Jeremy McGarity
·
September 10, 2020

Church is ESSENTIAL

If you’ve been to any of the Skyline Church campuses, you’ve probably heard me recite our purpose statement, “Helping people find and follow Jesus seven days a week.” That’s because the pastors, staff, volunteers, and members believe that the idea of "faith" is more than a weekly check mark on our to-do lists. We believe that following Jesus isn’t just for Sunday mornings, but a transformation from old to new life that can be built upon daily. It is unequivocally essential. 

At Skyline Church, we emphasize FINDING people because Jesus did. We see it all throughout Scripture but especially in Luke 19:10 where Jesus said, “I have come to seek and save the lost.” Another phrase you may have heard around Skyline is, “NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED.” In other words, everyone is welcome! No one needs to clean up their life, put on a tie, or have it all figured out to walk through our doors. That includes you! It includes that difficult family member, co-worker, driver that cut you off yesterday, and yes, it even includes Raider fans (I really had to pray about that one). 

In Luke 15:7, Jesus says, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Found people find people. Once people are found, it’s imperative to teach them. Not every church reaches and teaches people the same way. It takes a lot of different churches to reach different kinds of people. But here, this is how we do it ... SEVEN days a week! We’re relentlessly dedicated to teaching the truth in love, sharing the relevance of scripture, and passionately spreading the Good News of Jesus with others in our community. Every week we want to make sure people have hope to cope. Whether it is through our various worship services, small groups, classes, online devotionals, or providing meals, we're here for our community. These are just a few of the reasons why Church is Essential. 

Vice vs. Virtue 
When the health mandates shut down churches but left other places open, they delineated that liquor stores, strip clubs and casinos were "essential,” but churches were not. In other words, the things that tend to be vices in our culture were OK, but the thing that teaches virtues was not. The things that could ruin your life should remain open, but the thing that could save your life was mandated closed. It was a clear Vice vs. Virtue statement. The Bible gives a stern warning to those who make these kinds of statements: 

"How terrible it will be for people who call good things bad and bad things good, who think darkness is light and light is darkness ..." 

Isaiah 5:20 (NCV)

I've written previously about the tragic and massive increase in drug and alcohol relapses, overdoses, suicides and abuses caused by the lockdown. These tragedies continue today as our Governor refuses to make the necessary changes in the health orders to allow churches to fully minister to those in need. 

While the mandates have changed slightly, and limited attendance is now "allowed" these mandates are a blatant disregard for the centrality and essentiality of the church in the life of our culture. Many people need church, millions of people across our great country attend church every weekend, and even every day. The connections made to the Word of God and to the family of God, the practical help received and the hope that is given infuses energy to, at a minimum, get through another week. For the vast majority of church goers, it is indeed ESSENTIAL.

Hypocrisy 
These facts are completely lost on Governor Newsom whose self-interest is put before his constituents. Instead of serving those in the state he leads, he is causing great harm to those he has sworn to serve. His hypocrisy continues to be revealed on a seemingly daily basis. After announcing in May that he would be taking a pay cut of 10% and leading the way as all state workers would be taking that cut, he did NOT take a pay cut and received his regular pay while all the state workers took the actual pay cut.[1] When he was called out for not taking the cut, his spokesperson said it was an "oversight."  

Another “oversight” has to do with the wineries Newsom owns or is a shareholder in. While his wineries remain open, he has mandated that other wineries be closed.[2]At least one quality a leader must have is credibility. Credibility includes integrity which means a leader should be void of hypocrisy. Governor Newsom has lost his credibility.  

Governing officials are called “Public Servants” and they are sworn in to among other things lead the way in sacrificially serving the public good. I think Governor Newsom believes the Public should serve him. The point being, these supposed Public Servants[3] act as though they are above the rest of us. They can continue to live their lives the way they want, free from all restrictions, while the foolish peasants obey and get in line. These mandates are especially frustrating in light of the actual Covid numbers. 

The Reality of Covid Deaths
Newsom has said he is doing what is best for California. We are expected to believe this. Just like we are expected to believe the numbers of Covid cases and just like we are expected believe the number of deaths because of Covid and on and on ... When will people realize this is not about safety?

Take a look at the latest CDC charts[4] and you'll notice that deaths from Covid-19 are actually 6% of the total number of deaths that are being reported as Covid deaths. So, currently we are being told that Covid has caused 174,470 deaths in the United States. Yet, when you dig into the actual numbers on the CDC website you see they have listed that over 94% of those people had approximately 3 other significant health conditions or “co-morbidities.” 

The actual number of deaths caused by Covid is 6% of 174,470 or 10,468. While every death is tragic and we grieve for those families that lost loved ones, this is in NO WAY anywhere near the average number of flu deaths or many other causes of deaths I’ve written about before. According to the CDC, there is NO PANDEMIC. Yet, we’ve shut down our Nation, State, Businesses, Schools, Churches, and Communities and many more people have died from these shutdowns compared to Covid. 

Church is essential, people’s businesses are essential, putting food on the table is essential, schools being open for our kid’s health, well-being and education are essential. Enough is enough, we need to open up fully. Let’s pick up the pieces, hold those responsible for this huge mistake, accountable, and get our lives moving forward.   

Nothing to Fear
You truly have nothing to fear.If you are a fearful person or concerned about the virus and you just don’t believe the actual numbers, by all means wear a mask, you’re welcome at Skyline Church. We won’t judge anyone on the basis of a mask or social distancing or anything else. My job is to shepherd the flock God has given me. That means pointing out darkness and showing the light. Darkness continues to be perpetrated throughout these last six months. Fear mongering continues until people refuse to listen. How many times does theboy have tocry wolf before we ignore that cry? So far, for six months we’ve heard “wolf” folks, there is no wolf. There will continue to be cries of “wolf” from our California Governor and officials, but you can be assured there is no wolf. 

This does not mean there is not some kind of virus called Covid that if it is contrasted by a compromised immune system it could be harmful. If you have a compromised immune system or significant underlying health issues, it is NOT a death sentence, but you should take precautions, not just because of Covid but because of your health in general. The point being, you should do this during flu season too. If your health is compromised, by all means, be cautious. But, that doesn't mean everyone in the world should wear a mask and social distance from now on and forever.  

Conclusion
What do we do, where do we go from here? I suggest you live your life in freedom and in freedom from fear. Memorize verses like this that speak directly to our current time:

“Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked.” 

Proverbs 3:25

“For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.” 

Psalm 91:3

 “Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.” 

Psalm 91:6-7

 Put your confidence in the Lord, not in falsified statistics, fear mongering, or in cries of a wolf at the door. Pray that this disaster will be behind us shortly and those who would lead our great state would put the interest of the people ahead of their own. For this is Essential.   

footnotes 

[1]https://nypost.com/2020/08/21/ca-gov-newsom-didnt-take-pay-cut-after-cutting-workers-wages/
[2]http://sjvsun.com/california/sour-grapes-emerge-as-most-calif-wineries-close-while-newsoms-winery-remains-open/
[3]https://www.foxnews.com/us/pelosi-caught-getting-hair-done-at-coronavirus-shuttered-sf-salon
[4]https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm#Comorbidities

22 comments

22 thoughts on “Church is ESSENTIAL”

  1. Joshua Cramlett said:

    🙏🙏🙏🌏🌎🌍

  2. Thank you pastor Jeremy for continually reminding us. I find encouragement through your words and am thankful we can worship each week.

  3. Robbie Nigro said:

    Thank you Pastor Jeremy for your heart and your boldness to stand against the devil and his lies to destroy your Flock. You are an AWESOME Shepherd at Skyline Church. Though I dont attend there, my soon to be 99 year old mother, my sister and brother-in-law do. I have been several times since churches have been asked to close. I appreciate you for opening the doors of your Church and allowing the members to Gather, as I believe that is exactly what God wants us to do, to Gather, make a Stand, and NOT allow ANYONE to Destroy Gods Bride (HIS CHURCH). Thank You Thank You Thank You. Appreciate You Pastor Jeremy.

  4. Bernie Ahring said:

    Thank you Pastor Jeremy for telling it like it is. When your opinion is based on fact it hard to argue about what this whole thing has become. You have and I’m sure will continue to be one of God’s lights to the truth in San Diego. Go Padres – Fear the Friar’s

  5. Thank you so much, Pastor for all of your thoughts! I’m always helped by learning them from you! I appreciate you and your ways of teaching. I gain so much from them.

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  6. David Gross said:

    How do you define pandemic?

    On comorbidities: If someone who is diabetic dies in a car crash, what is the cause of death? What if they were low functioning from s sugar low when they crashed?

    I appreciate what you have to say about church being essential, and I love your preaching on the gospel and following Christ. Some of these other issues I like that high fastball that is so tempting and so hard to hit.

    • Hi David, thanks for your comments. I appreciate you thinking through this stuff and voicing your thoughts.

      I would say a Pandemic is a legitimate verifiable international health emergency. Webster’s defines it as “occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population” which is exactly what is NOT happening, which is why this is NOT a pandemic. Just take the numbers being reported by the MSM and realize the actual number is 6% of that according to the CDC. That’s why this is not a pandemic. It is being perpetrated as one, but actual data shows it is not.

      For example, California reports 14,240 Covid deaths – yet the reality is according to the CDC —- California Covid deaths are 844. Since you mentioned car accidents, let’s take that number… in 2019 the number of people who died by vehicle accidents was 3540. Yet, we did not shut down California because 3540 people died in car accidents. We did not say don’t drive. Yet we have shut down businesses, churches, and schools based on 844 actual Covid deaths. When you take suicides, alcohol, drug relapses and overdoses, there is blood on the hands of politicians for this unnecessary shut down.
      To address your example of a person with diabetes dying in a car accident… if someone with 3 co-morbidities dies with Covid, the point being, as I mentioned in the article, they are more susceptible to ALL diseases. They need to be careful for sure. But, article after article has stated and shown that those with 2 or 3 co-morbidities are likely to catch many viruses and diseases and die from a number of different diseases or other issues including heart attack, stroke, etc..

      • David Gross said:

        What a relief to find out that it’s not a pandemic.

        But, the covid deaths of people with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, etc. are still covid deaths. When contagious diseases knock off people with comorbidities, they are people whose deaths were hastened.

        Have there been reporting mistakes? Certainly. Do we know whether covid deaths have been over or under reported? Very hard to determine. Mexico is grappling with serious under reporting issues.

        It will be over 200,000 deaths in about a week in the U.S. and despite nationwide precautions, we have about 40,000 new cases daily.

        Worldwide, about 10,000 folks died today of covid. Were those folks surplus? They were going to die anyway, right? They probably had other issues.

        Should I embrace my libertarian tendencies (believe me, I have them) this year and disregard a highly contagious disease impacting every region of the world and finishing off about 1000 surplus people a day in the U.S.?

        Expert Bible teachers have reassured me that there is nothing to fear and that there is no pandemic.

        O.K. What do I do with that? How do I talk about it with my friends in medicine and biotech? How do I behave at home and at work?

        I guess our close friend who almost died of covid a couple of weeks ago and is hoping to recover at home, still on oxygen, is just a statistical outlier. And when our son contracted covid on a recent trip to Ohio, we didn’t actually need to isolate when he came home? And the lady that gave him a short ride home from the airport, caught it, and now has been hospitalized? Just an anomaly? The rash covering her body and her acute respiratory symptoms? No problem. She may recover. And the neighbor up the street who has had four people close to her die of covid? I’ll definitely point her to this blog and recommend that she memorize the verses and start coming to church here. I can see it now. I’ll have Bible in hand, mask in pocket, and tell her to cheer up and stop watching the fake news served up by the plandemic fearmongers. I’ll send her John MacArthur links to watch.

        On the home front, I’ll practice no fear, get back to normal and just help the elderly at my home get to heaven sooner? Makes a sort of sense. I’ll just embrace evangelical eugenics.

        Or not.

        What actually seems right to me is to be reasonable and responsible and loving to considerate to the vulnerable and try to reduce the spread of a mortal threat that may hasten their demise. The thing about really contagious disease is that our actions and words impact lots of folks.

        • David, I’m curious, you sound passionate by your writing. How many people do you know who have died from Covid ? Not how many you have heard about or read about. But a personal family member or friend that actually died due to Covid?

  7. Thank you Pastor Jeremy for your leadership! My family and I are new to Skyline and are blessed that we found this church family. We look forward to growing in our faith and fellowship at Skyline! Sharing the truth of faithfulness over fear! God Bless!

  8. Laura Smith said:

    Amen! I get so Bullied for stating what These same truths. I have share that although Covid is real, the numbers aren’t. I have share that only 10,000 people actually died of Covid and not the 180,000, and I get attacked because they think I’m insensitive about those 10,000, and they tell me they died senselessly. I remind them in 2017, 45 million got the flu and we didn’t shut. I Am considered selfish because I want my freedom back and get shamed because I don’t want to wear a mask. it’s not my responsibility to keep everyone safe. Masks don’t work, and the CDC use to say that healthy people should not wear masks. There is a rise of pleurisy and respiratory infections because of masks. The healthy should not have been quarantined. Anyway Thank you pastor for shedding the truth, stating the facts, and being a bold Shepherd. November 3, it will be over.

  9. Patsy Miller said:

    Thank you Pastor Jeremy, we can tell you have done your homework and are only quoting the facts.. wish someone would recall Newsome. It is a shame that this situation has caused so many wonderful small business to give up and quit, and shutdown. In most cases losing everything. Keep up the good work helping any who needs it. God is the only answer for all problems. Lean on him

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  11. Thank you for the great sermon this morning. Jerry and I were both at the 9:00 am service. Have a wonderful day!

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  12. Peggy Kauffman said:

    Peggy from Apple valley ca.
    Thank you for your wisdom. I always enjoyed your teaching at HDC. Wish we were open. So many hurting people.

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