Jan 2021 Lockdown Plans/Update
Greetings and Happy New Year VKHBC Family!
For the reasons of pursuing our Lord’s leading provided last week, the leadership has agreed for the following three weeks of lockdown restrictions, to pursue the possibility that—by means of the current government directives—God may be demonstrating and calling us for a time to a deeper submission and trust in his sovereign authority to uphold and sustain His Church by his own Spirit and power, apart from the ordinary visible means of grace enjoyed in the local assembly of the church.
Over the next three weeks there will be no virtual services or messages provided for you to watch as you worship together on Sunday, however I will be providing updates and weekly study guides early in the week to help family leaders prepare to lead their household in worship on the Lord's Day.
Whose responsibility is it to lead your families in worship within your household? See the brief direction I gave (click here) back in March under the subheading “Home Worship Leaders.”
I want to emphasize the wise saying that applies to all areas of life as well as our approach to spiritual discipline and worship: “You will get out of it, what you put into it.” (cf. Galatians 6:7-9). And according to our Lord this principle is applied in the kingdom of God where our investment in the ministry of the word may produce thirty, sixty, or for some a hundredfold, what we put into it ourselves by faith that he produces the growth. (cf. Matthew 13:8)
God’s blessing is not bound to what you can put into studying his word yourself, but it is often associated with what you put into it, as he multiplies the fruit of our labour in sharing the Word that is sown in faith.
Study Guides: You are welcome to replicate or use whatever is provided each week in my study guides when you gather with your household on Sunday, but my aim with these guides will be to provide a study aid specifically to whoever will be leading. My goal is to provide a bit of a guide to help you prepare and remain faithful to (a) explain the meaning of this passage, and (b) present it in a way and with application more suited to your specific situation. Eg. I was reminded last week that teaching toddlers requires just as much (if not more) work to present the same key truths broken down to smaller bite sized pieces they could more readily consume.
Let me also encourage you to let the questions and responses of your kids, your spouse, or those who gather with you (if they live alone) to contribute more to the speed and flow of your study than to the direction. Always try to let the central message or points of the passage steer the ship. But the more that everyone senses they are onboard the ship, the more engaged they will be. The smaller the number of people, the greater the flexibility and fruitfulness of this kind of interaction. Occasionally wondering off your passage to discuss related concepts elsewhere within Scripture can lead to moments of unexpected growth and blessing.
The study guide I provide will in no way be exhaustive, and if you have other trustworthy resources at home to guide your study, I’d encourage you to read as widely and deeply as time permits.
I recognize that not everyone has 15-20 hours to prepare to lead their families in the study of God's word, but you’re not called to offer what you do not have, you’re only called to offer what He has provided. So set aside whatever time you determine he has given you as you consider your schedules and other God-given responsibilities, and then offer that time to him in prayer and study, in faith that he will bless it and do with it more than you could have produced on your own.
Do you feel inadequate for the job? You’re right where he wants you! Otherwise, you wouldn’t seek his help would you? Some of the greatest leaders in Scripture are those who had the least amount of confidence in themselves because that led them to rely all the more of the power of God, such as Moses (cf. Exodus 4:10-12), or the apostle Paul for example (cf. 1 Cor 2:1-5; 2 Cor 12:9).
What makes me think I ever have anything worth offering you when I stand before you in the pulpit on Sunday? Is it the twenty or so hours of preparation? That may be a temptation, but it would be a false assumption. The twenty hours of preparation is not about coming up with something to share with you, but twenty hours of being reminded that I can do nothing apart from his Spirit!!!
God has temporarily appointed me as an under shepherd of this flock here and therefore I do not stand upon my own authority but His, and therefore I seek to give myself to the work of submitting to his authority by his word. As your pastor I have the responsibility to bring God’s message to the local assembly HE has ordinarily called. However, for an exceptional time it has been determined in our situation that He has called a temporary assembly in to our own homes, and you can know therefore wherever He has called his people, that He will also anoint His messenger in your home to discern and deliver the message he has for your little assembly… just as he has provided in every other area of your life that he has called you to!
If you are the spiritual leader of your home, then you have been put in that position by God. If you believe that, then you must also believe as you submit yourself to the faithful study of his word that he will also lead you and supply what you lack in knowledge, time, confidence, faith, etc.
If you have any questions or if I can be of any help or encouragement to you in the weeks ahead please do not hesitate to call or send me an email!
Yours in Christ,