One of the most common understandings of the modern pastor is that of a shepherd who cares for their flock. Jesus tells us that he is the good shepherd (John 10:11-18). We are told to tend to those in our care (1 Peter 5:2-3). And so over the years, I have developed an understanding through the example of other Pastors, through my training and experience to try and care for my church members as if I was a gentle shepherd who lovingly cares for them and tries to protect them.
But, I have always led by proximity. I was always close to people. Saw people. Touched people (in appropriate ways of course). How does a shepherd care for those he cannot see? This has been my dilemma since the COVID crisis began and it will likely be my problem for a while as the future is uncertain.
One thing I ask is this, if you need help or assistance, please let someone (or the church) know. I am not psychic and do not know your needs unless you tell me. If you need prayer, to talk or even a roll of toilet paper or some food, please let us know by emailing the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will do all we can, in these crazy days, to love and help one another. As Jesus commanded Peter in John 21, we will work to "feed" the sheep (spiritually, emotionally and even physically).
God bless you all,
The Israelites had spent 40 long years in the desert and though it was difficult, they had grown used to the manna and the tents and the travel. They had become a people and were accustomed to following Moses and the new laws they had been given.
All of a sudden everything changed. Moses was dead. Joshua was in charge. They were crossing the river and entering the promised land. They would go from wanderers to warriors overnight. It was all new and sudden and terrifying.
God saw the fear and spoke these words in Joshua 1,
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God repeated himself over and over in chapter 1, telling Joshua (who would then tell the people) not to be afraid.
Now why do you need to tell people not to be afraid? There is only one reason...because they are afraid. Joshua is afraid, the people are afraid and so God seeks to reassure them that He is in control and that they will be ok.
It seems today, for very different reasons, many of us are afraid. We are afraid of the Corona virus, afraid we won't have toilet paper or flour to buy, afraid our jobs will get shut down and we won't have enough money to buy things...we are afraid for a lot of reasons.
I get it, I am afraid too. But I do remember that God is still in control. I do remember His word is unchanging. I do remember how He has been faithful in the past. I do remember that He loves me. I do remember to pray for you all. I do remember his words "Be strong and courageous" and it does give me hope.
By the way, God was with the Israelites and they were successful everywhere they went.
And God will be with you too. So be strong. Be courageous. God is with you.
Pastor Scott McDermid
There are only a few types of email checkers in the world, based on my observation. There are those who mostly keep their email counts up to date (this is me by the way) and try to stay mostly caught up with a handful (or on a bad day several hundred) emails that haven't been read or responded to. There are those who have thousands of unread messages and no intention of ever catching up (to their credit they just ignore the junk emails rather than delete them). And then there are the rare "inbox zero" people out there who are determined to get each and every email (junk or real) read, responded to and/or deleted each and every day. There must be a wonderful feeling to know that in some part of life, your email account, you have completed all your work and are finished.
I was asked the other day about the final words of Jesus and I told the person that his final phrase was "it is finished." While I am confident that Jesus wasn't talking about email, he was talking about his work. Jesus had taught us what we needed to know, he had shown us what he needed to show and now he had paid the price for our sins on the cross. He had done all he needed to do and so he could say to the Father "it is finished." (John 19:30).
Now it's up to us to apply his teaching, follow in his example and live like we are free from the bondage of sin. We have inherited the benefit of his life's work and we are urged to "run the race with perseverance" (Hebrews 12:1) as it is marked out for us (with his teaching and example as our guide).
But remember, as you seek to live a life of holiness, the victory is already won, the price has already been paid. You are free, so live like it.
Pastor Scott McDermid