Jon Moffitt: Hi, this is Jon. Today on Theocast, Justin and I are together in Knoxville.
Justin Perdue: In the same place.
Jon Moffitt: We’re going to do a podcast on—
Justin Perdue: Essentially reflecting on 2020. We’ve been together today planning for 2021 Theocast. We thought why don’t we reflect a little bit on 2020? Things that we have learned as pastors, as Christians, as guys, husbands, dads, etc., and hope that it will be helpful to the listener. It’s a little bit random.
Jon Moffitt: We dig in on why maybe you shouldn’t hold on to your opinion as much as you think you do.
Justin Perdue: We do. Hopefully, you’ll be humbled by that as we have been, as we think about our own failures in those ways. As we meander here, there, and everywhere, we hope that you find things that are applicable to your life that are maybe poignant and can point things out in your life, but also encourage you as you think about living life in a fallen world and fighting your sin and trusting Christ in a pandemic. We hope this is helpful.
Jon and I have been spending time together today. We’ve been enjoying one another’s company, I guess that’s fair to say, but we’ve been working. We’ve been reflecting on some things for Theocast, but mainly trying to plan for the future and thinking about 2021 as the new year is fast approaching.
We’re sitting here today in the middle of December. We’re making a lot of plans for not just the podcast but things beyond the podcast—the scope of which is exciting for the two of us. It’s been a really good day, an exciting day, and as we think about the future and make plans, we can’t help but reflect back on 2020 as we come to the end of this year.
Everybody knows that 2020 has been a year, but one of the things that we thought we might do today in recording a podcast, sitting here together over a beer, is to have a pretty natural conversation about things that we have learned as pastors and as men in the year 2020.
Who knows where this is going to go? We’ve primed the pump a little bit and thrown out one or two things that we’ve each considered or learned this year. But hold on, friends. Who knows?
Jon Moffitt: In general, it takes a lot to fluster me to, to make me feel awkward, and put me in a circumstance where I just don’t feel comfortable. There aren’t very many times that has happened. 2020 has shown me new heights of that. I find myself in situations where I felt highly uncomfortable in front of unbelievers and believers alike where normally I would never feel uncomfortable. I feel like my skin is crawling and I want to get out of circumstances or conversations, or you can feel where the conversation is about to lead by the questions that are being asked.
And the conclusion I have come to about 2020 –
Justin Perdue: Is that you don’t want to talk about COVID anymore.
Jon Moffitt: Exactly. The conclusion I’ve come to is that people are far more in love with their opinions than they probably should be, and their opinions tend to be almost on a biblical level. There are thoughts about something and they come at it with such passion.
Justin Perdue: And such vigor.
Jon Moffitt: That it just seems like we’re talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Justin Perdue: Or the deity of Jesus or something like that. No, you’re right. We were using the phrase “married to your opinions” before we recorded. We were saying people probably need to just go and get divorced from those things because it is unhelpful. I think 2020 has revealed how opinionated we all are, and some of our opinions are better than others, and some of our opinions are more or less informed than others, but all of us I think would do well to take ourselves a little bit less seriously.
Jon Moffitt: I don’t have a problem with people having an opinion because they are based on preference, history, taste, flavor, experience. But the key is what you just said is that people take themselves way too seriously as it’s related to their opinion.
Speaking as a pastor—this is a conversation about two pastors who happen to be Christians, who struggle with sin, who struggle with their own pride and arrogance. I realize as I sit back and listen… I was speaking with a CEO of a very large company yesterday over dinner. He was saying that this past year, even just on social media, it’s so uncomfortable because you say and do the wrong thing and you can literally blow up your life—it’s over—because of how you potentially mishandle COVID or racism or the election.
Justin Perdue: There have been so many things to divide over for Christians in the church this year: from COVID 19 and how to approach it, how to navigate it corporately or individually, masks and the whole nine yards; there’s been politics and election year; there’s been a supercharged conversation about race and racism.
I’m not against opinions at all. I’m a very opinionated person and I usually have about 17 reasons for every opinion that I have. You can ask my wife if you don’t believe me. If she listens to this episode, she would be admitting this right now and saying, “You guys have no idea what I live with.” It’s not necessarily that having opinions is bad, but I think we need to recalibrate our thinking. We need to rightly assess the importance of the things that we have opinions about.
We needed a little bit of triage: these things are primary things about which we cannot disagree even in the church, there are secondary things that matter for us to be able to associate together, and then there are other things, frankly, that we need to agree to disagree, and we need to love one another in it. I think 2020 has revealed the fact that we’re not very good at doing that.
Jon Moffitt: I think what we do is we marry convictions and opinions.
Justin Perdue: We can’t differentiate between the two.
Jon Moffitt: I’m going to just say this upfront: I think the church has failed in shepherding and teaching people the difference between your opinion and biblical conviction
Justin Perdue: And by biblical conviction, you would mean doctrine.
Jon Moffitt: What I mean is the Bible says this is wrong.
Justin Perdue: The Bible’s very clear.
Jon Moffitt: The Bible is very clear that this is wrong and this is right. Then in very complicated situations, we turn it into a theological issue when it really isn’t; it’s an opinion.
Justin Perdue: Again, we are Christians who happen to be pastors, like you said earlier, but we’re just talking as two believers here. I think 2020 has revealed the fact that we do, in a really unhelpful way, tend to over-spiritualize everything. We tend to make spiritual and moral issues out of things that are not inherently spiritual or moral. For example, I think of the things that we’ve already brought up this year, or that have occurred this year. I think the pandemic is maybe the best illustration of that in terms of how we handle things as a church. I know I’ve had a number of conversations in my own context with people who are really wrecked in their consciences over wearing a mask or wearing a mask in a church service or things like that. It’s very clear that for these people, who are sincere and mean to trust and follow Christ, and are not being angry or sinful in their disposition, are just mega perplexed, troubled, and are concerned that they might be sinning by whether or not they wear a mask, or that they may be harming corporate worship or harming other people.
It becomes this spiritual concern, at least a moral concern, in their minds. I think one of my tasks as a pastor—and I trust you feel this, too—has been to try to set people free from that kind of thinking in 2020. To help them see that no, the wearing of a mask, for example, in a church service is not a spiritual issue. It’s not an issue of fidelity to Jesus. It is not a moral issue. This is a common sense, love of neighbor consideration. I think a lot of times people just need to hear their pastor say that so that they can be set free. But that’s one example of how we do turn things into a much bigger deal than they were ever meant to be.
I think you’re right. The church has not helped people do that kind of evaluation in their minds and hearts as to what’s most important. What is spiritual? What is moral? What is something else that we can make decisions about and feel freedom to in order to make the best call we can and move forward with our lives?
Jon Moffitt: Masks are just an example. The problem didn’t happen because there became a mask mandate. The problem was already there.
Justin Perdue: Right. It just exposed it.
Jon Moffitt: Right. We’re about to see a new round of issues with the whole vaccination.
Here’s a great example of what happens when the church is not careful: I would say, historically speaking, certain theological movements. I am legitimately getting questions from my church members who are covenantal. They love our church. They’re part of the Reformed church. They’re saying their parents, siblings, and relatives legitimately think that taking this potential vaccination could be like taking the mark of the beast—and that’s not a joke. They’re saying they’re legitimately afraid. I love my dispensational friends—I’ve got a lot of them who listen to this podcast and I’ve got great respect for them—and they would deny that. They would get on the microphone and say, “No, that’s not it.”
There are two things that break my heart about the pandemic and 2020 in general, and then there’s something that makes me hopeful. What breaks my heart is that the church really is in a worse spot than we probably realized. For instance, there are underlying problems in a marriage, and it’s not exposed until there’s pressure put upon it, then the real state of the marriage comes out. I think the real estate of people’s faith—their theological training, their view of the church, and their view of love for one another—is coming to the top because of the pressure that we’re feeling.
Justin Perdue: One initial reaction, and then maybe another thought alongside this reaction. One, praise God that Christ is our righteousness. We’re not saved by our sound theology, we’re saved by Christ. Praise be to His name.
One of the things that I’ve tried to discuss with people—in having this conversation about not spiritualizing something or not moralizing something that isn’t inherently spiritual or moral—is to help people understand that motivations do matter on the one hand. The objective reality of wearing a mask in a church service is not a sin and it’s not a moral issue. Now, if we were being purely motivated out of fear of man, or if we were just really, really literally bowing the need of the government in unhelpful ways, letting them dictate to us the practices of our faith, then of course, those things would be cause for concern. But that’s not what we’re dealing with. It’s not what people are encountering in their local churches week after week.
Pivoting slightly in this, we were talking about this earlier: something that I think 2020 has revealed to us individually about ourselves, but is something that we’ve also seen in others, is we’re all far more selfish than we would ever care to admit. We are very much attached to our own comfort. When those things are upset, when things don’t go the way that I want them to go, when my rhythms are disrupted, and when I am not able to do the things that I just want to do—whether those are good or bad things, it’s almost irrelevant—but when I can’t do what I want to do, I don’t handle it well.
Jon Moffitt: Somehow we’ve equated Christian liberty with personal liberty. For someone who may not understand what I mean, Christian liberty means that we were underneath the tyranny of sin. We were a prisoner and we’ve been set free from that through the power of the Spirit. The master of our life is now Christ. We are slaves to Christ and that’s a beautiful thing.
Justin Perdue: And in him, we are free.
Jon Moffitt: Right. Paul says in Colossians not to allow anybody to basically put you back underneath slavery.
Justin Perdue: Exactly. He says the same thing in Galatians 5:1.
Jon Moffitt: We take that and we then turn it into American freedoms.
I’m going to try and say this in a thoughtful way. I appreciate what America stands for. I’m not proud of our history, but I’m proud of what we are trying to do. But how we have accomplished it—we’re sinners; there is no nation under the sun that has ever done anything on a moral level that is pure and that is of God. If you want to point to a nation and say they’ve done it right, you’re wrong. They don’t exist. But somehow we then said our American freedoms are the same as basically our Christian liberty. The government is encroaching on our Christian liberties. I’m saying no, if you understand when Paul wrote Romans and what they were going through, it’s nothing like what we’re going through.
Justin Perdue: One way that I might say it is that libertarianism is not in the Bible.
I’ve said this before, too. I’m not trying to open up a can of anything here, but it’s not that I see capitalism in the Bible or something like that either. I think there has been a tremendous confusion—and I’ve seen this in our local context and with Christians in our area—there’s a tremendous confusion in Christian liberty and the Christian faith and libertarian thinking from a political perspective. Those two things are not one and the same. It’s unhelpful when we blur those lines and blend those categories for sure.
Jon Moffitt: And hopefully you hear the tone of what we’re trying to accomplish here. We want to hold up a mirror and say step back a moment and reflect on whether you are looking at this from a personal preference. Have I stamped it with the Bible or am I truly allowing God’s word to govern how I’m interacting here? Because I will tell you, the Bible is going to call you more to set down your own preferences a whole lot faster than they are for you to pick them up and defend it.
Justin Perdue: I know this is a podcast that we talked about recording next year: how the energy in pietism is always focused inward on me, but the energy and the biblical Christian orientation has always focused outward on the neighbor. I think that we would all do well to remember that, too. What we need to be pouring ourselves into is into our brothers and sisters in the faith and to those in close proximity to us whom we are called to love and serve. If we would get over ourselves, on the one hand, and take up the theology of the cross, that we are called to die to ourselves and love others and serve others, we would do far better.
Jon Moffitt: To totally jump in there, I do this a lot in marriage counseling, and I do this a lot in pre-marriage counseling. We tend to love people the way we think they should be loved. I think you should feel this from me and if you don’t, then you’re in the wrong because you didn’t accept my love. Actually, if the person isn’t feeling loved, maybe you should rethink what you’re doing now.
Justin Perdue: Maybe you should rethink them and try to understand them.
Jon Moffitt: Exactly. Because typically, to love someone well, you actually do have to die to self. You have to be humble and you have to suppress preference. When I first got married to my wife, I didn’t understand how many preferences I had and I clearly didn’t see how many she had.
Justin Perdue: You’re talking about the thing that’s underneath so many fights in marriage: it’s this issue of preferences and the way that individuals tick, an unwillingness to compromise, and an unwillingness to do the hard work of trying to understand another person and laying your own preferences aside and saying, “No, I’m going to do what’s good for him or her.”
Jon Moffitt: And we project. If I had a brother in Christ or a sister who said they were a Democrat, we immediately project upon them. You assume things about them instead of hearing them out.
Justin Perdue: I aim to make this my posture. I’m going to go ahead and say that I think we all should aim to make something like this our posture when we hear something like that. In the conservative Reformed world, to say “I voted Democrat” is, in some contexts, a shocking statement. Rather than immediately concluding a bunch of things about that individual, we would be far better served and the church would profit if our posture was to humbly seek to understand our brother or sister who just made that statement. Let me see if I can listen to them well enough and take their concerns seriously enough.
It’s not just that they’re made in the image of God and I need to take them seriously. I need to legitimately listen and take their concerns seriously enough that I could then articulate what they’re saying and make good arguments for them. If I’ve done that, now I can respond and think and reason with you about why I made a different choice. Here’s my first, second, and third reasons. We would be helped by those kinds of conversations rather than immediately jumping to these really reductionistic, unhelpful conclusions where we just write people off and we don’t seek to understand them.
Jon Moffitt: To be clear, if this is your first time listening to Theocast, to love someone is not to excuse sin. For instance, when the Father says to us as children, “I love you unconditionally,” that’s because all that God cannot accept about us has been taken care of in Christ. When I say you love someone, that doesn’t mean you have to wash over any sin.
We had this conversation a couple episodes ago. If someone’s absolutely demanding for me to accept their position on sexuality, and if I don’t accept your position, they won’t feel loved.
Justin Perdue: Or that abortion is good.
Jon Moffitt: To love someone does not mean I have to fully agree with them, but it also means that in certain areas that are not… this is what I said was so important in the beginning: the difference between preference and doctrine. Is this a doctrinal issue or is this a preference issue that I can set aside?
Justin Perdue: We don’t need to rehash old things and talk about politics, but I think the assumption should be made that you should assume good of your brothers and sisters. If somebody were to say to you, for example, “I did vote Democratic”, and you understand that the Democratic Party platform is pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ, etc., you should not immediately assume that that person was voting for that candidate because of those things but they were voting that way in spite of those things. To assume well of one another is something that we should do biblically and that we should seek to understand each other.
You’re exactly right that what we are not advocating for is to just dismiss it or act like it’s not a big deal or to try to call something that’s wrong as right. That’s not what we mean. I think that needs to be cleared up immediately: we talk a lot about grace on this podcast and we get shot at on occasion as being hyper-grace guys. I don’t have time to get upset about how that’s a misnomer and you can’t overemphasize grace biblically, but I think what exists out there commonly in the church is a misunderstanding of what grace is.
Some people think that grace is a methodology in which we call things that are wrong right. No, grace exists because there is real wrong. We talked about this recently in one of our episodes on sin. Grace exists because there is real wrong and we all do it. We are in need of something that we don’t have—namely righteousness. We can only receive that through the unmerited favor, the grace of God, applied to us by the mechanism of faith, as we look to Christ who has done these things for us.
Anyway, I just want to kind of be clear on that for the new listener.
Jon Moffitt: No, I think it’s a huge point though. Grace covers our sins, but it does not excuse them.
Justin Perdue: And it doesn’t make them right.
Jon Moffitt: We’ve done a lot of criticism and I want to help you think through some of this. What is the goal? You, me, and Jimmy—we all have opinions about a lot of things. We have opinions about things that are non-theological and we have very strong opinions on those. When it comes to being able to unify in a family, my wife and I have had to make compromises on our preferences because someone has to compromise—otherwise there can’t be unity. You can’t have two people wanting to go into opposite directions and assuming that you’re going to walk step in step. Let me go back to Ephesians 4 where it says to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all meekness, patience, and gentleness. I think you can hold your opinion and even have a meaningful conversation with someone when it is presented with meekness and patience and gentleness. That does not mean passive. That doesn’t mean passionless.
Justin Perdue: It doesn’t mean weak.
Jon Moffitt: Meekness is not weakness. It means that you are being generous and kind and patient towards the person to whom you are engaging. Unfortunately—Justin, you and I have talked about this—there are churches who are just absolutely splitting right down the middle. It breaks my heart because the mission of the church should be one of unity so that the gospel can advance, so that sinners can find the light of Christ. What’s happening is that the world is unfortunately looking at the church—very confused at the moment—and saying it seems like they are more passionate about something other than who they say they are, which is Jesus.
Justin Perdue: I want to be careful on how I say this, but I think you’re right. I think that in many situations in many church contexts, 2020—with everything contained therein—has been an occasion to expose the fact that our unity in the church doesn’t run as deep as we would have thought. I think you have seen that many Christians are very ready to divide over things that are, honestly, tertiary issues of theological consideration at best.
Just to be clear, there’s primary, secondary, and tertiary—so we’re talking peripheral stuff. There’s a confusion of categories that exist for many, but people seem ready to divorce themselves from and divide from a local church context, where they seemed otherwise happy and content to be, because of these considerations. That’s sad. I agree with you.
The prescription for what ails us is to continue to herald Christ and his finished work and righteousness in the place of sinners, and to rally people around Jesus. There are a lot of things that we can get people geeked up about that are pretty good, but there’s only one thing that’s great and ultimate, and that is Christ and what he’s done for us.
Obviously, we’ve got to have doctrinal solidarity. There needs to be a confession that we would adhere to. We’ve got to agree about stuff to have a church together. But I think as pastors and as Christians who are members of local churches, we need to take it seriously that we are unified around Christ and around doctrine that really is clearly derived straight from Scripture. And we are willing to charitably disagree about other stuff to demonstrate where our unities actually lie.
Personally, I’m fine to boast in what the Lord Jesus Christ has done by his Spirit in our local congregation. I am mega encouraged by the saints of Covenant Baptist Church and the unity that clearly seems to exist in our congregation. I’m thankful for that. That is certainly not because of me; it’s because of what the Lord has done. I trust you would say the same thing and have, even to me today, in the midst of a year where—and this is not true in a lot of congregations—I’m very thankful that we are unified around the Lord Jesus Christ and are seeking, imperfectly but sincerely, to love each other and understand each other.
Jon Moffitt: One other observation which we’ve mentioned a little bit but there’s an additional thought I’ve had from other podcasts. I’ve never really been involved with politics very much—you probably more than me just from conversations we’ve had.
And I realized I needed to be a little bit more aware. This year, I definitely engaged way more in politics than I have in the past just so I could learn how to shepherd my church better and make good decisions based upon what I think is about to come down the pipeline. One of the other things I discovered was—and there are a lot of reasons why and this is probably a whole other podcast—but unfortunately, again, it really makes me sad that a lot of Christians put trust in governmental systems for their protection and their spiritual journeys going forward. It goes as far as, “If America doesn’t do things this way, then this is what’s going to happen to the church.” Listen, I am in no shape or form wanting to be underneath a persecuted state.
Justin Perdue: We should not wish that upon ourselves. We shouldn’t pray for that. We should pray that we can live quiet, peaceful, and godly lives.
Jon Moffitt: But we should also not live in fear because God’s church is not dictated by any human in the history of man. God’s church will always go forward because, again, think about the title of it: it’s God’s church. Again, where I see this division that people have taken their political views and basically said that if you vote for this candidate, or if you hold these perspectives, then you are going to put the church in harm or in a compromising position.
Justin Perdue: Which may be very true.
Jon Moffitt: Well, it could make things different than they are now, but I don’t ever think you can put the church in a compromising position because the world cannot dictate.
I know what you meant.
Justin Perdue: I meant just in terms of our freedoms to assemble.
Jon Moffitt: Right. But the world cannot dictate the advancement of the church because that is wrought by the Spirit of God, not by any human.
Justin Perdue: Amen, brother. Just as I said earlier, we ought never pray for persecution. Never pray for trials. Those are things that God does ordain, but we are to pray in fact for peace and those kinds of things to reign. We would never sign up for persecution or never sign up for trials but if it does come our way, the Lord will use it. The Lord has grown his church through suffering for 2000 years. That is clear as day and we will endure and we will press on.
I’m happy to say this even over the airwaves like this. I took some heat for some of the things that I wrote around the election encouraging charity and stuff like this. At the same time, I want to be really clear that our elders have led our church to try to, in a good way, submit to the authority that we’re under in a Romans 13 way. At the same time, we live in a state where restrictions are being tightened back down and we’ve been very clear with our congregation that we have no plans of stopping gathering. We will be responsible but we’re going to continue to meet. We do not understand that at this point we are at the place of civil disobedience, but it may come to that. And if it does, we will try to reflect well and think about all related concerns, but we want the people to know that the assembly’s not going anywhere. The Lord Jesus Christ will build his church. We’re just going to keep trusting him and keep being responsible.
Jon Moffitt: 2 Peter says you’re going to suffer. Don’t add to it through your stupidity of sin.
Justin Perdue: 1 Peter 4:1-4, don’t be surprised when you encounter sufferings of various kinds as if there is something strange that is happening to you.
Jon Moffitt: Part of what Theocast is designed for, and really what this conversation is and where I want to lead it to for the next few minutes, is to encourage the person who lives in this constant state of fear. There’s anxiety upon them that the government’s going to collapse in on us and Christ’s work is going to stop.
Justin Perdue: It won’t.
Jon Moffitt: Right. I don’t want you to say, “Well, great, Jon. You have that confidence.” But I want you to understand that from a historical standpoint, we look at the church in the New Testament and we read about the persecution in the Book of Acts. They were underneath tremendous amounts of persecution and God…
Justin Perdue: And the Lord grew their number by 5,000.
Jon Moffitt: Right. When Peter’s in prison and they’re all praying and Peter shows up at the door, they ask, “What are you doing here?” He’s like, “You were praying for me to be set free.” My encouragement is that what we’re doing—which is emphasizing the finished work of Christ, finding people who are exhausted by sin and leading them to find rest in Jesus, finding people who are exhausted by the evangelical train, pulling them off and leading them to trust in Christ—all of that is only going to increase and advance because that’s the promise God gives us.
Vote responsibly. Live responsibly. But put your hope in something that obviously is not founded on a government.
Justin Perdue: Rather, the government is nobody’s savior—and it is a poor one.
Jon Moffitt: I don’t want to say that in a condescending way. I want you to hear me saying the Bible actually does speak to this that our foundation is so solid in Christ. Actually, you look at persecuted countries right now and Christianity is exploding. It’s thriving.
Justin Perdue: We don’t need to go into a history lesson here, but in the West where there have been more personal freedoms and liberty and the like, you see that Christianity is largely on the decline in terms of biblical, robust Christianity.
Jon Moffitt: It used to thrive in Scotland.
Justin Perdue: Yeah, and in Europe in general. In particular, you think of places like the UK and you think about America. Christianity is not doing well in terms of the robust, confessional, biblical Christianity in terms of numerical growth. But in other areas of the world where there is not as much liberty, not as much freedom… think about Sub-Saharan Africa, think about China. The church is growing like crazy.
We need not fear about the growth of the church. As you said very well, brother, we put our hope in something that is solid rock, that is not ebbing and flowing, that is never changing—and that’s the faithfulness of God.
Jon Moffitt: Use the whole entire of the Old Testament and Israel as an example where God is using… and this legitimately is, the nation of God. God is their King.
Justin Perdue: A legitimate theocracy.
Jon Moffitt: And they fail miserably but God still accomplishes salvation.
Justin Perdue: Not so much that it’s the story of redemption. The people fail and God overcomes that failure and He’s going to save His people.
Jon Moffitt: We are safe. The church is safe. It may not look like it did last year or the last 10 years, and we may not live in the comfortable state we used to live in. Obviously, we’re all going to die some kind of death. It’s not going to be pretty. But that doesn’t mean God’s mission and plan is not being accomplished. Nothing’s going to stop Him.
Justin Perdue: One other thought in reflecting on 2020 before we end the regular portion of the podcast: I think 2020 has reminded me and taught me anew of how much I love and how much I need the corporate gathering. Holy smokes. It was that season in time where we weren’t meeting at all as a church because we don’t own our own facility. We had no opportunity to meet anywhere for a period of time, then we met outside for a while, and have been inside since late October even with the COVID protocol and everything else. It is just so good to assemble and be together.
This is my own personal opinion. I’m a pessimist by nature, but I think most people that I talk to or even those pessimistic like me think that a year from now, things probably look different in terms of our ability to gather and not have as many restrictions. Maybe sooner than that. I’ve really looked forward to the days to be able to gather without masks on, to see people’s faces, and the rest. In the meantime, brother, it is worth it that wherever you are, whatever your locale and your state is requiring and all those kinds of things—that’s for you and your elders to navigate—but it is worth it to gather.
The Lord is the great overcomer. He overcomes every distraction that we bring in with us on Sundays. He overcomes our burdens and our sins. He can certainly overcome some masks. He can minister to us through the ordinary means of grace. He can meet us in our desperation. He can build us up, He can sustain, confirm, and strengthen us—and He does that. It has been a great privilege for me to gather with the saints of CBC in recent weeks, even inside in a new space, and I look forward to continuing to do that.
Jon Moffitt: Amen.
Justin Perdue: Anyway, that’s a few reflections from a couple of broken sinners, a couple of guys who are trusting Christ and happened to be pastoring churches, as we have been planning today for the future, but also reflecting on the year that’s passed. It’s a good thing for us to do as mortal creatures who are finite. As we worship and serve an infinite God, we look forward to the new heavens and the new earth. The fear and the thought of bad news, it just will go away. There will be no more bad news. There will be no other shoes dropping ever. We will be with God, and it’s going to be epic.
Anyway, we’re going to make our way over now to the members’ podcast. I trust we’re going to do it here on site together. Who knows what we’re going to talk about.
Jon Moffitt: I do have one word. A little bit of a downer podcast. I think we’re just trying to help people think through some things. My encouragement to this podcast is there are a lot of listeners I know who are really down. We get some very complicated emails. We do questions through social media.
Justin Perdue: Some very transparent emails, too.
Jon Moffitt: So transparent. My encouragement to the listener, and there are many people who are in between churches or their churches aren’t meeting, and they hear Justin talk about his church and their thought is—
Justin Perdue: Which is far from perfect by the way.
Jon Moffitt: Right. And their thought is, “If I could have a tenth of that, you would feed my soul.” I understand that and I feel that. My encouragement to you is that there is much to be done, and there is much that’s going on. The frustration that you feel is legitimate. You are not alone. Justin and I can tell you that at one point, we all felt this anxiousness within us like something’s off, something’s wrong, and something needs to change. It’s over a lot of pain and a lot of trial and a lot of circumstances that we find ourselves here today.
I will tell you that there is a hope that is outside of your circumstance. The one thought I want to leave you alone with, when it comes to 2020, is that what we experienced yesterday is not tomorrow’s hope. God tells us that this world should never bring you hope. Everything you have turns into dust. If I learned anything about 2020, it reminded me that there is no value in putting any hope in this world. My encouragement to you is continue to read, listen, and find a good church that will point you past this life and find that hope in Christ.
Justin Perdue: Who will bring you and resurrect you to eternal life with God, and who is gentle and tender and kind to you in the midst of your struggle and your pain, who entered into this wasteland called fallen earth and knows what it’s like to suffer. He is not remote and distant in any way. And when we sin, his heart is moved with compassion toward us. He is not angry with us. He is not distancing himself with us when we struggle. If anything, he draws nearer. He loves us.
Jon Moffitt: 2 Peter. Cast your anxieties on him because he cares for you.
Justin Perdue: Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I’ll give you rest.
This is our savior. He does not break bruised reeds. He doesn’t quench smoldering wicks. He is gentle and tender, and he loves us. So trust in Christ, pray to your Father in heaven, and continue to fight the fight in the Christian life as we move into 2021.
With that, we are going to transition over to the members’ area. We hope that it will be encouraging to you. If you don’t know what the members’ podcast is, you can find more information about that on our website, which is theocast.org. We’re going to have some updates to the website coming soon. Those are exciting to us. We hope that they are exciting and helpful to you.
We are thankful for all of you who are listening, who partner with Theocast to spread this message of rest in Christ as far and as wide as possible. If you’re not yet partnering with us, please consider doing so.
Anyway, we’re going to head over to the members’ podcast. We’ll talk with many of you there. We look forward to talking with you again in the regular podcast format next week.