“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some…” (Hebrews 10:23-25, ESV)
Fear is a powerful thing! It guides you. It causes you to make decisions in survival mode, regardless of fact or truth. Faith works the same way, but has very different outcomes. I define truth as the Word of God. When the facts collide with truth, the facts must change!
In my experience, having personally witnessed the healing of many individuals, apart from medical attention (which I completely support by the way); including stage 4 cancer healed numerous times through the laying on of hands, and/or faith-filled prayer; congregants with body braces removed as they’re completely and miraculously restored.
I’ve seen the drug addict set free, and the suicidal encouraged, turned around and restored to new life. How? Through the church being the powerful agent in the world it was intended to be, a part of which is experienced through assembling together. I’ve heard some say it’s irresponsible to gather publicly at the expense of people’s safety. That would be true because we love those we’re called to serve. In the beginning, that was exactly why we cancelled, with complete confidence and conviction. But then something about this whole thing began to change.
Suddenly, the Coronavirus morphed into COVID-19 and took on a life all its own. We had to shelter in place to flatten the curve, which happened very rapidly. Statistics bear this out. Recently we heard the projections were inaccurate all along. And yet, state governments have resisted allowing churches to gather, even with safety precautions in place, while Costco, Wal-Mart and other outlets are still in business. Did you realize that the average church’s attendance in America is 150 or less? How many are shopping at big box stores at one time?
To be sure, the church has been marginalized. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the cure has had far worse consequences than the virus itself. People’s lives are coming apart from a lack of creativity, their lack of ability to contribute to society, relapses into drug, alcohol, and sexual addictions, not to mention the rise in suicides.
As I mentioned last week, Grace Church San Marcos will be re-entering the building Pentecost Sunday, May 31. We will be complying with all CDC and state suggested guidelines. Here’s why I believe this is important. Yes, online services are fine, but when you’re gathered together, there is a sense of the presence of God that simply can’t be experienced otherwise. There is encouragement, love and a welcoming atmosphere that is transformative. It’s because Jesus is there! In that environment, the Gospel comes alive!
“The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5, ESV) When Jesus is in the room, COVID-19… Fear… whatever the issue, simply cannot remain. So, what are you expecting? What kind of Jesus is the (your) church preaching?
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. During the COVID-19 “Shelter-in-place” order, visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for Sunday services on-line, and for further information about the ministry. Also join us for prayer daily, M-Sat. at 10 a.m., LIVE on the Grace San Marcos Facebook page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.