February 1, 2021

 

A Word from Walker

In my recent conversations I have heard several people express angst about some of the recent Executive Orders President Biden has signed. Apart from any political discussions about the repercussions of these decisions, let me say that any child of God has to maintain a balanced approach to such dynamics. Let me try to explain.

First, we are called to be salt and light in our culture (Matt. 5:13-16). This means that the lives we lead directly and indirectly influence family members, neighbors and yes even people serving in government. For instance salt flavors and salt stings. It brings a needed distinctive to food and it purifies wounds. In similar fashion the people of God bring a positive influence on our world and also help to prevent cultural decay. We are therefore as salt to be winsome and redemptive in our interactions with our society.

Light, in a similar fashion, brings warmth and comprehension. The sun’s rays energizes people and brings them out of the seclusion of winter to more fully engage the great outdoors. It also shines in the dark to reveal what is hidden. The people of God are therefore to warm and warn our neighbors. Because we love people as God does we reflect His good and giving nature (Jn. 3:16). Along those same lines, because God is holy our lives reflect His revelatory nature, and often this means shining the light on sin (Jn. 3:19-20). In both of these examples of salt and light the people of God are to take on a proactive rather than reactive stance as we interface with broken people. Because of this proactive stance we will often experience resistance, disagreement or even persecution. Despite this, our political ideologies and stances should always flow from our deep convictions about God’s nature and mission, whether we are confronting racism, abortion or the fracturing of the family.

As we compassionately and courageously interface with our culture we also need to deepen our faith in a sovereign God. This truth serves as a tension point with our responsibility to accurately represent our God to the world He has created. This has been driven home to me in my prayer time I have been reflecting on Isaiah. This morning I meditated on the first few verses of Chapter 45. Part of this passage talks about how God used a pagan king name Cyrus to do his bidding (btw, this is not meant to be a commentary on President Biden’s spiritual status). Isaiah even uses the word “anointed” to indicate God’s investment and hidden influence over Cyrus to accomplish His purposes in the world.

In light of this, let me ask you a question: Is God only in charge when your candidate serves in the highest office? Too often you and I get lost in all of the political and social struggles and therefore we need to always be reminded that as we embrace the good fight of standing for truth in a culture that often treats truth as a highly individualized and relative concept, God’s agenda and plans are never ultimately defeated. This reality can really provide encouragement. One application of this truth is that while we are never to be passive in our faith, neither are we ever to be utterly dismayed when our culture seems to take a nose-dive in deeper wickedness.

This balance is not easy to achieve. But I see no other way for the child of God to respond during these tumultuous days. The PMBA is here to help you as you seek to be a faithful witness for our Lord Jesus Christ. In the meantime, lift up your hearts and chins. Our God rules above everything and everyone.

Your fellow servant of Christ,
Walker

January 28, 2021

 

Craig's Comments 

 
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd-Matthew 9:36, NLT

This reality of Jesus looking upon the people with compassion even though he may have never tasted feelings of confusion and being helpless is a powerful truth that I have been learning repeatedly over the past few months. Jesus had a holy compassion that we may or may not fully appreciate in our human condition.

While there are many other more profound examples, I will keep this edition a little more user friendly. I had my first tooth extraction recently after many attempts to rescue it through the years. That tooth saw many obstacles such as a filling, a root canal, a crown, a replacement crown, and many other times that it was poked and prodded. I never dreamed that one day the dentist would look at me and say “it’s time to relieve your tooth of duty.” Now I had watched many extractions and even had people offer to teach me on the missions field how to do it myself! I was never that brave, but I thought surely it wouldn’t be that bad…wrong! Despite the local anesthetic, it was still incredibly uncomfortable. Lesson learned: never have that kind of work done and expect to work for the duration of the day again! I managed to engage in meetings and the work of the day, but it was a pretty miserable experience. Aside from the common sense lesson learned, it also reminded me that there are experiences in life that are so deeply painful that we may not fully sympathize with until we have walked that path ourselves.

Do we surrender when we see those around us facing some of the most challenging experiences of life? Never! Rather we must allow God’s supernatural compassion to fill us in such a way that we don’t always have to fix what is hurting, but we walk with those who are hurting. Lysa TerKeurst recently observed that “God is good at being God.” Walking by faith means that there are many things in life that we must resolve repeatedly to place in God’s hands knowing that He is able when we are simply not.

Marching forward this February we continue to see God moving in so many ways! Our Hunger Initiatives group has expanded to begin providing limited food delivery and we have another event that is currently being planned for the week before Easter. We also have some great partnerships who are actively engaging the community through multi-housing, mercy, employment, rural, unreached people groups, and other ministries! Not to mention the progress that continues to be made by our church planting efforts as three planters have entered the new process with TCMI/PMBA/BSCNC. Pray for our churches also who have engaged in our Impact groups for pastors as they will be collaborating on missions efforts in the days ahead as well.

We remain engaged and available to collaborate with our churches toward greater missional mobilization as God is leading them and according to the needs in their surrounding region. If we can be of service to you or your church contact us today for more information. With God-sized compassion for a hurting world,

Craig Clayton
Community Missions Catalyst