“Men Who Understood the Times, With Knowledge of What Israel Should do”
Those simple words written centuries ago describe the role of Issachar (one of the least known tribes of Israel) and have huge prophetic significance for today’s church.
Our entire world has been turned upside down in many ways. As we face a global pandemic, political, social, and economic upheaval has changed how we live, work, play, and even how we do church!
Change is never easy. Facing a new reality and knowing how to respond can be overwhelming. Our natural tendency is to hold onto what we’re familiar with. How many times have I said, “I’ll be so glad when things get back to normal.”
For me, normal means getting on an airplane and heading for another part of the world, or at least another part of the country. The reality is that things are rapidly changing and will continue to do so. We need to be people who understand the times and know how to respond effectively.
As I’ve prayed these past several weeks, three words keep coming to mind that I believe are a key part of God's strategy for this season. This is where “we” the church need to focus.
Relationship, mission, and presence
Let me explain what I’m hearing and why those words are so important
After commending the church at Ephesus for its hard work, perseverance, and hatred of evil, Jesus said; “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” The heart and soul of the Christian message is not religion, its relationship with Jesus. It’s valuing and loving people like Jesus did.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 NLT
What are we all about? What is the purpose of the church? Has our focus been sidetracked by institutional or political agendas? Has our focus become more about issues than being salt and light to a broken world? You may have heard me say this before, but I love this statement; “The church is at its best when it gives itself away!” That’s our mission. That’s why we exist!
Swiss theologian Emil Brunner put it this way, “The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning."
The presence of Jesus changes lives. It heals broken people, broken hearts, and sick bodies. God never intended the church to be anything but supernatural. The touch of the Holy Spirit can do in seconds what great sermons and programs cannot do in a lifetime. Without a fresh outpouring of His Spirit, we will never touch a complex and rapidly changing world. We need His presence! Jesus reminds us of the importance of His presence in John 15.
“Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Relationship, mission, and presence. Remember those words as we move into a post COVID world. Don’t settle for going back to the way it was, the old normal.
Let’s embrace a new day; a newer and more effective normal.
I want to take a minute and update you on our move and my health. After several months, the move is complete. We are able to stop and rest for a while. The move was long and emotional, but it’s done!
The best news is that with our amazing God and a great team of doctors, my red blood cells are now producing on their own. There is no sign of cancer! I feel full of energy and ready to go!
Thank you for all the love, prayer, and support you have given us during this time. Words cannot express how grateful we are!
Thank you, Jesus, for your healing touch and thank all of you for standing with us.
We love you and hope to see many of you soon!