First Things First

It is late Monday evening. I came home about 6:30 PM from a challenging day. Three sermons yesterday were blessed times, but Monday AM came with urgency. In the morning hours, I stood on a hillside to comfort the family of a business friend. They have been kind to the work of the Lord, but efforts for them to join in worship and fellowship have not been successful. Last Wednesday I received a phone call from the owner of the business. "Pastor Bare, I am calling with bad news. This is one of the hardest things I have ever faced. My son, age 33, was in the shop working. He had a heart attack and died instantly. Will you please come to the cemetery on Monday and say some words?"

I walked off the hill of the cemetery and made my way to a meeting with a young couple. Fine looking couple. Intelligent. Hard-working. Well-dressed. I listened, taking notice that they did not have on wedding bands. They shared that they were engaged. I asked how long they had been engaged. "More than a year," they responded.

Are you Christians?

"Yes," they answered, "very much so."

"Are you living together?" I asked.

"Yes," they spoke softly.

"How do you answer to God?" I asked.

I ask you, Dear Reader, do I need to share more details? Is it clear that our world has encouraged Christians to justify "lust of the flesh" as a divine entitlement?

My day was not ended. Later that day, I went to a funeral home. A healthy husband, only 51, died suddenly of a heart attack. The first funeral bill looked to be about $17,000. I persuaded the widow to have the body taken to another funeral home. The final cost will be about $13,000. We discovered that a plot begins at $2,000. Opening/closing the grave is about $2,000. The vault/grave liner is extra. The high cost of funerals is one of the reasons about 50% of our community is now cremated.

I write to you about sober items, but first things first. There is room for rejoicing. A Buddhist came to church yesterday [Sunday]. It was her first time. She is from generations of Buddhism. "I am looking for the True God," she told a friend. After the benediction she came to the altar and wept her way to salvation, saying: "I choose Jesus." She left rejoicing.

A young man who gave his life to Christ just last week is reading his Bible and reaching out to his friends with his new-found joy. It is evident in his face. His whole demeanor has changed.

Someone who left Covenant came back to the Men’s Conference this weekend and to Sunday services, declaring he is “Home”. As we always do, we had left the door open to welcome him back with open arms.

My deep concern is that in the midst of pundits and spinmeisters, the world of politics will warp our brain and prevent us from seeing the hand of God move.

My prayer is that we will not forget the main thing. We must with all diligence keep the Great Commission central to our ethos. Our reason for being is the eternal Church, the Body of Christ. Our mission is to win the lost and make disciples.

To fulfill the mission we must stay united. Let us walk together in the love of Christ.

First things first. Pastor Bare LIGHT UP THE NIGHT next Monday, October 31st, is not just a fun time. It is an evangelical outreach to win the lost and help people find a good church home. Be in much prayer for this event.