Christmas has passed and the year 2020 has come to a close. So many things about this past year were unbelievably challenging. It was even challenging to figure out how we should celebrate the holiday season.
Yes, even as opinions are plentiful and can quickly become very heated and tension-filled, the continual question is, “How do you navigate these unprecedented times?” Just as we recently celebrated the birth of our Savior we should remember that Jesus came at the appointed time and we are living at exactly the time appointed for us. How are we responding to this opportunity and what are we learning through this journey?
We have definitely learned once again that God is faithful. God’s faithfulness is seen in his promised presence and power to us in all situations. Tony Evans gives an excellent definition and description of peace: “Peace doesn’t mean that you will not have problems. Peace means that your problems will not have you.”
Jesus told us, “In this world you will have tribulation.” Relationships may falter. Jobs may cease. Health may decline. The economy could continue to dip and turn. “But be of good cheer,” says Christ, “because I have overcome this world.”
Hopefully we have learned to practice grace to everyone no matter how different his or her position is to ours. You shepherd many different types of sheep with many different viewpoints. Everyone’s viewpoint must bow to biblical principle, but to be honest, all too often individuals try to hold us hostage to their extra-biblical positions. Do not compare your situation to someone else’s context and do not judge them over their decisions.
First Peter 3:8 reminds us that we should be likeminded, sympathetic, compassionate, humble, and loving of believers. We have learned that we don’t always know what to do and in our weakness God is made strong!
If anything good has come out of COVID maybe it is a greater realization of how much we desperately need the Lord. In New Morning Mercies Paul David Tripp reminds us that since the Lord willingly expended great effort to redeem us, we can rest assured He will expend the same divine power and grace to protect, mature, provide for, and keep us. God gives us everything we need when we need it and that is called grace.
We are learning to lead more horizontally and less from the top down. You do not have to carry the burden by yourself. Lean on the Lord and learn to lean on others more. Wayne Cordeiro says in Leading on Empty that . . .
85% of our tasks almost anyone could perform
15% of our tasks someone else could carry out the initiative, oversee that ministry, or be trained to do
5% of our tasks only you can do
Find that 5% and work diligently in those areas of soul care, family care, discipleship, and leadership development. Discover your unique place in the body and allow others to fulfill theirs.
We are learning to lead with confidence and courage as we trust the Lord to guide and direct us, so strive to do the following:
#1 Make the best God-directed changes or adjustments that need to be made and move on. (You cannot please everyone, and if you try you will most likely please no one. You will make mistakes but make sure they are mistakes of the head and not mistakes of the heart.)
#2 Remain humble yet determined to keep your heart tender towards the daily nudges of the Holy Spirit.
#3 Pray a lot.
#4 Seek wise counsel.
#5 Trust the Lord for the outcome.
#6 Be prepared and be ready to give an answer to anyone at any time. (Peter challenges us in the third chapter of his first letter in verse 15 when he says, “but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” During these challenging times people are asking the worldview questions that need a biblical answer: How did we get here? How did this get so broken? What can be done to fix it? Questions that can only be answered by creation, depravity, and redemption.)
#7 Work harder at encouraging and helping those who are isolated and alone. The disconnect is real for those who are afraid or just cannot attend church because of being compromised during this pandemic.
Church Leaders Daily News reports that a recent survey revealed mental health is at a twenty-year low in the United States with one exception: weekly churchgoers. We should not use this as preaching fodder to say they should be in church but rather as a rallying call to ask our churches, “What we are going to do to help them through this time?”
Psalm 42:11 says, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” We need God first and foremost, and we need one another. We are not in this alone!
Paul David Tripp says, “You do not have what you need inside yourself to live as you were created to live!” In Romans 8:32 Paul says, “He did not spare his own Son but offered him up for us all; how will he not also with him grant us everything?” We have been promised everything we need through Jesus Christ.
Copyright © 2021 by Larry Barker @ https://healthychurchpodcast.com/lessons-leaerned-in-2020/. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.