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Lessons From The Pandemic (3): Moving Forward

The pandemic, though absolutely devastating, has presented each of us with enormous potential for both personal and corporate renewal. I’m reminded of Isaiah’s words…

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour. They will rebuild the ancient ruin and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Isaiah 61:1-4 NIV

In many ways we [the church] find ourselves in the midst of ancient ruins. There’s a sense that things will never be the same. And though there is some aspect of mourning the loss of ‘what was’, I believe the Spirit has raised each one of us to be ambassadors of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah’s call to rebuild the ancient ruins must begin in our own debris. We must be willing to go through the process of refinement; but there’s also a tremendous opportunity to speak into the lives of people around us. During this season of illumination, we have an opportunity to disciple others; to invite people into a deeper work of the Spirit; and to invite people to become part of a growing movement of Spirit-led disciples on mission with Jesus.

Instead of allowing the enemy to ‘tame’ or ‘silence’ each one of us, I believe now is the time to extend our reach. People are searching for means to disciple their scattered church, we can help; There are people lonely and hungry for deep friendship, we can help; There are people stuck in their faith and need vision for what a life surrendered to Jesus looks like, we can help!

The Psalmist says…Be alert for signs of God’s presence. If we stay in the debris we won’t be able to see the bigger picture of what God is doing in our midst. This will require us to take a higher perspective.

There’s a story from Tony de Mello’s book, The Song of the Bird, that I find extremely relevant for us.

“A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chick. He scratched the earth for worms and insects, he clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air. Years passed and the eagle grew very old.

One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. The eagle looked up in awe. ‘Who’s that?’ he asked? ‘That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,’ said his neighbor. ‘He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth — we are chickens.’

So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.”

What happens when tame eagles are unleashed?

Os Guinness says, “In fighting for life, the conscience, the will, the mind and the emotions of an individual can be fanned into a blaze of pent-up conviction. So for religion to be personal is for religion to be powerful, but if and only if it does not stop there.”

I truly believe God has primed each one of us to help people in our own context to realize their potential as wild eagles. These are unusual times; however, because of this disruption people will be open to new ways of viewing the nature of “church” and discipleship. Ask Jesus to give you his eyes and ears in the coming days as we begin go back to ‘normalcy’.

We can help, through the leading and power of the Spirit, unleashing once tamed Christians to realize their full potential as wild eagles in Jesus Christ. In doing this, we will join the Spirit’s mission to the world.

Pause and Reflect: 

  • Are you living as an ‘eagle’?!
  • What is the Spirit saying to you about realign your potential in Jesus? 
  • How are you going to be intentional about growing in your own discipleship AND helping others to do the same?
  • Is there someone you could invite to join in an Inspire Learning Community with you?  
  • Do you have an Inspire fellowship band to help you see and release your potential?

Anthony is an Inspire Missioner, church planting in St Louis, MO, USA. 

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