You can’t miss the headlines. It’s on cable news 24/7. The Corona Virus pandemic has changed the world. No one really seems to know how long it will last, or how devastating it will be. Thousands of deaths have already occurred, and disastrous economic consequences are beginning to be felt. Just when people need to pull together to address the many complicated problems caused by the outbreak, political rivalries, bureaucratic complexities, and racial tensions hinder the effort.
It’s time for us Christians to step up. Often we complain about technology’s capacity for evil, but this is a time for us to leverage its capacity for good. When traditional worship services are cancelled, many churches are posting information on their websites, streaming their services, and encouraging their people to meet in small groups while maintaining safe social distance. This is a time for the followers of Jesus to dig deeply into their resources in Christ and be the church.
Many believers are unable to fellowship directly with their local worship communities these days. Staying home alone and watching a megachurch’s national television broadcast is one solution to this problem. A better one blends ancient and current practices. Meet for worship in a home (that’s the ancient part—1 Cor 16:19) with a few friends (be sure to keep safe social distance) and connect with the worship livestream from a church in your local area. One of the west Michigan churches with a livestream is Chapel Pointe at 9 and 11 on Sunday mornings. Last Sunday Pastor Joel Wayne taught us from John 4:46-54 on the Roman official’s desire for Jesus to heal his son. The son’s fatal illness caused his father to realize that he was not in control, even though he served Tiberius Caesar, the emperor of the Mediterranean world. Somehow he knew about Jesus, and when he asked Jesus for a favor, he found he needed a Savior. Jesus healed his son in a remarkable way, and he came to believe in Jesus with all his household. Today the Corona Virus shows us what we should have already known, that even with all our medical advances we are not in control of life and death, and we never will be. Will we admit this and humbly ask God for mercy as we trust in the hope found in Jesus’ resurrection?
Christians should not be characterized by fear and uncertainty during these difficult times. Our hope in Christ should keep us from what may become widespread panic. The Father is still on the throne. Jesus is at the Father’s right hand. The Spirit has been sent to empower and guide the church. The Word of the Lord is sufficient to teach us, and it endures forever. So, let’s keep encouraging one another with biblical truth, and let’s keep up on the reliable information on the virus and how to deal with it. Instead of being paralyzed by ignorance and dire headlines, let’s learn more about following the Lord faithfully and helping other people wisely.
Bethechurchmi.org is a new site designed to network ministries in West Michigan and equip them to serve their communities during this crisis. You will find biblical encouragement and practical educational resources for adults and children alike on this site. Daily messages and music began streaming on March 16 at noon EST with a message on hope as the anchor of the soul (Heb 6:19) and a stirring rendition of “Is He Worthy?”
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So teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Ps 90:12 NIV)
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:13-16 NIV)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal 6:9-10 NIV)
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Eph 5:15-17 NIV)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:6-7 NIV)