Social distance doesn’t have to mean isolation. This is exactly the kind of moment when being in a community is more powerful than ever. All year long, I have a group of guys I do life with called my Dude Group. When I woke up Friday morning, I sent the message below to them. If you are in a group, feel free to steal some of these thoughts for your group text.
Connecting with other people who follow God can help us move from fear to faith. Reaching out to each other daily is how we beat loneliness and deepen our relationships—even if we’re sitting at home alone. Praying for one another is real spiritual warfare1 that actually changes things, and it’s worth all the time we can devote to it. Admitting need is how we defeat toilet paperlessness when we are vulnerable and let someone share theirs with us.
So, here’s the text I sent my group. What could you send to yours?
(Don’t have a group? Find one here.)
Brothers—Good morning. I’m catching up on the feed from yesterday and will be bringing all of your requests and you and your families before the Lord by name.
I’m feeling the weight of leadership of our church through this time and also feeling incredibly hopeful that God will shine through His “big C” Church during this crisis. I want to share a few thoughts with you brothers for your spiritual edification and encouragement:
This crisis will expose our idols and can also expose our faith. One of my idols2 is the desire to be in control. I’ve been bingeing news and information as if it’s possible to know all you need to know to make a good decision. This is a lie. What God wants us to do is “resolve to know only him and Christ crucified,” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:2. It is actually in surrender and trust in God being in control that I will find my salvation and what I need to lead well. So ask yourself: “what idol is this exposing for me?” And then surrender it to God.
This is an opportunity to put “one anothering” on overdrive as a group. Seriously! Like sharing toilet paper, for instance . That might be a real ministry to each other and to our families in the coming weeks! But all kidding aside, let’s lean into asking each other for what our families need now (prayer requests, help with children, presence, physical needs, etc.). We GET to love each other well through this. My family is spring breaking for the next two weeks but mostly staycationing through that time. I’ll be around and without the demands of my typical schedule. Please let me know how I can be a blessing to you and yours, and I’ll do the same.
This is a moment to amp up our relationship with God! I want to challenge each of us to double our time in prayer through this intense challenge. I know I can feel the pressure to be DOING more, but the thing that will make the difference is actually PRAYING more. God has begun speaking to me about things and about how to lead and love through this. I’m realizing He will speak more if I will give more time to being with him and listening to him. So whatever it looks like for you to make a change in engaging God, it will pay dividends in life and peace during this time.
I love you, brothers! And I am praying for your protection, health, family unity, and intimacy with God and others. And also for you to be men of Kingdom IMPACT during this time! Let’s keep the conversation going.
1Spiritual warfare is when we connect with God to call his goodness to overcome any darkness that opposes his people or purposes. Prayer, worship, and faith can actually push back evil and usher in God’s power to overcome.
2Idols are anything that we (consciously or unconsciously) love, prioritize, or depend on more than God.
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...
What struck you most about Chuck’s text to his community? Why?
Like Chuck mentioned that wanting to be in control becomes an idol for him, what are you realizing might be an idol for you? (Hint: Look for any area of extra stress if you can’t have it right now or something you’re depending on for comfort before you look to God.)
How could you make yourself available for “one anothering?” Think of someone you know who might need help, or think of something you have to share. It could be something practical like toilet paper, time to go to the store for someone, or simply an encouraging note you could send.
Describe what prayer normally looks like for you. If you’ve never prayed before, try simply reading the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus used to teach his disciples how to pray. If you regularly pray, try leaning into more time or more depth with learning about intercession or prophecy by trying the Listening For God study in the Crossroads app.
How could you imitate some of the depth he shares with his group with your friends? Even if it feels out of your comfort zone, try raising the spiritual temperature of your conversations with something similar, and see what happens.
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