First, a quick review:
You might recall we were incorporated on September 14, 2012 as a cyber church. Over the last 8 years, we been building a measurable, sustainable, and reproducible foundation that requires our continued every day focus to the following:
Recovering and embracing the original purpose of the church.
Recapturing the lost experience of discipleship.
Reaching the worldwide community.
Reactivating the New Covenant
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
When my wife first became a Christian at 26, she heard that you could hear personally and directly from God by opening the Bible and putting your finger on a verse — any verse. This actually works for some people, sometimes, and for a brand new Christian with a simple, real faith, and an eagerness to hear from the Lord, I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was in on this one. How else would you explain that her finger randomly landed on one of the most important verses in the New Testament — Christ’s commissioning of His disciples prior to His ascension into heaven (Matthew 28:18-20). It’s been her life verse ever since.
People get ready, there’s a train a-comin’
Pickin’ up passengers coast to coast.
– Curtis Mayfield
Jesus has a plan to change the world. On the surface it looks rather ludicrous, but in reality it’s working. Here’s the plan: Come to earth as a human, recruit twelve regular guys and walk with them for three years, then leave, and turn everything over to them. It’s brilliant in its simplicity; insane in its expectations that these people would be able to pull this off. They certainly wouldn’t have, had He not left His Holy Spirit with them to indwell and empower them for the job. And thus He called them a church built on a rock that would challenge the very gates of hell. That gospel train has been picking up passengers ever since.
The Catch Ministry was incorporated in 2012 as a CyberChurch when very few recognized the digital dimension could provide faith-based experiences. But people like Peter Herschend, George Barna, JD Schlieman, and Michael McCausland recognized the need to focus on the church. Not the church as it often is, but the church as it originally was. The church as it can be. And yes, they said, “the church as it must be again.”
This is not a church.
The church is God’s design for completing the work He sent His Son to earth to accomplish. It is the expression of His love and compassion for the world. It was begun by Jesus — He is its founder and foundation — and it is most clearly represented by being His body — His physical presence in the world. Christ is currently not physically present here, but the church, collectively, is His eyes, ears, voice, hands and feet in the world, and mostly … His heart. At the outset of Christ’s ministry here on earth, He announced that He had come “to proclaim good news to the poor … freedom for the prisoners … recovery of sight for the blind, [and] to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). These things were both physically and spiritually fulfilled while He was here, and through the church in the world — the total body of believers — that work is continuing.
No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
These are truly unprecedented times. There is so much to fear. The pandemic is on us and not going away any time soon. Social unrest is smoldering in our cities waiting to erupt into rioting and chaos at the slightest provocation. Citizens and police are at odds with each other. And a seriously divided country is going to try to hold an election with rumors of fraud and election distrust. It feels like extremes on either side are ready to get violent no matter what the outcome.
Los Angeles has its own rock star. Now I know there are a lot of rock stars this city has produced in its history, but none like this one. That’s because this one is a rock — a real rock — a 340-ton granite rock that has taken up permanent residence at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as a piece of modern innovative sculpture the artist, Michael Heizer, calls “Levitated Mass.” The imaginative display for this piece of rock includes a 456-foot-long passageway cut into the ground and back out on the other side beneath the 21-foot-high boulder, making it possible for visitors to walk completely under the rock and view it from the bottom against the usually blue southern California sky.
Marti’s birthday was last Sunday, but she hasn’t opened any gifts yet. That’s because she was in bed most of the day feeling under the weather, due most likely to a high degree of pollen in the air from a huge tree in our back yard that sprouts clusters of tiny yellow pollen balls at the end of every branch, and then the bees crawling through those clusters send down yellow rain on our patio floor, covering it with a layer of yellow pollen. (Thousands of bees work this tree from pre-dawn to dusk creating a loud hum you can hear all day. I especially like watching the bees that ignore the clusters on the tree and simply roll around in the yellow stuff on the ground.)