Devotional for Saturday and Sunday May 30-31

Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Change can be good for you”
Our Bible verse for today: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.” Psalm 33:10 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Will America come back to church?”
For many of us one of the most difficult aspects of the stay-at-home orders that have been issued as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic is that our churches had to suspend our physical gatherings. Suddenly we regular church-goers had to find ways to stay connected with our church family without actually being together in a building.
In our state (Tennessee), the suspension of church gatherings wasn’t mandatory. Governor Bill Lee is a strong Christian who appreciates the importance of our churches in the communities we serve. He designated the churches in Tennessee as “essential social services”, but he asked us to try to find alternative ways to continue to provide our essential service to our communities. We gladly did that. We appreciated our Governor’s best efforts to get us safely through a dangerous and difficult time and so we cooperated fully (and voluntarily).
Other states weren’t so fortunate. In other states churches were ordered to shut down and they faced law enforcement action if they didn’t. In some of those states some churches defiantly stayed open as a form of Acts 5:29 protest (We must obey God rather than men). Hopefully this time during which our churches have not been physically meeting has reminded all of us how much we value and need our church families. That’s actually a good outcome for us. It’s the old adage, “You don’t know what you have till its gone.”
Now that our churches are reopening the question becomes “Will the people return?” Have some of us gotten so used to not going to church that we have formed new habits of staying home on Sunday mornings? And also, will the pain and heartache associated with the pandemic draw crowds of non-church goers to seek God and come to church? Or, are they simply relieved that the pandemic is easing and will they now just go back to their old ways of living?
We don’t know the answers to those questions yet but I do think this is a pivotal moment for the church in America. There could be a surge of church attendance, bringing with it great opportunities for advancing the Kingdom of God in our communities. Or, we could be faced with a struggle just getting our former regular attenders to begin attending again. The jury is still out on this. The question for each of us is “How will I respond”. Are you going to continue sitting at home or, with enthusiasm and thanksgiving will you come back to your church family and will you encourage others to do so as well?
It’s time to get our church gatherings going again, and it begins with each of us as individuals. I believe we can do so safely. We will prudently observe all the appropriate health and safety protocols, and therefore the environment in church will certainly be safer than what you are currently exposing yourself to in Walmart or the grocery store or in a restaurant. Some in the high-risk groups need to continue staying home for right now but for the rest of us, it’s time to come back.
Will America come back to church? If so, it needs to start with you.
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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