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“Balancing the sovereignty of God with the responsibility of man." Pastoring a Church Through COVID-19

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2020 1:09 pm

“Balancing the sovereignty of God with the responsibility of man." Pastoring a Church Through COVID-19

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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August 4, 2020 1:09 pm

I invited my long-time pastor and friend, Jim Bachmann, to call the show following a particularly meaningful sermon on Sunday. In addition to sharing what the church he served is doing (Stephens Valley Church in Nashville, TN) , he discussed the challenges for ministering to congregants ...many who feel so isolated during these times. 


Yet, referring back to the message he gave earlier that day, he effectively pointed us to God's sovereignty, provision, and faithfulness. (THE SUFFERING SAVIOR) see below


For more, visit  




Peter Rosenberger is the host of HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER.

The nation's #1 broadcast and podcast show for family caregivers, Peter draws upon his 34+ year journey as a caregiver for his wife, Gracie, through a medical nightmare that includes 80+ surgeries, multiple amputations, and treatment by 100+ physicians. 

Learn more at


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Call 866-WINASIA or to see chickens and other animals to donate, go to Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. I am Peter Rosenberg. I'm so glad that you're with us. That is my wife, Gracie, and I just love listening to her sing.

And if your wife sang like that, you'd have her sing all the bumper music on your radio show as well, too. 877-655-6755. John, I went to virtual church this morning. I'm not able to go to our church right now here in Montana. And so I logged into my home church back in Nashville with my pastor for many, many, many years. And I was struck by a couple of things. Number one, how well organized the online service was. And then how well-miked the choir was, how well-miked the pastor was.

And everything just flowed well. There were people there, but everybody was spaced out. And there's a lot of controversy right now about churches opening.

Churches shouldn't be open. What are we doing? How do we do it? And so I asked my pastor, who graciously agreed to call in today, to call in. He's been on the show with us several times before, Jim Bachman. And I asked him, come in and just talk about churches in a COVID-19 World Pastoring Church. You were talking about your grandmother earlier before the show, who's lifelong Catholic and has to go to virtual mass now.

And that's a bit challenging. What kind of life is your grandmother live, John? But anyway, so Jim Bachman is with us. Jim, how are you feeling? Hey, Peter, how are you? I'm good. Thank you.

I'm doing all right. It was a wonderful service this morning. But I was really struck by how smooth everything went. And I know that that had to take a lot of work to put together services like that that function. And one of the things I like about what you guys do there at Stevens Valley Church in Nashville is that you are staying true to the character of who you are.

You're doing it. The order of service hasn't changed. It's very structured and organized. But you've accommodated all these things. Talk a little bit about that. Then I got a couple of questions I want to ask you. Well, I have a question for you. Since you participated virtually, it's really not a question. I'm just kind of reassuring myself. You, of course, did send in your tithe, did you not? Of course, yes.

And the shoe drops. Because of the generosity of people like Peter Rosenberger, we're able to live stream as effectively as we are. I'm glad it came across.

I'm looking for that check in the mail. You know, we're just fortunate. We just moved into a new building and it just was equipped for these things.

The Lord was looking out for us, I think. You don't even pass the operating plate there. No, we just have them posted. We don't pass the communion trays.

It's weird. And the elders that serve communion, they wear masks and gloves, of course. We encourage, strongly encourage people to wear masks, but we don't require it. And you're right, there's a little controversy about that, about social distancing and churches are doing it. Some aren't even open yet.

Some are having drive-through services. I'll tell you, the devil's clever and I think it's yet another way that he can divide us and create, if we're not careful, a little resentment, in fact. Well, I watched your choir today and noticed they're all staged apart, but the sound was great. I mean, so hats off to David and the whole team there, because when you've got people spread out that far, it's hard to get good choir sound. But you guys were able to do it and say something, I guess, about the acoustics of the place, all that kind of stuff. But everything, other than the fact that everybody seems spread out, everything looked very normal.

Well, it's becoming a little more normal. I think we had 182 people, which, you know, that's not for us a great number, but a lot of people are watching online. I'd love to take credit, but I can't. But that choir, that was the elect ensemble today, as you may have heard me say, jokingly. And I don't know, 10 people, 12 people, that sounded like 200, didn't it? Just amazing.

It really did. And I've got a, sorry about the phone line there, but it's election season and I never use this phone. For some reason, every politician in America has that phone number. Somebody's using that phone, yeah. I'm just like, how do they do that? Well, they heard you made a contribution to the church today, so they now expect you to reciprocate their campaign.

They do indeed. Well, what has surprised you about pastoring? And a big part of what I do on this show and what I've learned has come from you and my journey through the church. And I was just curious, as you have adapted, I mean, you've been a minister for a very, very long time.

What part of pastoring in this kind of world now has surprised you, maybe in a good way, and surprised you? Well, that's a great question. Some people are very cautious, more so than others. And the two groups can snip at each other a little bit. You know what I mean?

The older you are, the higher the risk to category. They may watch virtually and can just sometimes be aghast. That may be too strong a word, but why is everyone not wearing a mask?

And yet, it's kind of a matter of the conscience. And we do sit six feet apart, we do sanitize the building every Saturday before services on Sunday. We take precautions, we take temperatures, things that are fairly standard, you know. Amazingly, Peter, I think you and your wife are – we've only had four members of our church that have come down with the virus, and none of them live in Nashville. They're all remote, two in Clarksville and two in Montana. So you shouldn't have moved, you never – you wouldn't have caught the virus if you hadn't moved.

And this, of course, this is in spite of the fact that Nashville is a hotspot. So it surprised me how the masks have proven to be controversial. It's also surprised me how resilient people are, how they – well, I tell you, the pleasing thing, the most rewarding thing has been the expansion of the ministry virtually.

I mean, it's a great sermon about how God builds His church when everything seems to be stacked against us. My folks watch you now. I showed them how to do it. Mom, Dad is technologically challenged, and he's 85 and he's not liable to change that. But Mom is very technologically astute, but she is legally blind.

And so it's very difficult for them to work that out. But they have Alexa and all that stuff, and we've helped them get that so she can do a lot of voice commands. And so they just – they say, you know, Alexa, play Stevens Valley Church in Nashville on YouTube.

And it pulls it up and it streams it live, and they watch it. And I think for them, they appreciate the fact that the service is very orderly, and it feels to them like they're going to church. So really, hats off to you guys, because they're an older crowd, but that's what they want, and they want to be able to experience that. I would imagine that John, your grandmother, is probably the same way. She doesn't want to – Yeah, I was going to say, she likes the orderly thing. Pentecostal, she's not, you know. So she's not looking to turn into something that's a little bit more free-for-all.

Lively. No. And that's fine for the folks that do, but that takes a lot of work to do that. Of course. Jim, what theologically have you noticed as people are wrestling with this new thing of what they can control, what they can control?

What's – you know, all these kinds of things. Have you seen people kind of stretch theologically a little bit? Well, I think the government, rightly or wrongly, and I'm not qualified to say, but I do think people are afraid. I think people are really spooked, more so than I – I'm not. I don't know why I'm not. I'm 65. I should be – I guess that qualifies me to be in the high-risk age group. But I just have not worried about it. I do wear a mask when I'm not preaching.

I don't wear a mask if I go to the grocery store and so forth. But, you know, we're all a little different. And I think people are being challenged to trust the Lord, to realize that our times are in His hands. You know, how do you balance the sovereignty of God with the responsibility of man?

I'm responsible to take precautions and to be wise. And some people go to great extremes. Some people basically haven't been out since mid-March.

They've just become reclusive. And yet, I think those same people want to be there. They want to be engaged with the people of God.

They know they're Sunday the Lord's Day. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. But they're having to balance that with just good common sense and not throwing caution to the wind. So, you know, I'd say that's one. I think – go ahead. Well, the way I look at it is, you know, when I get in the car, I put on a seat belt, you know. Right, right, right, right.

And I'm not planning on having a wreck, but, you know, but I'm not planning on being hurt worse by the wreck by not having a seat belt either. On the other hand, Peter – excuse me, I'll interrupt you. But my dad, who may be listening to us, I think he's 89 years old now. And he told me point blank he'd rather die in church than die in his apartment. So, he's there every week with his mask on and just enjoying himself.

We have some people that are older than my father, some in their mid-90s. They are there every week. So, you know, people just read this thing differently.

They're going to respond differently. And it's really a good time, it's a good test for the church to love one another, respect one another, regardless of what our convictions are about this particular matter. Well, as I was listening to your sermon this morning, and I want to pivot just a hair, because I thought it was such a timely message of – Were you depressed by it?

No, no, I wasn't, because I love that song. John, he does summer psalms. What do you call it? Psalms for the summer. Summer in the Psalms. Summer in the Psalms. And this was Psalm 22, a favorite of mine. And it's a – you know, David is just pouring out his guts. He's very, very troubled and discouraged. And then at the end of it, he pivots.

And I love how you started at the end and worked backwards. But, you know, people are afraid. People are discouraged. People are dismayed.

And they don't know where solid ground is. And they're trying to grapple with something that, you know, as a nation, they're trying to grapple – we're trying to grapple as a nation with something we cannot control. And I think we've built up this illusion of control in our lives as Americans, as individuals here.

We're a very prosperous nation and so forth. We've had this illusion of control. My audience here as caregivers wrestle with that on a regular basis, that we are constantly dealing with stuff that we can't control. And it brings out the worst in us. It has for me.

And I've often said there's nothing like caring for a woman with disabilities for a couple of decades to expose the gunk into your own soul. And it has for me. And sadly, you've seen that gunk. But it's – you know, but as a church, have we gone through that period of real pressing? And I think that's what your sermons seem to reflect this morning. OK, this is what it's going to feel like. This is part of it.

But here's the good news. And talk a little bit about that this morning. Well, you know, I quoted you today, Peter.

Did you catch it? I know you quoted C.S. Lewis and I know you quoted Robert Louis Stevenson, but I didn't hear a quote reference to me. No, I'm afraid I didn't mention your great name. You know, I'm sorry. You're prone to leave me out sometimes. I left you out. I don't quote you. I plagiarize you.

I've noticed that. But at the very beginning, that's okay. That's all right. I did it. I turned about fair play.

At the very beginning of the service, you may not have been watching when I did the welcome. I said, you know, you hear a lot of talk about the fact that we are living in uncertain times these days. And you may remember how you told me some weeks ago that what's new about that? We've always been living in uncertain times. We just presume and assume upon the future right now. We just happen to be a little bit more aware that there's this invisible virus out there that might decide to interrupt our lives any day.

So but the truth of the matter is, it's always that way. We boast not of tomorrow, the Bible says. And so I made the point that one thing we as Christians can count on is, to quote the book of Hebrews, we're receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And therefore, let us worship God with thankfulness, with gratitude, and with reverence and awe. I think people need to really preach that to themselves.

There are some things we can count on. And how many times does the Bible say, fear not, fear not, fear not? Did you happen to catch John MacArthur's statement that he and his elders issued to his congregation about a week ago?

No, but I've been hearing about it and I have not had a chance to go out and listen to it. Well, you need to upgrade your guests and go from Bachman to MacArthur because it certainly would improve your ratings. But boy, did he ever come out with a great statement about, of course, they're in California, and there are pretty severe restrictions on the church. And he just finally, graciously, biblically pushed back and said, Christ is the king and head of the church, not Caesar.

And we don't take our orders about worship from Caesar. And I think they had not been having many people, if any, in worship. But last Sunday, a huge crowd showed up. John MacArthur just walked out on the stage and all of a sudden, this huge crowd erupted in a standing ovation.

It was almost like people were desperate for somebody to say something with some clarity. And he did so. I would encourage you and your listeners to check out his statement. You can go to, I think it's called Grace to You is the name of the website. I'm sure the statement is still there. And last week's worship service, his sermon all was online.

That was really, really very funny. He preaches a lot longer than I do, by the way. His sermons are about an hour, but this one's worth listening to.

Well, I will check that out. I've been watching the landscape of pastors and churches and so forth and how to function in this world. And I was talking to a friend of mine last night. He's a member of a church down in Nashville as well.

And it's kind of all over the map. We've got some that are just saying, you know, no. And some that are saying it's a sign of weaker faith if we wear a mask.

Some that are saying I'm not going to wear a mask or I'm going to wear a mask because I want to be this and this. Like you said, the two camps, everybody's doing it. And I'm hoping and I would like to hear your thoughts on this. As we speak to this, we can find some kind of commonality of, OK, how can we pull together in this? We don't need to beat each other up and be so defiant about one side or the other. But how can we use some common sense? And I think for me is what I saw today. You know, at Stevens Valley, your church, I just saw an enormous amount of common sense, but a resoluteness to continue on. And I thought, gosh, that that's the model right there. You know, we don't have to become belligerent.

We can, but we can use common sense, but we don't have to cower either. And I thought, you know, that that's a good balance. Am I reading it right? Well, I hope so.

Yeah, I think so. We hope we found a balance. I mean, not every church can do live stream, obviously. But we couldn't.

We really weren't ready to do it in March. I think we started live stream a month or two later. But we we recorded our services and posted them online. And, you know, I was just blown away. I think like the first week there were seven hundred and something views. And of course, as you know, a view can be a family of four sitting around.

So we don't have that many members in the church. So the minute I realized immediately that, well, this virtual thing, this Internet thing is a way to to get the word out. And one day we had had an old friend who was the doctor and an Australian who studied at Vanderbilt here and who was a member of our church back in the mid 90s. And all of a sudden I saw this name. He signed in on the virtual attendance thing. And he's watching us every week in Australia.

And another man in Spain, he and his wife are watching. And not to mention, you know, throughout Nashville, I'm sure other churches have found the same thing. It's a great way to expand the ministry, but it's also a great way for the devil to divide people. And, you know, if ever love your neighbors yourself comes into play. It surely does now because we don't need the church people bickering at each other, condemning each other, pointing fingers at each other at the time to show love and respect for each other. And I recognize there's to be an honest difference of opinion. We've opened our church.

You have to sit six feet apart. We strongly encourage the mass, et cetera, because we've got a lot of people that want to come. And so, OK, here we are. We've got a lot of people that are fearful. And so don't feel bad about that.

We understand that we have a virtual option for you. Take your pick, but don't condemn either group. And so hopefully we have found a balance. I think somebody asked me to describe what's going on in the church. And I'm sure it's not just us in one word.

I'd say it's a word frustration. Because it's just not normal, not the way we want it to be. We well, we missed the good days.

You know, we didn't realize how good it was and we could when we could do what we wanted to the way we wanted to do it as often as we wanted to. Didn't have to think about gloves and masks and sanitizing and thermometers. And the elderly people, at least in our congregation, are feeling very isolated.

Very isolated. And if you have a surgery, if your wife has surgery, you drop her off at the hospital, you're not able to go in. We went through that with my mom when she fell and broke her hip about two months ago, and the paramedics told my dad at the door, say goodbye here. Yeah, that's right.

For her husband of 60 years, plus a pastor. That is mind numbing, you know, to come to grips with of not being able to. I mean, you know, the only time I stopped was at the door of the of the surgery room when I was with Gracie.

There are times I actually scrubbed and went in and you know, and so to think about that is just heartbreaking. And I know that there are a lot of pastors as well as parishioners who are struggling with, you know, this aloneness of it. And I thought that that when you touched on that this morning, when you said, you know, he's never going to abandon you, never may feel like it, but he's not. And we cry out and and and John is a big fan of C.S.

Lewis as well. And and I want you to close it up with what you said about, you know, from the Chronicles of Narnia when they played with Aslan and just just kind of paint that picture again, because I think this is so important for listeners to know and for me to know, I got to hear this in the last just two or three minutes we got of the question that Lucy asked. I think it was Lucy that asked of Aslan about Edmond and then what his response was and what that means to us.

Right. Well, of course, to set the context, Edmond. What was that? What was that candy that he liked? He loved that Turkish delight and the Wicked Witch had him in the palm of her hand the whole time before he even knew it.

But he kept eating that Turkish delight and telling her about everything that she wanted to know. And next thing you know, he was he was in her grip and he basically sold his soul to the Wicked Witch. And the other three children were still loyal to Aslan and they realized that Edmond had become a traitor and Edmond had left them. And so they asked the great lion, who's the Christ figure, can anything be done to save our brother Edmond?

And Aslan C.F. Lewis is a terrific writer, of course, and Aslan said, all shall be done, but it may be harder than you think. And Psalm 22 is a picture of how hard it was and what all the suffering that Jesus went through. And so we, Peter, I guess we shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves, should we?

We have to endure some social isolation and the frustration of COVID-19. Look what our Savior has done for us, how hard it was. And yet he showed the full extent of his love. And even though he prayed that the cup might pass from him, the father said, no, there's no other way.

And Jesus, for the joy that was set before him, redeeming unworthy sinners like you and me, he endured the cross and the shame and all that to bring righteousness to us and purchase everlasting salvation for us. Well, and this is the resolute anchor that we have in our lives, in our hearts that quell those things when we are faced with these very troubling times. And in my audience, we're no stranger to the uncertainties, you know, in these uncertain times. We've never had certainty. I've never had certainty in my entire married life of 34 years now of dealing with these health care issues. And so I've learned to be able to be calm in the midst of this.

I don't own it. I'm getting better at it than I used to be. I was making progress, but it's slow progress, my wife would tell you. But I'm just learning to be calm. But I would encourage all of you listening, if your church is struggling with kind of where to land on this, go check out Stevens Valley Church dot com and just take a look at what they've done and how they've done it. And a lot of churches are doing this, pulling together, trying to find that place where, you know, you don't want to be belligerent about things. But at the same time, we don't need to be cowering about things. It's a new normal.

But it's different, but it doesn't have to be bad. And that's a worthy aspiration for all of us. Good words from Pastor Jim Bachman, Stevens Valley Church dot com. Jim, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you, Peter. I think, you know, Hannity calls Levin the great one, but Bachman calls Rosenberger the great one. Way to go, man.

The great one. Thank you for your lack of judgment. All right. This is hope for the caregiver. Hope. Thank you. You, too. Love you, too. Hope for the caregiver dot com.

Healthy caregivers make better caregivers. We'll see you next week. John, John, you know, do you know that there's a pandemic going on? You know, I read a couple of stories here and there. You saw something on Twitter.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I went I went into I went into Wal-Mart and they said I had to wear a face mask. I'm like, cool, but why? Hey, pants are not required, but face masks evidently are in Wal-Mart. I just thought they were telling me I was a little bit ugly.

It's like Rodney Dangerfield says they told me I had to wear two face masks. But it's the reason I'm referencing that is because, you know, of our work for many years with prosthetic limbs and we can't go to Ghana right now. And I certainly am not going to take Gracie over there. We've been going to to to Ghana for many, many years to help work with amputees over there. But we've been sending supplies and we're sponsoring more patients, but we're not sending teams right now because we just can't. And we've got patients that are lining up that are really needing some quality prosthetic care. And we're contracting out with prosthetic providers there in West Africa, in Ghana. And they're helping these patients that we really are urgently trying to treat. We get them up walking. One of them is and, you know, one of the criteria we have for their patients, John, is we we target children and working age adults, children, students and working age adults. And really in that order. Gotcha. Because we want to give them a fighting chance to have a productive life with a quality prosthetic limb.

This is what Gracie envisioned after, you know, losing her own legs. And it's not that we don't want to help aging or so forth. It's just that that's where our targets are. And lately we've been having a lot of these.

Yeah. And we've had a lot of kids. We've had some students that are getting close to their graduation, but they're constantly needing prosthetic adjustments or a new leg, a new socket, new liners and sleeve. And we're trying to ship things over. We're trying to sponsor things and contract with the workers there to do it. And we could use the help. So I'm asking, would you just take a moment to go out to, look at the work we're doing, look what you're seeing and get involved. And you can certainly write us and ask us any questions about it. But we would love to have your help today. We really need it today for any donation amount, whatever's on your heart.

Doesn't matter. We're going to send you a copy of Gracie's CD. And we just want you to know that this is this is what we're serious about doing. We've been doing this for a long time. We can't go over there in person, but guess what?

We could still help them get up and walk. And you could be a part of that today. It's a gift that keeps on walking. I came up with that myself, John. Oh, yeah.

Did you? Pretty proud of that. The gift that keeps on walking.

But it does. And with Gracie being a double amputee herself, we understand that in our world. In fact, we're dealing with prosthetic stuff right now with her.

And because she's constantly needing adjustments and so forth. And so we understand the need and we're asking you to help with it today. So go to today. Thanks so much.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 10:39:44 / 2024-01-24 10:51:55 / 12

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