The Pastor’s Piece – June 28, 2020
Fellowship of Christian Farmers
By Kevin Cernek
June 28, 2020
Personally, I started this year with more optimism than I’ve had in a long time. The sound of 2020 just seemed to ring in my ears. I had an expectation that God was going to do something great for our church, or for my family, or for the world in the year 2020. I couldn’t put my finger on it, nor did I have an answer for people when they asked me why I felt that way. I just did.
But then things began to drag a little. I felt like we were stuck in the mud somewhere – like the time my son and I were out four wheeling through the swampy slough in our field one wet spring. We were zipping back and forth through standing water splashing the mud and slime everywhere. But then we got stuck right out in the middle of the field. What we couldn’t see was that beneath the muddy water there was a gigantic rut that the tractor had cut when it had spun through there earlier. We got hung up in that rut, unable to see what it was, and unable to move out of it. We just sat there and spun. That’s kind of how I felt, and all the anticipation and excitement I had for 2020 just seemed to be evaporating and disappearing right before my very eyes and I didn’t know how to stop it.
Hanging on a wall in our house, my wife has a print with the prayer of Jabez quoted on it. It’s from 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 in the Old Testament: “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from the evil one.’ And God granted his request.”
I began to pray that prayer and to look to the Lord to answer it. But then COVID 19 hit. Then churches began to close. “Well, that won’t affect us,” I thought. “We are way out in the middle of nowhere.” But then it did hit us and we had to make a decision – do we close our doors or do we forge ahead?
We forged. We bought a radio transmitter and found an FM frequency on the dial. That changed everything. With many other churches closed, people started coming to Martintown from miles around to participate in our parking lot services. I don’t even know how far they travel. (Some even bring their dogs with them). They honk their horns during the services. When the horns honk the dogs bark. We give away stuff every week like donuts and cookies and chocolates and cheese curds. One week we washed everybody’s windshield as a promo. One week we gave 10 dollar gas cards to everybody. We’ve had communion in our cars. Our attendance has actually shot up. People are committing their lives to Jesus Christ. We’ve made new friends who add enrichment to our lives. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen as a pastor.
This past week we had Vacation Bible School. We prayed for 100 people to attend. Normally we have about 40. I tend to take the Lord at His Word where He says in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call unto Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.” I quote that verse every chance I get and I believe it. As an act of faith, a few weeks before VBS, we began to announce that we were expecting to have 100 people at VBS this year. Guess what? On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, we had exactly 100 people at VBS. (Not 99. Not 101. Exactly 100)! It’s nothing short of miraculous. This COVID 19 has been nothing short of phenomenal for us. In the last three months with Facebook, Parking Lot Church, and Traditional Church, our ministry outreach has increased 280% in the actual number of people who are tuning in each week.
Our Board of Elders is amazing. They sit there and listen to all my crazy ideas and then give me the go ahead to pursue them. They think they are safe – like they will never happen. Haha. Then God moves mountains and we all stand in awe of Him. (And that’s just what we see. Imagine what is going on behind the scenes).
Luke 19:37-40: “When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Praise the Lord all you His people!