April 5, 2021

 

A Word from Walker

I am grateful to God for each of the four seasons. I love each of them for different reasons. I love Summer for its warmth and all of the various outdoor activities that get re-introduced to us each June. I love Fall because I enjoy hunting, college football and chats around an open fire. I love Winter because the brisk, cold air invigorates my senses and I still occasionally will brave a really fast sled run. But Spring is different. Although it seems shorter than all of the seasons Spring is for me is all about compacted, concentrated hope.
 
When Spring arrives we move from cold to cool and to even a little bit warmer weather in a short period of time. You literally feel like you have to wear three types of outfits a day. Flowers bloom, but just as we begin to enjoy them they seem to fade. Baseball fans look forward to Spring Training, but in the blink of an eye Opening Day rolls past us. We get used to Spring and then we feel thrown into the furious flow of Summer.
 
As Christians, the obvious correlation is about the hope that is found only in the resurrection of Jesus. But that first resurrection day experienced over two thousand years ago came on the back end of a lot of bad stuff. For instance, in a short few days that we now refer to as Holy Week, the disciples experienced all of the possible human emotions one could fathom – pride in the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem; confusion about his constant referral to his impending suffering; conflict, accusations, and denial preceding and following his arrest and trials; anguish and confusion over his crucifixion; anxiety after his death; and shock and eventual joy over his resurrection. I can’t imagine if you did a psychological test on the disciples what they would score on the stress meter after such a week.
 
In many similar ways, we are coming out of the Winter of COVID and the numbness that many still feel from one year of isolation, fear and conflict. The good news is that many of our churches are almost back to some semblance of a regular routine if that is possible during the last year we’ve experienced. People are actually warming to coming back to worship, if you would allow me a little grace to spin that pun. I know pastors are looking at various ways to re-engage the community as people are willing to let people back into their lives. I would even venture out and make the somewhat bold statement that the most pessimistic folks among us would say we are moving forward.
 
And just like people who are wondering when they can wear lighter clothing, people are cautiously beginning to venture out to see if the newest adjustments with processing the pandemic are here to stay. My encouragement to you as we wait and see if the reduced numbers of hospitalizations and the increased numbers of those taking the vaccine make a difference is this: Don’t let the budding hope of Spring be something that passes you by. Don’t be like the disciples who saw the resurrected Jesus and still stayed in an uber-cautious mood. In other words, make sure that you don’t let fear of an outbreak of another pandemic or needless worry over reactions to the vaccine rob you of the joy that reflecting on the resurrection brings. We are people of hope because we know that any suffering we experience here is a light and momentary things compared to the glory that awaits us. So be wise, sensible and respectful of others, but be willing to let hope rise up in your heart once more. Afterall, over two thousand years ago the virus of fear and unbelief could not resist the delivering power of a conquering Lord.
 
Happy Easter,
Walker

 

March 31, 2021

 

Craig's Comments 

 
Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. Psalm 103:15
 
Deep down there is something so refreshing about seeing life return to the flowers and trees all around us. Even a child can observe the glory of God manifested in His creation. This year Spring has a whole new meaning as we are no longer sequestered like we were last year and we can daily see life in motion. I have made a point to go on hikes and spend more time outside just to be reminded of how great our God truly is. Not to mention that I have dusted off my fishing equipment and plan to drown some worms very soon!

While this past year of battling the pandemic has undoubtedly taken its toll on so many of our lives, it is encouraging to look around and be reminded that God gives life. We can be reminded during this season of life that no matter how lifeless something may seem, God can resurrect things that once seemed hopeless. I can't fully explain this other than the miraculous hand of God.

I'm reminded of Mary and Martha upon the death of their brother Lazarus. Martha accusingly said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died." We often find ourselves pre-Spring looking at the death that may surround us and wondering where is Jesus? This is a very common feeling of our sin nature when we feel utterly forsaken. Even in the Easter account we see many not understanding the plan that God had and abandoning the one they recently had hailed as the Messiah. Such is the reality of the human condition many days. We make a March Madness basketball bracket with every assurance that we know who will win it all and shortly into the tournament so many brackets have been utterly destroyed by the unpredictable.

I'm so glad that in the midst of the brokenness of life, brackets, and the aftermath of a pandemic that I can still firmly stand and proclaim that "it's Friday, but Sunday's coming!" That is far from original with me, but they are some of the most profound words ever used to express the promise of this sacred season. No matter how messy your life may get or what sin has crept into your existence, the great love of Jesus demonstrated on the cross and the power of the resurrection remains able to deliver us all from whatever heartbreaking circumstances that we find ourselves in.

Do you know that God? Has his power surged into your life and brought beauty from ashes? The promise of Easter as we celebrate this month is that He is ready and able!

We have seen some powerful examples of such recently when it comes to our PMBA churches being on mission to share the Good News of Jesus with a lost and dying world. We celebrate the launch of our newest church who is in the process of joining our association from Kernersville...Citizen's Church! Pastor Adam Pickard and his team are off to a great start and they covet your prayers as they labor to make disciples in their missions field. We also give thanks for the most recent step that our three church planting residents have taken as they have completed the Stadia portion of their assessment and training. God has great things in store for them in the days ahead! Then also we are amazed by how God has brought together our churches to help those in need through hunger initiatives like our Easter Outreach on April 1 in which we will feed approximately 800 people!

A famous wrestler was known for saying, "Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?" Whether you choose to think in terms of smelling all that God is cooking or seeing the life that is blooming all around you...don't miss out! Each of those who are engaged in the ministries that we just mentioned are very similar to you. What steps of faith do you need to take today to engage in the mission that God has for you? If we can help you take these steps of faith and mission, contact us today.

May the fullness of Easter fill you this season and always,
Craig