When I was a child, I was never tired of asking, “Granddad, what did you do during the War?” It wasn’t enough for me to know that my granddad had lived through the War. I wanted to know what he had done during those evil days. How had he responded to the crisis? Or to use the Apostle Paul’s phrase in Ephesians 5:16, how had he ‘redeemed those evil days’?
As the world locks down under the threat of the coronavirus, that’s the question which is still on my mind. How will we use these evil days of national panic, of enforced isolation, of vastly fewer church meetings and of cancelled social engagements? Now that our diaries have suddenly been cleared, how are we going to redeem the time we have been given?
We pray over the planning of each of our sermon series at Everyday Church. We had no idea when we started 2020 that we would be living through such days as these, but God did, and I’m convinced that he prepared us for them. We felt led as pastors that we needed to begin this year with five weeks of intensive training in order to help the people of Everyday Church to deepen their walk with God on their own, without relying excessively on the Christian meetings in their diaries. We took people through the Five Habits of a Healthy Christian, which we described as:
WORD – learning to hear God speak to us daily through reading the Bible slowly
PRAYER – learning to speak back to God using a few simple ‘prayer pathways’
WORSHIP – learning to express our emotions to God in songs that fuel our prayer
SPIRIT – learning to embrace the daily work of the Holy Spirit deep within ourselves
OVERFLOW – allowing the Holy Spirit to saturate our own lives and to flow out of us to others
When we prepared these 5 messages and created 5 weeks of Everyday Devotions to accompany them, we could not have known how much people were going to start needing those lessons very soon. But God did. That’s my point. He has prepared us for this moment, and he has given us a strange season of seclusion in which we can truly lay hold of all that we learned. There’s nothing wrong with our using this season to enjoy a good book, to catch up on some DIY or to start a new box-set on Netflix, but let’s make sure that that’s not all we do! This is a golden opportunity for us to deepen our walk with God. For years we have been saying things like “I’d love to read the Bible more if only I had more time” and “I would pray more if I didn’t have to leave for work so early in the morning”. Well, here is our moment. This is the spiritual retreat we’ve always meant to go on. Let’s redeem these evil days!
Below I have posted the five messages and the five weeks of Everyday Devotions so that you can make the most of this opportunity. If you missed out on them the first time around, then enjoy, but if you enjoyed them the first time around, let’s go again! Let’s use the time we have been given to go back over the five habits of a healthy Christian and to reinforce them in our lives. When we look back in years to come, let’s make sure we have a really good, God-glorifying answer to the question: “What did you do during the coronavirus crisis?”