Day 2 of the Covid Quarantine

As part of our church’s continued shepherding and discipiling those in our care, I will be sharing daily with you through various avenues. We have continued conversations here amongst the pastors and staff and have some amazing opportunities in the works to meet the needs of the community, as well as to provide paths for you to give and serve as well.
You may have heard by now that the Haiti trip was canceled by the host nation/mission, as they assessed that the team would be able to get in the country but would most likely not be able to leave with sweeping regulations and closures of international borders. Becky and her team immediately went to work separating the medicine, food, and materials they were going to take with them and will be distributing them to the places in need right here in our back yard. The Genesis Project, Hope Women’s Center, San Carlos, Christ the Victor, and LifePoint are all receiving these items to help distribute them to those in need.
We will still be accepting donations for the items that are currently in high demand in our area. If you are in need of any items and do not have the means to attain them, please contact us at info@lifepointaz.com and we can work to help with any resources we have available. The church is going to move forward mightily in this time, as we put the phrase, “trust the Lord” into action.
Peace,
Nathan Bentley
Senior Pastors Thought of the Day
 
This is a blog post that was shared with me today and I thought it was incredible on a theological level, practical level and TRUTH level. In the midst of the current state of things take a few moments out of your quarantine and read this interpretation of the Four Horsemen. Enjoy!
 
WHO CAN STAND
 
Security has a strong attraction.  I have some money in the bank and a good job.  I live in a safe neighborhood and my kids go to a good school.  I’d like to be a little more physically fit, but I’ve avoided any huge health problems.  But am I really secure?
Life’s circumstances have a way of challenging our notion of security. In life the unthinkable will descend upon us. When tragic circumstances hit we find out which things provide real security and which foundations turn out to be quick sand.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse, described in Revelation, could surprise us with their practicality in assessing if our feelings of security are rooted in the right things.  If we approach this text as a riddle about the future to be solved we miss the value of the questions it whispers.
“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.” (Rev 6:1-2)
This passage introduces us to the first horseman.  This rider is a warrior “bent on conquest”.  The vision is war coming into the world of the reader.  The implicit question as the rider approaches is, are you safe from invading forces?  If we reflect on this question, we realize we hear the same question driving news on a regular basis.  Are you safe from the threats of ISIS or North Korea?  Are our borders safe or is invasion going on right now?  Are we secure from the threat of war?
We’ve only had a moment to ponder the first horseman and the second horseman is upon us, “Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other.  To him was given a large sword.” (Rev 6:4) Many have suggested that the “large sword” predicts nuclear weapons.  I think a much simpler question is being asked as we meet the second rider – is it safe walk the streets alone at night?  If you let the question linger for a bit what comes to your mind, reports of mass shootings or violence in general?  My kids and young people their age are all familiar with lockdown drills at their schools, and they understand why they do them.  Peace is missing.
With no time for a rest, the third rider with scales in his hands makes his entrance on a black horse.  As he arrives we hear the announcement, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!  (Rev 6:6b) A full day’s work for the small amount of grain mentioned would be well below minimum wage.  The question underlying the entrance of the third rider is this – is your money safe?  I’m writing this at the end of a week where the US Stock market lost roughly three trillion dollars of value in a matter of days.  The world economy has not reached a place of hyper-inflation where a day’s wage will only buy a few meals.  It has, however, created fear that the economy could be headed that way. The financial security many hope for appears to be moving out of reach.
The final rider, Death, comes riding on his pale horse with Hades close behind.  This terrible pair is “given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with disease and by wild beasts of the earth.” (Rev 6:8b).  The last implicit question, can you physically handle all that comes your way, or will mortality catch up with you?  The financial losses of this week were tied to this question about health.  The fear of a Coronavirus has many on edge.  An N95 mask could filter out airborne viruses, but they have all been snatched up as people reach for security.
The pandemonium surrounding Coronavirus may be short lived.  The question about when our mortality will catch up with us remains.  I’m now in my forties and the number of people in my circle diagnosed with terminal illnesses continues to increase.  As people I care about face challenging journeys we all are reminded of the finite nature of our physical body.  Is our health secure or in the end will it not be enough?
In quick fashion the four horsemen have passed before and cause us as readers to wonder how secure are we really?  After the four riders pass three remaining seals are opened revealing more cataclysmic events.  By the end of chapter six, the kings of the earth, the rulers, the rich and the poor alike are hiding themselves calling out for the mountains of the earth to fall on them.  Any resource of wealth, strength or security has been stripped away.  Anything that was relied upon has been taken away.  The final question of the chapter is “who can stand?”
At the point of extremity, we are taken back to the throne room of God.  There, the Lamb that was slain continues to rule as a countless multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language worship before him proclaiming “salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb”.
The four horsemen undermine the security rooted in things that will crumble.  There is good reason to question our finite resources, but we as readers are not left behind with nothing to hold on to.  We are invited to become participants with the saints from every generation worshipping before the Lamb.  Those who join in worship regain a heavenly perspective.  No matter what circumstances in life are crashing, God’s purposes are secure.
This does not offer escape from difficult circumstances.  Instead, it suggests that in the face of the unthinkable there’s a perspective, found in worship, that allows us to be more courageous than we thought possible. The courage comes as a gift in worship.  It’s beyond what any person could muster.  It’s not based on our finite resources but on God’s unlimited abundance.
****Note, for further study in Revelation, I recommend the books below.  My approach to Revelation is influenced by both authors and the questions I’ve related to the four horsemen, come from Koester’s written work and lectures.

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