The news has been full of death statistics of late. New York Post headlines from April 8th read “Coronavirus kills 1,000 in NYC in just 36 hours.” Not good news! On April 5th, the death toll in Spain had crossed 12,000 dead. How are we to celebrate Easter in such a time?
If there ever was a time for us to proclaim the incredible news of Christ’s resurrection it is now.
Jesus is alive. He conquered death and the grave. By His stripes, those He suffered on Calvary, we are healed (Is. 53:5). The coronavirus has no grip on Him…nor on us! What a wonderful message we have to share.
And God’s people are sharing it! There is evidence that Disciple Making Movements are growing in this season. Many are coming to Christ. It is time to press in and make disciples like never before.
Accepting Christ Online
One of the Nepali church planters I previously coached shared this. “A Nepali brother in Malaysia accepted Christ online yesterday. He was having trouble sleeping. We prayed for him and shared the good news.” Others from Africa report similar online responses to the gospel. It’s important that these people are followed up and trained as disciple makers. We don’t want to just see “conversions.” We want to see multiplication!
A movement leader in India wrote this message a few days ago. “In this present Corona crisis time, God is enabling us to help poor and needy people with food (ration) packets. So far we distributed to more than 100 families. Many people contributed to this present need. Also, we are coaching our elders and believers by phone. We encourage them to obey Jesus’ command in their house including Holy communion and giving baptism. In three days, 15 people have taken baptism in 3 different villages. We call it ONLINE BAPTISM because we are not able to go there. We give them phone coaching on how to baptize those who believe, and then they do it! We praise God for all His work. More people may take in the coming days.”
One of my former students has been having online social gatherings for people in her neighborhood. She invites them to “come over” via the internet, to play games, do puzzles, and have social interaction in this time of social distancing. Recently she posted her “30 second testimony” on her page. She is proclaiming the good news in creative ways to those who don’t yet know the Lord in her friend circle.
Prayer Meetings On-Line
During this time of the pandemic, much prayer has been taking place. Almost everyone I know is involved in some kind of prayer initiative. Extraordinary prayer will yield extraordinary harvest! Let’s continue to look for ways to mobilize and engage in prayer in new and greater ways during these stay at home and lockdown orders.
On Easter morning, when the women went to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body, they were greeted by two men in shining clothes. Terrified, they bowed down to the ground. The men then asked them an important question…one we must ask ourselves in this time.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee…”Luke 24:5b-6 NIV.
This verse speaks to the need to focus on what really matters. Where we put our focus in a time of crisis is everything!
The angels counseled the women to put their focus on the living Christ. Death was not what they should be thinking about. Jesus was risen and alive!
Where Are You Putting Your Focus?
This is a time when we could be easily distracted and pulled away from what matters most.
1. Negative News Reports
We should not be ignorant of what is happening in our world. It is important to stay in touch with the news and be aware. At the same time, this can be a huge distraction. Don’t allow it to be.
Limit the amount of time you spend listening to the news, scrolling your social media feeds, or on other chatting apps. Especially be careful you don’t spread fake news or false reports that promote fear and confusion. Be responsible for what you “spread” and be sure it is uplifting and faith-building. It is much better to tweet out a scripture, or testimony than another negative report!
2. The Living Christ Himself
Spend time in worship and adoration each day. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the risen Lord! He is worthy of our praise. In times of crisis, lift your heart to Him. Express gratefulness for His many blessings and remember His beauty, His love, His goodness. Let Jesus Himself be your focus at this time. Draw near in intimacy and listen to His voice.
3. The Living Who Are Suffering
All around us, there are many who are in crisis and need. Loss of work, displacement due to border closings or lockdowns, leave people fearful and disoriented. They are open to hearing of Jesus, the firm foundation, the solid Rock, and the Living God like never before. Reach out in love and compassion. Share food, clothing, or whatever you have to give.
A world is watching to see how we as Jesus’ followers will respond. Will we look outward to those in need? Or will we withdraw inward in fear and self-protection?
Are we more concerned about not getting to go to our church’s Easter service? Or about the many who are sick and suffering around us? Let’s keep our focus on the right things. Let people see the love and life of Christ within you this Easter season!
4. The Living Who Need to Hear of Christ
The death tolls and those who have died is indeed a deep source of grief. Once people have crossed into eternity though, our work is done. It is the living, who need our message.
We do not know how many will die during this pandemic. Prayers are going up worldwide, and I expect a shift to take place in the death tolls. Until things change, we have a job to do! Many will enter eternity in the coming months and years as this virus takes its horrible toll. Will they be ready to meet Jesus? Will they have had a chance to hear of His great love?
Thirty percent of the world doesn’t even know a Christian who could tell them of the Savior’s love. They do not know about His forgiveness and of the relationship Jesus paid a great price to restore between them and their Creator. Who will tell them, if not you and me?
Do you know someone from another culture or religion? Now is the time to reach out to them. In this time of global crisis, let’s keep a sharp and clear focus on the lost. Not only the lost of our own cultures but the unreached who have never had a chance to hear this message in a way they could understand.
Jesus is Alive
He lives! We must celebrate and proclaim this good news!
Go out this week and make disciples like never before. Train disciples around you to share their faith, and start multiplying groups of new disciples. Let’s look for Jesus among the living. That is where He is!
What will you do this week to proclaim the joyful news of His resurrection to someone who may never have heard, or understood, it? How can you multiply and increase gospel sowing in your community this week? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or on the Dmms Frontier Missions Facebook group.