Brothers and sisters, I (Hal) have never experienced the cultural upheaval we are now witnessing. When I was a young boy I can remember the upheaval of the late sixties and the protests over Vietnam. As a teenager I can remember the struggles of the Watergate investigation and the political fallout that took place from that event. I don't think, however, that either of those times were as pervasively violent as what we are seeing these days. How do we as individual believers respond? How do we as a corporate congregation respond? How do we as a group of God's people in Estes Park respond?
One of the ways we respond is to come together to hear the word of God and pray. This coming Sunday evening at 6pm the EMA churches are coming together at MVBF for "One heart, one voice, one people." Our intention in this service is to be together as the Lord's people and be encouraged to stand strong in the Lord. We are asking that those who medically/physically can would take Sunday to fast and pray before the service. We are believing that our Lord will give us strength as we are together.
As the pastor of this congregation I have been drawn to a few different passages that have given me strength during these days. One of them is Acts 4:23-31. The context is Peter and John returning to the early church following their trial before the Sanhedrin. The court commanded that the preaching of Jesus was to cease. When John and Peter returned to the gathering the following prayer was lifted to the Lord, "Lord, take note of their threats and grant that thy bondservants may speak Thy word with all confidence." The mission was not to be overly concerned with the threats but rather the proclamation of the gospel. Jesus had warned the disciples in John 14, John 15, and John 16 that in the same way that He was subject to harsh treatment and rejection, they too would also be subject to the same. Jesus' charge to his disciples was to preach the gospel. As believers we have the very same charge and so we need to pray the very same prayer. We have a million different technologies informing us of every movement of every group with every ideology. It can be overwhelming. Our response is singular: WE PREACH JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED. And we do so to everyone that God gives us opportunity to encounter. An increased reverence for the rule of law can restore some measure of order to the chaos but the only answer to a rebellious heart is the forgiving grace of Jesus Christ to everyone who believes regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they look like, or where they've been. The world needs Jesus and Estes Park is in the world so Estes needs Jesus. We've been charged with taking Jesus to the world, starting here and moving out. I can't run away from what is taking place in this country but I can run to the Lord and having been with him and having been renewed in my strength I can run to others with the gospel. My prayer is that we will have a unified heart to take the gospel to a hurting world. I look forward to being together with you this Sunday.
Dr. Hal Irvine, Senior Pastor