of man and woman as family, the veracity of the Bible and the centrality of Jesus Christ.
I am a pastor. Daily my feet take me in paths where lives are derailed, hearts broken, marriages dissembled, children abused, arrogance exalted, and piety without common sense is celebrated. Daily I listen to persons who declare they are "Christian," but they refuse to fellowship with the Body, they spend their money on their personal gods, and they insist that they do not need to go to church to serve God or be a follower of Christ. They say that their faith is a private matter and insist that all is well with their souls.
Deception. Out of focus. Lens broken. Lied to by the devil. Caught up in cares of this world. Good seed was sown into their hearts. They did not water, fertilize, get the rocks out, or keep the weeds out. They will die a miserable death on deserts of sin---unless we reach them with the love of Christ.
We must focus. We must think bigger. We must think lovingly. We must pray for tender hearts. We must refuse to participate in sin, yet not be hardened in our hearts because sin is abundant around us. We must bring to our worship stories of victories. We will sing songs of praise from joyful hearts.
Focus. Yes, we will focus on Jesus. We will pray that the Holy Spirit will guard our souls and guide our feet in paths of righteousness.
Together we are powerful. Victorious. We follow The Master of Storms, the Risen Son of the Living God!
Onward, Pastor Bare "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19