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MEN AND WOMEN OF FAITH ARISE!
During this pandemic crisis, several facts have become abundantly clear.
Firstly, the global agenda driven by the World Health Organization, has been downloaded to member countries with varying degrees of buy-in and co-operation. The resulting panic has driven home the ‘Follow the Science,’ and ‘We can get through this together (alone),’ mantras which has resulted in a mass movement to ban public gatherings of all sorts (presumably for health reasons) spiritual and otherwise.
The cost has been huge for societal socialization and mental health.
World economies are now at the breaking point.
One question we do not have to ask is what will the government do to help. World governments have offered financial assistance so citizens can financially manage the imposed Quarantine.
As a believer, I have been observing the reaction of faith-based organizations on public gatherings and on ministry operations. I, like many others, have been underwhelmed.
If we, as the bride of Christ, are to be so attractive to the world through our example of faith, through our faithful service and obedience to God, then what kind of example are we setting when we step back from a God given opportunity to serve our communities at large in the world?
Are we the voice of faith and reason amidst the panic mentality prevalent in the world today?
In Jerusalem, the early church fed widows, orphans and served their flock sacrificially!
When the government decreased gathering sizes from 500 to 250 to 100 to 50 to 15, Canada’s church organizations walked lock step with the decreases and gradually reduced service times and eventually shut down their buildings opting to offer on-line sermons and worship services to protect the vulnerable.
We have been and always will be spiritually vulnerable. The world around us is suffering from spiritual poverty, and Jesus is the answer.
How is shutting down our churches and parishes the answer to a suffering world?
From Matthew 5: 15-16
“Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
How can the world see God’s glory if we hide behind our closed doors and digital conversations?
When prayer meetings and small groups shut down in response to ‘social distancing,’ and public safety, regulations did not say people could not meet, but rather keeping a ‘safe’ distance quickly trumped their spiritual need in ‘obedience’ to authorities.
Zoom, Facebook and skype meetings were initiated to allow people the opportunity to minister to each other with limited success and participation.
Many church leaders and denominations stand on the scripture that we are to be obedient to the laws of our countries. But what happens when those laws and regulations (not even laws) contradict the Gospel commandment and the Great Commission?
Where is church leadership at a time when congregational participation has been stopped dead? Where are those bold pastors and priests who ‘follow’ the edicts of the government TO allow meetings of up to 14 (with a pastor) groups for bible study or prayer?
Doctors are expected to work overtime during crisis, why not pastors?
Jesus came to seek and save the lost, not just preach and heal when the Jewish religious establishment decided it was acceptable. In fact, the Bible records many instances when Jesus healed on the Shabat (Sabbath) in direct violation of the Jewish regulations!
Deer Park Church held drive-in church services (https://www.todayville.com/drive-in-christianity-coming-soon-to-a-church-near-you/) with great success until the Minister Hinshaw declared the practise too risky for public health.
Christian ministers from various denominations have been in contact with the Minister and Premiers Office to allow such services but have been met with opposition.
The prevailing logic seems to be that services like food stores, gas stations, liquor stores, sex shops and food establishments that can run with drive through or curb pick up are essential. BUT churches are not.
That is WRONG. Religious organizations that serve our spiritual health ARE essential!
Mankind is not just a physical being. We are made with hearts, minds and souls.
However, if you are a government official our perceived needs are only physical, mental and financial. Forget the spiritual. If you are a government official and are a believer in God and have a vibrant spiritual life, remember fact #1 when making public policy.
Separation of state and church is a firmly held belief that allows state centred decisions that oppose instead of considering spiritual elements in decision making.
There is no such thing as a non-spiritual decision. All authority and power have been given to earthly rulers BY God according to scripture. Therefore any decision made has been allowed BY God, whether rulers, kings, emperors, Presidents and Prime Ministers acknowledge it. Theirs is the responsibility to choose to serve God or to ignore God in their public lives. Those in authority have the greater burden as their choices have the potential to bring whole nations in a sinful state. Again, according to scripture, in those cases, it would be better that a millstone be hung around their neck than to lead any astray into eternal death.
We are promised freedom of religion and the ability to congregate to worship in our way of choice, except when we are not.
Where are the spiritual leaders who stand up to public policy and cry out to God on the national, provincial and regional stage and gather their flocks under their wings?
Where are the spiritual leaders who call on the God who raised the dead, who defied the Pharisees and Saducees, who raised a man from a tomb on the third day and whose death resulted in the Holy Spirit being spread throughout the world 2,000 years ago?
Where are the leaders who live according to the example of a man who defied Pontius Pilate, Herod and the Jewish synagogue elite?
The early disciples were instructed NOT to teach in the name of Jesus because it upset the Jews in the cities with different teaching, yet they declared THEY COULD NOT because if they did, even THE ROCKS WOULD CRY OUT!!
So they did.
Where are those leaders so concerned with their flocks that they are willing to defy the public ban on ‘illegal’ meetings to feed the sheep they have been given?
Is going online enough?
If we look at the example of the early disciples like Paul, Peter, Mark, Luke and Stephen who was stoned for his faith. It clearly is not.
Are we, as believers, willing to live in fear instead of faith and forsake not the gathering and by doing so creating a fractured, fearsome body of lukewarm believers? Or are we digging into Gods word and experiencing spiritual intimacy?
We have a choice, to seek God in all ways, always or to live on the faith of others and live through others faith. God is always at work, history teaches us that, and we cannot ignore what is happening behind closed doors in society.
Ask the thriving underground churches in Asia, China, Russia and any Communist or Muslim country what it means to be a believer amidst suppression? Their penalty and cost is real, even unto death. Yet in North America, our only penalty may be a fine!
Modern day believers in a persecuted church
Woe to the believers who pray for the churches in persecution yet fall down at the mere mention of a government suggestion that they ‘think’ that meeting together to worship the King of Kings is risky to the health of the community!
Nay! A thousand times Nay!
We are called by the Shepherd, and we know his voice. If we listen to his whispering voice and act in obedience, we will be deemed righteous and with great faith, move mountains and raise the dead!
Within our world, ruled by the king of this age, we are CALLED to stand in the gap between Heaven and Hell, to raise our world leaders and citizens in prayer so His will can be done. We pray this all the time in the Lord’s prayer. Thy Will be Done… I don’t think His will is for us to fall like a house built on sand in a mere rainstorm.
I say again, RISE UP Men and women of God!
Let us not forsake the meeting. Let us not forsake prayer meetings. Let us not forsake small groups. But most importantly, Let us not call ourselves believers if we cannot stand against such a small opposition as this.
We will be judged by Jesus one day for what we have done, and what we have failed to do.
I would hope and pray that you can honestly say that YOU contended for the faith and you bowed your knee to no-one but the Lord.
Where are the leaders and believers who will stand and be counted?
Is that you??????
RISE UP MEN AND WOMEN OF FAITH! THE WORLD IS WAITING!
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