Sheptock, Rudy

Pastor Rudy Sheptock.

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We all become mirrors of what influences us most. Like it or not, we can learn more about what a person believes by how a person behaves.

Jesus empowered us to become the light of the world. Like a city on a hill, we need to be seen before we are heard. If our walk doesn’t back up our talk, we have nothing to say anyway.

As Christians, we are not expected to generate our own light, but to become reflections of the Lord who saved us by His amazing grace. Unfortunately for too many churchgoers, our major influence is not coming from the God who made us, but the surrounding world trying to squeeze us into its mold.

During this coronavirus pandemic, many with watching eyes have been looking to see how the Body of Christ would respond. Has a watching world seen Jesus through it all? Have the observers in the crowd seen anything of Jesus at all, or are they seeing in us what they can see in anybody else who doesn’t believe?

I fear that there is way too much CNN or Fox News being spouted off through the reaction of Jesus' followers and not enough Bible. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, then wouldn’t He be more reliable to trust over the latest talking head at the networks?

What bothers me most about what is going on in New Jersey's government is the blatant inconsistency. The rules are so scattered that nobody knows what to believe. Why would I look to Trenton for peace and purpose when there is so much pride, ego and division driving the daily decisions?

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. I’m not sure about anything else, but when it comes to Scripture, I know that this is the truth I can build my life upon. It is only my relationship with the Lord that has helped me keep my sanity when the boundaries of the playing field have actually changed during the game depending on who you are talking to.

However, if we are citizens of Heaven, then we know man can make all the plans he desires, but ultimately, it is God who directs the steps. I’d rather follow in the footsteps of the Master than wander around in circles trying to please the crowd.

When Jesus was on this planet, the Nation of Israel was hoping that He would step up to be the Messiah that would set them free from Roman oppression. Jesus came preaching about a kingdom that was not of this world.

I believe that too often, Americans make the same mistake with their brand of Christianity. Jesus is not a Republican or a Democrat. He is not white, yellow, red, black or brown. He can’t be bribed, bought or bullied.

Jesus didn’t fit into the box that the religious rulers of the day constructed for Him. What makes us think that He might do so today?

I want people to see the real Jesus in those of us whom He has redeemed by His mercy and grace. Jesus was not known for his picket signs, as much as He was known for pointing people in the direction of light and life. Isn’t it ironic that those who thought they knew religion best were the same ones that blatantly ignored the Son of God in their presence? Those who were defined as the outcasts and dredges of society were the ones that also admitted how much they needed Jesus.

Growing up, my dad was rather thrifty, and he made it clear that if nobody was in the room, it was our responsibility to turn the lights off. If he said it once, he mentioned it a thousand times. To this day, I can hear his voice in my head, as I walk through the church building flicking light switches.

Contrary to my earthly father’s advice, my Heavenly Father is quoting quite the opposite. He is challenging us to turn the light on and shine it as bright as possible, and when we are radiating the reflection of our Savior, we aren’t directing others to try finding the answers to the yearnings of their heart via religion, because that has never worked for anyone, but we are directing them to a personal relationship with the God who made us.

What a watching world needs to know from us is the powerful truth that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, and He will guide us whether we get the coronavirus or not. The most important move is not what mask to wear or whether life will ever get back to “normal;” the ultimate question that everyone needs to answer is, “Do I have security that despite what happens, I am forever in the best of care?”

If the Bible teaches that nothing can separate us from God's love, then are we willing to live the truth of what we claim to believe no matter what happens?

ED. NOTE: The author is the senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church, 1248 Route 9 South, Court House.