Greetings from the land of kaolin, gnats, and pine tree farms!
To begin, this COVID-19 lock down business (that’s an ironic word) is getting old. Really old. There aren’t any crowds protesting down our streets, but I know for a fact that the people are restless.
But unlike a lot of people who have been unemployed and out of work, I have been the opposite (thank God in heaven!). Seriously, I am blessed beyond measure, and like Dave Ramsey would say, “I’m better than I deserve.”
But make no mistake, even though to some it would appear that I have it easy – that any pastor these days has it easy – I don’t. As a matter of fact, I think I have been doing more than I ever did when things were “normal.”
For example, I still prepare sermons and teaching for Sunday morning and evening, and also Wednesday. However, on top of that I now do a live daily devotional/prayer time Monday-Friday in order to stay in touch with everyone.
But what’s more, because we do not have a team of people to help with production, nor the dedicated technology, recording and editing a Sunday morning service, then making sure it uploads to either Facebook or YouTube, can take H O U R S!!!
. . . No joke, this last Sunday-morning service took around 5 hours to record and edit, then a painful 6 hours to finally get it uploaded! The whole time I couldn’t sleep because I was too nervous. YouTube failed twice (after 2+ hours uploading each time), then I had to wait for Facebook to see if it would work.
Our internet is sad. Our upload is literally no better than dial-up. That’s why whatever I record has to be done at the lowest reasonable resolution. It’s frustrating.
But to the point of why I am writing, all of this activity takes a toll on one’s nerves – and one’s spirit.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I struggle with depression. Years ago (around 20) I had it pretty bad, even to the point of nearly being committed for my own safety. These days I do OK, even really well, because I’ve learned better how to anticipate triggers, I finally agreed to take a mild anti-depressant, and I FINALLY got a couple of hobbies! Yay me!
However, Satan knows our weaknesses. His minions are always watching, always taking notes, and they know better than we do where and when is best to attack. For me, it’s usually when I am tired, physically and mentally drained, and discouraged in any way.
So, what do you think it’s been like the last couple of months?
The clearest example came on Thursday, May 7th, the National Day of Prayer. Because there was no way a bunch of people could come together in one place to pray, all prayer gatherings had to be done on the web. So, what I did was go live at noon that day, and using a guide published by the SBC, I led prayer for the “seven centers of influence” in our nation.
An hour and 15 minutes later, I was done. I think I stayed on Facebook Live for another few minutes, then called it a day. By 3pm I was overcome with a heavy sadness that I couldn’t explain.
The unexplained “sadness” lasted till Friday.
I was under attack, plain and simple.
You see, you can’t expect to punch a hornet’s nest and walk away unscathed. Storming beaches may conquer territory, but it’s always bloody for both sides. So, how could I have expected to publicly go against nearly every realm of demonic influence in our nation and not feel some affect?
Spiritual warfare is real. It’s no joke. And now that we small-town preachers have been given the opportunity to preach and teach the gospel online every day, we are firing mortars into the camps of spiritual enemies we’ve never encountered before.
And if you don’t know about artillery, unless you move your cannons around, after a few rounds a smart enemy will be able to triangulate your coordinates and return fire. I figure that’s what must have happened after I prayed for a solid hour live online.
What are your thoughts?
Below are two videos. The first is from yesterday (Sunday) morning. I would encourage you to watch it, especially if you are a woman, for even though it was Mother’s Day, the sermon was for all women.
Also, because our church musicians and praise team have not been coming to the recordings (and I don’t know how to do all that Zoom stuff), my wife and my mother and me took on the role of “praise team.”
We made a joyful noise 🙂
This next video is from Facebook. It is the LIVE prayer time I had on Thursday. See for yourself what I prayed. Do you think I’m crazy? Why else would I have been sad for no reason? Was it simply a case of physical and mental fatigue? Or, did I stir something up in the Enemy’s camp?