“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20, ESV)
The disciples spent every day working to make a living. Fishing was their livelihood; it wasn’t as if they could go down to the local Walmart and find a job. One day, Jesus walks by and asks them to give it all up and follow Him. These disciples were experiencing a reset. Somehow it feels all too familiar.
We find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. Suddenly, most of us are at home. Every area of society has been affected: the government, the economy, entertainment, the workforce, churches, our home life… While God isn’t responsible for the virus, He can take what Satan meant for evil and turn it around for good.
So, are we living in a new normal? Like you, I find myself at home every day; still working but trying to be effective. The distractions can be challenging. What I have sensed is a desire to seek God for what He is saying to me, as an individual and as a pastor. One thing is certain: He is definitely speaking. Can you hear Him? In the New Testament, Jesus used a phrase several times, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, NKJV).
I’m spending more time reading the Bible, and more time in prayer; attempting to tune in to His voice. Our pastoral team is being forced to learn more effective ways to minister to people. We’re right in the middle of launching a more effective online presence, the result of which is we are reaching more people than ever before. People’s hearts are open! They are looking for answers, and they’re willing to try whatever works.
Every form of outside distraction: amusement parks, movie theaters, gyms, sporting events, are all shut down. I believe this is a time to refocus. God is using the stay-at-home order to reboot, recalibrate, reset and retool every area of society. Why? He’s trying to get our attention: that if we will follow Him, He will make us fishers of men.
My wife and I have begun taking walks in the evening. We’ve noticed people are more willing to say “Hi” and wave. We’re also noticing people have more of a missional mindset; crises pull us together. As a church, we have reached out to Palomar Hospital, the North County Food Bank and Interfaith Community Services to discover practical ways we can help. They are still serving the community. Perhaps there is something you can do. Today, churches everywhere are offering more services and prayer online than ever before.
Grace Church San Marcos has made the decision that we will never go back to the way we were before. We’ve developed online prayer times at 10 a.m. every morning on Facebook Live, and every evening at 6:30 p.m. on gracesanmarcos.net. Our focus is what God is calling us to do: to seek Him and to look out for you. Do you have a need? We are here for you! I believe this should be the new normal, don’t you?
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Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.