(Continued from Part 1. This installment concludes the article.)
First – Narrow our Focus
First, we must narrow our focus to what we are actually capable of doing, while distancing ourselves from all those entities over which we have no power or authority. Lamenting the direction of the United Nations, FEMA, or even the cumbersome nature of the U.S. Government will only consume our energy and cloud our focus. It’s a tough call, but at this point in the game I believe it’s time to release our friends, family, and even churches that just don’t get it. This could be reversed later, in the event of a turnaround, but should not drain us at this point. It’s a hard reality but one which we must all face.
Secondly – Think Proximity
If you’re like me, in the event we have to “circle the wagons”, most of us could come
up with at least a short list of good and desirable folks we’d pick with which to share the challenge; my best hunting buddy, my sister and her son, a family from church that we get on well with, etc. That’s all well and good, but the reality is that most of those folks don’t live next door, or aren’t even within a reasonable walking distance.
Your best friend probably lives out in the Valley, your regular hunting Buddy lives in Fairbanks, and that family in your House Church most likely lives 10 miles away on the other side of the City. If we are serious about hunkering down, going into small group lengthy quarantine, or bugging out then these are the essentials:
1 – We cannot go it alone
2 – We must be “close”, in many ways, with our compatriots
3 – We must all be prepared with food and essential supplies – thinking the long haul as opposed to a quick fix
Third – Pull together the Basics
Let’s face it. if you are just now pulling together the basics with which to deal with the
coming pandemic, you are cutting the timeline a bit short. However, it’s not the time to despair. As thoroughly and efficiently as you can, make your list and do your shopping. If you happen to have a trusted friend who is a veteran prepper, by all means engage him or her in your process. It will shorten and bring quality to your process.
Here is a list of some of the areas you need to think through and plan carefully:
- Potable water/filter system
- Food, both emergency and long term storage
- 1st Aid and medical supplies
- Personal medications
- Fuel for travel
- Alternative light (multiple forms and sources)
- Alternative heat, fuel, and fire starter
- Sanitation and emergency toilet
- Personal hygiene products
- Security and self-defense
Add to your list as you see fit.
KEEP FOREFRONT IN YOUR THINKING: Base your thinking and your decisions on your best judgement. Hearsay, rumor, and even hysteria should all be part of the equation. However, step aside from the flow of the crowd mentality, but DO NOT ignore it. Take your questions before the Lord and set your direction independent of mass thinking.
Now, on to the main point – Our Greatest Opportunity!
What about the Church ?
(Note: as I was writing this, ShepherdFarmerGeek’s article titled Church Pandemic Preparedness arrived on the SurvivalBlog March 4th posting. It has not been my intent to duplicate what SFG wrote. It’s a great piece. Check it out.)
To fully understand the potential of today’s church for impacting our world of disease, hatred, and confusion we must revisit Jesus’ teaching as to the nature of the church, as well as the New Testament model, His Body in action.
Basically, Jesus refers to the Church (his Body) as his physical presence on earth. Each one of us (Believers) is a key part of that Church Body, and as such his Church will function in his power and authority.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12
Prepare for Trials
With that commission, we note the church in the New Testament – that thought nothing of an all-night intercessory prayer meeting. Its members were often beaten and thrown into prison, were stoned, went hungry, were regularly called on for Biblical hospitality, they shared sacrificially with other local Churches who were in deep need, walked hundreds of miles to consult with other Church leaders over a key theological matter, they were persecuted, and in the end they witnessed their leader being arrested, falsely accused, brutally beaten and crucified. And after Jesus’ ascension it started all over for them.
Contrast that spartan existence with today’s western Church life. We are blessed with quality speakers, talented worship teams, friendly greeters and usher teams, trained youth leaders and nursery attendants, and a latte to keep us alert and satisfied.
Pause and think for a moment on such a stark contrast. Did Jesus suffer shame and a horrible death to purchase our comfort and satisfaction, or did he die to enable us to break from “the pattern of the world” Romans 12:2, to “stand against evil”, minister to a broken world, or maybe to even offer our places of worship to house the sick and dying – if needed? That could be a wonderful alternative to having our church buildings officially closed to restrict the virus spread.
How many of us know of, or are a part of a church that is ready, at a moment’s notice, to deal with a serious, long term hardship? If so, then you are a part of a rare church in America. If not, then maybe it’s time to make some new plans.
Imagine for a moment, prayerfully approaching our Governor, the Anchorage Police Department (APD), the City Council, or a consortium of local Churches with a proposal to turn our houses of worship into Covid-19 Medical Centers, were the Alaskan situation to worsen to that point. Impossible, we might think! Well, certainly, if we wait for the government to shut down all large group meetings, and even lock our buildings.
Perhaps the most important factor in all of this is that our God is a God of miracles! He loves to work miracles, big and small, and to our great loss, we rarely even ask.
We may not know where this is all leading. We may not know when and where we will meet again. We could lose everything in this world, but can we willingly embrace the realities of living out our faith in Jesus, no matter what the cost?
- How long will this last? We don’t know. Plan for longer rather than short and sweet. Go lean and expect to become even leaner!
- How can we maintain flexibility? Two things – turn from the “pattern of the world”, and rely totally on the Holy Spirit. We’ll have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
- Making the hard choices (read “One Second After” by William Fortschen)
- Who do we trust? While continuing to reach out to the world, go into what’s to come, tight with the best, most reliable believers you know. Communicate openly with your group, and hold expectations high with much grace. Pray and pray some more.
- Food Allergies: This is a phenomenon I don’t completely understand. I know it is real, and I know our society has exploited it in some situations. (I understand it has become a multi-billion dollar industry.) For those who wrestle with this challenge I urge you to pray and ask God to heal you, or provide you with a way to make it work in a time of extreme duress.
- Children (food, strong willed behavior, compliance, etc.) This is a major area of concern. If you have a child who is strong willed, unruly, or hard to please, know that things will have to change. Do I dare say it’s time to buck up, and begin the process of change? Child and parent will be happier for it.
- The Economy. Many say the fall of our economy will be worse than the virus itself. It makes a lot of sense. Prepare for it.
- Some Biblical Guidance:
- Fear, scared - It’s real and it’s natural, but we are not to let a spirit of fear rule us. It is not from the Lord. 2 Timothy 1:7
- Home, family, house group worship/church. Isn’t this where the heart of the Early N.T Church found it’s nest? Rom 16:1-27
- Watchman on the wall. Does your local church body recognize a “watchman on the wall”? Do you trust the watchman? Ezekiel 33. An amazing assignment, providing security and accountability for the local Church.
- Signs of the times! Jesus commanded that we understand them. It’s time to catch up! Luke 12:54-56
- Listen to God, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. “My sheep hear my voice.” Long for God’s voice, practice listening. John 10:27-28
- Obey – He who loves me, obeys me. That’s the bottom line. Period. John 14:21
Brothers and Sisters of the “Last Frontier” and the struggling world beyond, let us stand firm and united, in the truth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Seriously consider the entire 24th chapter of Matthew, especially verses 4-14. “But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (verse 13)