May 31, 2020

A Sunday morning message from Pastor Neil Awbrey

Good Sunday morning,

For the first time in my pastoral ministry, we at Glenloch Baptist Church are cancelling our services today due to a health threat to our nation and community.

These seem like strange and unusual circumstances and uncertain times to us. COVID-19 is a serious event, and we are uncertain exactly how many lives are going to be ultimately affected- there is still much that is unknown about the nature and scope of this virus.

I believe it is important for each of us to make the necessary short-term sacrifices needed, in cooperation with our Governor’s and health offical’s requests, for us to move through this time of testing as healthy and timely as possible for everyone involved.

As I think about our current situation, Glenloch’s recent study on Joseph’s life in Genesis has been extremely helpful in preparing us for times like these.

Disruption of ‘normal everyday life’ and an uncertain future is something young Joseph faced many times over the course of his life.

At each turn, he faced the moment with God centered faith, patience and integrity. Joseph also wisely realized the hand of God was upon him and with him.

Through it all, God was at work in ways he could not have imagined, and the end of his story was a blessed and glorious fulfillment of God’s saving plan.

Joseph saw God provide and work in his heart and life, his family’s lives, and the lives of a nation of people around him. God saw even beyond Joseph’s life to a future and greater ‘Joseph’ – Jesus!

The one who is the same ‘yesterday, today and forever.’ (Hebrews 13:8)

Now is the time to continue to put into practice all God has commanded during everyday life. (Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thess. 5:14-28: pray without ceasing! )Likewise, now is not a time for fear or panic.

God is in control, and He is good and faithful in all His promises. This is also not a time for unwise risky decisions,  unnecessarily putting others at risk, or being dismissive, uncaring or rude to those who are affected or concerned.

We must trust in the Lord and do good – in all circumstances (Psalm 37:3). We know from Joseph’s story (and the whole of the Bible) that disruptions, surprises, and uncertainty are great teachers, exposing our own limitations, and are actually the means by which God weaves His greater story.

God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps on the sea, and rides upon the storm!

Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain;

God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.  (William Cowper)

Also, I  have been contacted by several people who are willing to help others with various needs during this time – if you know of anyone in need, please feel free to contact me concerning that need and we will be happy to be as helpful as possible.

Sincerely in His love, 

Rev. Neil Awbrey

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”  (Eph. 5:15-16)

Family Worship Guide

1.  Read Genesis 50: 14-26  (also see sermon notes provided)*Why were Joseph’s brothers fearful now that their father Jacob was dead?

What was their solution for their fears?

How did Joseph reassure his brothers?

Do you have any fears at this time?  How does God’s Word address these concerns?

Consider the surprising circumstances, interruptions, and delays over the course of Joseph’s life.  What was Joseph’s ultimate conclusion about God’s role in his life? See 50:19

“Paralyzing fears are due, ultimately, to disordered doxology.  Our worship is misplaced.” (Matt Smethurst)

1.   Read James 4:13-17.  We are never in total control of our brief lives.  How should we respond to this reality?

*In what way did Joseph give real, practical help to his brothers and their families?

*How did Joseph encourage his family, even with his final words?

Hymns for Reflection

“Jesus the name that calms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease, Tis music in the sinners ears, Tis life and health and peace.”  (C. Wesley- O for a thousand tongues to sing)

“Through it all . . . through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus;  I’ve learned to trust in God.

Through it all . . . through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”  (Andrae Crouch)

Prayer of Benediction:

Pray to the Father for . . .

  •  God’s purposes to prevail through this international crisis

  •  Wisdom and health for leaders locally, nationally and globally

  •  Our neighbors in need, and for God to empower us to see and act as appropriate

  •  For God to teach us a greater humility, dependence, and love for Him and others through this time

  •  “Come, Lord Jesus.”  (Rev. 22:20)

Comments

  1. Beth Burgoon says

    Thank you Neil. This is such good guidance and a plan to use to do something other than worey. I am praying for you and your family and the leadership you are providong.

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