1 Thessalonians 5:11-22 (KJV)
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
What a word! What a word! We need to understand and apply what Paul said to the Thessalonians in his above message in order to Stay Connected. As your pastor, I am divinely propelled to do all that I can during this pandemic to lead and provide opportunities for St. John to Stay Connected.
First, we need to Stay Connected to God (a vertical connection). As believers, we cannot afford to live one day disconnected from God, for He is the one that is blessing and sustaining us. I still encourage us to delve into His Word. Each of us should be reading the Bible daily—preferably three chapters in the Old Testament and one chapter in the New Testament. If we do this daily, in a year, we will be better spiritually, and we will read through the entire Bible. Moreover, each of us should be involved weekly in our Online Sunday School and/or Bible Study (more information is available on our website at sjmbc.org).
Besides the Word, praying without ceasing is another way to Stay Connected to God. I encourage everyone to pray daily at least three times (the first prayer should be a sacrificial prayer any time between 12-6 am). I also encourage everyone to have a prayer partner who is a member of St. John that we pray with at least once each week. I further encourage everyone to participate in at least one of our Wednesday Prayer Meetings at 12 noon or 6:30 pm (more information is available on our website at sjmbc.org).
Secondly, we need to Stay Connected to one another (a horizontal connection). If there ever was a time when people need each other, that time is now! To survive this pandemic, we need not only God (foremost) but also one another. I encourage each of us to stay connected to our biological family. Frequently, we need to check on our family members, especially those who are elderly and/or alone.
Furthermore, I encourage each of us to stay connected to our church family. St. John is a great congregation in so many ways and for so many reasons which is why I am grateful to God for appointing me to be the Pastor of our church for 26 years. St. John is a big family consisting of many members who love and lean on each other which is why we are characterized in our Mission Statement as “edifying and enjoying one another.” Since we are a church family, let’s reach out and make ourselves available to be reached in order to Stay Connected to one another. Personally, I have immensely enjoyed fellowshipping online with all of our church ministries this month. Because we have been physically apart for over six months, I needed to see the faces and hear the voices of St. John parishioners; hence, I commend our Servant Leaders and each of you, who have participated, for making this possible. I also look forward to fellowshipping with other church ministries that are scheduled both this week and next week. In case someone is unable to reach you, you can review the schedule, access the virtual meeting room by visiting our website (sjmbc.org), and click the green “Schedule & Chat Access” button on the home page. You can also click one of the buttons below. If you are a St. John member but not involved in any of the listed ministries, you are welcome to still join in with any ministry. Again, I am doing all that I can for us to Stay Connected.
In conclusion, I pray that God will abundantly bless all the patrons of St. John. We currently contribute by mailing or dropping off our Tithes and Offerings to our St. John South Campus (662 South 52nd Street—Richmond, CA 94804) or by giving online through our website (sjmbc.org). If you are a member of St. John who is financially able but not supporting our church financially, allow God to bless you with more by giving today your Tithes and Offerings.
May God bless and sustain each of us.
Your Servant In Christ (Who Is Recovering Well),
Dr. Kevin B. Hall, Pastor