Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness
Just when we thought all of the unprecedented events occurred in 2020, we were met this week with events from our Capitol in Washington, DC that can only leave us shaking our heads in disbelief. As we watch these events unfold right before our eyes, a range of emotions overcome us. No matter how you feel about it, you must admit what we see represents a clear brokenness in our country and communities. There is a deep need for peace, unity, and hope. And it's a Hope not found in a president, government or any election result; it's a hope only found in a King, and His name is Jesus.
As is true anytime something seismic like this happens, you will read many opinions and perspectives as everyone weighs in on how they think and/or feel. (I suppose that's what I am doing, too!) I want to encourage each of you to represent Jesus well right now. Represent peace, hope, and healing. As you are talking with people in person, via email, and especially on social media, please represent Jesus and Whitewater well. Be wise with your words. My ministry colleague, Carey had some wise thoughts and words in his blog.
And pray for those of us who lead and minister to frustrated and broken hearts here at church. We tend to see the world, not as it is, but as we are. That's what it means to be human. However, we are called to another level of thinking and acting, and there is no room or justification for physical or verbal abuse in the name of politics, let alone the name of Jesus. As we discussed back in our Talking Points series, this is not the moment to lose our cool or our witness. This is our moment to listen, learn, and lean into being light and salt, which I'll be talking about this weekend!
We are providing an excellent opportunity to learn, talk, and listen coming up later this month called Extensions. The goal of Extensions is to 'extend' past weekends and put our faith in action. It is timely, as the first Extension program is happening this month and is titled, The Talk: Conversations about Race, what it means to me, and what I should do about it. The next one, in February, is Date Night: Learning to communicate as a couple. Watch for more info coming on that event.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness
We are reminded this week of the powerful quote of Martin Luther King, Jr. that so poignantly mirrors Jesus' words we find in scripture, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." Let us love and lead right now with patience and wisdom. Here is what I tweeted this morning - I went to bed last night praying for our hurting country, as well as Christ-followers who are citizens of another, more important place. Let's do everything we can to ensure that both are working right.
And there really is nothing like it when it does. Physical and spiritual needs are being met and disciples are being made here. Brooke was baptized last Sunday to begin the year, our in-person attendance increased by 100 last Sunday to begin the year, and our online community continues to grow and respond. Need an example?
Pastor David and Jon,
It has been a year since my daughter, Angel and I started watching you all online. For Angel and I, 2020 was a year of drawing closer to God. We became a part of an amazing family: The Whitewater Crossing Family. We watched Whitewater online, tithed, shared our story of Hope by participating in a video at Whitewater, met Connor, Jake, and sweet Beth Maxey. Communicated through e-mail with you and others. My 16 year old daughter has begun to talk about what baptism means and donated blood for the first time at a Life Center Blood Drive. 2020 was scary and unpredictable but the beautiful messages and testimonies of Love and Hope we received from Whitewater Crossing's website and online services brought this amazing inner peace for us knowing that God's Love is more powerful then Coronavirus or anything else this world throws at us. The message touched my heart, and I realized that at the age of 60, I still have a lot to give (thank you, Pastor Jon). My daughter and I make a great team. I have 60 years of experience, and she has her youth. I just wanted you to know we praise God in Jesus' name for you both and our Whitewater Crossing family. Happy New Year!! Angel and I are going to start reading The Sermon on The Mount in Matthew 5, 6 & 7. God Bless!
One more example?
We are happy to report that due to your generosity and sacrifice, we ended the year at 94.58% to plan for the General Fund, and $65,214 was given to the Christmas Eve Offering which will be invested in the Life Center Resource Fund and Strategic Partners. Additional monies poured in for the Food Pantry and the Widows Fund. Unbelievable giving in an unprecedented year. And because of that giving, we are able to continue to provide Help and Hope to thousands in this new year. If you are not an E-giver, let me urge you to sign up this month. You will be the one most blessed! 2020 Giving Statements will be mailed out January 31, or you can also view/print your statement by logging into your registered Whitewater giving portal.
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In spite of this week's events in our capital, I am still excited about what 2021 will bring, especially 'The BIG 4' that JT and I talked about last Sunday. Do not let your heart be troubled, friend. Jesus is still on the throne and Hope is still alive.
P.S. Reading Matthew 5-7 is just the start. Make Bible reading a regular part of your 'new year' routine. In "10 Fresh Ways to Read Your Bible in 2021," Traci Roades offers some outstanding ideas and suggestions to let the Word of God pour over you this year.
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