Dear Church Family,
As we have been thrust into this time of quarantining and physically isolating ourselves from all normal connections, I can’t help but to be drawn to the characters and personalities of the Bible that found themselves exiled/imprisoned into isolation. David, a man after God’s own heart, in the Old Testament chased into caves, and driven to the wilderness; Paul the bold Apostle thrown in stocks chained in depressing dank jail cells. These men stand as examples for us as we find ourselves in (certainly, less extreme) isolation circumstances. Nevertheless, separated from the people and the rituals of the church and worship that they were accustomed to. This sounds ever so familiar in our time. For me, their responses in these circumstances stand out- they both turned to prayer and praise.
Brothers and Sisters, in this time of “social distancing” and quarantine, may our hearts been driven to prayer and praise. May we be like David, who in the wilderness penned Psalm 63 “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” May our hearts and minds be driven to sing Hymns of who God is and of the good that he has done. Much like Paul and Silas did, while chained and imprisoned in Acts 16; to whom their praises, and the miraculous works of the Lord converted the heart of the jailer.
As we find ourselves in similar circumstances, I pray now would be the time (and I am speaking to myself too), to develop and continue patterns in your home of regular worship of God. Let us be intentional about using our homes to be the grounding point to patterns on Sunday. “Whether we have children, teens, or other adults in our home, regular times of worship together reorient our hearts and minds to the eternal truths of Scripture and helps us fight temptations to worry or despair.”-Rusty Osborne (Family Worship Starts Now).
How Does this practically look? Read, Pray, Praise!
Read: Go to God’s Word. Theology leads to Doxology- In other words, God’s Word is the catalyst and the fuel for our praise of Him. When we look to His word and His truth, it reminds us of who He is and what He has done for us. You don’t have to have any 4 point sermon with alliterative bullet points ready. Just read God’s Word, and then talk about it. If this seems somewhat overwhelming or not structured enough for you, follow the link below to some great study guides and resources. Stop by the church and grab a Family Bible Study book, or email the church office and we will send you one. Just get the Word of God on your lips and in the ears of those in your home.
Pray: Look to the Lord. Give Him praise for what He said in His Word. Let the Words of Scripture fuel your prayer. Ask Him to reveal any confusing thing you are studying. Cast your cares and worries of this season and the day on Him. Share your doubts and struggles; but like the David wrote in Psalm 13 look to God who has been faithful and has restored us in Christ- “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”
Praise: As Psalm 95 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” Let our voices ring out the truth and praises of a Great God who has redeemed us and given us an Eternal Hope that surpasses any calamity and misfortune this world thrusts upon us. Sing songs that you and your family like to sing. Sing songs you know. Spend more time on Songs that specifically tell about who God is and what he has done. You don’t need to be super talented at singing or be accomplished on any instrument- just sing. Even if it is one song.
-Embrace and Endure the Chaos. Don’t be discouraged by disorder: If your potty-training two-year-old has an accident and your daughters are pushing each other the whole time, don’t let that discourage you. Ok, so that example might only apply to me. But, you get the point- this doesn’t need to look like a beautiful portrait; and it most certainly will rarely look this way. Develop patterns. Seek God.
-There are no time limits or criteria: this can be 5 minutes, or 45 minutes. Don’t let the excess or lack of time restrict this time. Just practice the pattern: Read, Pray, Praise!
-Don’t get discouraged- if you miss a day, week, err… year don’t put that as a monument of your failure. His Mercies are new each day, and He is not keeping score of how faithful or faithless you are to Him.
Church Family: now is the time! Develop and continue the patterns that will bring eternal hope and comfort in these difficult times. Ground your family and loved ones in truth, in habits that will turn our hearts and eyes to the author of life and salvation. I pray God will refine us all, and bring about a greater renewal of His Kingdom purpose in our hearts and then to the friends and neighbors of our community around us!
Nate Orlowski (Worship Director Faith Bible Fellowship Church Harleysville, PA)
Family Worship Starts Now: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/family-worship/
Resources for Family Devotions: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/melissa-kruger/today-the-perfect-time-to-start-family-devotions/
New City Catechism: http://newcitycatechism.com/
Faith BFC Family Worship Songbook: FaithBFC Songbook