Monthly Archives: April 2020


The last month has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and news announcements about the Covid-19 pandemic! I am sure that all of you are stressed out and tired of hearing about the every-changing, daily updates as I am. We have had to deal with the morphing of the virus and movement across the world. The daily updates and statistics have now moved to a new demanding answer -WHEN can we come out of Stay At Home orders and resume our life as normal? This includes getting our economy back moving, shop openly, eat out, go back to work and last of all the number one question I hear is WHEN can we go back to Church?
I have passed on as much information from various sources to our pastors and leadership. This question is being researched and scrutinized by everyone. I have heard some churches are looking at going back as soon as April 26th. Others have taken a more cautious approach and looking at Mid-June. So, what is the criteria that will determine when we are allowed to “congregate” again? I made a public statement yesterday and supported the Union Baptist Association and the Austin area of not moving too swiftly on this matter. Basically, I support a first part of June return date.
I know everyone is antsy to get back to NORMAL. But coming out of this GLOBAL PANDEMIC we have to ask what is normal, and what do we think we are returning to? I have been persuaded to ask many questions about that last question – what are we going back to? I posted a blog  last week at “” on GOING BACK IS NOT AN OPTION.” Israel always wanted to go back to Egypt when there were obstacles and struggle along the journey to the Promise Land. I want to share an “Exit Strategy” from Covid-19 as we come out of the stay at homme order and return to the NEW NORMAL. Before I talk of the strategy, there is a burning question every person and church must ask; HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED because of the pandemic and WHAT IS THIS NEW NORMAL? I ask these questions because in reality we have to ask DID NORMAL WORK? To return to a system or status that did not work, seems ludicrous.
As we come back to our Churches, then we must make sure to get this right – for if we miss this eternal moment in the life of Mankind, I fear there may not be another opportunity for repentance and revival of the Church and salvation for the Lost. That being said here are five principles every church and pastor must consider: [these principles attributed to my friend Dr. Tom Cheyney of Renovate ministries]
1. Be Clear in your Directions; make sure you communicate clear, leaving no doubt as to what you want the people to do or not do.
2. Be Confident in your Desires; this means being sold out to the ideas and actions you are going to implement or change.
3. Be Committed in your Decisions; no waffling – stand strong in the direction you are going. People will need to see confidence and your personal commitment to the plan.
4. Be Corrected by your Defeats; this means be flexible and allow for somethings that will not work but be ready to adjust when necessary. I would add, do not be in a hurry.
5. Be Conscious of God’s Dependability; God is faithful, He is immutable -does not change. God the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I would add that is more important HOW we come Back than it is WHEN we come back. Our return to the buildings we call the Church cannot be about our assembling together again. It must be about the praise and worship of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.
Many churches will probably return back to the same “routine normal” they left. Seeing this period of the virus only as an interruption and nothing more – that would be a grave mistake. The Churches have filled the airwaves and internet with their services and sermons. These have engaged and impacted the lost world. SO much has been done to help mankind to weather this storm. My prayer is that the LOST will not look around in a few weeks and ask “WHERE DID THE CHURCH GO? Only to have someone tell them “OH, THEY WENT BACK TO THEIR BUILDINGS!”
Jim Grant
Executive Director

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Going Back Not an Option

Exodus 14:11-15; 15:22-25; 16:1-12 ; 17:1-3

Grumblings, fear, obstacles and impatience. As we come out of this pandemic, many are starting to devise “way forward” plans. When we read about Israel coming out of Egypt, we find that at every turn the people GRUMBLED at Moses – not the LORD GOD, but Moses. Leadership must always be on display during and after a crisis. As Pastors, State and country leaders all across the globe look to move past the quarantine orders and try to move their respective areas back to a “Normalcy,” there will be must scrutiny about plans and progress.

I have written a couple Facebook entries that expressed the concern that people, institutions, churches and governments will try to “Go Back” to what life was like before. To me that is like trying to put the genie back into the bottle after it has been let out. Israel always wanted to GO BACK to Egypt when something became inconvenient or uncomfortable. Even when they were on the cusp of going into the Promise Land the first time, many let their fears and anxieties rule the day. Something that Israel never did learn the during the 40 years of “Wilderness Wanderings” was that GOING BACKWARDS was not an OPTION. No matter the problem they faced going forward [armies in pursuit, no water, no food, or giants in the Land] going back to what Egypt offered was never considered by GOD.  It was HIS plan that Israel should always live in the Promise Land. He made this known to Abram, Isaac and Jacob multiple times.

Now, as Christianity has stepped up during this pandemic to make sure that services and care for their congregations took place; the NEXT STEP is a vital one. Will Churches and Believers move forward? During this critical time, there has been great outpouring of people providing humanitarian relief and support – AMEN. But we must remember that the CHURCH must be the Light in the World not Government bail outs and stimulus packages. I laud the great benevolence and care provided by the masses – But I know they are looking to get past this time and return to their normally comfortable life.

This begs the question: what have we learned from all of this?

  1. In difficult times mankind will pull together to help those in need
  2. Governments will try to eradicate the problem
  3. Money will be the first choice to eliminate the discomfort from the crisis
  4. The Church can be counted on to COME out of isolation to be a Light to the World
  5. People will always grumble against Leadership
  6. There will always be those who rebel against the PLAN
  7. People are more in a hurry to get past an issue than to learn the LIFE LESSONS of going through it
  8. People are always in a hurry to get control back of their lives
  9. God is God in the good times and the difficult times
  10. Life adjustments must be made individually, not levied by Public opinion
  11.  Mankind can live without all the excesses; basic needs always outweigh the wants in a crisis

These are just some thoughts I have about this phase of the pandemic we are experiencing. The bold question to be answered by all of us; believers and non-believers alike: WHAT DID THIS PANDEMIC DO TO ME? WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT MYSELF? God has provided this time for a reason. If we only look at the minute details of the pandemic, which I am sure many books will be written about- then we have missed this ETERNAL MOMENT!

I think this pandemic is a wake up call to the Church to get busy with God’s mission of saving the Lost through the Gospel and charity. In that this is a global problem I also believe it is a warning to mankind to become human again. Mankind had gotten to a point of such myopic living the reins had to be pulled back. A third thing I think should be that we learn what is essential and what is luxury.  I had hoped we would stay in this until Christians become unified and collaborative – my fear is we haven’t learned anything.

So Going Forward, not Backward what is it that the LORD GOD wants you to learn and do?

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Resurrection Sunday- From Rumors and Rabbits to Reality and Relationships

April 12, 2020

While we have celebrated the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection; we find that the disciples didn’t have the reality of the day. We do have scriptural accounts of what happened after the women returned and told the disciples that Jesus’ body was gone. They [peter and John] ran to the tomb and yes they found the tomb empty except for the grave linens. Two places give us insight to the Resurrection day – Luke 24 and John 20.  While we know Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the disciples discounted her, thinking she was speaking {nonsense}. They hadn’t seen Jesus’ resurrected body yet. They like Thomas needed first hand evidence for themselves. Before we get to the John20 passage; we are given a conversation with two on the road to Emmaus. The two were returning home; the fireworks are over – No Jesus, No overthrow of the Romans, and no hope, the “Messiah” was dead and now missing. The two had heard the reports and conveyed them to Jesus. NOTE: I am amazed that Jesus doesn’t allow himself to be “seen” until He is ready to be seen. The two walking along discussing the last few days trying to make sense out of it all. Suddenly Jesus joins in and ask them what are you talking about. What are these things, What Things? Are you a visitor and don’t know what has happened the last few days? Isn’t it interesting that even though they do not believe the reports of what happened, they are readily willing to pass on the story. The HOPE that Jesus was the Messiah, who would redeem Israel, and now it is even the third day. Relating the visits to the Empty Tomb and yes it was empty – But they didn’t see Jesus – It does make sense that if Jesus was resurrected that He would be seen.  “O Foolish men . . . . ” Then Jesus teaches them what they should have already known from the scriptures. Their hearts and minds were on fire – and their eyes were opened – then Poof Jesus is gone. Now think about this next scene – already home, they turn around and head back to Jerusalem to tell the others. Think about this, the disciples have been in the Upper Room all day; nothing to report other than the women and their “vision”. The two return and start relaying their story to the disciples and yep you got – Jesus shows up. Could it be that Jesus was giving the disciples time to reflect and be ready believe then see? The two from Emmaus  – “He is Risen, the Lord really is risen!” Validation of the testimonies of us who have experienced the REVELATION OF JESUS BEING ALIVE AND OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HIM AS SAVIOR; IS affirmed by His presence in our Lives – Jesus’ resurrection changed the world, changed men and changed eternity forever.

I once heard that seeing isn’t believing – Believing is seeing; we call that FAITH!

I’m not really sure where the Rabbit comes into all of this – but the RUMORS were no more; the stories were TRUE – REALITY was finally settling in to the disciples hearts and minds; when Jesus appears.

John 20 – two different times Jesus appears; I mean walks right into the room, not using the door! And we wonder why they didn’t believe? I’m sure right about then, I would be jumping out of a window or something – this can’t be, Jesus is right here and He is talking to us! I have done nearly 300 funerals in the last 20 plus years. I have never had anyone sit up in the casket!

No more rumors, rabbits don’t have a place in this story. But RESURRECTION AND RELATIONSHIPS DO!

Jesus’ death was necessary for the blood sacrifice for sin; His resurrection was necessary for HIS LIFE IN US.  Salvation relationship is SOMEBODY [Jesus] IN SOMEBODY [Me]

As we close out this day  we have to remember it took all day before the disciples understood that Jesus was Alive. We know how the story ended before we got up this morning, they however had to wait until Jesus REVEALED  Himself to them.  It is my prayer for all of us – don’t lay your head down tonight until Jesus has revealed Himself as risen LORD, not just Jesus on the CROSS!

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Silent Saturday

April 11, 2020 – The Jewish Sabbath, a day of rest according to the Mosaic Law

I was thinking of the various day names surrounding Easter:

Ash Wesnesday

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

Easter/Resurrection Sunday

But there is a day that rarely anyone talks about – Silent SaturdayWe have plenty of commentary on the other days, but what happened on Saturday? Only in Matthew 27:62-66 do we have anything said about Saturday. The greatest fear the religious leaders had was that Jesus’ body would be stolen and give credence to what He said about raising up “This Temple”.  So a seal was put on the stone to let them know if the grave had been tampered with, that and a guard was placed to keep watch.

Seals and Soldiers – Okay, so the Tomb is secure, the guard in place and the rest of the Disciples are huddled up in the Upper Room waiting for the Sabbath to be over. The Sabbath is suppose to be a time of rest and worshipping God. Instead I think inside the Upper Room the disciples were asking all the questions they could think of – but we find that the answers didn’t come until Jesus arose from the grave. [Then the disciples remember what He said, after  the resurrection – Luke 24:9.] I can’t imagine all that went through theirs minds and hearts during that long day. I’m sure they were in shock at what happened; guilt ridden for how they ran from the scene; pondering the suicide of Judas; anger and remorse of how the crowds and religious leaders used mob tactics to have Jesus killed on the cross.

But there are some other things that went on during that day. The scene of the religious leaders securing the grave as I mentioned. But what about where Jesus was? We know that Psalms 16:10; I will not leave your soul in Sheol [place of the dead]. This begs the question  – what happens when someone dies? Where do they go? We have the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31, a place called Hades. The Rich man in one part and Lazarus in another part in “Abraham’s bosom.  There is a great divide between the two, one cannot go from place to place. Wherever a person finds themselves, that is their lot until the Judgment. [Revelation 20:11-15]. To help us answer the question of where Jesus went, we also have to ask where the Old Testament saints went when the died. Obviously, they didn’t go to Heaven, access was not available yet. So they waited – Waited in a place called Hades. John 14:6 tells us that no-one can come to the Father except through Jesus. We know that Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection; Ephesians 4:8 tells us that Jesus when He ascended having first descended, led captive those who were captive. It is my understanding that Jesus liberated those who had been waiting for their eternal Salvation. SO as Jesus ascended to the Father, He led the Old Testament Saints into the presence of the Father. Their HOPE was in the Coming Messiah; ours today is also in the COMING, but His 2nd Coming! The great gulf had been spanned through the precious Blood of the Lamb of God. Also today we know that – “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord [1 Corinthians 5:8]. Today when a person dies, he/she can go into the presence of Yahweh because the “wall of separation has been tore down.” [Eph. 2:14-15]

So, imagine while the rest of mankind was waiting and hiding; those who by faith had trusted in God, their waiting was over! Imagine if you can what it must have been like for them to see Jesus the Messiah enter into their presence – I can hear Him say “Let’s Go Home.” As saints are in Heaven even now waiting for US – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18!

I think God likes Gardens – Of course there is the tragic rebellion incident in the Garden of Eden; also the place where the first sacrifice for sin was slain; and that was done by God. We also find that the Garden of Gethsemane; God provided another sacrifice – the Last Sacrifice for sin. There have been preachers and commentaries that think A “Jesus had to present His blood in Heaven, to the Father as a Passover/Sin sacrifice.” I’m not so inclined to follow that thought. All I know is that the shed blood of Jesus Christ was the price that was necessary as the Lamb of God to satisfy the “death penalty of sin, and cleanse/forgive all who trust in Jesus as the Son of God and sacrifice for sin. The Blood of Jesus was the ONLY way mankind could come to the Heavenly Father; reconciled back to HIM – the offense of SIN which began in Eden had finally been revoked by Faith in Jesus.

Silent Saturday – not very much, for while mankind was SILENT; God was in Christ, but He was anything but silent. We must wait, as the Old Testament saints waited. But our Wait is with anticipation that a trumpet will sound and Jesus will say for a second time – “Let’s Go Home!”


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Quarantined Easter

April 10, 2020

Stay at Home orders, pandemic issues, quarantined people, drive-in and videoed services, financial upheaval and the list goes on. Obviously this is a different time for all of us. I think it is admirable how so many churches/preachers are making sure that their Easter services and sermons are going to be on the internet. My prayer is that the Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified and honored by what is done. This is serious times, so many are trying to understand the impossible situation the World is experiencing.

Sometimes I think that this Easter is analogous of that first Easter. The had self-quarantined by this time Friday; Jesus has died on the Cross with the words “It is Finished.” The disciples have all ran for fear, and wound up in a holy huddle in the very Upper Room they had been enjoying the Last Supper only hours ago. Bewildered and shattered to the core, the unbelievable has happened – Jesus is gone! In a mere week, everything changed. For us today it was about three weeks. We find ourselves also asking questions about the UNKNOWN. What do we do now? When will all this end? What will NORMAL look like?

These obviously are not the same questions the Disciples had at the time. But, questions they did have. For them as well as us we have been taking actions of SURVIVAL. As this horrific scene on Golgotha’s Hill settles into their minds, they have become isolated, and dependent on each other. They could at least embrace one another and have the comfort on not being alone.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus have taken Jesus’ body down, with the help of the women, His body is laid in the TOMB. The stone is rolled to seal it. The haphazard BURIAL is complete, so they return to the Upper Room. We like they are trying to make the best of the situation. [We have the end of the story and know what is coming then, but we don’t know the end now]

WAITING – none of us like it, most detest it! Our question is HOW LONG? Theirs was restriction because of the SABBATH – 24 hours to think, cry, lament and fear. I don’t now what happened during that SABBATH, but it must have been a very dark time for all of the Believers then. Surely, nothing like they had ever been through before. Besides, the ONE they turned to was JESUS and He was dead. We, believers must turn to Jesus during this time of QUARANTINE – use it to reflect ad think about our lives and the future of the Gospel we are to share. Many unorthodox actions have been taken by the Government and Churches. We must learn from this time – like it or not our NORMAL is no longer ACCEPTABLE. Good Friday changed everything for the WORLD; this GOOD FRIDAY should change OUR world as well.

There was so much the early believers were not in control of at the time; likewise for us. We are not hunted or persecuted, but we are stressed and stretched right now. As we go into a Friday evening into an early Saturday, I pray we will ponder where we are with Christ and renew our HOPE that this unknown – unstable time will grow us stronger in our FAITH.

Just as an additional note: I always wondered WHY IS IT CALLED GOOD FRIDAY? After some research, Good used to mean HOLY. While we might struggle with what happened, when we think of the result of Jesus’ death for SIN and the LAMB of GOD, then we can see that the actions were not accomplished by men, but the loving Heavenly FATHER. Surely, salvation is a GOOD or HOLY thing. We look at the result of something to determine if it is good or not – my opinion while going through something may or may not be accurate. Surely, it was HOLY FRIDAY!

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Character Building

“It was the best of Times; it was the worst of Times” – this line from Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities; seems to capture our current state of life. Depending on what you listen to through news programming or social media sites, our perspective of this pandemic and Corona Virus will change. I have many more questions than answers right now, and I will not insult your intelligence by trying to make you think I do. None of us have been through such a crisis on a personal or global level. Our generation may be experiencing our own “Great Depression or Bombing of Peral Harbor” life altering event. Our ancestors came through their own crisis and establish the world we live in today. The question for all of us is “will this be a great character-building time or a chaotic disappointment?
I have tried to talk to people and bring a real perspective to this time in eternity – it is just that, a certain people at a certain time in eternal history. The pandemic is GLOBAL. We must remember that we are not the only ones going through this crisis. Right now, we seem to be dependent on our Governments worldwide to solve this problem. They may help steady the boat so to speak; but the answer is found in our sovereign God!
The bad news keeps getting worse. This pandemic has a mind of its own it seems. Every time I turn around, it has morphed into some other phase. People are dying, industry has stopped; people are quarantined and yet we have no answer for a cure in the foreseeable future. That’s the Worst of Times.
The Best of Times [as I see it] is the mobilization of so many agencies working together to some how soften the effects. There has been a great thrust within Christianity of getting the Word of God out through on-line applications and social media. Many churches are reaching audiences they never touched before. Some churches are launching into the 21st century technology for the first time.
I had a friend of mine tell me that if we don’t experience repentance and revival through all this, then we may have missed the point of the virus happening. That is quite a statement! I know before all this happened millions were praying earnestly for REVIVAL. Simply we may be getting what we asked for! In every Great Awakening and Revival in history it began with Prayer. We all know that our entire world needs the Gospel, and the Church to awaken from its slumber. Our world was in a deep degenerative condition. We had opioid and drug epidemics, Cannabis and CBD oils sales skyrocketing and every imaginable sexual orientation accepted, then the senseless killing of unborn children. Were we in need of revival? Unequivocally yes!
While we could easily get wrapped up into an apocalyptical frenzy, we must stay grounded. Our Faith not Fear is our foundation. 1 Peter 1:6-7, the trying of our faith. We – believers of the Only True God and His Son Jesus Christ have the ability to preserve in trials with overcoming faith as the Holy Spirit gives us strength in our very souls!
I don’t know when this will end, but I do know that our “cure” is from the Lord God. James 1:2-4 is our mandate. Let this be the Churches defining moment to bring great Glory to our Heavenly Father. Psalms 85:4-7; Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your indignation toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not Yourself [revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD, And grant us Your salvation.

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