Our world has changed since the pandemic and the church was not exempt from that change. Many experts say the church moved forward five years as a result of the pandemic. My intention is not to take you back to bad memories or to give you statistics. What I would like to do and especially if you are reading and have not gone back to church is to implore you to look at scripture and your relationship with Christ. Hebrews Ch.10:24-25 says "And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together as some are in the habit of doing but encouraging each other all the more as you see the day approaching". Christians are not saved by good works but once saved by grace through faith then good works will follow. It is what God created us for. There is nowhere else other than with God's people that you will be urged on in love to do these works. James, the half brother of Jesus said without these faith works our faith is dead. The other part of this passage God created us for is worship. When we decide to "stay away as some do" then we have given up many blessings of encouragement with God's people. God's people are to worship "together" and are not built to worship alone. To stay away is to miss the Lord's supper and Jesus urged his followers to do this until he returned. The church should have come back stronger "all the more as we see the day approaching". Christians will not be able to use the pandemic as an excuse any more than any other excuse before God. Don't stay away, break that habit and get back together with the people of God.
A decade seems longer than ten years. Maybe it is just the word "decade". July 10th 2011 was not a day that was famous for anything that I know of but it was a day God had planned for Eastside Baptist Church and myself. I am glad God brought me here and I love the people God has entrusted me to shepherd. I am like all pastors, imperfect and as the apostle Paul confessed I am "the chief of sinners" too. Many things have been done for the Lord as we have taken the gospel to the nations and stretched out in missions since I arrived a "decade" ago. There is much work to be done so let's join together and make the the next decade one for God's glory and his glory alone!