“In The Mean Time…”-Sermon by Rev. Deborah Richardson
Good Morning Calvary Gospel Church, Family and Friends
I Greet you in the name of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ
I pray that all is well in your household and in your spirit.
Before I begin my sermon, I want to share this FB message from a friend of mine, Sharon Elijah, her brother lost his battle with COVID19.
I can only imagine how intriguing Vernon’s conversation with Jesus must have been over the past 2 weeks. I’ll bet he told him all about the house he was saving his overtime bucks to buy, for his wife Sheila, kids and grands. I believe Jesus invited him to checkout his mansion, so that Vernon could collect some ideas about how to design his next new home. It definitely had to be everything XXL, because that’s Vernon’s signature…a true 10-Gallon Hat-wearing type of Brotha!
And when Vernon arrived, his
jaws dropped as he strolled through the huge gates adorned with pearls, the finest gemstones and a walkway paved in gold. He was so amazed that when he stepped inside, he decided to stay until we arrive.
Our hearts took a hit as he transitioned early this morning, but it is comforting to know that he is not struggling on any machines anymore. Vernon fought hard, as
he’s done his entire life, and he won the ultimate prize…a chance to dine with the Most High God.
I share this because it is just another reminder to us that this world is NOT our home. Remembering that we are primarily living to do the good works that God has prepared for us. I hope that Sharon’s message encourages you as it did me, to see the death of a saint as a transition from life to eternal life!
Scripture Reference: Ephesians 5:15-17 Message Version: Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but wise, making the most of our time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the Will of the Lord is.
After the first message from God to us, Don’t lose your Joy and Don’t lose your Peace, I began to inquire of the Lord, what do I say next. What do you want us to know? I wanted God to be direct and I wanted to know what my responsibility as a Pastor is to you the people of God.
These are unordinary times and since we are living in these unprecedented situations I wanted to know, God, what are our next instructions? Where do we go from here? So He gave me this word!! (PRAY)
In the Mean Time…
This quarantine that we are in has taken a toll on people in various ways. Some people are bored because they are used to going and being entertained, some get frustrated because they don’t have everything they need. Some people are anxious because they keep thinking about all that they could be doing. Some people are angry because they feel trapped. Some are content because they now have time to binge all of the shows they couldn’t get to before, some are lavishing in their food pantry, eating their time away. There are probably several other categories that I have not named, and so you might be saying,
Pastor, I don’t fit into any of those. That’s ok. I want to make a point “in the meantime”. In the meantime, the time in between this QUARANTINE and the END OF IT!!! That space in the middle.
The idea of quarantine is not new to God. In fact, throughout the Bible many times people were told to live alone because of their disease. Isaiah 26:20, it reads go home, my people, and lock your doors for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed. Although this assignment was handed down through our elected officials, somewhere
deep in the back of my mind, at the bottom of my heart, I believe that God has allowed it. And since God allowed it, what should be the response of the church. I believe that we have to shift our thinking beyond the natural and hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying.
The word quarantine means to keep away or to be restricted from others to prevent a disease from spreading. So, spiritually speaking, I believe God is calling us, the body of Christ into a time of quarantine so that the things of this world that have taken our time, money, and attention for so long, be shut off or restricted to prevent the worldly disease from spreading and causing further damage.
God is calling His church back to the place of power and authority. God is calling His church to be a church without cliques, a church where we honor what belongs to Him, where we show up on time for worship, a church where leaders lead because some leaders have wandered away from what God has called you to do, some are slacking and giving God leftovers ( our time, our talents), some have gotten stale and ineffective, there has been no growth, and some have taken ministry like its a hobby, doing it when they feel like it. But, the good news I bring is … God loves us so much, He had to shut down shopping, traveling, sports events, concerts, plays, social gatherings, movie theaters, etc., etc, not because these things are bad, but because they are consuming
the energy that we need to use to accomplish what we were sent on earth to do. We have scheduled social outings on the Lord’s day when we should be worshipping. We have spent God’s money on things that we thought we had to have. We have neglected the things of God that should come first. Things that aren’t bad, but again, they are things that have taken up time and energy, that belong to God. He could see that we were not headed on the path He set for us. And said, like any good parent, let me help my children. Let me stop some things so they can slow down and see me, slow down and hear me.
So I believe we must shift our mindset from the natural to the spiritual. When we do that, we will begin to praise God for allowing us the opportunity to get our lives back on track. Order our steps in your word dear Lord, lead us and guide us every day…
I believe when this quarantine is over, we cannot go back to business as usual. Get ready for a new normal. God is shifting our focus off of us because there are souls to be won for Christ.
We will not have time to be sidetracked because God has a desired plan for us. View this quarantine as a way of God pruning us so He won’t have to cut us off! Shift your mind from looking at this quarantine naturally as a punishment, bondage, restraint, isolation, or captivity, start to see it as “what will I do in the meantime”. God is
saying it’s a time to revive our spiritual walk, rethink our earthly purpose, refresh our ministry and calling, and rekindle the fire of your first love!!!
The meantime, the meantime, what does life look like while we are here in the middle? ● We start with repentance, seeking God’s forgiveness for living in a way that has detoured us from His plan. Repent for buying into the American dream instead of being sold out to His purpose for our lives. Repent for storing up treasure in this world which is temporal. Repent because we brought into the lie that bigger is better, the more I buy the happier I will be, and living holy is for others. Repent because we have handled money like it belongs to us. Repent for not making God the center of everything!
- In the meantime Seek God for revival in our spirit and ask for a refilling of the Holyghost fire and passion instead of being , dry, and defeated
- In the meantime we pray for God to re-order and redirect our steps toward His expected path for us instead of going down a path that feels natural, but has moved us away from our calling and our life’s purpose.
- In the meantime, we listen for God’s voice until we clearly hear what He is downloading in our spirit. He is ushering in a sound from heaven that will give us instruction. He is going to reveal a new game plan for how we are to move forward in our ministry. Because when this is over, we will NOT be going back to
the same old normal, but a NEW normal. We are going to need different eyes and ears in order to witness to souls coming into the Kingdom. And God is going to give purposeful ideas and strategic places to show us where to cast our nets for our church’s financial increase. We will not be able to rely on things we did in the past.
- In the meantime, we pray for heavenly wisdom that will enable us to connect to unchurched people when they come in. Pray that we embrace cultures that may be unfamiliar to us. Families that don’t look like ours, and we need to know how to love them and embrace them, while the Holy Spirit does the work in them.
- In the meantime, we increase our quiet time and establish a place where we meet God EVERY SINGLE DAY as a place of worship. An altar where we open our mouths in singing unto the Lord, and Reading His word to rekindle the fire and passion we had when were we first became believers! Because in that place of worship He will refresh our spirit anew each day and help us resolve our own personal issues and challenges. He will reveal His vision for your life. When He does write the vision and make it plain.
- In the meantime we ask God to help us re-establish boundaries around the Sabbath day to keep it holy, boundaries around spending our money, and boundaries around our talent.
- In the meantime we ask God to help us reconcile broken relationships that have caused damage in our family, so everyone can be brought into the fold. Make that phone call, make things right.
Saints, we should thank God for this quarantine because He is giving us time repent of our sins, to receive heavenly strategies that will re-ignite the passion and fire within ourselves and our ministry. We have the chance to reset. And only a loving God would do such a thing.
Finally, think about this…The word Quarantine is derived from its root in Latin, which means 40.
There are lots of 40’s in the Bible, but I want to leave you with these two ● Goliath taunted and teased the Israelite army for 40 days before David stepped up to fight him. David picked up 5 smooth stones and conquered that giant!
- Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days where he was tempted to end his life, eat while on a fast, and sell out his soul to become rich and famous. Jesus told Satan to get behind Him!! Jesus came out of that wilderness and began The ministry that empowered Him to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, forgive the woman in adultery, feed 5,000, was betrayed by
Judas, carried a cross, where He was crucified, but on the third day, He rose from the dead with all power in Hi hand!!! We are in a quarantine. We are in a 40 figuratively speaking.
Jesus is coming back, but in the meantime, we have work to do! So take seriously this quarantine and press into God, so that when it’s over and we return to our house of worship, we will be a victorious church for Christ!!!