This last week, I was thankful to be able to officiate the wedding of a young couple and the mother of the bride asked if I would post my notes from the wedding. Above you will find the audio and below is a pseudo-transcript. I hope that it blesses you and serves as a reminder in your own marriage.
Super Bowl commercials are a thing. In some ways they get more hype than the game (especially in this last instance where the game was a blowout). They are insanely expensive to purchase and increasingly are becoming platforms for signaling the values of a company. That seems to be the latest trend. Make it less about the product and more about whatever social issue the company is championing.
That brings me to the best commercial of this last Super Bowl. It was from Toyota and I am not sure they meant to accomplish what they did but take a minute to watch it before reading a few observations I have about the commercial.
I wanted to make a post that provides some of the teaching I have done at Arbor Drive on the topic of discipleship. Due to some technical difficulties, they were split between our YouTube channel and Facebook page. I thought I would compile them here to make it easier for those who wanted them.
Jesus' Model for Discipleship
Sermon Series on REI
Sunday School Class on Discipleship
Last night, the York Board of Heath gathered for a public meeting to consider a mask mandate for the city of York. I attended and spoke against this mandate. Below is an extended version of my statement.
So Joe, Michaela and I did a thing... Special thanks to Leah for helping with videography.
Legal Foundation: As we have been looking at resuming gathering together for worship, I came across a helpful memorandum from The Liberty Counsel memorandum regarding reopening church (found here: https://lc.org/PDFs/Memo-ReOpen-Church.pdf). I will provide a brief summary along with the pages I reference for your information. Since we live in an age where people accuse President Trump of advocating that people inject themselves with Lysol when he clearly didn't, I will add the mandatory caveat that I am not a lawyer and this does not constitute legal advice. These are simply my takeaways from my research and offer them to fellow pastors and whoever is interested as this pertains to churches gathering together in a time of national emergency.
This is a video that has been taken down from YouTube on multiple occasions and I decided to post it here because I believe that she brings up some legitimate points to consider and censorship of opposing viewpoints in our culture is becoming more prevalent and is the gateway to social slavery. Therefore, I present this with the caveat that I am not saying by posting this that I agree with her on everything or that everything she says is legit. I simply am posting it to use whatever meager platform I might have to give access for others to watch, think, research, and decide for themselves on what she says. I think the points she brings up are worthy of consideration, thought and being presented and am deeply concerned that the sources where we tend to get information like this are deciding what we can see.
In an effort to remain consistent in this regard, I have included the video response below. This provides some significant considerations when assessing the above video. This was posted by a friend of mine on Facebook today and I thought that it was a helpful companion. I offer this without comment and leave it to the viewer to draw conclusions. In any case, when we see things like this, I think we should make decisions based on facts and evidence and videos tend to present neither in many cases so it is up to the watcher to be an objective assessor of the content and seek to verify claims independently.
Before I begin this post, I need to clarify a few things. First, I am not indifferent to the thousands who have died from COVID-19. Second, I am a part of the high risk group so there is no need for finger wagging accompanied by the claims that I am a young person who doesn't care about life. Quite the opposite. I am acutely aware of the danger that this virus poses to a specific population and I care deeply about life... I just also happen to include the lives of 95% (worst case estimates) of the population that will survive COVID-19. While they will survive the virus, they might not survive the massive economic fallout that comes from how we handled COVID-19. Third, this post is a bit long... but I think length in this case is necessary. My aim in this post is to give some context and then expound upon two key observations from this whole mess that need to be considered, and that further require the action of the people to prevent such catastrophic nonsense from happening again in the future.
Leadership is tough. That’s not a complaint. It’s a fact, like saying the sky is blue. Doug Wilson recently did a piece where he highlighted some of the unique issues surrounding leadership but there is one that I feel bears the time and effort of writing this. This is one that Wilson didn’t mention, but that is equally important, especially when making significant decisions. Later today, my fellow pastors and I will sit down to make some decisions about how we will lead the church that Christ has entrusted to our care over the coming days, weeks and potentially months, in light of the COVID-19 precautions that everyone is talking about (for more on this see Wilson’s article).
There are tough decisions to be made. They are particularly tough in this case because we don’t have all the variables nailed down with this virus. There are still a lot of unknowns and those unknowns make decisions more difficult. So, how do you make decisions when there are a host of unknown factors? I would submit that you make decisions based on what IS known. Therein lies the sticky topic that I am sure will rub some of you the wrong way but I feel needs to be said. As leaders, we are often (too often) reactionary and rushed. When we make decisions in reaction and rush mode, we tend to overlook unintended consequences. Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Allow me to take the spirit behind that law of motion and translate it into a law of leadership. Every decision we make has a host of consequences that in many cases, might not be fully understood until much later.
That means that every leadership decision we make, for example in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, does not just impact us here and now. It will impact us for years to come. It’s called precedent. It’s like tossing a pebble into a calm pool of water and watching the ripples drift out and back. The bigger the rock, the bigger the ripples. Sometimes those ripples turn into tidal waves. That brings me to the topic of this article. I am hearing many pastors (and keep in mind these are godly pastors who I respect, not charlatans) talking about how they will not be having church in person but instead, encouraging their people to “attend church online through the live stream”. Here is where I object. My objection is not a condemnation on deciding to suspend the worship service. That is a decision each congregation needs to make (and one of those tough decisions). My objection is this: that phrase “online church” is a contradiction of terms. And that decision to phrase it that way provides an excellent case study for how important it is for leaders to think through unintended consequences.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past month, you have heard about the Coronavirus. It seems to be the latest trend to overreact to everything and this is no exception. My intention in this article is to give what I hope will be a shot of sanity to restart rationality and hopefully stave off your fear of impending doom propagated by the media who would like nothing more than for you to run around thinking your hair is on fire when alas, you are bald and there is no fire anywhere near you. Can you tell I don't trust the media much? So here we go.
Jon is husband to Carlee, Papa to Finleigh, Ainsley, and Olivia, a pastor at Arbor Drive Community Church in York, Ne, and co-host of The Pastor Discussions Podcast