In preparation for Easter during this Lenten season, we have started a series, last week, on the beginning chapters of Exodus. Because there are parallels between Moses leading God’s people out of the slavery of Egypt (the Exodus) and Jesus leading God’s people out of the slavery of sin (the Crucifixion and the Resurrection), it is important that we study passages that give account to these major events of our Christian foundation.
This is the first Sunday of Lent, a season of reflection and preparation before the celebration of Easter. “Lent recalls the events leading up to and including Jesus’ crucifixion by Rome. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! Whether you are single, married, together, or separated, we can all celebrate this special day together because “God is Love.” As a special treat for Valentines, instead of doing my regular sermon, I am going to call up my one and only love for 38 years, my wife for 33 years, my best friend, the mother of our children, and our co-pastor, Pastor Lena Lazo.
We are truly living in confusing times, where we do not know who or what to believe, what is true and what is false, or what is right or what is wrong. Just this past Friday night (around 11:00pm ET), the Supreme Court, ruled in a 6-3 decision, that California cannot ban indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic. Praise God for this victory, especially for the two churches who have been at the forefront of this battle—South Bay United Pentecostal Church near San Diego and Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena. But the ruling also said that the state can cap indoor services at 25% of a building’s capacity and can still keep the ban on singing and chanting.
As California is beginning to reopen—with orders being lifted on outdoor dining, personal care, gyms, etc.—should we start looking towards life/business as usual or as we have had in the past? While this might be something that we all desire, this is, unfortunately, never going to happen and the new normal is really going to be abnormal. We will still be wearing masks, socially distancing, and taking precautions to protect ourselves from coronavirus for a long time. But should we, as The Church, be looking to get back to normal or does God have a greater plan for us that is different from what we originally thought? What specifically does God have in store for His people through the experiences that we have had in this past year?
President Biden is now the 46th President of the United States. During his Inauguration speech last Wednesday, the President mentioned the word “unity” eight times. All these words and phrases about unity may give many a sense of hope in restoring and healing our divided country. Others may see these words with skepticism, doubting that such unity could never be achieved, especially after what we have gone through last year and the beginning of this year. But what exactly is President Biden meaning when he speaks about unity? It is important that we agree with President Biden that unity should be a goal and focus of our country. However, it is important to balance what is being said and done about unity with what the Word of God says.
Having a Clear God Vision in Troubled Times, Part 2
This Wednesday, January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be inaugurated as 46th President of the United States. For the sake of peace and unity in this Land, we hope that this event will go smooth and without incident. Let’s pray for our new leaders, President Biden and Vice President, Kamela Harris, as we are directed to do so in
1 Timothy 2:1-2
1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
So, whether we voted for Biden or Trump, we are Democrats or Republicans, liberals
or conservatives, we still need to pray for those in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives. But how should we really pray?
Rioters storm and takeover the Capitol, five people died including one Capitol Police Officer, President Trump is blamed, banned from social media, and will possibly be impeached; Biden is confirmed as 45th President; Democrats take control of the Senate; coronavirus deaths and cases hit highest numbers (more than 4000 US deaths in one day on January 7th), COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed but not administered fast enough. These are only some of the major headlines that have taken place in only the first nine days of the New Year. What else can be in store for us in 2021, especially after what we have just went through in 2020?
It is hard to believe that we are now in 2021. People have told me that I have mistakenly and repeatedly called last year 2019 instead of 2020. I think the reason for this is that 2020 was such a blur of a major pandemic, disasters, events, and crisis that I may have subconsciously been trying to block out or forget. Although we are not over with all these circumstances, we are at least able to start a New Year. But what have we gained or learned from last year so that we can move forward to a better 2021?
This Friday, we are celebrating a New Year 2021. This is an exciting time for both leaving behind the past year as well as looking forward to new things for this year. But 2020 has been a different year, to say the least. Who would have known, at this time last year, what we would be going through in 2020?