1. Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage: An Apology, an Answer & an Assignment
People who claim to be followers of Christ have had two equally unloving responses to homosexuality: Either we have condemned homosexuals and told them to clean up their sin on their own, or we have enabled a sinful lifestyle in the name of tolerance. Here is an objective look at the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and an appropriate, loving response from those who follow Christ. http://www.watermark.org/media/homosexuality-and-same-sex-marriage-an- apology-an-answer-an-assignment/457/
2. Real Truth. Real Quick.
Is it Okay to Attend a Gay Friendʼs Wedding?
What’s A Loving Response When A Friend Tells Me They Are Gay?
Why Is It Front Page News When A Celebrity Announces He Is Gay?
Why Does The Church Talk So Much About Homosexuality And Gay Marriage?
What Does The Bible Mean When It Says, “Judge Not, Lest You Be Judged?
Why Do Christians Ignore Other Old Testament Laws But Condemn Homosexuality?
How Do You Respond To A Friend That Believes They Are Transgender?
3. Why There’s No Right to Gay Marriage in 6 Video Clips
4. Homosexuality: Why Isn’t This Taught?!?! [WARNING: Explicit content]
Ricky Chelette, Jonathan Pokluda
Is someone who struggles with same-sex attractions just born that way? Is change possible? Ricky Chelette, Executive Director of Living Hope Ministries, addresses a topic many find too confusing or politically charged to tackle. http://www.watermark.org/media/homosexuality-why- isnt-this-taught-warning-explicit-content/1027/
5. God, Love, Sex, and Homosexuality
Whether through marketing slogan or cultural values, TV, music, movies, and media flood us with messages about life, our world, and ourselves. When it comes to homosexuality we are capable of listening to these messages, which tell us either that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality or that homosexuals are “freaks”. In this episode we examine what God has to say about homosexuality and how we are to respond to it. Do we listen to God’s message or to grace and truth. http://www.watermark.org/media/homosexuality/2132/
6. Same-Sex Bonding
Ricky Chelette, Jonathan Pokluda
In this episode, we hear the story of one of the leading authorities on the theology of homosexuality. This is a must-listen for all parents and anyone who struggles with sexual sin. This is also a great resource for anyone who has loved ones in the gay lifestyle. Ricky Chelette does an excellent job explaining that nature of sexual struggles and their origin. He has an amazing message of hope and shows, from the scriptures, God’s design for sex. http://www.watermark.org/media/same-sex-bonding/1980/
7. Same Love
In this message we tackle the hit song “Same Love.” We explore the difficult topic of homosexuality, examining what God has to say about it, where the church has missed God’s instructions on how to approach it, and where we all must change and conform more fully to Christ’s embodiment of grace and truth. http://www.watermark.org/media/same-love/3206/
8. Living Hope: Support and Resources for Those Leaving Homosexuality
9. Seminar on Homosexuality
It seems this is increasingly becoming a difficult subject to handle well. Some pastors harp on this issue in a disproportionate, condemnatory way. Others, swinging the pendulum in the other direction, donʼt want to appear insensitive or right-wing and thus avoid it altogether. So it takes courage to tackle it head-on without being a jerk. http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2010/06/23/matt-chandler-seminary-on- homosexuality/
My good friend and partner in ministry here at Watermark, Jeff Ward recently put together a list of excellent free, web-based bible study tools for some friends he shares life with. He was kind enough to send the same list onto me and I thought I would bless you by posting it here. If you want to encourage Jeff then:
- Use these resources and serve the God they help you understand.
- Shoot him a note and thank him for his diligence in putting the list together firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Check out some more of his work at watermarkblogs.org/externalfocus.
- Follow him on twitter @jeff_r_ward .
Go to work and dig in!
12 Free Online Bible Study Resources
- http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes.htm – these are Dr. Constable’s notes on every book of the bible. He was a DTS professor and these are very helpful. Think a lighter commentary.
- http://preceptaustin.org/genesis_commentaries.htm – this is put out by Precept in Austin. This is a verse by verse resource that gives you a summary of all the main commentaries on the passage. This is VERY helpful if you want to focus in on a key passage and go very deep. There are also sermon links, etc to the particular passage.
- http://utmost.org/ – if you like Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest” this is a free site that lets you read it daily.
- https://lumina.bible.org/bible/Matthew+1 – this site allows you to read in parallel translations, also the greek, and also links to articles related to the passage. Very user friendly.
- http://www.blueletterbible.org/ – this is one of the Equipping Team’s favorite sites. I haven’t used this much, but looks like there’s a lot here. Topical references, multimedia, etc.
- https://www.biblegateway.com/ – I use this pretty often, when I want to look at various translations. It also has reading plans, etc.
- http://www.ccel.org/ – this is one of the most comprehensive assortment of commentaries I’ve ever seen. A lot of the classics here.
- http://resources.thegospelcoalition.org/library/scripture_index – these are sermons that indexed by passage.
- http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/by-scripture – John Piper is one of my favorites, and this is indexed by passage. You can also run a general search and find links to most of his books and articles, and can download most of them for free.
- http://www.gotquestions.org/ – as Kristie mentioned, this is generally our first stop for quick and well researched answers to questions. Searchable by any term.
- https://www.bible.com/moments/introduction – this has become my primary bible app on my phone and syncs with this website – there is both the online and the iPhone app. It also includes various reading plans that you can follow from guys like Chandler, Piper, Keller, and others. You can download different translations, and track progress.
- There are also several scripture memory tools out there. The one I like the most and use is called “Fighter Verses” – here’s a link to their website version, and they work topically through verses weekly (if you go through the whole program it’s 5 years), but you can also set up your own lists, pick your verses, and play memory games that help memorize the passages. It’s really easy to use. http://fighterverses.com/set-5-core-esv/week-9/ . If you want the app it’s here and costs a couple bucks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fighter-verses/id411711646?mt=8
Subject: I Respectfully Disagree
Thank you for you courageous leadership throughout the years and your call for full devotion to Jesus. It’s been a breath of fresh air in a culture of weak churches and lukewarm leadership. Attending Watermark has awakened me to the gloriousness of the gospel and what it really means to follow Jesus.
Now to the subject line of the email. I respectfully disagree with some point you made in your recent “Real Truth. Real Quick” podcast on dinosaurs and the bible, specifically the theory of new earth. I don’t disagree with the fact that God could create an aged earth –after all he is God…only that it seems unlikely. If there is an infinite God with infinite time, why cram it in to 6000 (or so) years? Why create aged dinosaur bones and aged rocks etc to create a perception of age that simply isn’t true? On the contrary, the idea that God spent hundreds of millions (billions?) of years creating earth for us actually reaffirms the idea that God holds his human creation as extremely precious. This may be out of context but “one day is like a thousand years” to God (2 Peter 3:8). Why try to put limits on the God of the universe by cramming creation in to a human timeline?
Secondly – the assumption of a young earth spits in the face of sound scientific procedures such as carbon dating. We have very good evidence (again marketing major talking here, take with a grain of salt) that many things of this earth are reallllly old. Hundreds of millions of years old. To say the earth is really 6000 or so years old is like saying “the pen is blue” when the pen is black. Sounds evidence simply indicates otherwise. I hate to say this, but I fear it makes the Christian appear foolish to reject such strong empirical evidence, especially to the non-Christian.
One of the best things I have learned through work is that it is ok to say “I don’t know”. I find it endearing when someone that has the humility to take that stance. In this case, I don’t know. No one knows because they are not God. I do know God is good. I have seen lives radically changed because of his goodness. I would hate to turn someone off to God over something as trivial as how God created the universe. The fact is he did and we are here now.
Thanks again for your leadership Todd. To paraphrase your sermon a few weeks ago, “you are my pastor”. I don’t think that means we have to agree on everything, especially the non-essentials…and I think this is a non-essential.
Don’t’ worry I have copied my community group as well.
From: pastoraloffice <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: I Respectfully Disagree
I’m really encouraged by your email and the fact that you CC’d your community group. Way to go! I agree that this issue is a non-essential and love your trust in God despite things we don’t understand. What an encouragement.
To respond more to your email, as a reminder, in the RTRQ I said I’m more of a young earth guy and believe that it’s definitely closer to thousands of years than it is millions. Also, I found a few articles that talk about the unreliability of carbon dating, as well as a classic example in history of geologists and others who have observed things happening much faster than they hypothesize were previously believed (Carlsbad Caverns). The world has real ramifications in our ability to trust and defend Scripture, and I’m praying we keep trusting God’s Word as we see it unfold in the world around us.
Hope this is helpful and that I get to meet you next time I am out in Fort Worth!
(Below you will find the episode of Real Truth. Real Quick. titled “What’s The Biblical View On Dinosaurs?”)
In response to my message, Aborting Your Silence and Dealing With the Shame of Abortion, I wanted to list a few opportunities for that I hope will encourage you as you seek to join the effort to celebrate and protect life. Ultimately, the best thing we can do in this “cause” as all others, is prayerfully and personally engage friends, neighbors and co-workers in winsome conversations and thoughtful dialogue. Meanwhile, as we wait for others to join us in our effort to value all life, here are some trusted partners and ministries that you should know about and prayerfully consider supporting personally and or financially.
- North Texas March For Life
- Council For Life: Life Lessons Box Lunch
- Texas For Life Coalition
- Thrive Women’s Clinic
- Council For Life
- Someone Cares
- Forgotten Fathers
- Online For Life Prayer App
- Buckner International
- Life Talk Resource Center
- The Case For Life: Equipping Christians To Engage The Culture
- Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments
- Precious Unborn Human Persons
- Is It Ok To Abort My Child If Prenatal Testing Reveals He May Be Born With Special Needs?
- World Down Syndrome Day 2014 Special Edition RTRQ
- Can You Give Me A Compelling Way To Talk With Others About The Difficult Issue Of Abortion?
As I sat down years ago to think about how to encourage my “arrows” (See Psalms 127 and this message) to set their heart to study, apply and teach the word of God (Ezra 7:10), I decided to quickly write out some of the promised benefits of their devotion. My prayer is that in reading this blog post, you too will be encouraged to give yourself to the greatest gift (other than God Himself appearing in the person of the Son) that He has ever given us. Philosophers are correct in opining, “until we hear a still more sure word from God, we are forced to trust in only the best opinions of men”.
You don’t read your bible as an intellectual exercise so that you might know facts about God. You read your bible so that you would know one thing – what does my loving heavenly Father say I should do because God is good, His word is true, and He doesn’t make mistakes. You should fear that you would miss out on even one syllable of encouragement or instruction from the One Who “withholds no good thing from those who love Him” (Psalm 84:11).
Every Day tell Him, “I am desperate Father. Instruct me. Teach me in the way that I should go, show me Your way, guide me, give me a heart to desire only what You want for me. Make me believe that in following you I will find my greatest reward.”
What if I told you that the perfect loving sovereign of the universe would speak to you in kindness and love, and direct you and show you how to live.
You would say, “can I get a moment with him?”
Through His perfect Word, in this bible I am giving you, you can have all the time you want. Drink deeply my little one.
7. The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; (your father is not)
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (the example of your father is sometimes suspect)
8. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; (the practices of you Daddy are sometimes wrong)
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. (the instructions of your Daddy may be polluted)
9. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; (God is a leader you can always follow without regret)
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. 10They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 11MMoreover by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward. (I will sometimes make mistakes)
No man is wise who is ignorant of God’s word and no man is uneducated who knows the Bible’s teachings
The man who doesn’t read the bible has no advantage of the man who has no bible.. Apply your whole self to the text…apply the whole text to yourself.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy, share it to be useful
My prayer for you, my vision for your life is that as a result of this Word…
One day you will be able to answer the most complex problems in the world with confidence.
One day you will be able to face the darkest and most difficult of circumstances with hope.
One day you will be sought out by multitudes to provide them comfort, guidance and leadership in their distress and you will be found ready, full of unfailing confidence that you can serve them well.
One day you will be able to stand firm against the passions of your flesh, unwaveringly remaining pure though all around you fall to the irresistible titillations of the moment.
One day you will be able to speak with profound insight, great courage and unwavering boldness while others are uncertain, constantly changing and consumed with the opinions of others.
One day you will be a pillar of strength for a world ready to collapse under the weight of its foolishness.
One day you will be able to stand strong when others crumble.
One day you will speak and others will be fed by the fruit which pours forth from you lips.
One day you will be able to reveal to others what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and you will be able to unveil powerfully truths that have never entered into the hearts of man.
One day you will be able to restore souls, rejoice hearts, enlighten eyes and inform minds with perfection.
One day you will be ready to step up and lead courageously, speak out boldly, stand firm bravely, stay humble continually and serve the One true King nobly.
One day you will be blessed because you will delight yourself in the law of the Lord, and on that law you will meditate day and night.
I am praying that you read it through, pray it in, live it out, and pass it on, all the days of your life.
Todd Wagner | Pastor
Watermark Community Church
p. 214.239.8809 | t. @wordsfromwags
See Real Truth Real Quick for answers to questions about life, leadership, and the world we live in.
The following clip is from the message Immigration and the Christian: The Balance of the Welcome and the Wall.
God is profoundly serious about the sacredness of marriage, and as His followers and servants it is our privilege to share this high view. Every passing year has brought a steady increase in both the numbers of, and ease with which one can file for divorce in our land. Therefore, it is more important than ever to reiterate the wisdom and goodness of God’s plan for marriage.
As a result of the constant increase in the number of relationships ending in divorce, we are compelled to reassert a biblical view of marriage, divorce and remarriage that we prayerfully hold to based on our understanding of God’s Word. The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord, in His creation of Adam and Eve as husband and wife, so designed that marriage should be lifelong, covenantal, monogamous and between male and female. In addition, Scripture explicitly commands that a believer is not to be “joined together” with an unbeliever.
Conclusion: Marriage was uniquely created by God for the display of His glory and is a portrait of God’s relation to His people and Jesus’ love for the church (and therefore how the church is to be devoted to Christ).
Suggested Scripture Study: Genesis 2:18-24, Malachi 2:14-16, Matthew 19:3-6, Romans 7:2, 1 Corinthians 7:39, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Ephesians 5:22-33
Few life experiences are more painful personally or destructive societally than divorce, so it is unsurprising to find that God hates it. God hates divorce because He loves people, including those who have been through the divorce process.
Just as the pain of divorce permeates our culture, it likewise permeates the church, and so with sensitive hearts, we weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn as a result of divorce. Given the tremendous emotional pain involved with this topic, we seek to be clear, compassionate and careful when sharing our convictions. Our heart is to be faithful to God’s Word and loving to God’s people. Consistent with the core values of our body, we want to be firm where the Bible is firm and flexible where it is flexible, remaining vigilant in our responsibility to shepherd well the flock of God among us while appropriately trusting each individual’s convictions to our Father.
It is the collective belief, of the elders of Watermark Community Church, that divorce was never intended to be part of God’s design and is always costly to the divorcing parties, connected children and society. While God hates divorce, He does not hate divorcees. Divorce is not the unforgivable sin, but it is a result of sin and hardness of heart. Divorce is never God’s best, and anyone who loves God and knows of His goodness would never consider it without broad input from community and spiritual counsel. Even when divorce is necessary to protect individuals from danger/abuse, it is to be done as an expression of love and in hopes of producing repentance in the guilty party that leads to healing and reconciliation. Even in these extreme cases, divorce is never to be considered as the end to a relationship, but only a severe mercy that will ultimately lead to less sin and eventual restoration of the relationship.
Whenever discussing possible situations that might allow for divorce, it is imperative that serious believers continually reiterate their desire and deep conviction that the hopeful resolution to all marital strife is reconciliation (restoring a marriage, of course, depends on two tender hearts). In other words, just as we never encourage anyone to rush into marriage, we likewise never encourage anyone to rush out of marriage. Forgiveness and reconciliation are clearly near to the heart of Jesus’ life and message. That said, after many years of extensive study, thought, prayer, dialogue and debate, the elders of Watermark Community Church and community understand that God’s best for this body of believers is to handle the difficult topic of divorce (and subsequently remarriage) as follows:
Sexual Immorality: The “exception clause” for divorce (Matthew 19:3-9) which mentions sexual immorality (porneia) is not a permission slip or loophole which would allow or in any way recommend divorce as an appropriate action for an offended Christ follower. Just as God’s gracious covenant of love ultimately overcomes Israel’s infidelity (Jeremiah 3), the covenant love modeled by God’s people can, and should, overcome the immense pain and hurt of infidelity. As a result, where a spouse has been unfaithful, we are committed to counsel the faithful spouse to uphold the sacredness of the marriage covenant and to pursue and exhaust every means necessary to grant forgiveness and reconciliation (rather than expeditiously pointing he or she to the exception). The expectation of Scripture is that followers of Jesus first and always be for genuine repentance and restoration of the marriage by calling the unfaithful spouse to be reconciled to God.
Conclusion: There is a broad call on the believer’s life to a ministry of reconciliation and this certainly includes the Christian marriage. Even in cases of adultery in the marriage, divorce is never the first option and rarely the final option. We are fully committed to wisely and cautiously counseling toward repentance and restoration of the relationship. Though the humble work of forgiving, peacemaking and reconciliation may not be easy, the effort is worth seeing God glorified and His children walking in the light.
Suggested Scripture to Study: Genesis 2:18-24, Malachi 2:14-16, Jeremiah, Hosea, Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:1-12, Luke 16:18, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, Colossians 1:19-22
Abandonment: A tenderhearted marriage consisting of two Christ-followers is always God’s “ideal.” Hard hearts cannot support a marriage, and it is not uncommon to find a hard heart in the midst of a “mixed” marriage (i.e., one composed of a believing and an unbelieving spouse). Though Scripture suggests that a “mixed” marriage, once it exists, is preferable to divorce (1 Cor 7), the Scripture allows for divorce when an unbelieving spouse insists on divorcing a believing spouse.
Conclusion: Though the “mixed” marriage may end in divorce, the believing spouse is not given permission to initiate divorce. Rather (as mentioned in the sexual immorality conclusion above), the faithful, believing spouse should grant forgiveness, work through difficult circumstances and push for reconciliation.
Suggested Scripture Study: 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 14-16, 1 Peter 3:1-2
Abuse: It is never our counsel to recommend to a spouse to stay physically present in a physically abusive situation. Additionally, in a home where there is physical abuse and physical danger to children, prudence (Proverbs 22:10) demands action. Where obvious danger exists for either a spouse or child, we support the execution of all appropriate means to bring the abuse to an immediate halt including separation, church discipline, police action, a court order and other kinds of intervention by church members, family and friends. When all means of biblical intervention have been deployed and yet denied by the unrepentant spouse, he or she will then be treated as an unbeliever. Should the unrepentant spouse (unbeliever) “force the issue” by insisting on divorce, Scripture calls the offended spouse to allow for divorce that is clearly initiated by the unrepentant spouse (unbeliever).
Conclusion: Though we realize that extreme cases of abuse may escalate to a level where an unrepentant spouse (unbeliever) abandons the offended spouse (believer), we stop short of stating that physical abuse, without appropriate biblical intervention, justifies divorce. Even in cases where divorce (legal action) is the only loving recourse to protect the sinning party from continuing in his/her sin, any action taken by the believing spouse is to be done with a heart toward eventual healing and reconciliation as God allows.
Suggested Scripture Study: Matthew 18:15-17, Romans 13:1-5, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3: 12-17, 1 Peter 3:1-2
While there is a broad range of convictions on the issue of divorce among serious students of Scripture, there is an even greater variety of positions when it comes to remarriage. We are continually devoting ourselves to struggle in prayer on how to best honor Jesus and glorify God in our teaching/convictions on this issue. After carefully reading through the sexual immorality, abandonment and abuse sections above, an obvious “guiding principle” at Watermark Community Church is our call to a “ministry of reconciliation.” Before we ask when/if remarriage after divorce is permissible, we must first ask if reconciliation is a viable option. Even in the most heartbreaking cases of sexual immorality, the most perplexing cases of abandonment and the most gut-wrenching cases of abuse, as long as the former spouse has not remarried or is not deceased, we believe that reconciliation is a viable option. While in a season where the possibility of reconciliation exists, we believe it best honors Jesus that one should remain single or be reconciled in marriage to the ex-spouse.
Conclusion: Freedom to remarry is not determined by the guilt or innocence of either spouse, whether either spouse is a believer or not, nor by whether divorce happened before or after either spouse’s conversion. It is our humble conviction that freedom to remarry is to be considered permissible only when the former spouse is deceased or has entered into a marital covenant with another party.
Suggested Scripture Study: Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:1-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:2, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 15, 39
Given the above convictions before God, we, as elders of His church at Watermark Community Church, do not have conviction that it is honoring to God for any ordained or commissioned leader of our body to officiate a remarriage of an individual whose spouse is not either deceased or already remarried. Likewise, we do not believe it is appropriate to use the church’s facilities for a marriage in these circumstances.
We encourage our members to practice chastity and live a life of devotion and singleness, fully depending on and deepening in relationship with their Lord while they prayerfully wait for Him to win their separated/divorced spouse to Christ and then begin the process of restored trust and eventual reconciliation. Given the difficulty of absolute dogma on this issue, we extend grace and respect the individual believer’s right to understand God’s revealed Word to provide broader freedom. In these cases, we may, for the sake of the ministry (2 Corinthians 6:3), ask that these individuals not serve in ministries related to marriage, but will not consider them deserving of church discipline when great reverence for God’s Word, caution and humility before the community of God’s people is modeled.
We ask that grace and understanding is expressed toward our position/conviction even as we will extend and offer that to our brothers/sisters who find a broader freedom before the Lord. We pray that the love, care, sensitivity and humility we have sought in writing this document would be evident to all who read it and are affected by our leadership. It would seem appropriate to conclude this statement by expressing our gratitude that the cross of Christ is sufficient to cover all of our sin, and we pray with you that His Spirit continually guides us into all truth.
The following excerpt is from the message, “The Truth About Prayer And Healing.”
To: Todd Wagner
Subject: Question for Todd regarding Preparedness as a ChurchHi Todd,There is something my wife and I have talked about a number of times, and we discussed in Community group our last meeting, regarding what should our response and game plan be, as a Church, to if things in this country go downhill quickly.Matthew 24:
36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
40 “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.
42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
Since America is not mentioned in prophesy, its reasonable to assume that somehow America will go downhill, or will taken out before the end-time events begin rolling.
Obviously we don’t and can’t know what this will look like for us, here in Dallas. Maybe it will be a gradual decline, or maybe its a sudden one (solar storm, major terrorist attack, nuke, or something else.) And with the events of ISIS, reports of them being on our border, and the rising threat of terrorist attack (Great Britain raised its security to Critical level), plus the instability with Russia, I think its not far from reasonable to consider Matthew 24:32-33 :
32 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.
I know that being ready begins with having our hearts ready, being in right standing with the Lord, and being about His business…. right now.
But as Church, as Watermark, should we have a game-plan? Is it prudent to discuss these sort of things as a body?
First, as individual Christians, what’s our response in crisis… and then collectively and in unity as the Church?
For example, if there was a major incident that wiped out our infrastructure and communication, without internet or phone service we would be all scattered. But if we had discussed prior to this a possible game plan (such as all of us gathering at Watermark campus) we would be more prepared.
I don’t think I’ve heard you discuss any of these things in detail, but as the shepherd that you are to this flock, I wanted to hear your thoughts on this– first, if this is something the follower of Christ should be spending any time thinking about, and then if there should be a game-plan of sorts communicated.
From: Todd Wagner
Thanks so much for your question, never a bad idea to think these things through.
We all believe that the best way to care for each other in moments of crisis is neighbor to neighbor within the smaller communities we are constantly advocating. If the communication grid is shut down any social media or other means of communication would be prohibited, so word of mouth and person to person care/contact is required. Though that could certainly be appropriate at some point, we don’t foresee a need to predetermine a time (other than what may be obvious gathering times already) for us to meet corporately.
As needed, I am sure many would make their way to local campuses to care for each other and share necessary resources as we are able. Ultimately, it will be the job of smaller communities in each and every area to cling to the Bible, sharpen each other, and serve one another (as we are prayerfully equipping every member to be able to do now while we do have the privilege of gathering during times of freedom/prosperity).
There is no organized effort for the larger Watermark community to be stockpiling resources or provisions on any central campus, so there will be no need to meet there for distribution, etc. Each family should be prudent/wise in any such preparations, and ultimately those preparations should not only be for our own good but also for the care/provision/love of others, for the glory of God, in a time of need.
The very context of the passage that you shared from Matthew 24 is a reference to what Israel is to do during the coming time of great persecution. Specifically, they are not to linger around or accumulate more resources, but run quickly to the hills where ultimately God (and those who can, see Matthew 25) will be the One who provides, just as He did for the nation previously when they were in the wilderness.
I’d love for you to listen to this message given at Watermark several years ago that I think will encourage you.
Again, very grateful for your question Christian and the chance to prayerfully process these things. Hope this is helpful and praying with you that we are ready in every way that the Lord intends.
2 Timothy 4:2,
To: Todd Wagner
Subject: Re: Question for Todd regarding Preparedness as a ChurchThanks for the reply Todd,
I am looking forward to listening to that message. Just the title of it sounds very relevant to my questions.
The idea of “within smaller communities” sounds good, but for example in our group, we don’t really live very close to each other, so it might be a challenge. I think especially when it all goes down, the key will be dependence on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and on the truth God has been working into our hearts. I like the idea that God is preparing us in times of peace for when the storm hits, so that when we are hit, we are standing on the Rock.
Be sure to also check out the Real Truth. Real Quick. episode: If Everything God Created Is Good, Where Did Evil Come From?