FAITH: Essential link to your well-being and future

My faith helps me understand that circumstances don’t dictate my happiness, my inner peace. ~Denzel Washington

As church congregations begin to return to old-fashioned church gatherings across America, the reality is that church will never be the same. The changes that have altered society, businesses and our way of life also include the church.

Many churches, in fact, have been responsive to the growing quarantine urgency, and going to church has actually never been easier. The choices, the convenience and the accessibility are at an all-time high, and the response has been dramatic.

You can watch on Facebook, you can watch on church websites, you can watch or listen to podcasts from pastors and other church leaders. Heck, you can even sit in the parking lots of some churches, never leave your car and experience church.

If you don’t “go to church” now, you likely never will. But it’s also raised an important question from the unorthodox Francis Chan, who asks what if God doesn’t want us to return “to church and life as usual”?

What if God is taking us to a different place? Many of us are anxious to get back to normal. I hope your anxiety is not just so you can go back and get busy with so many things. ~Francis Chan.

The changes over the past few months have been significant and some of those changes are here to stay. Online services, podcasts, help for the elderly, outdoor services have increased and will likely never return to their original levels.

To be sure, though, church attendance had been dropping precipitously in recent years as Americans — and even professing Christians — have rationalized the practice of not attending.

Barna and Pew Research surveys indicate that many people:

  • Believe they can practice their religion in other ways.
  • Don’t believe the church is relevant in their lives.
  • Are bothered with the moral and financial failures of church leaders.

But crisis has a way of changing perspective and revealing a gaping void. When life is healthy or going well, we don’t always see the need or don’t have time to address it. When everything comes to a screeching halt, though, the emptiness bubbles to the top, the void crystalizes, and the hurt and pain are revealed.

To wit, calls to mental health hotlines have skyrocketed, business closures are up, personal finances are in turmoil and domestic abuse has escalated.

So what does that mean to you? What will you change about your faith and spiritual walk?

The Bible emphatically commands us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but you don’t need a pastor or priest to fellowship with God. Just because the government demands social distancing, it hasn’t outlawed your relationship with God.

In fact, social distancing does not apply to your relationship with God, and it never will. Just ask Paul and Silas, who were in jail but continued to praise.

Even as you address key areas of your life such as health, finances, attitude and even your future, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: Church and faith. Whether you’re on the outside looking in or just lukewarm or even on fire, the landscape is changing and it will impact your life.

Some are predicting a massive renewal or revival — even an awakening — as the effects of the pandemic carry on potentially for years. What will you do with that opportunity, shun it or embrace it?

Let’s be real: The media and many in America will try to tell you that spirituality, church and faith are wrong, elitist and will not serve you well. Some revisionist historians have been attempting to write out the move of the church in our society. But it continues to thrive today, despite apathy, lethargy and lukewarmness.

You probably won’t see this on the nightly news, but successful leaders, coaches and even politicians point to faith in their lives. Virtually every president will highlight moments in their administration when they either fell to their knees or turned to God in crisis. In a growing scene, winning coaches and even players give credit to God after a success.

From George Washington to Donald Trump and John Wooden to Zig Ziglar and Tom Landry to Tony Bennett and Dabo Swinney, there was a place for faith in their lives. Some wore it on their coat sleeves, others maintained a more private tact. Nonetheless, they all acknowledged that faith played a significant part in their lives.

This is your time to embrace the faith. Wherever you are today, church and faith are vital to your well-being, your family and to your future. How will you respond? Here are a few opportunities for you:

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. ~Billy Graham

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