We just finished week four of isolation. We were told recently that we still have two more months. Now what? Personally, I think God wants us to intentionally prepare for what’s next. There will be a day when we aren’t stuck in our homes anymore and we should use this time we have wisely.
When this is done, I believe the Church will see a surge of people who are desperate for community and a place to belong. We have been earnestly praying for revival. What if this is how He brings it about? I carved out a little bit of time with the Lord and asked Him how He wanted us, as a family, to prepare. This is what I feel like we are supposed to be doing. I encourage you to set aside some time to ask God how He wants you to prepare.
- Pray – This has to be first. Our church is a part of Unite714. It is a collective prayer effort to join churches from around the world at 7:14 am and pm everyday. We are praying for the virus to stop spreading, healing for the sick, and for God to use this to draw people to Himself.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).
2. Be Expectant – We must have hope. Life will go on and this will be behind us. I personally do not believe that this is the end of the world. But, even if it were, we have hope! We know that death is not something to fear, because we get to spend eternity in Heaven with God.
“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality,” (Romans 12:11-13 MSG).
“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
Romans 5:3-5 MSG
3. Check Your Heart – This is a perfect time to go into those hard-to-reach places in our hearts and take inventory. How are you doing? Are there any offenses, walls up, fears, places where you want to control, strongholds, etc? Do the work to clean house while you are alone and have some extra time.
“So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. Avoid dishonest speech and pretentious words. Be free from using perverse words no matter what! (Proverbs 4:23-24 TPT).
4. Stay Engaged – This isn’t the time to give up or check out. Now more than ever, we need to lean in towards the Holy Spirit and stay connected to people maintain community and relationship. Let’s not allow the enemy to mess us up or get us down. Be intentional with your family, go on walks, stay in a place of victory.
“Set your gaze on the path before you. With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead, ignore life’s distractions. Watch where you’re going! Stick to the path of truth, and the road will be safe and smooth before you. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment or take the detour that leads to darkness,” (Proverbs 4:25-27 TPT).
5. Strategize – We have leaders who are over different ministries at our campus. We want them to be planning for when we are back. How many people do they need on their teams? Who can they raise up to co-lead their team? What are their dreams for their ministry? Pray for them, asking for specifics. We want high capacity leaders, who show up early and stay late, who are loyal and faithful to our church, are spiritually mature, etc.
“Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him],
And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance],” (Proverbs 16:3 AMP).
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field,'” (Matthew 9:37-38 NIV).
6. Respond in faith – Because people are going to come to church desperate for community, we need to prepare for them now before they show up. Have visitor bags ready, order extra pens, get invite cards designed and printed.
“So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now,” (1 Peter 1:13-14 MSG).
“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval,” (2 Timothy 2:15a NLT).
7. Rest – I do not believe that God created this virus. It is a sickness so, it came from hell. However, God uses all things for His purposes (Romans 8:28). I believe that He is using this time of quarantine to slow us down and teach us new rhythms. We aren’t meant to strive or perform through life. God is teaching us the discipline of resting and taking a weekly Sabbath. Yes, we work hard. But He also wants us to rest hard. We have to be filled up so we can pour out. God wants us to submit our wills, slow down, and allow this to accomplish His purposes.
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear,” (Matthew 11:28-30 TPT).
Feel free to use these seven steps in your context. You can pray, be expectant, check your heart, stay engaged, strategize, respond in faith, and rest too.
There is great purpose in this time. I write often about how God loves us so much that He gives us the ability to choose. We get to choose how we handle this season. Are we going to spend our time watching the news, full of fear, complaining, spreading doom and gloom? Or are we going to find peace and rest in God, enjoy our families, take care of one another, and prepare for the GOOD things that God has in store? I really believe that we can thrive through this. The world is watching our response, let’s show them the goodness of God.
“Yet I totally trust you to rescue me one more time, so that I can see once again how good you are while I’m still alive! Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!” (Psalm 27:13-14 TPT).
Here is today’s Homework.