I was curious this week what I had written about for this space the week before COVID-19 changed things. The March 15 bulletin had an introduction for our missionary in Scotland who spoke that evening, so I had to go back another week to March 8. That article was about Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27 and how he relied on faith in God in a time of crisis. I tried to challenge you with these thoughts in the closing: “When the winds and waves in our lives try to overtake us, let’s recognize that as a chance to show our trust in God. Let’s be an example to others how God can still work through the storms. Let’s remember that He still does exactly what He says.” I had no idea how much those words would apply over these two months.


One of the many challenges in the midst of this pandemic has been the change in or lack of structure. For parents whose kids were in school, they have been at home. Many have begun to work from home. Some have used grocery pick up for the first time. We’ve worried for the first time in our lives about if we could find toilet paper at the store. People are working from home. Even those whose job schedules have not changed have become more familiar with masks and six foot separation. We have learned about live streaming and Zoom and sang hymns along with videos. We haven’t been able to visit each other in person. Our regular times together at the church building went away for a while and are now anything but regular. The change in routine is one of our storms. I did not realize that two months earlier God was providing a tool to help me weather the storm.


In January, I started working on a rule of life. I have found that the structure of that rule has been invaluable in an unstructured time. Tod Bolsinger describes a rule of life this way: “Rules of life are made up of intentional spiritual practices and commitments that serve as a trellis supporting the branches that are connected to the vine, Jesus (John 15), in order to have a fruitful life of discipleship. It is not a set of regulations that followers of Jesus must adhere to in order to be saved or experience grace but rather a support system that enables one disciple to respond faithfully to the grace of the Spirit in ways that further growth and effectiveness in a life of following Jesus.” To simplify, a rule of life is a list of practices that help us to grow in our relationship with God and live the abundant life Jesus calls us to live (John 10). Writing these practices down and making times and places for them has been especially helpful for me.


So what should be in your rule of life? That’s up to you. It might include some of the disciplines we talked about on Sunday evenings earlier this year like prayer, study or fasting. It might include better awareness of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. It might include more intentional time with family. Being at home forced that on many of us anyway, but how are we using that time? It might include efforts to be more positive or encouraging. It might include being a better listener, being more careful with words or being fully present with people around you. It could even include taking better care of yourself physically with nutrition, exercise or sleep. It could be a list or a couple paragraphs. It has the flexibility to be adapted as needed. If like me you’ve never done anything like this before, try it anyway. You might be surprised.


Instead of being intent on getting back to normal, let’s all make use of the reset this pandemic has provided. Let’s make our new normal better than what we had before.


– Brian


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

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