God has designed His church and put us together for His purpose and direction. St. Paul teaches that we the members of our local church are members of the body of Christ. When you belong to Christ, you are part of His body. He is the head. He leads the body, and He orchestrates its movements. And you are connected not only to Him, but also to every other part of the body as well. As we read in Scripture, "God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be" (1 Corinthians 12:18, NIV).
COVID-19 has really changed our lives in ways we could never predict. We’re more than 4 months into quarantine life, and at this point, it’s hard to remember a time before COVID-19 that doesn’t seem like that was long ago. It leaves us trying very hard both to make sense of it and to get used to the radical lifestyle changes the virus has brought. Most pressing on my mind is our loss of congregate Sunday morning worship services, bible study and other weekly meetings.
I miss worshiping and fellowshipping with you! I haven’t seen some of you since March of this year. I believe that God is using this time to speak to His people. He is using this crisis in life to wake us up and help us see what truly matters in life. While we love the fellowship at church, we really don’t need a building to worship God. He wants us to spend time in prayer and reading of His word (the bible) at home. He wants you to sing your favorite hymns and songs at home. He wants us to make every moment to matter, be happy, find our purpose, and value the privilege of being alive.
If you would agree with me that God is intentional and purposeful about all that He does, then you would have to agree that God has a purpose for each one of us at a time as this. His purpose is that we individually or as family units, representing West Henrietta Baptist Church become a shining light for the testimony of Jesus Christ. The question on my mind, is how we may best serve God’s plan and purpose at this time? I encourage you that whatever else you feel called to do, you will reach out with a word of encouragement to others. Some of us are by nature encouragers, while some have to make special effort. Nonetheless, it is required of us to encourage one another to become our better selves.
Many people are experiencing a challenge of faith resulting from sickness, financial problems, marital and other family problems, loneliness, and inability to connect with congregate church worship services. Connecting with members of your church family or any other Christian with a word of encouragement can help them move from fear to faith. Reaching out to each other daily is how we beat loneliness and deepen our relationships—even if we are sitting at home alone. Praying for one another is real spiritual warfare that actually changes things, and it is worth all the time we can devote to it. Pray daily for your church. Make intercessions daily for your pastor, moderator, deacons, choristers, committees/boards, families, and our political leaders at local, state and national levels.
Let’s face it—life can be rough at times because we live in a broken world plagued with diseases and other natural disasters, sickness, economic struggles, relational problems, and sin. We sometimes find ourselves right on the edge—ready to give up on our marriage, give up on a child, or give up on our faith. We might get to the point where we feel like we can’t take it any longer.
When this happens, sometimes the only difference between us going on or giving up is a simple word of encouragement. Encouragement here is not to feel sympathy for someone or feeling bad for them. Rather, encouragement is to inspire with courage, and help someone to persevere. Simply put, your encouragement may be delivered with a visit compliant with COVID-19 restrictions, a phone call, a letter, and/or a prayer. With God’s enabling, we can!
Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee!
Rev. Dr. Peter E. Grinion, Pastor