Francis Chan, presently in Hong Kong, addresses his team of elders, his church in San Francisco, and the Church around the world. He reminds believers everywhere that now is not the time to lose our love, joy, or peace.
A Message from Francis Chan
Hey guys, I just wanted to send a quick message.
First, I want to say that Lisa and I miss you so much. It is weird to be apart from family when we’ve been so close for so long. I pray for you and think about you all the time.
Because everything is so crazy right now, I want to be there. But, I thought, at least I could send you a quick message and share some thoughts that God has put on my heart for the Church during this time.
It was kind of crazy three weeks ago when we were getting ready to leave, so I got the kids together and asked the family how they were feeling. Zeke, Ellie, and Claire were talking about how they were a little sad to be leaving their friends.
They weren’t really scared about going into Hong Kong with the virus. They were excited about the adventure. Everyone had these mixed emotions.
And then we asked Silas, our five-year-old, “Hey, what do you think, Silas? Are you excited to go to Hong Kong?” And he just starts crying. And he says, “I’m just so sad that all these people are dying in China.”
And it was in this moment where we were amazed—he was actually the only one that has the right perspective.
Shifting Perspectives, Don’t Lose Your Love
We’re all thinking about ourselves, and how it feels going into this place. Are we afraid? Are we this or that? But he just brought us to this moment of: man, I naturally default to myself and I don’t think about what’s going on.
It’s so easy for us to lose what we’re supposed to be all about—which is to be these people who are loving, who are concerned that hundreds of people every day are dying. And many headed to an eternity apart from Christ.
I mean, I used to think this way in high school. I remember when I first believed, I would look at all my friends and I would be so concerned about their eternal salvation. But sometimes the longer you’re in church, you can almost get sidetracked by other things, and believe they’re the most important.
And, so, my number one prayer for you guys is that you stay loving. I pray that during this time you really are thinking, God, I love you. What do you want me to do out of love for you? And, to be looking at others around you in love and asking, God, how can I serve these people?
This is one of the greatest opportunities we’ve ever had as a church—where people are open to talking about serious things, life and death things, and suddenly how we’re no longer in control.
Rejoicing Always, Don’t Lose Your Joy
I understand it is crazy, but don’t lose your love. And secondly, I would say don’t lose your joy. Like the Bible commands us in Philippians 4—rejoice in the Lord always.
I know it’s a weird time where you can’t gather together as the big church and we’re even trying to break up the churches into smaller clusters. And you can find some disappointment. Saying awe, I wish it was like this, I wish it was like that.
But don’t stop rejoicing in the fact that right now, you can be alone in your room, even if you’re isolated, and be in the presence of almighty God. You and Him in a room together—alone with the Creator of the universe.
We have to rejoice in that always.
And not just that, but the joy it brings. And this is what we’ve been talking about for years now, that we don’t need the giant crowds or anything else. If I just have a couple of people in the room with me and we take of communion, there’s a way in which Christ is present there like in no other setting.
We have this right.
Some of my most meaningful times of communion have been just with the family or with two buddies, where we’re reminding each other, this is the body and blood of Christ.
One time I was with my friends Justin and Al, it was just the three of us, having this communion and Justin said, “I had to open my eyes, because I could’ve sworn Christ was right there in front of me—like I could reach out and touch Him.”
The real presence of Christ.
Are you still finding so much joy in that? Let’s get even deeper during this time and find joy in this.
Don’t Lose Your Peace
And, finally, I just want to say don’t lose your peace. We are people who are supposed to be fearless, absolutely fearless. The number one command, the most oft repeated command in Scripture, is fear not.
I think of Christ’s words in John 14 when he says something like this: Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you like the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. In my Father’s house are many rooms, and if it were not so I would have told you. I’m going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, so you can be with me where I am.
And this is the crux of everything we believe. I don’t have to fear death. This is the way Christ wants me to live.
What do I have to fear? If I die, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. When have you ever feared gain? Or getting into the presence of God? I hope you have this peace with you.
Do Not Fear
We have the peace that He says that if you seek first the kingdom of God, all these things shall be added to you. So, I walk around going, man, what could go wrong with me today? I know Him. I don’t fear death. He’s going to take care of me while I’m on this earth. And when it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go.
You guys, this is at the core that the resurrection of Christ took away all of that fear.
I sure hope that right now you are so fearless for yourself. And if not, the first thing you have to do is get alone with God and seek Him. Ask, why this fear? You don’t want me living like this.
This is a time where we can thank God and say: God, it is so good that I am with you and nothing, nothing can separate me from your love. I’m loved by you and nothing can separate this. No disease, no death, no life, angels, principalities—nothing can separate me from the love of God. Thank you, God, thank you that I can be alone with you. Thank you that you dwell in me, that I’m not alone, and that I don’t have to worry about the future.
Don’t Isolate Yourself Forever
This is the attitude we need to have as believers right now. And, I would warn you during this time not to isolate. I see a lot of people saying that they are just going to podcast or isolate. And my fear during this time for the US, for Hong Kong, for anywhere is we can get so accustomed to being isolated that we just go, I’m going to keep doing this. This is great. I’m going to stay at home and be by myself.
But we know that is not the Church that Christ wanted.
He wanted such intimacy between His children, just like every parent does. You want your kids to have this bond—this inseparable bond. And, so, we can do all things through Christ. That means even during this time
As you are on lockdown, say, God, we can get closer to each other somehow, whether it’s through technology or whatever else, we will figure out a way.
Because there needs to be this resilience in us as believers.
And I think that is what the world and the Church are being shown right now—just how vulnerable and volatile we are. That one little thing could mess things up.
What We’ve Be Working For
We Are Church, you know this is what we’ve been working for, for seven years. And it’s kind of crazy that for seven years we’ve been preaching: Come on guys, we’ve got to get ready. There’s going to come a day when we can’t get in these big gatherings. And there’s going to come a day when you’re going to need to know how to—by yourself, no matter where you are—thrive in your walk with God. And that you can gather with other believers and you can build each other up.
I mean that’s what we were preparing for. For example, I want my children, by the time they’re 18, to be able to own their relationship with God.
I trained them up. They can go anywhere, they can walk with the Lord, and they can lead others to the Lord. They know how to have fellowship with others, and they can create their own gatherings.
And that’s been our heart for We Are Church. We thought there’s going to come a day when we won’t have the luxury of all the leaders being together with all of the people, and we needed to be ready for that. It’s kind of crazy.
After preaching that for seven years, and two weeks after I leave America, you’re living it. And the whole country is having to live that.
Don’t Miss the Opportunities
But I believe it’s God’s grace on us to show us if we’re prepared. Have I lost my love, my joy, my peace? This is the fruit of the Spirit.
Take advantage of this time. Don’t miss this opportunity.
This is one of our greatest opportunities for reaching out to our lost world and showing them that we haven’t lost our love, joy, or peace—even at this moment. The enemy can’t take that away from us.
We love the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Church is alive and well.
I miss you. I love you and I’m so excited that so many of you have been prepared for this. Take courage, and I can’t wait to see you again.