An Open Letter of Hope and Encouragement to Christians

Hope-for-Christians

God is Calling You for a Purpose

Are you struggling with your role as a Christian? Are you discouraged by the pandemic, social isolation, and the general state of the world? Are you wondering about the point of all that is going on – your future and that of the Church?

This letter is for you.

Dear Christian:

The Coronavirus Pandemic has been a challenging time for us as Christians and as a church.  I know we all would love to be back at our regular church service, enjoying fellowship, and seeing all the great things God is doing in the world in person.  Many of the things we took for granted a short time ago now feel like a distant memory. Singing in church among the Body of Christ without a mask or concern seems like an incredible luxury now. I greatly miss hearing everyone’s voices lifted together and spending time with all of my church family and friends!  It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the loss of it. It is tempting in isolation to pull away and start to lose hope. Discouragement and feeling powerless crouch at our doors.

Please know you are not alone. You are not forgotten. You are part of a family – God’s family and the church family. Jesus died to make you a child of God. He is not overlooking you, regardless of what is on the news. God sees you now.  He knows you now.  He loves you perfectly now, even during these hard times.  You are also loved by the other believers of the church right now. Nothing the world can ever do can change that since you are in Christ.

Since God loves you and is with you exactly where you are right now, you can know something with certainty. All of the things going on are for a reason.  God is working to grow your faith.  He is bringing people to Him.  He also wants to use you to do the work of His Kingdom.  You know He is in total control, so even these things you would never choose are for a reason and are for good.

An Opportunity to Shine

The church is faced with an unprecedented opportunity. There are millions of individuals greatly shaken by the world around them. They are now curious about the Bible for the first time. 180 million people admitted as much during a recent survey.  This makes sense. Their faith in the traditional institutions of man is faltering due to recent events. They are looking for hope. “Bible verses on hope” was the most commonly searched question on one Bible site. The pains of this life provided the motivation to start their inquiry. They know they need answers but many don’t know where to find it.  Many would never think of stepping foot in the door of a church. That is where we come in. 

We know the real end of that search lies in Jesus.  God has called us to take our Savior to those hopeless, disillusioned, and lonely people, wherever they may be. The huge challenge is it may involve thinking differently. It means trusting God boldly and using nontraditional means to get to them.  It also may include stopping the fight to get back what we think we lost and embracing the opportunity God provides. You and I are the church, not any one building or structure. We can bring the church to people wherever God sends us.

Our Biblical Example

The disciples in Jerusalem were doing a wonderful job reaching that city early in the Book of Acts.  They were loving one another and building each other up.  They were learning from the Apostles and being prepared for their mission.  Jesus loved them.  A surprising thing then occurred. When the time was right, God allowed a really hard time to come to their world for a purpose…God always has a reason!  Heavy persecution hit the church. It forced many of them out of Jerusalem into Judea, Samaria, and the world beyond.  Evil men brought the ashes into the life of the early church.  God redeemed those ashes into beauty.   It is what He does. It is easy to focus on the injustice of the persecution and miss the plan of God in action. God beautifully deployed His people on His mission.  Satan tried to stamp out the fire of the church and only caused it to spread all the more rapidly.  The lost people in the surrounding areas and countries would never go to Jerusalem to an early church service. So God sent the Christians to the lost people. The disciples shaken out of Jerusalem were like blazing embers and lit more fires wherever they went.  They brought light to those living in darkness and  salvation to those under judgment.  The Bible records the dramatic results.  

The Gospel went forth from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and into the entire world, just like Jesus planned all along!  It is so beautiful to see. God’s plan is good!
 

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

How does this apply to you? 

How can you do this? 

D.L. Moody was a main evangelist during the great revival that swept the entire world, the Third Great Awakening. He believed it started with one young girl too sick to leave her house.  She determined since she could not reach people in person, she would dwell completely in Her Father’s love and just keep on talking to Him.  Pray without ceasing knowing the King of Heaven who loves you is listening. 

Take advantage of the opportunities you do have in person.  Consider ways to make more opportunities available.  Pray about getting creative with the technology you are blessed with, be that phone or virtually trusting the Lord has arranged the whole world to prepare people for the Blessed Hope of Jesus. 

If the Lord puts something on your heart and you need help, pray about that as well.  I know I considered the act of writing a very weak area for me when the Lord led me to go online and share Him here.  It was scary to take that leap exposing my own inadequacy.  It still is every time I hit post.  But it is never about our might or our power.  It is only by His Spirit says the Lord Almighty! Pastor Unlikely has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people as a result. I am constantly amazed to hear all God is doing in people just from sharing how great He is.

Above all, like Paul encourages you in 1 Corinthians 13 – love people well with that same certain love Jesus showers on you. We are building God’s Kingdom. It is an amazingly blessed privilege!

The things that challenge our viewpoints and make us go unconventional are not only not in vain, but used to carry out God’s plan. God is not done with us. He has great works for each one of us to do during this time. 180 million Bible curious people in the US alone tells us the fields are white for the harvest.

Will you go out to get to them, particularly now? God has positioned you to do so. He has set up circumstances where they need hope. It is a wonderful opportunity.

God does not call you to turn back.

I greatly look forward to the day when church gets back to normal for everyone. I love the Body of Christ and spending time together. Fellowship is vital for every Christian. It is simply not losing sight of God’s call while times are unusual.

The Lord is using all of the things around us for His purpose.  He is preparing the world for the Gospel through the events we see every day.  He is building His Kingdom and His Church. He loves you.  He sees you.  He knows you.  He saved you.  He wants you to share all that wonderful news with the world!  

He is our hope. He never fails.

God bless you,
Tom

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3 thoughts on “An Open Letter of Hope and Encouragement to Christians
  1. Thanks. I read some of this and was somewhat encouraged. I know God works all things together for good even in hard times. I also know that Christians always need fellowship, so I hope you as a pastor are working to provide that. And for me, zoom meeting are just not getting it done. Some churches have managed to be open. What do you think of the early church that said to the authorities, “We must obey God rather that man?” They kept preaching Jesus and meeting together, even when they were ordered not to. I know that pastors are in a difficult position, so we need to pray about it. Young believers are most affected, but vets like me will survive, yet we too need fellowship.

    1. Hi Stephen – I agree with you and added a paragraph to the end to try to clarify. Yes, fellowship is very important and we are all doing our best. I love church and was not suggesting we leave that behind. It is just what we do while we wait for normal to come back that I was addressing. There is great opportunities to serve Christ in front of us.

      We are open in person and have been for most of the last year – with restrictions. We also do zoom though for small group Bible study as that is challenging as you say, but it’s still fruitful.

      That passage is a challenging one as people have different opinions. I am not judging others responses because the situations vary. The Bible does set out a the need to obey the govt and obey God. The question is where the obey God supersedes the gov’t. The Gospel is the issue with the disciples there so that is clear. Masks and social distancing seem not to get there for me. Shutting down entirely, not sure. We met outside for months to still meet while still loving and encouraging. We have done everything possible to obey God while respecting authority.

      I do agree people will be affected but it is where we can be the church as well – reaching out and supporting one another. Again, not like it was before but we can grow from it, if we lean in and trust Him.

      The early church met in ways that are not like our normal way today. Hopefully, we can all figure out ways to do that as well..

      God bless you, brother. I pray your situation improves soon.

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