God is Calling
Recently, I was reminded in my spirit that God is always working His will; He is always redeeming lost and broken things to Himself, always at work calling out to His creation. Years ago (like, years ago…), Don Francisco performed a song called, “Adam, Where Are You?” I have it on my ‘best of’ playlists, and every time I hear it again, I can’t help but be drawn into the story. The final verse in the song goes like this:
Though the curse has long be broken
Adams’ sons are still the prisoners of their fears
Rushing helter skelter to destruction with their fingers in their ears
While the Fathers voice is calling with an urgency I’ve never heard before
Come in from the darkness now before it’s time to finally close the door!
Though I think God laughs when we make assumptions about this being the ‘end times’ or the ‘last generation,’ I do think that it’s in times like these that we are prone to be more thoughtful about what God may be up to, and reminded that in good times and in bad, He is at work. The chorus to the song is simple:
Adam, Adam, where are you?
Adam, Adam, where are you?
Adam, Adam, I love you!
God is always redeeming the fallen circumstances of this world to bring glory to Himself and to call all people to a relationship with Him. This time in our lives is no different. There are two questions that sit with me in light of this awareness.
First, do you know Him? I don’t mean to ask if you know who He is; do you know Him? I’m reminded of the life of Charles Finney, a well-known lawyer who wrestled mightily in the 1800’s with the idea of God’s very existence. Charles took a long walk in the woods outside of his law firm in rural Illinois one day and emerged having been transformed and reborn by his encounter with the living God who was pursuing him. Finney went on to become one of the most influential evangelists of the 19th century, repeating the call of God’s heart to hundreds of thousands—“Adam, where are you?” I ask you again…Do you know Him? Maybe you need to take a long walk in the woods.
Second…Are you making Him known? What does it look like in this current environment for you to be the Light of Christ to others? This may primarily be a time of preparation for you as you dig deeper into your relationship with Him, using this forced time to re-establish your connection with Christ. Maybe He’s flooding your soul with ideas and inspiration to reach people in ways we never thought about before. Maybe He’s calling you to play an important role in the lives of the people around you. Actually, I think He’s doing all of these things and more! Let’s use this time—this forced time—to make Him known.
As your Executive Pastor, I want you to know how proud I am of the staff team that works day in and day out to serve our shared mission: to Win people to Jesus Christ, to Build them up in their faith, and then to Send them out to be winners and senders in their spheres of influence. I’m sure most of you are experiencing challenging circumstances in your work and families, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have not been immune to these things either. Our campuses are closed to onsite programming and our staff are working exclusively from home through the end of April.
One of the first things we did when this happened was to split up our list of nearly 1,000 adults over the age of 70 and assign a pastor to each person on the list for a personal phone call and follow-up as the situation continues. Pastors have come away from this inspired by the spiritual maturity of the people they have talked with, engaged by their stories of triumph and loss, and humbled to have had the chance to pray with them.
Our team has gone through an intense learning curve as they have pivoted from in-person, program-based ministry to media-based training and connection points that were hardly envisioned just four weeks ago. This past weekend, we measured over 11,000 unique devices logged into one of our three weekend services, making it possibly the largest non-holiday weekend gathering in our history. From Discovery Kids and YTH to Men’s and Women’s ministry and beyond, your staff has stepped up in a big way to keep ministry alive and well!
Now, with the newest Executive Order in effect, our staff has moved out of their offices and is working from home, yet still responding to every call, still creating program content, still caring for and calling on the people of SBC. Our Local Outreach team has shared numerous opportunities for people to serve those who are in need, and our church is participating in helping to get needed supplies to the medical community where we can. So far, we haven’t seen a large uptick in SBC people in need, but we are planning for it—doing our best to make sure that when we are needed, we are ready and available to serve.
It’s not been easy. What lies ahead is likely to put a strain on our ability to stay engaged and productive, but this is a team that does whatever it takes to stay in the game. We stand ready to help, and will continue to do all we can to discern what God is doing in the midst of this challenging season and to make sure that we are working alongside Him as He calls out to the people for whom His heart cries, “Adam, where are you?”