Tag Archives: pandemic

God Help Us!

By Rev. Jerry Chiles

In March 2020 we lifted our voices to heaven crying, “God help us! Deliver us from this pandemic called Covid-19.” At that point in time, we had no idea what would be the extent of the pandemic. Over and over, we cried out to God to deliver us.  When relief did not come, we asked, “Why not God? Why have you left us to struggle, unable to return to your house and be with your people?” Similar other cries of deliverance are found throughout the Bible in Joshua 7:7, Psalms 79:9, Matthew 6:13, and Matthew 26:39.

What do we do, when we cannot hear a word from the Lord? Maybe we are just not seeing the word the Lord has given. Open our eyes Lord, so we can see you acting.  Here are four answers I have seen.

What if the word of the Lord is, The Church is not a building? Is God saying to us that buildings are not important? He is saying, “My people are to be primarily in the world and not in a building”. Jesus said, John 17:18 “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” How many Christians, who normally would be in a building, have been doing God’s work in neighborhoods and other unique places?

What if the word of the Lord is, I have provided you new ways to communicate to a world already proficient in technology? In Isaiah 43:19 we hear these words, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” How many times have we said ugly things, as we struggled to become proficient in technology when God had already put the gifted people in our midst to teach us?

What if a word of the Lord is, I have already shown you what is good? “He has showed you, O man, what is good. ….to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8   This pandemic has helped us see a bigger world. He has called us to see people in need of food and housing and recognize the plight of people different from us. We must find ways to give people dignity, worth, and equality.

What if a word from the Lord is, All people from all tribes and nations, saints and sinners are welcome at My table?  In Matthew 9:10 Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners. In Matthew 26:6 he ate with a leper. As we begin to break down barriers to His table, we will experience resistance. In Matthew 9:11 the Pharisees asked, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Who does God want you to invite to His table?

We now have vaccines. Maybe it will not be long, before we have herd immunity and can return to some sense of normality. Is God calling us back to where we were, or is he calling us to move into a new world?

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister. For more information about how he can help you, contact him here.

In the Middle of the Crisis

By Rev. Jerry Chiles

You might be asking yourself, “Why am I here at this junction of history? Why am I having to go through this crisis? I am exhausted. God why are you doing this to us?”

God is not the one who is doing this to us. Is God present in this crisis? Yes! Can God use this crisis to show us a better way? Yes! There are times in life when ordinary people have the opportunity to do extraordinary things. It is no accident that we are present. This crisis will help us define our ministries. Will we step up and make a positive contribution or will we do the minimum and try to wait it out?

What does God expect of us? I think he expects us to self-care, to be present with people, and prepare our congregations to move forward. Does he say it will be easy? No! But he promises to be present with us.

While we have given up some things, we have also discovered new things. We had to embrace social media as never before. We had to discover how we can be present without being in physical contact.

One of the hardest decisions we face is what will we leave behind and what we embrace as we move forward. It is natural for us to long for a time and place of the familiar and safety. Moses wanted to stay in the dessert and gave God excuse after excuse as to why he could not do it. After he said yes, he took lots of grief from his people who often asked to return to Egypt? Joshua was afraid but God told him, “Do not be afraid of them”. Barnabas brought Saul under his wing stepping into the unknown and took criticism from his fellow Christians.

So how do we discern what God is calling us to be and do in and after this crisis? Each of us must decide God’s calling. However, God does not call us to go back. He calls us to join him. In Isaiah 49:18-19 he challenges us to ‘see a new thing’. In the New Testament Jesus talked about new wine in new wineskins, new garments, new commandments, new treasures, and a new creation. In Revelation they sang a new song.

It is not enough for us to embrace the new. We must encourage our congregations to embrace the new as well. Some of the congregation will move quickly to follow this new way, while others will be slow to move and some not at all. It must be said up front that failure may be part of the new way, but remember failure is not the enemy.  Failing to act is the enemy.

Be encouraged! We will get through this crisis. Be encouraged! God wants the best for us and His church. Be encouraged! You are not alone. All of us are afraid about what to do. Be encouraged! There are members of your congregation who are seeking God for the new way, too. In 1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV we find: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. “

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister.