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"This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." -

Matthew 3:17

The difficulty with the love of God is that the human heart assumes it has to earn God’s love, or at least work hard to justify receiving it. It’s very difficult for the broken human soul to conceive or think about a love that is not earned. We assume that love is contingent upon our performance. We think, “I love you because of how you treat me” or “I love you because of what you do for me.” “I love you because you’re such a nice person.” All of these are a love that is responsive. Only responding to certain conditions that elicit our love.

The love of God, however, is a motivating love. It requires no performance. It is self-giving love that flows from a nature that loves us always; whether we are high capacity producers or not.

For us to somehow presume that we must earn God‘s love through our behavior or justify God loving us by living up to production standards sends a signal to God that His love is counterfeit. Do we really mean to do that? Probably not. But our own brokenness has jaded our understanding of love to such limitations.

The love of God is unconditional. It is not tied to performance or output. It is in the love of God that the human heart finds ultimate shalom. Rest in the love of God and be affirmed that you are a child of God.

Blessings,

Kevin



COVID-19 Vaccine: Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Many people are raising questions concerning the vaccinations being released to the general global public. Some question the wisdom of receiving these vaccines. A variety of suspicions create reticence in people. Here are some considerations to encourage you in availing yourself of this God-given response to the pandemic.

1.  Should I get a vaccine?

The decision about whether to receive any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine, is one that should be made wisely and with the benefit of the informed advice of those in our communities best equipped to aid in our health and protection.  For generations, our nation and culture has worked hard to assist in the safety and protection of its people by relying upon bright minds in science and healthcare to guide our practices. These people are committed to your safety and their counsel should be considered carefully in making your choice. Generally, where there is such advice and opportunity, receiving a vaccine is advisable to protect both yourself and those around you from potential illness.

2.  What do church communities believe?

The Church represents a wide diversity of opinions related to these types of questions. Generally, however, churches in our stream respect the God-given abilities of our medical and scientific community and recognizes their intention to help people. As churches, we are not qualified to assess the deep and extensive research done by studied people in our healthcare system and scientific community.  Generally, however, we support the findings of this community when it is in alignment with the Scriptural injunctions for the well-being and common good of all people. Vaccines are thoughtfully targeted to aid the body’s own defenses in preventing illness from affecting the body. We do not see any incongruence between devoted faith in Christ and compliance with or participation in the administration of medical treatments such as vaccines to protect the lives of patients and the people around them. Because we see God’s creation to include people with ability to study and develop advanced medical and scientific treatments, we receive the same as a gift from God for our good. Furthermore, we understand society to be a community which is fundamentally the pattern of how God made us to exist. Therefore, we take seriously the responsibility we have not only to assist those around us in need, but also to engage in practices that will protect others around us for whom we take responsibility as fellow children of God.

3.  What is the biblical view on vaccines?

As with many developments in the various advances of humanity throughout history, Scripture does not speak directly to the question of vaccines.  Many such treatments have been developed which have proven to be helpful and consistent with the mission of God in the world. Any conclusions a disciple of Jesus comes to in this regard are fully dependent upon how they read, interpret, and apply principles derived from Scripture.  In light of this, we recognize that some people will conclude that vaccines, medications, or medical treatments of any kind are not in alignment with their understanding of God’s desire for people. Others, like most in our stream of the Church, accept that such developments of science and medicine are a result of the creative gifting God gives to people among us who are called into the medical and scientific professions.  Irrespective of the position any person has on the matter, however, we do see all people as God’s creation, endowed with the image of God upon them and, therefore, worthy of respect and dignity in making decisions that are consistent and in alignment with their faith in Christ.

4. How should I decide whether to get the vaccine?

As Christians, our default posture is one of trust until otherwise informed.  As you approach the decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, begin with the assumption that there is no evidence of nefarious intentions by any person or the agencies intended to protect and help people.  Therefore:

a.  See the opportunity and availability of a protective vaccine as a God-given gift to preserve life.

b.  Examine carefully any motives to the contraryensure they are well-informed, substantiated, and consistent with both other personal practices of receiving medical treatment and personal convictions of your faith.

c.  Approach the vaccine with appropriate recognition that this treatment, like other amazing medical treatments, ultimately find their source in God through the gifting of God to devoted people who, like the vaccine itself, are intended to aid the body itself in protecting against physical illness.

d.  Recognize that others may choose differently than you. Accept that reality and honor their thoughtful decision as you hope they will honor yours.

 


SoCal Pastors' & Leaders' Day
March 19, 2021
Zoom Linked

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