When checking my email this morning I received an email from pastors.com. This URL belongs to Rev. Rick Warren’s ministries at Saddleback Community Church in California. Warren is the author of books such as The Propose Driven Life.
Pastor Warren sent out an editorial of sorts, I guess it could even be seen as a blog post. I thought his ideas were meaningful to our new circumstances and I wanted to share at least some of it with you and I will probably put some of my own in here as well,
Not everything you hear is true – Not everyone with an opinion on the internet, television, and social media knows what they’re talking about. You need to be selective with you listen to during this time. Many people in the coming days will have their own agendas – financial, political, etc. for this crisis.
Keith’s Comments – This has been a pet peeve of mine for a very long time, particularly on Facebook and other social media platforms. We pass on material that is untrue because perhaps we receive it from a trusted friend or other source. They may have been a trusted source too. But somewhere back down the line, someone was trusted who should not have been trusted and for whatever the reason passed on things that were simply untrue. Since this crisis started the number of daily false emails has tripled. Sure, that is only three but from people who claim to follow Jesus’ words remember, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” I am the “truth.” We are called to be people of truth and it hurts all our witnesses when we spread things, even unknowingly, that are not true. It doesn’t take long to investigate these things. Take the time. If you don’t want to investigate or you are unable, ask that trusted source you got it from if they verified. If you don’t know for sure, don’t contribute to the problem.
Not Everyone is at Equal Risk in this Pandemic – The history of Covid-19 is very clear. People over the age of 60 and those who have preexisting conditions are most vulnerable. If you’re in these categories, please be careful. I know, as a pastor, you want to be serving your congregation [Remember Warren is addressing pastors with this post, but it applies to us all]. You need to look for a safe way to do that. Be faithful, not foolish. This will pass.
DrB: I am not afraid of the virus, but I also know I need to be careful. A lack of fear is not a license to act in irresponsible ways. I am responsible for at least a portion of the health of someone else. If I act irresponsibly, yes I put myself at risk, but I also put Cindy at risk and that is not something I should ignore. Also, none of us can care for others or do ministry if we ourselves are infected. If you fall into the highest risk categories, as I do, you must be careful for yourself and for others around you.
Warren: We need to do what the health professionals recommend. We need to take the common sense actions that will decrease the spread of the virus. We won’t need to make these changes forever. Our churches will gather again.
Focus on what’s unchanging not what is changing. There will be many changes to your world, your community, and your ministry in the coming weeks. It’s safe to say you don’t even know all the changes this pandemic will have on you and your community. You’ll do things to serve your community and your congregation you never dreamed of a year ago. Be flexible, but remember what hasn’t changed.
Boy, how we have faced change in the last few weeks. I don’t think I have spent as many waking hours in the house in the past year as I have since this started. I realize that is probably an exaggeration Still, we have also spent far more time inside than most of us are used to doing. When we can’t go to work or for some, in a store and so many things we have seen change during this stressful time. I will share a couple of things that are changes we have enjoyed. Though we may be limited, gas prices are way down. Since it is a result of the virus, hopefully when it is over they will stay down for awhile. We have also learned that we can sustain far more change, quick change, than we ever wanted to do. But, as Pastor Warren said, we need to remember the things that don’t change and God and Scripture lead the way.
God will go through it with you. This virus didn’t surprise God. God will walk through every bit of it with us. You may feel alone at times. You may even feel like no one understands the demands of life and work are on you right now. But we will never be alone.
If we believe in God’s omnipresence, and we do, then we believe God is always with us. God is with us in every waking moment and when we rest. God is with us when we are the servant God calls us to be and God is there and God is with us when we run to Nineveh.
This is not the end of the story. The Bible says, “In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down we get up again… because we know that God raised the Lord Jesus to life” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 14 CEV). Easter reminds us that we win no matter what happens. Even if this virus takes our lives, we will go straight into the presence of God. On that day, all of our pain, sickness, and sorrow will be over. There won’t be a COVID-19 virus in heaven. we don’t know what the future holds, but we do know who holds it.
DrB: More than 20 years ago, I watched a sermon delivered by the Late Rev. Dr. William Hinson on the four ways that God heals people. Quickly, the first is by sending us to the right doctor. The second way is by miraculous healing. The third was by telling us, “My grace is sufficient for you.” And then the fourth way, is by calling us home where there is no more disease, no more pain, no more fever, no more cough. In this, Warren is correct. But I would also mention, throughout history there have been devastating diseases infecting large numbers of victims. But God was then and still is in charge and will see us through.
God wants to use our churches to help others. I know your church is going through an incredible challenge right now. But God doesn’t want to just take your church through this crisis. He doesn’t just want your church to survive during this period. He wants it to thrive. This is the difference between how we deal with pain as believers and how the world does. The church sees every need in the world as an open door for ministry.
DrB: God wants us to thrive, individually and collectively as individual congregations and as the greater Church. There was much work for the Church to do before this started. There will still work for the Church to do in the days ahead. Some of it will be the same. Some will be new. But, God will still be there. God will is at work now and will be at work when this crisis ends. Let’s all stick together and move forward with God.
Have a blessed evening.
Seeking the Genuine,
Source: http://www.pastors.com “7 Truths to Hang On To”