God has a plan

He is risen

It’s Easter morning, 2020.  I had so many plans for Easter weekend; pastors always have ideas and plans for Easter Weekend.  I am always overwhelmed with our Good Friday Service.  Our Easter outreach is so much fun.  I love seeing our church reaching into the community and blessing her. I’ve attended 5 Easter Sunrise Services; this would have been 6.  Our Easter Worship Celebration would have been amazing.  The sanctuary would have been full, the music amazing, and even the sermon would be good that day.  But God had a different plan. Our church is gathering online for the fourth week in a row. I keep telling our people we are the scattered gathered church every Sunday at 10:30 am.  I woke up in a little bit of a funk, but I realize God’s plan is always better than my plan.  It’s still Easter, and He is still risen.  Here are some thoughts for you today.

It’s Easter, and Jesus is risen.  He is alive. 1 Peter 1:3 reminds us He is our “living hope.”  I was able to meet with my church on Facebook live this morning at 6:45 am.  I was able to share it with them for about 45 minutes. Probably too long for some, but it blessed my heart to see the people gathering with me as the church.  Most Sunrise services we are freezing and trying to figure out how to cut things short.  Today, I was able to speak and hopefully bless those who heard. God’s plan is better than mine.  Oh, did I mention, many more people will hear today’s Sunrise Service than ever before.  God’s plan is better.

At 10:30 am, our church will gather on Facebook for our Easter Service.  It’s not ideal.  In fact, I don’t like it much.  But is it the right thing to do.  We love our neighbors and people of Salina enough to stay home.  We know the church is not about where we are but who we are.  Church, I also want you to know, because of the safer-at-home order, more people will hear the good news of our Living Hope today than maybe any single day in the history of man.  Millions of people who may not have attended church today will listen to church online.  Preachers will preach a risen Lord, and they will point the lost to salvation in Jesus alone.  Let me assure you, the “Safer-at-home” order is worth it if people hear about Jesus.  Have you noticed; God’s plan is always better than our plan?

As you begin your Easter Sunday, plan on joining your church and supporting your pastor today.  He is working very hard for you, and he loves you greatly.  Today our gathering is different, but let me promise you, the enemy can not keep the church from gathering to celebrate our risen Lord.   It’s different in some ways but also the same in many other ways. Worship Jesus today and every day.

God always knows best. Trust in Him.  Join us at 10:30 am at https://www.facebook.com/fsbcsalina/.

Happy Easter! He is risen.

Lessons from Dr. Ronnie Floyd

Preaching to the camera

Pastors, we are indeed in a unique time, and we are in this together.  I saw a funny Facebook meme that said something like, “We have all become televangelists during Covid-19.”  Isn’t that an amazing and humbling thought. I’m rookie at this and learning along with you. Easter is in a few days. Most of us will be preaching to a camera in an empty room.  I know most of us are learning as we go. Our heart’s cry is to love our people, teach our people, and preach the gospel during this “Safer-at-Home” period. Through this period of learning and trial and error, I have been blessed by the fantastic staff and volunteers who have created a viable online worship experience for our church.  If we can help you in any way, please let me know. We do things simply, but through the resources and work of the team, it looks good. Please contact me if you have any questions, I’d love to link you with our Associate Pastor, Lane. He can show you what we do and help you with your online worship service. 

I listened to a short video done by Texas Baptists[1]. The conference title piqued my interest, “How to Preach to a Camera.”  Even a few months ago, who dreamed we would be preaching this way. Dr. Ronnie Floyd was the guest speaker. He outlined seven preaching points as we all preach to the camera.  One of the best reminders was to “Preach through the camera to your audience.” Preachers, I echo Dr. Floyd’s encouragement when he says, “Preachers, we can do this.” I offer his seven points with a little personal commentary to encourage and equip you in this process like it did for me

  1. Connect with the audience eye-to-eye. He encouraged us to use our eyes to catch the emotion of the audience.
  2. Communicate through your personality. This is a great reminder. He said, “You are you. You be you and don’t imitate.  God will use you.” He reminded us preaching is to “Communicate the Word of God through human personality.” 
  3. Carry out your calling to preach the Word of God. Floyd said, “Don’t be intimidated by the camera.”  It is a tool you use to preach the Word of God. He looked in the camera and said, “Listen to me, preacher, preach.”
  4. Conceptualize your audience.  By this, he meant to think and imagine your audience.  Everyone who listens to you will need encouragement. Be an encourager.  I realize our audience will be worried and scared. Therefore, let’s give them Jesus. 
  5. Create an ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit. I loved this quote, “Give the Word of God in your human personality in the power of God.”  It’s difficult to preach to an empty room. Ask and beg God to give power in your preaching.
  6. Call people into a relationship with Jesus. One of the critical lessons I took from this is to make sure you have a way to follow-up.  Send people to your website. Have tools there to follow-up with your audience.
  7. Crisis creates innovation; therefore, innovate as you go and grow. I’m asking God to grow my church and me during this time. 

Pastor, I’m praying for you.  We will preach to a crowd again.  Until then, allow God to use you in this unique season of ministry.  Minister well. Preach the gospel. God will use you. As you navigate these waters, let me leave you with two questions I continually contemplate.

  •       How does God want to use this season to make me a better preacher and pastor?
  •       What innovations are we using now that we can carry on into the future?

Finally,

  •       What is something you can do this Easter to make it one of the most evangelistic Easter services ever? 

Thank you Dr. Floyd for helping Kansas-Nebraska preachers.  It is appreciated. 

I’m praying for you, pastor.  Let me know if we can be of help to you.  Have a blessed Holy Week and a glorious Easter. 

 

[1] https://training.sbtexas.com/onlinetraining/how-to-preach-to-a-camera/1485/