One Thing Leads to Another – Part Three

There are consequences to every change we experience in life. Two years ago life changed forever when the world became engulfed in battling Covid-19. A worldwide pandemic. Recently, due to a war Russia started by invading Ukraine, we hear less about the pandemic but it is still seriously impacting our world even though the numbers are no longer reported on a regular basis in most countries. 

The Covid Pandemic has had major consequences in our lives. We have been looking at six of them which I also called pandemics as they are worldwide and can be seen and experienced in every nation.

1> A Pandemic of Depression

2> A Pandemic of Distrust

3> A Pandemic of Division

4> A Pandemic of Defamation

5> A Pandemic of Disorientation

6> A Pandemic of Disruption

Our culture – the social structure of your nation as well as the Christian culture – is fragmenting and fraying. We need, as believers, to resolve afresh to love people and to show kindness in the face of our disoriented world.

These issues won’t suddenly end when the Covid-19 pandemic ends. 

Cultural convulsions like the ones we are going through have patterns and tend to last four to six years. Our culture is resetting, and we must be prepared to understand and respond to the new normal with the gospel in ways that are effective and life-giving.

In 1 Chronicles 12:32, we read how the men of Issachar “had understand of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”

We need men and women like the Sons of Issachar today who know the times and the season

The times we live in AND the seasons of the Kingdom

In a similarly confused time in the first century, Paul’s exhortation to the Roman Church applies as well to us:

Romans 13:11-14a ESV “[Y]ou know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep … The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ…”

In all the division, distrust, and disorientation we face today, let’s be aware of the times we are living in

Let’s keep our focus on our sure salvation

Let’s cast off the darkness of culture-copying  

Let’s display the light of the Gospel of the Kingdom all the time and everywhere

Let’s put aside sinful habits and live as Jesus would want us to live — sharing Christ with everyone around us.



One Thing Leads to Another – Part Two

We have been looking at how one thing leads to another. How the Covid pandemic has released or at least brought to our attention other “pandemics” that we need to be aware of. More than that, as believers we are called to deal with them and in the process offer people hope.

Last time we looked at:

1> A Pandemic of Depression

2> A Pandemic of Distrust

3> A Pandemic of Division

4> A Pandemic of Defamation

Social media has given people the opportunity to speak against another person and certainly to express their thoughts about others. And, believe me, people can be so angry and so vicious. And, social media has also supplied a vehicle for these angry people to find one another. Someone has said, and I agree, “People – including far too many professing believers – click ‘send’ too quickly and with too much outrage.”

If you make a mistake or step out of line, you can suddenly find yourself in the middle of a social media war. People have far less restraint toward damaging the reputation of others than in the past. And, I believe that church members are saying hurtful things at a level not seen pre-pandemic.

I have actually turned a lot of my social media accounts off as I tired of reading people’s opinions about everything from A to Z. I find it interesting that many people ask me what my opinion is of certain public events. I honestly don’t share my opinion very often as I don’t think it is that important or even helpful in dealing with most situations. I can add a biblical insight or a Bible principle, but seldom my opinion. In my 45+ years of walking with the Lord He has never once asked me my opinion. So, I tend to believe that what I am thinking, my opinion, is not all that important in the Kingdom.

I believe we have reached the saturation point. And it is time for believers to take seriously the eighth commandment about bearing false witness toward others. But one thing is for sure, it is time for true believers to take great care in how we speak of or characterize others.

5> A Pandemic of Disorientation

Many things have changed quickly in our culture — some good, some bad. But the speed at which these changes have come has left little time for people to thoughtfully reflect on and engage these changes. The result has been widespread disorientation. This is true for individuals who have lost their sense of identity as well as for churches. Changes have happened so rapidly that we have not had time to integrate them into our thinking and our lifestyle. Thus, we have lost one of the ways that we usually identify who we are. – our personal identity. Questions such as: Who are we? Who am I? What am I? What do I really believe? Are hard to answer when change is happening so quickly. 

We see this identity disorientation in many of our conversations. We are talking about, struggling with, and trying to understand such things as gender identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, and more. These discussions point to the fact that we we are no longer sure who we are. Or, perhaps, we are sure, but it’s different than it used to be.

So, much could be said here. But as Christians, now is the time to be be more oriented toward our identity in Christ. We need to be focusing on who the Bible says we are because we have made Jesus Christ Lord and Saviour. This is a great source of stability in the midst of the rapid social change and turmoil that we are experiencing. 

6> A Pandemic of Disruption

Of course, Covid-19 created the greatest global crisis since Word War Two. Along with it came great disruptions in the way we go to school, work, travel, and relate to others.

For many people, my family included, work shifted from a work office to a home office. In-person meetings became virtual meetings. Some businesses and occupations flourished while many others suffered. So much has changed. Much of that change, I believe, will remain — and there is much more change to come. We are not going to see society and our world return to “normal.” The old normal has been permanently lost and left behind. And the new normal is one that is shifting constantly. 

These disruptions brought about a “fluid new normal” that we will have to learn to navigate. But disruptions don’t eliminate the need we all have for deep, biblical community. This time of disruption should drive us to Christ and to the Christian community. 

One Thing Leads to Another – Part One

Over the past two years plus we have been fighting a pandemic. During that time no matter who you met or what you were doing it seems that the conversation always turned to the pandemic, mandates connected to Covid, and how it had changed your life. “Pandemic” became one of the most common terms in our vocabulary. Our focus was always drawn back to the issue of the Covid pandemic and the daily changes and challenges we were facing as a result of this worldwide event.

I believe that the Covid pandemic has led to a number of other pandemics. In other words, one thing – one pandemic – has led us to be facing a number of other resulting pandemics such as we are now seeing with the rise in mental health issues in the aftermath of Covid. 

1> A Pandemic of Depression

Statistics show that there has been, over the course of the two years of Covid mandates, a sharp rise in the number of people reporting symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia. This includes many spiritual and church leaders who are also experiencing a higher level of mental health issues. In fact, recent surveys indicate that pre-Covid saw 1 in 10 people dealing with depression in its many forms. It currently stands at 4 in 10 adults reporting issues with depression.

The Church should not ignore this problem. It should be addressing it biblically from the pulpit and it should impact the way pastoral care is viewed and carried out. Although direct care is best left to the professional in the field of mental health, the Church should still offer spiritual care and support for those going thorough this pandemic. 

2> A Pandemic of Distrust

There is currently a very high level of distrust toward institutions, the media and other entities such as the Church. This distrust is at its highest level in at least a generation. This of course directly effects how we relate to others, especially to those with whom we disagree. Maybe the distrust was always there in some form or other and Covid simply allowed it to surface and become something that we need to deal with openly and honestly.

Media, education, news organizations, government institutions, and churches have lost the trust of many. So, we see skepticism expressed in so many different places and in a variety of ways. This, of course, undermines the social fabric causing much division and strife. People simply don’t know what or whom to believe and trust in this pandemic of distrust. 

The Church should encourage dialogue between those who hold different points of view. Believers need to be encouraged to be more empathetic toward those who take a different view than ours, and we should be careful not to allow disagreements turn into ongoing and dangerous disputes. We must recognize the need to be ministers of reconciliation as Paul states in his letter to the Corinthians.

3> A Pandemic of Division

Many churches are divided due to the Covid pandemic. Masks or no masks. Vaccines or no jabs. Meeting in the church building in spite of government health rules dictating that this is not allowed. We have seen demonstrations, conveys, occupation of various capital cities. People have felt that their rights have been stepped on and that the authorities have entered into areas of life where they don’t belong. Within the Covid pandemic time frame we have also seen the rise of Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, and a number of other very prominent social movements. Conspiracy theories abound. And, we have seen a major increase in divisive behaviour and actual division in families and churches and not just in society in general. 

In the Church today it is pretty normal to 25 to 30% of the people upset with the leaders simply because of this pandemic of division. It is taking its toll on the very fabric of the life of the Church. We can tend to have a house divided against itself. I am personally amazed at the division I have seen in my limited involvement in the Church in my own nation, in the United States,  and in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. We need to be teaching and exhibiting kindness and patience and the other fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians, Chapter Five. We must not become a house divided against itself.