Hoffmantown Church Family,
Philippians 4:4 reminds us to rejoice in the Lord always. Then Paul says again, “I will say it again, rejoice.” I pray this scripture is as reassuring to you in these unique times as it is to me.
I wrote the letter that included this scripture on May 8th and now, today, as I write this letter it is June 11th and it still does and will always ring true, because it is God’s truth. “Rejoice in the Lord Always.” Since the last letter that I wrote, we have been able to open the church building and gather again, on June 7th, for those that were able. I would like to let you know that we, as church staff and volunteers, are taking every precaution that we are aware of to keep everyone safe, while attending Hoffmantown Church. However, please also know that we do understand if you are not able to join us here in person yet, it is very much understood. We will continue to Livestream and also host our Sunday School classes via Zoom. Last week, we had about 190 folks join us here in the building and about 570 online. I Praise the Lord that we can come and “be together” across many platforms and worship our Lord and Savior together.
On another note, in the midst of this pandemic, our nation has gone through a lot of self-reflection on who we are to be as a nation. My encouragement, to both myself and to you continues to be, “how are we to respond, biblically, as a believer of Jesus? The only answer that continues to come me in God’s Holy Word is that our responsibility is to Love. I am reminded that “Love never fails”, from I Corinthians 13:8.
Also, in God’s Word, Ephesians 6:10-12, Paul teaches and reminds us of the following. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against “flesh and blood”, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Paul is making several points here:
1. Be Strong in the Lord and His Mighty Power (meaning, not by our Power).
2. Put on the full armor of God (meaning, put on Christ) (Why?)
3. So that you can your stand against the devil’s schemes (This means that the devil is casting out schemes in the world)
4. Our struggle is not against “Flesh and Blood” (meaning individual people)
Paul is teaching and reminding us that our struggle is beyond us and can only be fought primarily on our knees and yielding to Jesus’s will to fight all battles, beyond us and in us and through us. In Joshua 5:13-14, “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
There are many sides that people are taking with regard to race relations, justice, etc, in and outside of the church and in our country. I love this scripture because it forces us to ask the same question to ourselves that Joshua asks. Who’s side are you on? The angel’s response is “Neither”, meaning the bigger question is are we on God’s side, no matter what the issue. The scriptures allow us to see Joshua, bowed facedown to the ground, in reverence and asking the angel, “What message does my Lord have for his servant? I really believe that we can use this as a principal on how to respond in the midst of the current climate of our nation; by falling facedown, asking God, what message does He have for His servant”.
We really miss meeting with you all face to face, but in God’s timing and in God’s way and until we are all able to gather again here in Hoffmantown Church, we look forward to gathering with you online and onsite. I will end with a great Scripture in which I have ended my last letter, Habakkuk 3: 17-19. In particular, verse 19 says, “the Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” May the Lord bless you and sustain you.
Pastor Gregory Elder
On behalf of the Pastors and Elders