From the Desk of the Pastor
In Person Worship Services continue to be temporarily cancelled as we abide by the policies of the State and local authorities. The Governor said this week that churches could open once a plan for reopening is put in place. The guidelines include attendance at worship services to not exceed 25% of capacity, safe distancing plan and also a plan for church reopening.
I look forward to our beginning to return to in person worship. However Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 26:41 as he knew the time was coming for his assignment at Calvary. Jesus told his disciples “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation, the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak” Pastors and leaders must make decisions after watching and then praying, The scripture does not say watch or pray.
As we watch, we see the pandemic is a serious health situation and specifically in our community the percentages of cases and deaths are greater in our community. We see that those who have current health conditions are most vulnerable and those over 65 are most vulnerable. We watch and listen to the health care professionals and consider strongly their advice. After watching then we as Christians pray. We pray because in Luke 18:1, Men ought always to pray and not faint. I Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
The President doesn’t realize that the church is not a building. Yes we shouldn’t forsake the assembling of ourselves, Hebrews 10:25 but we the ecclesia (the called out ones) can still lift him up in our homes, in our cars and in our families.
We will begin to meet and with careful consideration based on all factors only reopen after we make necessary preparations and set up church guidelines, establish cleaning procedures and set up safe practices for in person worship services. We need to be clear that whatever practices we make will not eliminate the virus. Please feel free to contact me as I would like to hear your thoughts on reopening.
There is another virus that is the virus of racism. This resurgence of racism is a problem in our land. Prayers to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor who have to face. Unfortunately racism is part of the DNA of this country.
Finally what can we do as a body of Christ during this time that we are experiencing this physical distancing from each other.
Continue Reaching Out to One Another – Calls, Emails, texting messages
Continue praying for one another
Certainly an Opportune Time to Read Scripture and Christian literature
MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU!! BE SAFE! BE WELL!
Don’t Miss Your Blessing Luke 10:38-42
Lk 10:38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. Lk 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Lk 10:40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Lk 10:41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, Lk 10:42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” John 10:10 I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly The Christian life is a marvelous adventure, an exciting journey. Many people-including Christians-seem to be content to float in a sea of mediocrity, settling for second best. Do you want the abundant life that Jesus promised?
Devoted or Distracted?
Here before us today is another account that has only been preserved for us by Luke. This is the encounter Jesus has with Mary and Martha.
This text is all about welcoming a guest. It’s about hospitality. Under normal circumstances, Martha’s acts would be correct and Mary’s would be wrong. Here, however, the scene is much different. The guest reclining in their home is not a normal visitor but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Visitor has Word of eternal life. The Words Jesus shares with this household are the Words of the Gospel, the Kingdom, and discipleship.
Mary, not Martha gives Jesus the welcome He seeks by listening to His teaching. Jesus is concerned with genuine hearing of the Word. The Lawyer in our account last week heard what Jesus said but did not really hear. Mary, on the other hand, gives Jesus her undivided attention…she is hearing like Jesus desires.
Notice as I read, the difference between distracted sinful Martha and Mary who is on the edge of her seat as she listens to every Word Jesus has to say. Also notice that in her distractedness, she becomes agitated because her sister is not concerned with the things she is anxious about.
This is God’s Word…
1. Mary’s Devotion
Fixed On Jesus
We have an example of a young lady who is the picture of discipleship. Here devotion to Jesus is seen very clearly as we’re told she was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His teaching. Her attention was fixed on Christ and His every Word. The words of Jesus had captivated her and it was as if she was transported to another world. The cares of this life had left and all she was focused on was the teaching of Jesus.
We’re not told what He taught about…perhaps He was in the midst of explaining the Gospel to her. He may have been describing experiences and sharing their meaning. He, might have been instructing her as to how to be a better follower. Whatever Jesus was saying to Mary, she was glued to His every Word.
Faithful to his Word
Her posture is important. Luke tells us she was sitting at the feet of Jesus. This is an ancient tradition that a student or disciple would sit at the feet of the One with authority. So her posture shows that she was the student and He was the Master Teacher. She was submissive to His authority. The Bible says, she sat and listened. She was one of the ones who was really hearing His Words. She was taking them in and pondering their meaning for her. She was a true disciple.
Do you sense the peace in Mary’s heart? She is calm and content to listen to and be with Her Lord. The time she is spending with Jesus is more important to her than anything else.
2. Martha’s Distraction
Mary is at peace listening to Christ but Martha is distracted, literally, Martha’s mind is pulled in every direction - Martha’s mind is caught up in superficial things. It’s entangled in the business of the hour. She is anxious and troubled.
These were sinful distractions. That’s something most people overlook. Martha was not just doing something good at the expense of something better she was flat out not putting Jesus first. These distractions caused her to be anxious and troubled.
Phil 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Mt 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
We all have a little Martha in us that we need to root out. What are the things that you get entangled in at the cost of something crucial? Martha’s priorities were wrong. She was not at peace. She is serving while Jesus is sharing the Gospel.
Is your mind caught up and entangled with things that at the end of the day, really don’t matter much?
Martha’s mind was stuck in this world and all her responsibilities while Mary’s thinking was in the other kingdom. Martha was stuck in sinful anxiety while Mary was at peace.
I want to show you what the sin of being distracted does to us. Notice again Mary’s posture and what Luke says… sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
Mary is submissive.
Distractions cause us to lose our interest and ability to submit to Christ’s teaching. Martha was so busy and so missing the point that rather than submitting to the authority of Jesus, she barges in and tries to tell Him what to do… And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Can you believe that Martha would be so arrogant as to tell Jesus what to do? She is not submissive. What is it that is so important that Martha would interrupt Jesus right in the middle of His teaching?
We can become consumed with things that really simply don’t matter. What is distracting you from sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His Word?
The best place to do this is in the local church on Sunday mornings. Are you distracted when you come to worship? Do you arrive early anticipating what the Lord will reveal to us or do you just barely make it? Are you often late? Do you leave right after because you have some pressing distraction? What about time to spend alone with the Lord in prayer and Bible study? Do you struggle to find time?
What’s the answer to the sin of distractions?
Sit down and do some soul searching and make a list of priorities. It may be that you should give up some things…maybe a lot of things. Are you so busy, you can’t serve the Lord in the local church?
We must understand that distractions are sin and therefore, the answer is to repent and make changes.
One indication of distractions in your life is that you don’t submit to the Word of God. You’re too busy to submit. You’re too busy doing everything that you believe that if something is going to get done, you must do it.
What Martha was really telling Jesus was to be quiet until the important things are finished and then after they are done He could teach.
Jesus was more concerned for Martha’s soul than anything else…
Where was Martha’s heart? Was it on the things of God or the things of earth? Where is your heart?
Anxiety is produced when we care too much about the wrong things. Anxiety is a good indicator that something is wrong. You can take a pill to lessen it and make it more bearable but anxiety is speaking to you about the condition of your soul. Jesus was lovingly telling Martha that something was very wrong with her thinking and her soul. Jesus is expressing disapproval and grave concern.
There were more important things at the moment than an elaborate meal. Martha was missing the Gospel. Her mind was literally thinking about everything except what it should have been thinking about.
3. Mary’s Good Portion
Martha was troubled about many things…only one thing is important. Christ’s Word. Listening and submitting to the Word of God is the good portion that will not be taken away.
Can there be anything more important than complete and undistracted attention to Jesus Christ?
Mary was listening to His Word and becoming a disciple.
Perhaps Martha’s heart was opened as she realized that the things she had been doing were trivial compared to listening to the words of Christ. The Bible doesn’t say but something changed in Martha’s heart at some point. Her treasure was changed from earthly things to heavenly things. At some point she got it and everything clicked.
Is our life full of distractions? Do you find yourself anxious and troubled? Allow those emotions to point to the fact that something needs to be different. Let the superficial go and grab hold of the eternal. Be devoted to Christ and not distracted from Christ. Martha did it and so can you…
HOLD TO GOD'S UNCHANGING HANDS
Time is filled with swift transition
Naught of earth unmoved can stand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand
Hold (to his hand) to God's unchanging hand
Hold (to his hand) to God's unchanging hand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand
Trust in Him who will not leave you
Whatsoever years may bring
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling
I was contacted by the census specialist, Please see below and if you haven’t responded please do so as it is important for our community
As I mentioned in the initial email, the response rate in the area where your church is located is below the State’s and county’s average.
We need to reach as many more households as possible so that these areas don’t miss out on their portion of the 675 billion dollars of yearly federal funding.
The response rate in your area as of 5/20/20 is only 43.4% (Final 2010 Self-Response was 56.2%) while the national average is 59.8% (74%), California 61% (68.2%), LA County 56.2% (69%), LA City is 49.6% (68%).
That’s why we need your help as a Census partner to encourage your community members to self-respond to 2020 Census.
We would like to take this opportunity to ask you to remind your members of multiple ways to self-respond to 2020 Census.
There are three ways that people can participate in the Census :
Online at www.2020Census.gov
Other language lines are available.
Return paper questionnaire (a small number of households will receive a paper form)