A Time to Shun Embracing from Pastor Sam on 4/21/2020

“A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.” Ecclesiastes 3:5 NASB

Dear New Life in Christ Church Family,

In a recent e-newsletter, Dr. Bill Clark (Lay Counselor Institute) mentioned a Jewish Rabbi, Chaim Bruk, whose father and three uncles in New York City have all been hit by the virus. The Rabbi said this: “Probably for the first time in my life, I wasn’t praying because that was the order of the day or there was a particular holiday.” He said to his daughter, “I need to have this moment with God. I need to talk to him a little bit.”

Dr. Clark observes that this Rabbi saw that the only thing he could control was his response to this tragedy.

How are you responding to this global tragedy?

According to Paul Tripp (How People Change), the situation I find myself in is my “Heat” and my response, if I’m careful to examine myself, will often manifest “Thorns” (or sinful thoughts, words, and actions).

Upon recognizing my sin, my best and only remedy is to flee to the cross of the Savior, Jesus Christ! Monday’s letter from Pastor Sean provides ample means to consider the perfection of God. Look again at the focus of prayers as a reminder. Because of the perfection of the Lord God, the gap between God and man cannot be bridged except by the righteousness and blood of the God-Man, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).

How will you overcome this global tragedy?

While not minimizing the pain of others or ignoring the suffering of the community, I suggest you start where you are. Until you are lifted out of the pit in which you find yourself, it will be difficult to lend a hand to others. See Psalm 40:1-3 for a good reminder of how the Lord’s redemption plan moves us out of ourselves and toward our neighbor.

Let’s use Philippians 4:6 as a basis for self-examination: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 

  • Anxiety manifests itself as a disruption of my ability to function normally. Yes, this virus has disrupted life as we know it, but consider how you are responding. 
  • Acknowledge the anxious thoughts, words, and behaviors you notice (or others around you have noticed – ask if you are not sure). The Lord God does not permit us to hold any anxious thoughts, not even one.
  • Confess each one, as the sin it is, bringing it to the Lord. Your shame has been covered by the Savior who has already died for each of your sins, and indeed is actively interceding for you.
  • Let your requests be known to God.

The real global tragedy is my failure to trust the Lord.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Each one who trusts in, clings to, and relies upon the Lord God is like a deeply rooted tree that is prepared for the heat that can and will come in life. And that one shall continue to demonstrate vibrancy and yield fruit for the good of his or her neighbors and for the nations of the world.

If you have specific needs, please let us know (nlicc@nlicc.org || 540-786-4848) so that we can pray for you and offer any practical help. Our elders are available as are our deacons (https://goo.gl/forms/wZ8miuU2BptSmOtG3). Please be aware of your neighbors needs, especially the elderly and vulnerable. We are here for you.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Sam


Upcoming Events via Livestream (www.nlicc.org/watchlive)

Next Sunday (4/26/20)

  • 9:00 am Adult Sunday School Class – Bob Rumbaugh teaching on the Apostles’ Creed (via livestream)
  • 10:00 am Worship Service – Pastor Sam preaching (via livestream)
  • 6:00 pm Evening Service – Robin Wilson exhorting (via livestream & Zoom – look for email with the invite)
  • 7:00 pm Youth Group (via Zoom – look for email with the invite)