Congregational Pastor (Delco)
Andy, a Pennsylvania native, graduated from Millersville University, where his faith for God was reignited. In 2010 he married his wife, Malynda, and they helped plant a church in Murfreesboro, TN where Andy led the student ministry and served as an elder. Fast forward five years, the Reshes felt the Lord calling them to plant a church in Pennsylvania. They became members at Citylight Church in 2016, started leading a Citygroup and now live in Upper Darby with their daughters, Lucy and Piper. During his downtime, Andy enjoys watching the Philadelphia Eagles and 76ers. Andy now leads Citylight’s newest congregation in Delco.
I know that this time of year can be one of the loneliest seasons. That’s true any year, but especially in this year of lockdowns, social distancing, and isolation. I think we are all feeling a bit lonely. If you already struggle with feelings of loneliness, then this year is even tougher. Did you know that the Bible speaks directly to those feelings?
Psalm 139 speaks to this in such a beautiful way. God is intimately aware of his people. He is near them, thinking of them, and watching over them. Look what the Psalmist says:
“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.”
There is nowhere you can go that God is not near. He does not social distance. He is not afraid of catching anything from you. He loves you and loves being with you. I love the way the NLT translation translates verses 17 and 18.
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!”
Christian, because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection in your place, this is true about you. God thinks so many thoughts about you that you could not even count them. In fact, for those who trust in Jesus, God sees you like his perfect son.
When you feel lonely this season, I encourage you to read Psalm 139. Read it over and over. Let the truth and message of God’s great love for you sink deep into your soul. I love you and am praying for you.
Grace and peace,
Are you struggling with a heightened sense of uncertainty in this season? I don’t blame you if you do. There is a lot of uncertainty right now. We don’t know what’s coming next. There’s been so much uncertainty and change in 2020 that is has become almost like a joke at this point. But it’s not a joke. It’s very real, and it can cause us great distress and fear. I know personally the distress that can come from fear and uncertainty.
I wanted to share a verse with you that the Lord has used over and over again in my life, especially in seasons like this: Matthew 6:25-34. In this passage, Jesus is talking to worriers like me! He’s speaking to those who are anxious and overcome by uncertainty, and he uses an object lesson to teach us. He says “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
Jesus points us to God’s love and care for creation, in the image of a little bird. The bird does not wake up each morning wondering what new problem will arise. He doesn’t have a bank account that he seeks to fill to the brim. He doesn’t have contingency plans for every situation life could throw at him. He lives each day trusting that he will have what he needs. And the beautiful part is that God makes sure he does! If God cares for this little bird, why wouldn’t he care for us?
God shows his love for his creation in simple acts like caring for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. But he also shows his love and care for us in grander ways. The greatest of those ways is on the cross. Jesus Christ lived the life you and I were called to live but failed and died the death we deserve for our sin. He then rose from the dead defeating sin and death for all those who trust in him. If he handled our biggest problem, he can be trusted with everything else. He is the God of the little bird and the God who defeats death. When you are feeling uncertain, remember that God is not. He is in control and he loves you. God is your good Father and he’s also the powerful King. What a secure place to live!
Grace and Peace,
Unprecedented times. A phrase I’m sure we’ve heard 1000 times over the past month. I understand why. In many ways, we have never experienced anything like this. In one sense, this really is a unique time in history. But I find myself thinking about how, in another sense, it’s not all that different after all; Easter Sunday is still our ultimate hope.
I think the Coronavirus crisis has had the effect of hooking an amplifier up to the same types of feelings that we had when life was “normal”. It has taken the volume knob of many thoughts, fears, worries, and bad habits from a 3 and cranked them up to a 10. While this season is unique in many ways, it is really not that different after all. Think about it. A few months ago you had things that worried you. You had relationships that were on the rocks. You had personal habits that were not healthy. Do you know why that is? It’s because sin and death in all their forms are universal. They are a result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden. In Genesis 3 we learn what happened.
“therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”
We were cut off from the source of life. We were removed from God’s presence. Our new reality was one of death and suffering; of sin and failure; of pain and brokenness. Things were bleak. However, if we backtrack for a moment, we see a glimmer of hope. Speaking to the Serpent, who tempted our first parents to sin, God says,
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[e] and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
And then he takes animal skins and covers over the nakedness of Adam and Eve, foreshadowing what he would do in the future. This reminds me of my favorite book, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis. In the story, it is always winter, and never Christmas. Yet we get a similar glimmer of hope. Some of the snow starts to melt. A little blade of grass peaks through. And it all leads to the crescendo when one of the characters calls out,
“This is no Thaw… This is Spring”.
In Genesis we saw the first blade of Grass sticking out, showing us that there was hope. As the story of the Bible and of human history continues we see the hope become clearer until we can shout out “this is no thaw!”
It all culminates in the story of Easter. All of the whispers and shadows find their fulfilment in Jesus. All of our hopes and dreams come true on that glorious Sunday. Jesus died the death that we all deserve for turning our backs on God. He won the right to be back with God. He rose from the dead to prove that he was powerful even over death, and made sure our hope that one day all death would be put to an end.
While that process has started, we haven’t made it to the end yet. There is still death. There is still sin. But Easter sunday screams with all of us,
“This is no thaw, This is Spring”
“Salvation belongs to the Lord” is the highpoint of not only this chapter, but of the whole book of Jonah, and the entire Bible. How do we respond to this statement?
Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Desmond Alexander
The Prodigal Prophet, Timothy Keller
A look at the ways God’s redemptive plan is shown in Genesis 37-38
Reformation Study Bible
Preach the Word (Genesis) by Kent Hughes
Trust God more than your fears.
We try to take God’s place
Jesus tells us that a pure heart is required to see God. Jesus was the only truly pure hearted man. It is by clinging to him that we have hope.
“The Sermon on the Mount: Kingdom Life in a Fallen World” by Sinclair Ferguson
“Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount And His Confrontation with the World” by D.A. Carson
“Studies in the Sermon on the Mount” by Martin Lloyd-Jones