June 8, 2020
As We Return to Our Churches . . .
Stay-at-home orders are being rolled
back across America and Christians are
beginning to gather again in larger
numbers. As we return to our church
meetings, this is a perfect time to
reflect, reassess, reform, and
Let us reflect: have all our former ways
of worship and kingdom work been
biblical, New Testament, according to
the simple but spiritual pattern of
first-century church life and ministry
modeled in the Book of Acts and the
epistles? Or have we been doing many
things simply because other churches do
them, religious celebrities promote
them, or sincere but immature Christians
in our congregations have wanted us to
do them - but without any witness of the
Holy Spirit or marked spiritual
improvement in our lives?
Let us reassess: which works, programs,
expenditures, and other activities we
formerly practiced were of lasting value
and which were temporal and worthless
and only distracted us from our vital
Christ-given commissions and ministries?
Were we in any way compromising with
sin? Were we teaching and preaching what
the Spirit was saying to the churches or
merely tracking and repeating popular
themes and fads?
Let us reform: changing our goals and
methods in every ministry, program, and
activity to conform to the New Testament
standard as we understand it. Let us
turn from everything sinful to those
things that draw us closer to the Lord.
Let us remove everything that grieves
the Spirit and replace it with
everything that pleases Him.
And then, let us revive: or, stir
ourselves to live again in the Lord's
sight, refreshed by His renewed
presence, nourished by His freshly
expounded Word, helped by His inspiring
favor, guided by His all-wise Spirit,
and energized by His unfailing power.
Then we will be what Christ wants us to
be, a spiritually dynamic, fruitful,
culture-changing movement in our
communities and cities - who are still
shaken, troubled, and confused by all
the fear and strife this Coronavirus has
As we do so, God will turn this harmful
intrusion into a helpful improvement. He
will cause our pandemic to work for our
perfection - or purification and growth
into spiritual completeness, maturity,
Christlikeness - and turn our fruitless
disorder into His fruitful order.
elders, teachers, leaders - I humbly but
earnestly beg you, do not
return to the old ways without prayerful
self-examination and childlike
willingness to make any and all changes
God desires! Rather, let's allow God's
rod to have its way. Let's learn from
this love-induced period of chastening
And after awaking, let us arise! And
shine! "Awake thou that
sleepest, and arise from the
dead, and Christ shall give thee light
[new light to shine in this darkness]"
(Ephesians 5:14). This is our New
Testament destiny and it will be
fulfilled before Christ comes.
May the church rise up
throughout this and every nation,
rise up to fulfill its destiny,
rise up to be in fact all the
Father called it to be, all the Son bled
for it to be, and all the Spirit came to
make it: a mighty, Christ-centered,
Spirit-empowered, Word-sowing, fearless
force of passionately united believers
before whose ministers and message no
force on earth can stand! So be it!
And it will be so,