As your new pastor I was looking forward to sharing with you what I hoped would have been some inspirational thoughts about this new season of life we are embarking upon. But, God obviously has other plans. I never would have expected two weeks into our time together to have to navigate a worldwide pandemic. I know we all envisioned this to be a season of joy and celebration, but it has turned into a season of seeking God with uncertainty about exactly what we should do and how we should do it. I want to assure you as your pastor that I take very seriously my role as your shepherd and the responsibilities associated with that role. I also want to ensure you that when our joy is in the Lord, our joy is secure even in times of uncertainty. The Bible instructs us in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” I share this with you because we live in a day and age where the value of being in church and around other believers has been greatly diminished. People take every opportunity to miss church, and I am thankful for the commitment of those at NSBC to be present and involved in the life of the church. As such, I would never want to do anything to discourage us from living out the truth found in Hebrews 10.
As I write this, I am also reminded of Romans 13, and the call for believers to submit to the authorities appointed over us, and trusting that God is in control of even ungodly leaders and uncertain times. Throughout history there have been times when ungodly leaders have sought to impose restrictions upon Christians that have made them struggle with how to live out the truth of Romans 13 without sinning against God.
I share that with you because as your pastor I value corporate worship. I value coming together as a church family and praying together, singing together, reading scripture together, and through it all worshipping together. But, as your pastor I also value living in obedience to God’s Word while seeking to be a good neighbor to those around us. Recently the CDC has recommended gatherings over 50 postpone meeting together over the next several weeks, and as of this morning the Birmingham area has been asked to restrict that number down to 25. As a result of these developments, I feel that to submit to this recommendation is important act of obedience that also displays our trust in God. As your shepherd I care about the safety of every single person at NSBC and as Christian I want to honor God’s Word. I pray that as we walk through these coming weeks we each would seek to do the same, and as we do I pray we would remember the truth of 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Mike Meadows