Serving in the military for a number of years has taught me to be vigilant because you never know where the enemy is. We are all in the battle whether we know it or not. Be attentive, because there is warfare all around us. The enemy attacks are constant in our fallen world and we need to be cautious in our faith.
Questions for further thought:
1. Do you ever reflect on how you are advancing in the Spiritual war? Is the enemy winning?
2. What are some practices/disciplines that you can do to become a more effective soldier for Christ?
Challenge: Reflect on the war of good and evil. Do you believe in spiritual warfare?
With the overwhelming amounts of evidence available that support Christ’s claim to be the son of God, why isn’t everyone a believer? Satan has blinded those that he can from seeing the truth. This is why God gave us the Great Commission - to go make disciples out of all nations. We need to unblind the blind by providing a testimony of Christ in how we live.
Questions for further thought:
1. What is one small thing that you can do to give a testimony of your faith in Jesus Christ to a non-believer?
2. Have you been reading and researching your faith? Would you be able to defend your faith in Jesus Christ?
Challenge: Start a conversion about Christ with someone you don’t know.
Maybe there’s a middle school student who will one day be a church’s pastor of Tik Tok. Maybe there’s a college age student who will pastor people solely online. Maybe there’s a teacher or children’s pastor who will provide children’s ministry training via zoom to churches throughout the world. I know, some of this sounds silly. And it likely won’t replace the ministries and positions and programs we have now. But online church isn’t going anyway. In some cases, churches may decide to move more of their energies and efforts online. Other churches will see online church as an addition or extension of their ministries and use online to call people to physical community. But churches who ignore online church is kind of like Sears or Kmart ignoring Amazon.
How can the church equip you to better be a digital disciple of Jesus?
How can you equip others to better follow Jesus both online and offline?
Challenge: Perhaps one of the best things I’ve read on church during Covid-19 is this article: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/church-dont-let-coronavirus-divide/ Read it today and commit that no matter what lies ahead in the weeks and months to come, the coronavirus won’t divide your church.
Simple answer: because people are online. People who are not in church are online. People who don’t know Jesus are online. People who grew up in church and haven’t been back in years are online. People who are curious as to how the church is dealing with this pandemic are online. People who will likely come to your church when it reopens are online right now and haven’t to been to any church. The church’s witness in the digital world is just as important as her witness in the physical world: to point people to Jesus.
How is your online presence pointing people to Jesus?
Challenge: See online church as another way for the church to serve people and bring people to Jesus. It’s okay to grieve and miss physical church, but rather than discounting or dismissing online church, challenge yourself to see it as another way (not the only way or the new way) for the church to reach people with the good news of Jesus.
I’m almost laughing at the question because most of us are going to say gathering physically is better than online. Even in the Bible, I’m sure the recipients of 2 Corinthians would have preferred Paul visiting in person rather than another letter. In today’s verse, it’s clear the Apostle John wants to be with the church rather than write another letter. But those letters- born out of challenges in both Paul and John’s lives and what was happening in their worlds- have stood the test of time and are in the Bible! Instead of arguing for your perspective on what’s better, instead lean into what God’s trying to teach you or how you can grow during this time.
What’s one thing you appreciate about online church?
Who is someone you miss seeing at physical church?
Challenge: Make contact with the person or family you miss seeing at physical church. Call them. Walk by their home. Send them a note. Do something to say you miss them and you can’t wait to see them again.
We’ve used today’s verse to call all kinds of meetings “church”. Two people praying at Starbucks? Church. A small group meeting in a home? Church. A family serving together? Church. And it’s true- when people gather in Jesus’ name, Jesus is with them. The same is true online. Now, church online doesn’t replace baptism, communion, accountability to name a few thing we miss out on with online church. But online church isn’t meant to replace those. Online church is meant to meet people where they’re gathering even if they’re not gathering inside a building.
What’s one thing you miss most about Hillcrest not physically gathering?
How do Jesus’ words of “wherever 2 or 3 are gathered” expand your idea of what church is?
Challenge: Gather with 2 or 3 people today. Could be your family. Maybe it’s a friend on the phone or a coworker. Encourage one another. Challenge each other. Inspire each other. Be the church for each other.
When Jesus told his followers to go and make disciples of all the nations, I’m sure no one was envisioning online. And yet Facebook has 2.6 billion followers who use it at least once a month (that’s bigger than China). Instagram has 1 billion users (that’s about the same size as people in the United States AND Europe). If Jesus were alive today, I believe he’d be online and encouraging and teaching his disciples how to love others and love God through online communities.
What’s social media platform do you like best (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, something else)?
What’s one way you’ve grown closer to God online (listened to a sermon, reading this devotional, etc)?
Challenge: Post something hopeful today. A Bible verse. Share the Hillcrest facebook page. Something you learned in the sermon.
This devotional is written every week by Hillcrest members.
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