Titus Email – April 2020

Volume 14, Number  4 – APRIL, 2020

          Greetings.  Who would have imagined a month ago, we would be experiencing the fallout and ramifications from the Coronavirus on a worldwide level?  The constant is God has not changed and He is on the Throne.  What we are experiencing is like a wilderness analogy and what we have been discussing for a few months.  Be encouraged.  This may be one of our best opportunities to minister to Christians and non-Christians that the Church has had in a long time.  How do You, Jesus, want to use me?  Is that our prayer?     Mike
There are times in our lives when facing uncertainties and fearful situations like right now with the Coronavirus that we want to just stop and not do anything. The reason is we just do not know what to do next or dare to do anything, thinking things are going to get worse.  Granted there are times to stop and wait for God’s leading or wisdom from a solid source to know what or where to head next. 

Moses had the situation with the Israelites when they were pinned up against the Red Sea and behind them was the Egyptian army, not allowing them to retreat.  They were ready to return the Israelites to Egyptian captivity or provide death.

Looking at Exodus 14:15-18, the LORD told Moses to keep heading on, going in the direction they were given.  Moses was instructed to raise his staff and stretch out his arms so that the Red Sea would part and the Israelites could pass on dry ground.  Pharaoh’s heart will be hardened and the whole Egyptian army would follow. God would be glorified by what He did and all of Egypt would know who God was.

When you are fearful, unsure, keep moving in the direction you know you were going.  Trust God, though you are afraid; He is not leaving you. (Josh 1:1-9).  It is not always easy.  There will be anxiety, uncertainty and the LORD will not often shut the mouths of the lions or let you pass through a fire unscathed.   Focus on Him and press on until a different direction is indicated.    
You are not able to have gatherings to teach and train.  Your internet ability is either limited or non-existent.  What do you do?  Keep doing ministry.  Think outside the box of how you have been doing ministry for so long.  It is time to get good again at discipling.  As much as possible and in ways that are safe, connect with the people whom God has given you influence over. 

Where possible, use internet and/or phone to connect or where allowed, be together (1 or 2 meters apart) and do the Jesus ministry thing – Mentor and disciple.  Jesus intentional hung out with His disciples to the point when spending time with them, He got “under their skin” (John 3:22).  He helped mold and shape them into the men of God they became.  Pursue the people in your “Jerusalem” with a fervor that has not happened in your life before. 

I recently heard that 39 out of the 40 miracles that occurred in Acts happened outside a church.  Miracles happened out among where the people were.  It is time for us to rise up and truly be the Church.  God’s greatest increase in the Kingdom occurs through ordinary believers (us) who skip the titles we give each other and get focused on serving God.  Ask God to reveal to you how He wants to use you for His Kingdom.  Who can you encourage and mentor to impact them for the Kingdom?

WILD provides free of charge resources that available to you to grow and develop in your faith and leadership.  These biblical studies have been used by the Holy Spirit to impact.  When you gather with another Christian or a small group of believers, praying and studying the Word of God together, spurs you on to develop in your obedience to Jesus.  When you carry through in obedience, God will use you in ways you cannot even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). 
YOUTH MINISTRY – No Matter What, Jesus Never Leaves You
          One advantage to seeing a movie or reading something based on a true story, we can skip ahead to end to see how things turn out, to calm our anxiety or curiosity.  The same is true when reading Bible stories.  In a short amount of time, we read how things turned out.

Now imagine living in an on-going story where you do not know what the ending will be, like what we are facing today with the Coronavirus.  No one knows when this will end or when there will be a cure.  That is scary stuff.  Some of you may have previously lived in a situation where you did not know if someone you loved or you would live or die, or where your next meal or your parents’ next paycheck were coming from.  How did you feel in these situations?

Many Bible stories have people going through trials they did not know what the outcome would be.  Think of Old Testament Joseph (Genesis 37-50).  From the time of being sold into slavery to the point where Pharaoh made Joseph the second most powerful man in the world was 13 years.  During those years, Joseph was almost killed by his brothers, sold into slavery ending up in a foreign country, accused of a rape he never committed, and thrown into a dungeon prison as a result of that accusation. 

In prison, after helping one of Pharaoh’s men understand a dream that that man would be reinstated to Pharaoh’s court and having that man promise he would talk to Pharaoh about Joseph’s false imprisonment, this guy did not say anything for two years while Joseph remained in prison.  With all those things happening to Joseph, would you have thought that freedom was never going to happen for you?  Again, this all lasted 13 years. 

How about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3?  Daniel’s three friends refused to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol with the threat of being thrown into a raging fire.  Did they think that they would live?  Or Daniel when refusing to bow down to King Darius, he was thrown to hungry lions. 

Think of Peter.  He had denied Jesus three times right before Jesus’ death on the cross (Luke 22:54-62).  His ministry for Jesus was history.  He could never be used again by Jesus. 

There are many other Bible stories with ordinary people going through life experiences that they did not know how long the situation would last, and if they would either live or die.  Some lived like Joseph and Daniel and three friends.  Others perished.  Many persevered like Peter, while others like Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) washed out. 

How are we reacting to what is going on in today’s scary situation?  We need to be concerned and wise, being safe in our encounters with others.  Keep our distances and heed the warnings of the medical profession.  Are we so afraid to do anything, fearing that whatever we do, we will contract the virus?

Some of the reasons why our Bible characters were able to persevere with life and following God includes their focus remained on Jesus, though they wrestled with doubts and making poor decisions (Peter).  Do know if you are a believer in Jesus, He will never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Hebrews 13:5).  Jesus is unchanging and the same (Hebrew 13:8).  God is in control of everything (Ephesians 1:17-23). 

Christians who persevere do so because they keep developing their relationship with Jesus and work to keep it fresh through reading the Bible, communicating through talking and listening to Jesus, and spending time with other growing Christians.  Persevering Christians seek ways to love and serving others and to be obedient to what the Bible says and as they are prompted by the Holy Spirit to live out their spiritual lives.

Know that no matter what you go through and how long you go through something, Jesus’ love is always there for you (Romans 8:35-39).    You are not alone.  Rest your faith on that.