Being cautious and considerate of your community in no way indicates a lack of faith.
Case in point: A religious group in Korea insisted that their congregants press on and attend church functions regardless of common sense precautions or government restrictions. That same organization has now been identified as the epicenter of the spread of the thousands of cases of COVID-19 in their country including the tragic deaths of some their own members.
I am not saying it is wrong to still meet – particularly if your church has the facilities and capabilities to offer thorough disinfection before and every gathering and people are not packed in too closely together. But please don’t judge faith levels – even your own – according to whether or not you decide to hold or attend gatherings right now.
The Jesus who told us “In this world you would have trouble” would not have us proudly prance around as if we’re immune. Rather, our Maker would have us walk humbly and love deeply with sensitivity about the situation and dependence on HIM rather than rely on our own stubborn ability to “press on with business as usual no matter what”.
Perhaps the realization that we are not in control begets the greatest faith of all.
What if closed church doors prompt a remembrance that being the Church has nothing to do with a building? What if the Coronavirus Pandemic teaches us that God’s love extends way beyond just those who gather in buildings or have organized programs? Perhaps that is the good that will come out of this horrible virus. Didn’t someone say once that “all things work together for good?”
So let’s give each other in the faith community grace as we navigate how to be a faith community in the midst of this pandemic. I mean, it’s the first time in most of our lifetimes we’ve had to deal with anything like this. There’s no script here.
What’s the worst thing that could happen as far as faith communities go? We get even more controlling and “judgy”.
The choice of whether this empowers us to love more like our Maker or further impedes our ability to genuinely help those He died for is ours.
As I am writing this, today is Sunday. Some of us will go to church today. However, we can spend the entire day in church and spend most of our time giving to others and still not be walking in true faith and dependence on our Maker.
If we feel the need to obsess and scheme about how things are going to work out and how we can “make it happen”, our faith in God may be a facade.
Our scheming and stressing about how it is all going to work out is putting pressure on and faith in ourselves. Period.
The teaching on Saul’s Radical Encounter by Billy Humphrey a couple weeks ago at New Bridge Church in Atlanta is really speaking to me right now.
Follow any of the links in this blog to listen to the entire teaching. If you’re tired of church as usual that really doesn’t seem to impact culture and you long to see what a church touched by the fire of God really looks like, it will be well worth your time.
Back in the 1500’s, they had to find creative ways to survive without posting on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Not sure I would have done well. I might have been alright without some of the modern conveniences like TV and superfast transportation. But to try to survive without social media?? YIKES!!
But, they did have there ways around it. The Christian reformer, Martin Luther, was known for posting a list of 90-something things he thought were wrong with the church in his day on the door of the church. Apparently, for theologians, priests, professors, and seminary students of that time – the big wooden church doors were their version of twitter of blog sites where they posted questions, discussion, and opinion of things.
Came across a blog post about his list of ideas that changed the culture of religion in his day. It may be several centuries later, but some of his thoughts are still so relevant to the state the church finds herself in today. No, we’re not lining the pockets of priests and kings in order to pay for “get out of Hell” passes for loved ones who have died. But are some of us giving to get or trying to buy blessings for ourselves with our offerings or charitable acts? Just a little food for thought. Click here to check out the full article.
On Oct. 31, 1517, an outspoken university lecturer and Augustinian monk named Martin Luther posted a list of objections to the dominant Roman Catholic beliefs and practices of his time. Chief among his grievances was the church’s claim that Christians could buy their way out of punishment for sin — and thus shorten their time […]
Perhaps authentic worship is likely to be counter-cultural rather than a means to be successful within our culture.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24
I was so blessed to participate in #ConquerConference2016 and spend an afternoon with some beautiful women as we learned together how to better hear the voice of our #GoodGoodFather through #AbidingPrayer. And the beautiful church we were in recorded our breakout session – so you are more than welcome to join us through the power of technology.
(The information below was included on the handout mentioned in the conference video).
Thank you for joining me in this journey of learning to pray and live from a position of “pre-paid” connection with the only source of Truth and LIFE rather than from a position of constant seeking and chasing for blessings and answers from God.
Key Verse: “If _________________ abides in me, and my words abide in _________________, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for _____________.” –John 15:7
(Write your name in the blank instead of “You”)
Meditate daily on Key Passage, John 15:1-11.
Also, dig deep into the whole “root system” of God’s word by finding other passages referencing the same or similar concept of abiding, staying, or uniting with God.
Commit the passages that touch you most deeply to memory. Write personalized confessions based on these passages and speak them out.
Checking where you are praying from is just as important as how you pray. Visualize your position in Him (whatever reminder picture He puts on your heart that helps you see yourself as a much loved daughter who has always had her Father’s ear).
Don’t be afraid of imagination and visualization in your Prayers. God is the author of these concepts – not the new age movement. Consistency combined with a passionate listening style of prayer that incorporates all of the senses God gave you will change prayer from a task that may or may not produce results to a lifestyle of powerful connection with your Creator.
Abide In Christ: A 31-Day Devotional for Fellowship with Jesus – Andrew Murray
The Practice of the Presence of God – Brother Lawrence
God Is Closer than You Think – John Ortberg
Fervent – Priscilla Shirer
Hosting the Presence – Bill Johnson
Seeing is Believing: Experiencing Jesus through Imaginative Prayer – Greg A Boyd
Wow…. If you do art and/or ministry (it is challenging to do one without the other, actually), this is a #MustSee. Plus the fact that one of my favorite artists is talking with one of my favorite authors about one of my favorite books of the Bible and the authenticity that is often so lacking in westernized Christianity today. Again, WOW….
Do you ever wonder why when you try to live selflessly, thankfully, and authentically it seems like every element in rhe entire universe is aligning to try stop you from doing so?
The answer to that question lies in some ancient words….
Centuries ago, the Apostle Paul was mentoring Timothy and wrote him a letter. In that letter – now a part of the Bible – God was giving His Church a glimpse of what life would be like in our modern times.
Paul was telling Timothy that the “latter days”, a.k.a. our modern age, would be characterized by people who are relentlessly greedy, self-seeking, lazy, and ungrateful… among other things. In essence, this passege tells us that the spirit of our modern times is selfish pride. So, when we strive to live beyond ourselves to walk out a lifestyle of kindness and humility, we are actually rebelling against the evil “spirit of the age” that Paul wrote to Timothy about so very long ago.
No wonder it feels like all hell itself is coming against us when we strive to live beyond ourselves! Does this mean we shouldn’t live in the beautiful love-led way Jesus modeled for us when He walked our streets? Of course not! That kind of selfless love-driven life is exactly what He made us for. So keep going for that kind of life, friends…. a life so much bigger than what you see around you and the pretense on your TV and computer screen.
But, keep in mind… When you live like that you are being a rebel against our very times for the cause of Christ. So don’t you dare do it without Him. And don’t you dare do it alone. Depend on God’s strength – not your own. And stay in community, a Bible-based church (like my Amazing Church) where you’re surrounded and supported by other “rebels” against the spirit of this selfish age.