But as for me...

Six months into our "covid adjustments," it's important that we all make time to count the cost to us.  What have we lost?  It's important because unless we're intentional about it, the losses can come back to haunt us and throw us into personal crisis.  The good news is that we each continue to have autonomy over what we choose to do, and say to ourselves, "But as for me..."  Just as Joshua does in today's scripture.  

God has led the Church as a whole into a real "gut check" during this strange season.  Not only a new virus, but also the social unrest we hear about every day has stolen what we took for granted as a "normal" from earlier this year.  

It's an opportunity to respond to a prompt to be single-minded instead of split minded.  To be single minded is to be focused on one thing at a time.  Studies have actually shown that being split-minded, which we sometimes take pride in as "multi-tasking" is actually a leading cause of anxiety and depression.  The Israelites Joshua is talking to at the end of this book are also split-minded.  They may think their faith in God is unshakeable, but history would reveal otherwise.

And so Joshua exhorts them to "choose this day" whom they would serve.  Don't wait until circumstances are more ideal, or until you get certain tasks done.  There is only one day to choose, and it's today.  It's the only day that matters.  It's the only day that exists.  

Over the course of Christian history, there has been an ongoing debate about salvation.  Are we saved by God's grace alone?  Or does it also require certain faithful works of ours?  The fact is both of those answers are wrong because they're looking for only the bare minimum effort for being part of God's Kingdom!  But Jesus never taught this way.  Rather, he called us to Himself, so that our whole selves -- everything we have and are -- would be put to death and raised to new life.  

So as we face this ongoing marathon-paced crisis of culture and lifestyle, Pastor Aaron has called us to a four-part habit for this Fall:

1) ESTABLISH A SUNDAY MORNING ROUTINE.  Don't be a victim of the governor's latest rules about worship.  As for you and your house, whom will you serve?

2) ESTABLISH A GROUP ROUTINE.  Don't let Covid become an excuse to isolate.  UPPC is creating numerous opportunities for you to connect with others in Group Life, but you also have the ability to make group life of your own.

3) KEEP KIDS CONNECTED.  Especially with the absence of normal school, kids are paying an enormous price right now, and we might not even see it until later.  But what we can do right now is keep them grounded in God's love for them and their practice of connecting with God and their community.  

4) PRAY FOR THE CHURCH.  Not that we would merely survive -- the Holy Spirit guarantees the Church's survival.  But that we would not miss this unique opportunity to be a blessing to this broken world into which God has called us.  

Will you join us in these four habits this Fall?  If you do, and if you have an experience of God, please don't hesitate to share it with us.  Click "SHARE YOUR STORY" at UPPC.org.

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