“Fear on every side!”
Jeremiah the Prophet suffered horrible mistreatment in his time. Although greatly honored now by both Christians and Jews, there were very few who did anything with his words except to recite them as mockery. “Fear on every side!” they would say, making sport with his words. I can see these mockers in my mind now, laughing as one of them spreads his hands and parodies the prophet. But they were to eat their words, for soon they hid in fear of the Babylonians, waiting for either starvation or for sword or for captivity.
We face similar times now. To preach ‘fear on every side’ is very appropriate now more than ever, even more than Jeremiah’s time. And while I’m not advocating foolish doom and gloom preaching, I certainly think it is relevant to warn both the world and the church that perilous times are coming. If we truly believe that Jesus is returning soon, then we know that the world will be plunged into the greatest darkness it has ever known. It will be much worse than Jeremiah’s time, and it won’t be for one nation only, but for the entire world. The Bible says that, in that time, Michael the archangel will stand up (or, as it may also be rendered, stand down) and, ‘there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time (Daniel 12:10). In other words, the angels of God that presently work to help hold back the tide of wickedness in this world will be instructed to cease; and Satan will have free rein for the space of seven years. He will even have power during that time to wag war with, and overcome, the saints (God’s people. Rev 13:7). It will certainly be a time of ‘fear on every side.’ And we would do well as pastors and evangelists and ministers of the gospel to warn the people of these things. There will be great temptation to stay away from topics like this. I’m afraid that many churches do for fear of mockery and contempt. But we must realize that we are called to bear the same cross that Jeremiah bore, and that Jesus Christ also bore, for He also preached doom upon His nation, being likewise greatly mocked (Matthew 23:33-38, 27:28-31, 39-42). But if you and I are faithful to preach the ‘whole counsel of God,’ we have the promise that we will ‘save both yourselves, and them that hear you’ (1 Tim 4:16).
Church = Family
I’ve come to realize that church should be more like a family than anything else. The church is the body of believers, the body of Christ, the family of God. We are His children. We should be closer to each other than our own blood. We should do life together, eat together, sing together, play together, work together, cry together, and celebrate together. The Bible says that we should love one another zealously. But how can we do that it if we only know each other from shaking hands at Sunday morning service? I’ve become more and more convinced that our lives should be wrapped up in the church. Not the building, of course, but the family–the family of God.
This is how many churches used to be, but are not so much any more. I don’t mean that there are not any churches like this, but I’m afraid that most churches aren’t. As a young man, my life was wrapped in the church. I was there whenever the doors where open. My wife was the same way when she was younger. She was at the church almost everyday. It was her life. She loved it. She loved the mission, she loved the family atmosphere. I hope to foster this kind of atmosphere at our church. I have now become intentional about it. Pray for us as we work in this direction.
The Chaffee Family
The Chaffee family is doing well! The kids are in a private Christian school where they are thriving! We are super thankful that the state of Florida provides scholarships for private schools. Our children are able to get a quality education at a Christian school at no cost to us (and savings for the government!).
Our youngest son, Roger, just turned one! He is a blessing and the older kids adore him. Having a big family is a lot of fun. I highly recommend it!
We are still praying and looking for a place to live that we can call our own. Pray that God will open the right door and shut the wrong ones. Also, pray that the church can grow to the place where it can provide for us a salary.
Thank you so much for those who have supported us! You are a great blessing!