PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Pastor James C. Johnson with NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola joins us via Zoom. Here’s a look at our conversation:
CHAD: We wanted to talk about 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 3 where the Apostle Paul is separated from the church. First, what happens in that story?
Guest: Paul is the founding pastor of the church in Thessalonica and he is separated from those believers because of things beyond his control. The Bible describes “afflictions,” “tribulations,” and even “the tempter,” as reasons for the separation. But, Paul loves them deeply and is eager to be reunited with them. Twice in chapter 3, he says, “I could no longer forbear.“ He’s saying, “I can’t stand it anymore!” He desperately wants to be reunited with them.
Anchor: How do you see that applying to this pandemic?
Guest: Well, this pandemic is clearly something beyond our control. And it is definitely an affliction, tribulation, and I believe, authored by the tempter. And, like Paul, I can’t stand it anymore. I’m eager to be reunited with our church family.
Anchor: What lessons do you draw from that scripture?
Guest: The lesson is that love makes a big difference. Paul had already told the church how much he loves them but then in chapter 3, he got word from Timothy that the church loves him in return and greatly desires to see him. In spite of a situation beyond all of their control, they communicated their love one to another and as a result, all parties involved were encouraged.
Anchor: During this shutdown, a lot of people have had more time for introspection, what do you think the Lord has taught you during this time?
Guest: God has taught me the importance of people. Romans 12 describes the importance of the spiritual gifts of a church family. When you are separated from your church family, you do not get to benefit from the gifts represented in that faith family. Right now, many churches are fragmented but the lesson is, let us never take for granted the spiritual gifts of one another.
Anchor: What is a revelation from these circumstances you want to pass on to others?
Guest: That God cares. In Matthew six the Bible explains that God knows when a sparrow falls and yet Jesus explains that we are much more important to God than many sparrows. And, that God cares about the specific details of your life.