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First Baptist Church Orangevale
July 24, 2020, 1:53 AM

I recently asked Ryan Jacobs, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Orangevale, to share what the Lord is doing in his church during this challenging time.  Read his response and be encouraged!

People ask me regularly how I am doing. “How is your church doing through all these changes?” There are varying degrees of this same question, but at the heart, it is the same question. From my heart, I am doing great. Let me tell you why… Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   When I read this, it causes me to: 1) Stop and acknowledge God is in control; 2) Trust His plans are good for me; 3) Know that this time is helping us get to the future that God intends (the bible always speaks to me three points at a time). 

Let me tell you a little story about what is happening in my life and at the church I get to pastor at.  There is good that is happening at First Baptist Church of Orangevale. This pandemic has caused us to create an online platform that was non-existent before this season. In the midst of the racial divide, that we were reminded of after George Floyd was murdered by a uniformed police officer, has caused our congregation to have some crucial conversations that we weren’t confronted with before. As our eardrums are being blasted by political rhetoric, we have been reminded that we only have one voice, and our message should be focused on God. 

This season has been a perfect storm for God to propel His good plan. Some of the changes the church has made to the method we use to deliver the one message wouldn’t have been made if we weren’t rocked the way we were. In the last 100 years, nothing has stopped the church from operating in its traditional pattern. God threw a very large stone into our very small pond with this pandemic, and the ripples changed everything. Changes were made overnight that have led to gospel reaching further than ever before. God’s good plan is moving forward. 

Also, think about all the people that we have seen over the last 10 years suffer injustice at the hands of the people that are supposed to protect us. Ever since phone cameras became common, we’ve seen injustice after injustice. It isn’t until God stops the nation, and reminds us how valuable community, connection, and communication is, that we finally stop long enough to hear the cries of the afflicted. Changes are being made, and people are opening their eyes. God’s good plan is moving forward. 

Schools also stopped. The first thing I would do on my 20-minute drive to work after dropping off my son at school was turn on the news. I would listen on the AM radio station, or through podcasts, and other news outlets. Let me tell you this, whatever you are putting into your mind, body, and soul, it is what comes out. If I am putting another person’s news talking points into my head, then that is what is going to come out. During this time that so many things were cut out of our lives, I was able to really examine the message I was speaking. If I am receiving the gospel daily, in large doses, then, everything that I’m confronted with becomes viewed through that gospel lens, instead of someone else’s perspective. The gospel massage I’m hearing, now that the news is off, will be amplified in my voice because of these times. God’s plan is moving forward. 

This season is not an accident,  my friends. These are only three factors that have changed in my life, and in some of the lives around me during this season. This season has brought this change, and this season is sometimes extremely tough, and this season has taken our comfort, and thrown it out the window… and it is completely God’s plan. No matter what fingers are being pointed, God is still in control. God’s plan is still moving forward. Let us keep our eyes fixed on the horizon for the blessings, and plans, that the Lord has waiting for us, because God is good. 

May the grace and peace of God be upon you. All hope is in our one true Savior, Jesus.  

Pastor Ryan 

 

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