This week we are pleased to have Adam Antoniewicz, SCF Elder, writing the “Pastor’s Blog” post:

“I say to myself, “the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”   The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him;  it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  – Lamentations 3:24-26

As I sit down to compose this letter to the congregation, I feel compelled to encourage you in this time when we can feel isolated.  Being in community, sharing your thoughts, your fears, and your concerns is powerful.  Having the SCF community around you (either physically or virtually) to help you in times of need is absolutely crucial.  If you feel isolated, please reach out and seek support from the community.

I also feel compelled to encourage all of you to also embrace this time as a special gift.  God has given us a time in Shanghai where we are actively encouraged to stay indoors and away from others.  It is a unique opportunity to embrace something that Jesus often sought: solitude and silence.

Jesus sought solitude and silence just to commune with the Father.  After feeding the 5,000, all four of the gospels record that Jesus went into the hills for solitude and prayer with the Father.  We are in a time where we can physically disconnect from the fears, troubles, and distractions of the world to seek our Heavenly Father in solitude just like Jesus did.  Just you and Him.  Take advantage of this opportunity.

So, how do you do this?  Start with no agenda; no list of things to do or cover off.  Focus on doing nothing but sitting with the Lord.  Let His agenda take the lead.  Maybe you have a question on your mind that you need help from the Lord, that’s ok to bring that in prayer to the Lord.  Just don’t go in with expectation that the Lord will answer that specific question, remember it is His agenda today.

Maybe go on a walk or find a secluded place.  If you can’t leave your complex, then find a quiet place in your apartment.  Spend the first 20-30 minutes just being present with the Lord.  Notice the small things around you.  Notice the beauty of things He has made.  Listen to the sounds of creation.  Don’t let your mind wander to cares and concerns of this world; just notice the things around you right now.

Then, take some time to meditate on Him and give thanks.  Show gratitude for the wonderful things the Lord has given you.  Maybe write these down or say them out loud.  Just give thanks from the bottom of your heart for His provisions.  You can even look back on your life and find all of the areas that the Lord has specifically intervened to protect and guide you.  Once you start reflecting, you’ll find many.  Savor these and most of all give Him thanks.

Then, move into worship.  Jesus deserves all of the glory.  Give it to Him.  Listen to the worship list for the week or play some songs close to your heart.  Let the words wash over you.  Is there something the Lord is specifically saying to you in those lyrics?  Pause and reflect on those words and thoughts that come to your mind.  The Lord might just be saying to you how much He loves you too.  Keep your heart of worship on Him.

Now, just be with the Lord.  Some of us need quiet time.  Some of us need to dive into His word.  Be silent and let the Lord guide you.  You can find a book of the bible and read it slowly savoring His word.  Colossians is a good one to meditate on.  Read it, then read it again, and read it a third time.  Each time you read it, is there a passage the Lord is leading you to?  Are your eyes are drawn to a specific place?  Ask the Lord why is that passage for you.  Be still and listen.  He may be telling you something specific.  Write down what he tells you.  Reflect on it.  Let your heart be transformed.

Finally, come in prayer to the Lord.  Praise Him.  Ask for forgiveness.  Give thanks.  Ask Him for help with what He put on your heart.  Just commune with the Lord.  This is your time with Him.  Like a special time with a loved one, soak in this time and open your heart to receive what He is telling you.

In a time when we are asked to be physically apart from others to prevent infection, perhaps it is an opportunity to disconnect from everything outside of our Lord Jesus.  Remove all distractions.  Commit a few hours one morning to the Lord.  Just you and Him.  He’ll meet you there, but you have to take the first step.  I promise if you commit yourself to solitude and silence with Him, you will not feel isolated but full of the Spirit that dwells inside you.

“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7