You have probably seen signs or posts online lately saying, “The Church has left the building!”
That saying has been around for a while and the intent is to teach and remind us as Christians, the Church isn’t about the building we worship in, it’s who we are. WE are the Church.
Now in this time more than ever, God is calling His Church, you and me, to rise up and bring the Good News to this world that is in a state of crisis. Now more than ever, we need to rise up and be the Church in action. We need to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities, to look for ways we can serve and help. We need to be the mouthpiece of Jesus and speak words of love, encouragement, peace and hope to those who are panicking and desperate. We need to be the love of Jesus and show mercy, compassion and forgiveness to those we might not otherwise choose to in different times.
Jesus stopped Saul in his tracks to redirect his heart and his life purpose, for the glory of God. He even gave him a new name, that of Paul. He was being sent to the Gentiles (all who were not of Jewish decent) and proclaim the gospel message of salvation and hope found only in Jesus Christ. Jesus said to Paul and He is saying to you and me in this time, “16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. ” Acts 26:16 NIV.
We are servants to our Most High King to build His kingdom here on earth as He wills and directs. We are witnesses to profess and testify to His glory and majesty. This is our purpose. This is always our purpose as a Christian. Let us not forget that in any time. Let us remember this especially in this time.
Isaiah 61: 1-2 NLT states The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
God has called and anointed all of His children, all Believers, to bring good news to the poor. This means those who are poor in spirit, those without hope, those who are depressed and anxious. He has anointed and sent us to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim or testify to the freedom we have in Christ! This includes freedom from addictions, negative thinking, destructive behaviors, harmful relationships, being imprisoned by fear or hopelessness-anything that binds us and limits us from living in the peace Jesus offers us.
You and I as Christians have the opportunity and the calling on our life to show people how they can walk in this freedom. We are able to testify what freedom looks like in our life and bring hope to someone else! We are able to speak of the compassion and grace God has shown us. We are able to speak of the hope we have in Christ!
We are being sent to let others know this is the day of the Lord’s favor. While it may not look like it or feel like it right now, we are absolutely in the Lord’s favor and under His grace. He is gathering His flock back to Himself, back to the fold of His Church. As the Body, you and I are part of that gathering, that drawing, that guiding back to the Father. This shouldn’t make you nervous or scared; it should get you excited to be part of something so amazing! God will never put any of us in a situation He hasn’t first equipped us for. You have everything you need to be a light of hope to others around you. You have everything you need to guide someone to Christ if that is what God puts on your heart. You have everything you need to show others who Christ is.
Let us not shrink back in fear in these times. It is not the time to just hide out and hunker down until the storm is over.
Yes we need to heed what authorities our telling us and be safe, absolutely. And yes we are still the Church in this time and we are called to serve in every season. Let us stand bold in our faith and trust God is at work drawing hearts to Himself. He is at work softening hearts that need and want to hear the message of salvation and hope. Let us listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and follow where He leads. We can do all of this online, over the phone, through the mail. Let us always lead with love, discernment and gentleness when we are connecting and sharing.
What are some practical ways we can rise up and be the Church in this time?
We begin by thinking about who Jesus is and the model He gave us to follow. We look, listen and follow Jesus in this time as we interact with others. We remember we are His Church and we are the visible image today of who Jesus is. We have the privilege to show this world His glorious light through our lives.
Through our loving actions towards others, we are an extension of Jesus’ love. We show others the heart of our God as we love them-really love them in our actions and with the words we speak. We share how God is faithful in our lives and how He helps us. When we have a story or example that is fitting we share it with others as the Spirit guides us. We stand firm in our faith and we don’t give into panic and fear. We might feel afraid or uncertain in moments, but we choose to trust in our God and His promises. We don’t let fear dictate our behaviors. We show grace to others, even more than we might feel inclined to in other times. We invite someone to join in for our online worship service to be encouraged and connected to community, or share a daily devotional with someone as God lays a person on our heart.
We rise up by being obedient to the little and big things God asks us to do each day as His Church. We make God our greatest focus and we tune into what He is speaking to our hearts. We spend time with our God to keep in His perfect peace and to find strength. We keep a positive, hopeful attitude and we look for the daily blessings and gifts our God continues to shower upon us. We give thanks to our God daily for His protection, provision and favor. We show up to church gatherings-even online- and we stay engaged, connected as a family and growing in the Lord. We remain faithful in prayer and we connect with others to pray, believing God hears the prayers of the faithful. We continue to operate as The Church, just in new ways.
We let the way we live our lives be a daily demonstration of our faith.
It’s time to rise up in this dark and uncertain time, to bring the light of God’s Church into the world like we haven’t seen it before. Let us rise Church. Let us rise up in unshakable faith and unending hope in God Almighty who was, who is and who always will be Sovereign, the Great I AM. God is in control. God is for us. God is at work for the good of all who love Him. Let us rise up and honor our God who protects and provides for His Church. Let us be a beacon of hope, light and love all around us. Let us rise.
Father God we thank you today that you are sovereign and all-sufficient. There is no on higher or greater than You Lord. You are Almighty God and we exalt Your powerful name. We praise You Lord. We put all our hope and trust in You Father, for You are good. Lord we know You are calling us, Your Church, to rise up in this time of darkness across the land. You are calling us to rise up and shine Your light in this world and bring hope to the hopeless. You are calling us to stand firm in our faith and step boldly where You lead us. Help us Lord as Your Church, to rise up like we have never risen before. Help us to rise up one in Spirit, one in heart and one in purpose; to set the captives free and glorify Your name! Help us to live with courage in these times Lord and trust Your covering is over us. Help us to seek You Lord as our guide each day in how we proclaim Your wonders and salvation. Help us to obediently follow You and do what You ask us to do. May Your will be done Father. May Your kingdom come here on earth and may Your Church expand all across the world in this time. Let Your Church arise O Lord. Let Your Church arise. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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