I can easily say that one of the biggest joys of my life is watching people I live around and serve with thriving in God-given abundant life (John 10:10). Thriving is pretty easy to do when you’re sailing with the wind. However, when the wind shifts the other way, that’s when progress and thriving has to move beyond our awesome Christian catchphrases. Throw in a Novel Corona virus, and all hell breaks loose.

Mark 4 and Mark 6 have two separate accounts of Jesus doing a show-and-tell on the water with His disciples. In both passages the disciples are in a boat and caught in a very intense fight against the elements.

“…there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up” (Mk 4:37)

“…they were straining at the oars, for the wind was against them” (Mk 6:48)

Make note that most of these guys are seasoned fishermen, who fared these waters frequently. These are pros who are going down. In western churches we tend to be christian pros. We know how to do Sunday in such an epic way. Usually so much is happening that we never get to train the crisis readiness for church. When we encounter those in deep struggle for extended periods of time, we make a small group and continue with regular life for the rest. Now, I’m all for well-planned and targeted small groups, but the western church hasn’t grown too well in one of the key distinctions of the church from other societal groups – enduring struggle and trial together for the long haul.

While there are aspects of receiving and living in the provision and goodness of God which I wholeheartedly embrace; as a pastor, I see the western church being woefully inept at dealing with trial and test as a normal part of God’s greenhouse for growth in tasting His provision and goodness. We would rather skip the workout and just have the muscle. We must grow so we are not infants (1 Cor 3:1-3).

In the eastern context, church is not for those who do life excellently. “See you next Sunday” is often not a certainty. While I’m not suggesting we all get a persecution complex, I really believe it is time for the western church to gear up for these last days. It will be marked with persecutions, wars, and crisis (Matthew 24:6-8). We must awaken the church to live in this paradigm well, and not expect a return to the one we enjoyed for hundreds of years. This next season will need the church to step into the breach with a bright light to snatch many from the fire before the end comes.

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Jude 20-23

I know the end-time harvest is great and it will need sober-minded believers in Jesus doing the works of our Father in heaven. The harvest of this coming generation belongs to those who are willing to encounter God in the midst of chaos, offering refuge and salvation to those paralyzed by fear and lack. There is the work of the Kingdom to be done and we might lose our livelihood, family, and our very lives doing it. The wind has shifted, the storm is here…..BUT, Jesus is here too. In my opening I mentioned how all hell breaks loose when the world faces a new report like the corona virus. It is serious. Deadly serious! But, how often are we swamped by the wind and storm and never acknowledge Jesus in the boat. How about seeing all heaven break loose in the midst of a storm? For that to happen, the key question is – Is Jesus present? (Jn 17:3, Jn 5:39-40) A Christian can fake church, can fake prayer, can fake worship, can even fake Bible understanding, but the one thing we can’t fake is JESUS, and His Holy Spirit’s power being demonstrated (1 Cor 2:4-5) before God’s eyes. Both the boat lessons end with Jesus confronting His disciples lack of willingness to come to Him. He calls it “forgetful/short-term faith”. Always remember that the faith to believe isn’t baked into our Christian ID card. It grows as we meet Him and discover He is with us, not just for the short-term but for the long-haul. The longer we spend coming to Him, hearing Him speak, building a relationship, we will find faith come naturally (Rom 10:17, Jn 5:39-40).

I intentionally wanted to get under the skin of our Christendom and challenge us to pursue Jesus and His presence in these times. It all comes from a heart of deep love for the church God is raising up in America for a time such as this. Please take the warnings and chaos of our times to encounter Jesus for yourself. If you don’t know where to begin – start with a simple request “Jesus, I want to know you”. God will send you a Helper to lead you (Jn 14:26). His Spirit will bring the reality of Jesus into your life and your home to give you wisdom on how to navigate these days. You will be surprised at how your worship, prayer, and understanding of His truth will grow in this season. You will find yourself stabilized in a time of shaking. May God strengthen you with power for the journey. Be blessed in Jesus!

“Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

Hebrews 12:27-28

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen

Ephesians 3:14-21

One thought on “Responding to God in the midst of chaos

  1. YES!! Jesus is here with us! May we grow up in all that God has set for us at this time, to take hold and so become mature sons of God

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