Phoenix Disciples Newsletter #33

Sermon by 
Al Baird
January 28, 2021
“Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’…Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’” -John 18:33,36 (NIV)


As if the trauma of the CORONA virus were not enough, the political and social unrest involving a contested election, police brutality, riots, and looting may leave us shaken and unsure of how to think and act as disciples of Jesus. All of this should force us to our knees and into the Bible, His instruction manual, asking for His wisdom, guidance, and intervention.

Fortunately, the Bible has answers for us. Jesus and the early disciples did not live with the freedoms that we have in our democracy, but they were under the heavy fist of a harsh Roman dictatorship. Jesus’ answer was not hate and rebellion, but love of everyone including our enemies. The scripture quoted above from John 18 gives the key to our dilemma: while we are citizens of the United States, much more importantly we are members of the kingdom of God. When we were born again in baptism, we swore allegiance to King Jesus. We must remember that in the midst of these troubling times.

More than half of the membership of the International Churches of Christ, our spiritual brothers and sisters, live outside the United States. Most of those countries do not have the freedoms that we do; some even must worship in secret to avoid arrest. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” That still applies to us today, regardless of the governing powers that we are under.

We realize that there are many opinions about how we as disciples and the Phoenix Church should respond to the events of the last few months. I want you to know that we as your leadership are begging God for wisdom to know what to do and say. That is a major reason why we have formed the SCUAD at the end of last year to advise us. It is now meeting by Zoom twice a month and is in the process of getting to know one other. This needs to happen before it can effectively help navigate us all through some of these difficult situations.  We purposely built the SCUAD to be a microcosm of the church. Among these 13 brothers and sisters, we have age, social, cultural, and political diversity. Here are the members of the team: George Monnet, Rich Ortega, Karla Rose, Mali Van Meter, Alan Mitchell, Kenny Jackson, Alexis Chamness, Cheryl Hodge, Pete Heins, Conrad Schneider, Tanya Raner, Ryan Jones, and Al Baird. Please feel free to offer them you thoughts, questions, and ideas on how to help the Phoenix Church to be a light of hope and love to a very dark world.

Until our next update, stay thankful, stay calm, walk with God, and encourage one another,

Al Baird for the Leadership Team

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