Exodus 14:11-15; 15:22-25; 16:1-12 ; 17:1-3
Grumblings, fear, obstacles and impatience. As we come out of this pandemic, many are starting to devise “way forward” plans. When we read about Israel coming out of Egypt, we find that at every turn the people GRUMBLED at Moses – not the LORD GOD, but Moses. Leadership must always be on display during and after a crisis. As Pastors, State and country leaders all across the globe look to move past the quarantine orders and try to move their respective areas back to a “Normalcy,” there will be must scrutiny about plans and progress.
I have written a couple Facebook entries that expressed the concern that people, institutions, churches and governments will try to “Go Back” to what life was like before. To me that is like trying to put the genie back into the bottle after it has been let out. Israel always wanted to GO BACK to Egypt when something became inconvenient or uncomfortable. Even when they were on the cusp of going into the Promise Land the first time, many let their fears and anxieties rule the day. Something that Israel never did learn the during the 40 years of “Wilderness Wanderings” was that GOING BACKWARDS was not an OPTION. No matter the problem they faced going forward [armies in pursuit, no water, no food, or giants in the Land] going back to what Egypt offered was never considered by GOD. It was HIS plan that Israel should always live in the Promise Land. He made this known to Abram, Isaac and Jacob multiple times.
Now, as Christianity has stepped up during this pandemic to make sure that services and care for their congregations took place; the NEXT STEP is a vital one. Will Churches and Believers move forward? During this critical time, there has been great outpouring of people providing humanitarian relief and support – AMEN. But we must remember that the CHURCH must be the Light in the World not Government bail outs and stimulus packages. I laud the great benevolence and care provided by the masses – But I know they are looking to get past this time and return to their normally comfortable life.
This begs the question: what have we learned from all of this?
- In difficult times mankind will pull together to help those in need
- Governments will try to eradicate the problem
- Money will be the first choice to eliminate the discomfort from the crisis
- The Church can be counted on to COME out of isolation to be a Light to the World
- People will always grumble against Leadership
- There will always be those who rebel against the PLAN
- People are more in a hurry to get past an issue than to learn the LIFE LESSONS of going through it
- People are always in a hurry to get control back of their lives
- God is God in the good times and the difficult times
- Life adjustments must be made individually, not levied by Public opinion
- Mankind can live without all the excesses; basic needs always outweigh the wants in a crisis
These are just some thoughts I have about this phase of the pandemic we are experiencing. The bold question to be answered by all of us; believers and non-believers alike: WHAT DID THIS PANDEMIC DO TO ME? WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT MYSELF? God has provided this time for a reason. If we only look at the minute details of the pandemic, which I am sure many books will be written about- then we have missed this ETERNAL MOMENT!
I think this pandemic is a wake up call to the Church to get busy with God’s mission of saving the Lost through the Gospel and charity. In that this is a global problem I also believe it is a warning to mankind to become human again. Mankind had gotten to a point of such myopic living the reins had to be pulled back. A third thing I think should be that we learn what is essential and what is luxury. I had hoped we would stay in this until Christians become unified and collaborative – my fear is we haven’t learned anything.
So Going Forward, not Backward what is it that the LORD GOD wants you to learn and do?
Not WHEN BUT HOW
The last month has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and news announcements about the Covid-19 pandemic! I am sure that all of you are stressed out and tired of hearing about the every-changing, daily updates as I am. We have had to deal with the morphing of the virus and movement across the world. The daily updates and statistics have now moved to a new demanding answer -WHEN can we come out of Stay At Home orders and resume our life as normal? This includes getting our economy back moving, shop openly, eat out, go back to work and last of all the number one question I hear is WHEN can we go back to Church?
I have passed on as much information from various sources to our pastors and leadership. This question is being researched and scrutinized by everyone. I have heard some churches are looking at going back as soon as April 26th. Others have taken a more cautious approach and looking at Mid-June. So, what is the criteria that will determine when we are allowed to “congregate” again? I made a public statement yesterday and supported the Union Baptist Association and the Austin area of not moving too swiftly on this matter. Basically, I support a first part of June return date.
I know everyone is antsy to get back to NORMAL. But coming out of this GLOBAL PANDEMIC we have to ask what is normal, and what do we think we are returning to? I have been persuaded to ask many questions about that last question – what are we going back to? I posted a blog last week at “preachbetweenthelines.com” on GOING BACK IS NOT AN OPTION.” Israel always wanted to go back to Egypt when there were obstacles and struggle along the journey to the Promise Land. I want to share an “Exit Strategy” from Covid-19 as we come out of the stay at homme order and return to the NEW NORMAL. Before I talk of the strategy, there is a burning question every person and church must ask; HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED because of the pandemic and WHAT IS THIS NEW NORMAL? I ask these questions because in reality we have to ask DID NORMAL WORK? To return to a system or status that did not work, seems ludicrous.
As we come back to our Churches, then we must make sure to get this right – for if we miss this eternal moment in the life of Mankind, I fear there may not be another opportunity for repentance and revival of the Church and salvation for the Lost. That being said here are five principles every church and pastor must consider: [these principles attributed to my friend Dr. Tom Cheyney of Renovate ministries]
1. Be Clear in your Directions; make sure you communicate clear, leaving no doubt as to what you want the people to do or not do.
2. Be Confident in your Desires; this means being sold out to the ideas and actions you are going to implement or change.
3. Be Committed in your Decisions; no waffling – stand strong in the direction you are going. People will need to see confidence and your personal commitment to the plan.
4. Be Corrected by your Defeats; this means be flexible and allow for somethings that will not work but be ready to adjust when necessary. I would add, do not be in a hurry.
5. Be Conscious of God’s Dependability; God is faithful, He is immutable -does not change. God the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I would add that is more important HOW we come Back than it is WHEN we come back. Our return to the buildings we call the Church cannot be about our assembling together again. It must be about the praise and worship of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.
Many churches will probably return back to the same “routine normal” they left. Seeing this period of the virus only as an interruption and nothing more – that would be a grave mistake. The Churches have filled the airwaves and internet with their services and sermons. These have engaged and impacted the lost world. SO much has been done to help mankind to weather this storm. My prayer is that the LOST will not look around in a few weeks and ask “WHERE DID THE CHURCH GO? Only to have someone tell them “OH, THEY WENT BACK TO THEIR BUILDINGS!”
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Tagged as decisions, Desires, did normal work, directions, How to return to church, immutability of God, Life change, new normal, WHEN to Return to church