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5 Suggestions of Things To Do During an Extended Time at Home

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I confess that one of the hardest things for me to accept during these days of “social distancing” is that the sports world has almost literally shut down. There is no professional basketball. No March Madness. No Spring Training baseball games, and “opening day” has been suspended. What’s a guy like me supposed to do? I told my wife the other day that we’ll probably have to actually talk to each other. I’m kidding about the last sentence, of course.

It’s important for all of us to readjust our lives and our schedules during these days when many of us feel trapped at home. Let’s face it, many of the regular things we do have been canceled, and the places we go are closed. The felling of isolation may be especially true for our oldest family or church members. They may feel more secluded and alone than anyone.

I have listed below some practical suggestions for those of us with extended time at home.

  • Maintain a disciplined schedule.

During times of crisis it is especially important to maintain our regular individual time with God. Followers of Christ should discipline themselves to spend some time each day in God’s Word and in prayer. Practicing this habit is very important during a time when people are inundated with negative and fearful thoughts. God’s Word can provide hope, encouragement, comfort, and Godly motivation during times like this.

  • Guard your thought life.

This suggestion is complimentary to the last idea, but a bit more specific. God’s people should learn to limit their consumption of digital content. This is also really important – Christian parents should help their children and teenagers limit their time on digital devices. Why not take some time to read or to journal?

  • Get outside as often as you can.

This may be the ideal opportunity to spend some time outside in God’s creation. Plus, it will probably prove essential to get some exercise each day. Even with all of the current limitations we can still enjoy and appreciate the beauty and simple majesty of nature. Even if the weather is bad – we can put on our winter coats and grab an umbrella. The important thing is to get outside each day, look around, and thank the Lord for the wonder His creation.

  • Connect with others.

We all need to figure out how to make connections with others every day. I know that meetings and group settings are to be avoided, but we need each other. It’s really important for us to be intentional about getting together with other people. Of course, we need to be careful, but we can call our friends and fellow church members. We can talk over the fence with our neighbors. We can utilize technology like Facetime or Facebook messenger. Plus, we can’t forget to get help (medical, physical, emotional, or spiritual) if we need it.

  • Think of ways to minister and serve.

While we are thinking about connecting with others, let’s not forget about ways to minister to other people. We should all check in on the vulnerable people we know to make sure they are okay. We can still utilize our spiritual gifts even during times of crisis. Undoubtedly there will be people around us that have needs and this may prove to be the ideal time to reach out to them. It may be as simple as going to the grocery store for someone or baking chocolate chip cookies. Plus, we can certainly pray for each other!

We don’t have to feel isolated, but our strategy must be intentional and purposeful.

Use What You Have! Ministry in the Days of Coronavirus

in youth ministry by

Have you ever read about Shamgar in the Bible?

He was one of the deliverers of Israel, and although only one verse in the Bible is given to his major accomplishment, his story is told to us in Judges 3:31, “Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.”

We’ll get back to that victory a little bit later. But there is one other passage in the Bible that gives us some more background information about him. Later on, the book of Judges cites “the Song of Deborah”. In one stanza of that song there is also a brief reference to Shamgar. Notice Judges 5:6-7, “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, and the travelers walked along the byways.  Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel…”

Certainly, there are some parallels in that narrative to life today. Highways were empty, travelers had to sneak around, and their sense of community life “ceased”. In this time in the history of the nation of Israel the people were hiding due to what one commentator called “raiders” or thieves.

The nation needed a deliverer – and God raised up Shamgar. His name was probably Egyptian in origin and the text tells us that he was “the son of Anath”, which meant that he was perhaps from that lineage and may have been somewhat of a “mercenary” who changed sides to help protect the children of Israel.

This is where the story of Shamgar gets interesting. His weapon of choice in this incredible victory was an “ox goad”. Shamgar used what he had in his hand. The ox goad was a familiar farm implement, which means he was probably employed as a farmhand, working for someone else at the time. This tool was usually a long, pointed stick with two basic purposes. One was to “goad” or prod the oxen into moving through the plowing fields and the other was to sometimes clean the plows from the clumps of dirt and perhaps manure that tended to build up around the blade when plowing.

Shamgar had an ox goad and he used what he had in his hands for God, and God used him to accomplish something very special.

We are living in interesting times. Almost everyone I talk to uses the word “weird” to describe our world’s reaction to the current Coronavirus crisis. Churches have canceled their services, schools are closed, and grocery stores are running out of basic supplies. Church leaders and youth workers are certainly wondering what to do now. What do the times demand of us?

My advice is to do what Shamgar did. Use what you have!

Today we have computers, cell phones, and other means of technology. We have some tools we can use. We have the means to communicate with others – and we can do things with individuals, and we can meet in small groups. We can still minister, and we can still reach out. So, we should utilize what we have to accomplish what God has called us to do.

We don’t need to hunker down. We don’t need to retreat into our homes in fear. Ministry now will demand some creativity, some initiative, and some new looks. But it can still be done.

I’m sure that no one expected Shamgar to win with his ox goad, but he accomplished something great for God.

Like the ending of the Song of Deborah says in Judges 5:31b, “…let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.”

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