By: Rich McFate
I trust that The Lord is meeting your needs physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The other day while driving through Laurel’s malfunction junction, (yes you know it, the suggested four way stop that confuses drivers as to whose turn it is to go at the corner of 1st Avenue and 1st Street), I saw a sign posted on the Vue and Brew movie theater door. It read something like, “We Miss Our Customers”.
I know some of you are missing life as it once was. I am missing going to work, meeting with friends, fellowshipping with people, and worshipping our Lord as a corporate congregation. In light of all these changes, what are you finding, or doing right now that is being a blessing to yourself and others? Let us know in the comments below.
I know some people are using this down time for yard work, garden prep, deep cleaning and organizing. Others are watching every detail of breaking news, hanging out on social media, and catching up on all the media that they were too busy to watch and listen to before. Some families have begun eating more meals together, playing games and having good conversations. Our family has spent some time reading the Gospel of John aloud together. It has been delightful. I hope that you are finding that time in the scriptures has been amplified in significance.
In the book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit of God wisely guides the author to write these familiar verses.
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT
I am now seeing the truth of these verses through a fresh perspective. Even a month ago, I would have told you that this verse is telling believers to help other Christians to love, do good works, and to try to reach out to those who for whatever reason have quit, or withdrawn being involved in body life. Now I see that it will take even more creativity and motivation to make sure that these things are happening. It now is certainly more convenient for people to separate themselves in more ways than just physical proximity. If no one is reaching out to you, then please reach out to someone yourself. Keep doing that repeatedly!
We talk about the need to be connected with one another. We have learned that it is a real spiritual battle. Now that battle is not just spiritual, but physical and technological.
Grace Bible Church is now holding Sunday services in a virtual way. Increasing numbers of us are using Zoom and other apps to connect online for Life Groups, prayer meetings, encouragement, discipleship, fellowship, counseling, etc.
Are you one of those who are involved in spurring one another on in love and good works through these tools? Are you helping others to meet to together? Here is the double challenge. If you can use these methods, then help others also learn to use these connecting platforms. If you are feeling overwhelmed by it all, then please reach out to someone in the church who can help you. You can do it. It just will take a little instruction, support, practice, and likely repeat.
We cannot afford to wait until life returns to normal and we are able start our spiritual lives together anew in the new facility. The new church building is sitting there empty just waiting for us to enter the doors. However, as Pastor Chris has told us repeatedly, the church is not the building, the church is us, the believers. If the body of Christ cannot grow and thrive without a physical building, then really what kind of body of Christ will we be when we get into that new building? Will all of our giving towards, praying for, and anticipating ministry within the new structure have been in vain? Let it not be so! Imagine the joy it will be for our church body, who has worked diligently to be growing and connected in these trying times, to gather and unite in one spirit to serve and glorify God!
Bible teacher and pastor Dr. Tony Evans shared these ways to connect in a recent email. I hope you find them helpful. We are physically distancing, not socially distancing. Stay connected to each other.
1. Call a friend – Just to hear the voice of a new person can be a great encouragement to someone. Keep the conversation positive, and laugh together.
2. Meet with your small group – Get together with your small group or community group virtually. Tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger all offer group video calls where you can see each other’s smiling faces even from your own homes.
3. Keep tithing – Many churches are continuing to produce recorded or live-streamed videos for Sunday morning services, children’s resources for doing church at home, and providing daily encouragement to their congregations. Remember that the church is not the building and even as we gather remotely, resources are required to keep the ministry moving forward.
4. Write a letter – We all get way too many emails, but how special is it to get something that someone hand-wrote in the mail? You can brighten someone’s day by kicking it old-school and penning a letter to someone. And don’t worry about your handwriting. It’s the thought that counts.
5. Only post positive – Social media can be a dreadful place during times like these. Commit to posting the positive things that are happening, and encourage others to do the same. Rather than complain about being stuck at home, rejoice in the newfound time you have.
6. Shop for someone – If you know of someone in your community who is elderly or is at high risk as it relates to this illness, offer to do some grocery shopping for them. Just be sure to get them to the person in a way that helps keep them isolated and safe.
7. Pray together – Many people have used the excuse that they don’t have time to pray. Well, we all have the time now. Take a few minutes out of each day to pray for family, friends and your community. And if you like praying with other people, invite them to join you by phone or online.
8. Encourage your family and neighbors – Kids can be especially sensitive to the moods and attitudes of the adults around them. While there is a lot of uncertainty today, we can mitigate that by speaking frankly with kids about what is going on, but also offering encouragement because God is still on His throne, and He will see us through this.
9. Play together – The internet has given us innumerable opportunities to play and relax with people all around the world. Whether it’s through a video game, online chess or watching a movie with friends online, find ways to enjoy leisure time together when distance separates us.
I hope that you found this post informative and helpful. UNLOCK BONUS CONTENT by reading Hebrews 10:19-25. Reflect upon what the blood of Jesus will “let us” do .
Beyond the blog comments, I know some of you reading this also have things you can share to encourage our church body. If you would like to make a blog contribution to GBC for consideration, please send your blog submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.