By Didi Bacon

Let us be awake and sober…

A couple of days ago I was leaving the office, and I noticed a man sitting in his car in our church parking lot. His head was bowed, his eyes were closed, he had a deep frown on his forehead. I wasn’t sure what he was doing. I was concerned that perhaps he was in some type of physical trouble. So I knocked on his window and when he opened it I asked, “Sir, are you ok?” His answer was “yes and no.”

Yes, he was fine. He was a grandfather who was waiting to pick up his grandson from the high school across the road.

No, he was not fine. He was so distressed at the state of this crazy world that he wanted to come to our parking lot to pray.

I understand how this fellow grandpa feels. Maybe you do too. It seems like people are losing their minds! It seems we are in a time of one bad thing after another.

A friend recently shared with me that he had been comforted and challenged by 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 6. The Thessalonian Christians were dealing with some tough times, which had made them vulnerable to being confused and misled. In times of trouble it can become easy to be ensnared with false doctrines. Pain and desperation can make you vulnerable to empty promises that are not grounded in truth. Struggle and fear can sometimes wear down discernment. Paul encouraged the Thessalonian Christians with these words:

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober… “ 1Thessalonians 5:6 (NIV)

That phrase, “be awake and sober”, is repeated in a few other places in the New Testament.  Always in reference to dealing with fear. It may be the fear of the end times. It may be the fear of persecution. It may be fear of evil taking over our world.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

Be alert and sober. What does that mean? It means have your eyes open and your emotions under Holy Spirit control.

To be awake and alert means to pay attention to what is going on around you. It means to be on watch at what is really happening. Distraction leads to destruction. 

To be sober means literally not to be drunk. Not to be drunk on the hype, the smoke and mirrors, the hysteria. For us today I would say it means break free of the crisis addiction. To stop being captured by every tweet, post and click that seeks to manipulate you.

In these crazy times we need to heed these words of scripture.

Be alert and sober!

This is not the time to be distracted from being faithful to living right with God. This is not the time to lose control of our faculties in fear, panic or hysteria.

So let me address three matters that require us being alert and sober:

Issue One and Issue Two are up for vote in Ohio this November. Issue One is a ballot measure to enshrine abortion as a right in our state constitution.  Issue Two is a ballot measure to legalize recreational use of marijuana. I will be voting NO on both issues because they are wrong. The Bible teaches that the God-ordained role of government (law) is to protect the innocent, punish the evildoer and provide peace for good citizens to prosper. Both these Issues violate these basic principles. I see them as ultimately the means to continue to devalue the life of human beings into units of profit, units of production, and units of political gain for those in power.

Please see the link below for more information regarding Issue One.

See the link below to review our Attorney General’s legal explanation of Issues One and Two.

Be alert and of sober mind.

War in Israel, the attack of Hamas on Israel in the southern region of that country. I cannot get into this in depth, so I will recommend that you click on the link below to an article by Bobby Harrington called “Israelis and Palestinians: Understanding the mutual hostility.” It is a little bit of a read, but it is a good summary of the history behind the horrific events that we are witnessing today.  While I do not wholeheartedly agree with Bobby’s view of the modern Israel’s role in the end-times prophecy, I do wholeheartedly agree with his prayer recommendations.

Be alert and of sober mind.

Mount Carmel Christian Church by-laws revision. When this church was established in 1968, the leaders chose to establish the church as a non-profit corporation. Being set up as a non-profit corporation means having by-laws.

As a church we do not have to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) but we chose to do so for the benefits of “being in the world, but not of the world”. Being non-profit corporation helps us to conduct business.

I say this because it is important to remember that our by-laws are not our “governing documents”. The Bible defines our purpose. Our commitment to New Testament Christianity as revealed in scripture is our final authority on how we operate.

Periodically, our elders review our by-laws in order to make sure they serve our current needs. Our last update was in 2009. It was time to bring them up to speed with where we are today. With prayerful and thorough review, as well as input from a Christian attorney, we have updated the by-laws for congregational review and approval. I was very pleased to hear the attorney comment on the scriptural basis of our document.

We would like to invite all members of our church family, who are interested, to participate in the Sunday evening meetings where we will review these revised by-laws. There will be two meetings, both at 6 pm at the church building. The first on November 19 and the second on December 10.  The congregational vote to approve the By-Laws will be after each Sunday morning service on December 17. 

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is… “Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind.