“All who love Jesus Christ the Lord ought to care deeply about the church, because the church is the object of Jesus’ own love. Being church-centered is thus one way in which being Christ-centered ought to find expression.” – J.I. Packer
The moment I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was called to pastor New Home Baptist Church was the moment I fell in love with New Home Baptist Church. I experienced a supernatural love for people I barely even knew. I was driving in Amarillo, Texas. Reflecting on all of the doors that were being opened, all of the people I was getting to know, and it came on me like a flood. I began to weep, overwhelmed with love for the people I was thinking of, and I knew I was called to be the pastor. You cannot pastor a church, if you do not love the people. This love that I was feeling, is the love that Jesus has for the church, and it changed my life.
The church is often referred to in Scripture as a who, rather than a where. But let’s not be quick to demonize where the church gathers. God’s sovereign hand constructed the buildings through His people, in order for them to gather and worship His name. God loves who the church is, and God loves where the church meets.
I love the doctrine of the ‘Perseverance of the Saints’, but I wish I could change the word ‘perseverance’ to ‘preservation’. Perseverance implies that we do all the work, preservation shows us that God does the work, to His glory alone. Yes, the church perseveres, but we do not persevere on our own strength, we are preserved by God’s strength. We do not persevere, because we are strong, we persevere because He is strong. I say this so that we can rest-assured that God will preserve His church in this time, even in our moments of weakness.
In this time of COVID-19 I want God’s people to take heart. God will get us through this, and I believe we will be better for it. We will have a renewed sense of God’s preserving hand. We will have a renewed sense of God’s faithfulness to the church, and the faithfulness of the church. We will not get through this because of our faithfulness, we will get through this because of His faithfulness, and love for us. His love and faithfulness creates love and faithfulness. We love, because He first loved us. Our faithfulness is a product of His faithfulness, our love is a product of His love. I say this to set our eyes on Him, because He will be the one to get us through.
I look at the rich history of New Home Baptist Church, and my heart sings. Remember all of the funerals of God’s people, all of the weddings, all of the conversions, and baptisms? You can see God’s strong hand, unfolding His perfect plan through His church, and it should cause us all to take heart. God truly is in control, and as He takes us through the refining furnace we can know that we will come out of this loving Him more, seeking Him more, praising Him more, trusting Him more. Because He has shown us that He is worthy of these things.
Look down the corridors of the past and see that He has been faithful to New Home Baptist Church. Look at the present time and see that He is faithful to New Home Baptist Church. And now trust that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. New Home Baptist Church has a rich history, and a bright future. God bless His church in this time.