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The Upside of the Lockdown

At the beginning of 2020 it was very common for governments, businesses, academic institutions and ministries to communicate their vision for the future activities they hoped would be accomplished during the coming year. Some even used the natural wordplay between the year 2020 and 20/201 as it relates to having normal eyesight; in this instance, foresight. In January, few could have predicted the almost-global lockdown that would follow in the months to come. This unprecedented event is still in the early phase of playing out its impact on the course of human history. Many are suffering as a result of this pandemic and the resultant personal, social and economic impact on their lives. Having said that, I found myself asking, “What is God doing and how can this work for the furtherance of His work on earth?”

Reevaluating our priorities

It is amazing how what we thought were the essential things in our life have now been tested by depravation. With every major event cancelled and public facilities closed, some find themselves reevaluating the activities they once considered vital. Perhaps this forced sifting program has caused us to re-label some of those activities as “no longer top priority” or maybe even “not necessary.” In their place, a new list of necessities appears.

An old English proverb states, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Aided by the sound of silence, people’s minds have been unintentionally uncluttered to the point that some are showing the fruit of their unfettered imagination. For me, this is exemplified by the fact that I have witnessed an upsurge in creative materials uploaded to the various social media platforms on the internet. For the most part, these clever expressions entertain, encourage and even inspire anyone who takes the time to appreciate them.

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The Once and Future Church

Article source originally published in October 1, 2016

Over the many decades that I have enjoyed my love affair with the Bible, I have had the marvelous benefit of many great teachers. I’ve also had the incredible experience of fellowshipping in one of the most famous churches emphasizing expositional teaching from the Word of God.

But I also would like to let you in on a precious secret. Unquestionably, the greatest personal growth I’ve ever witnessed occurs in the home Bible study. From those early years on Harbor Island Road in Newport Beach, to those precious times on Mountain Home Road in Silicon Valley, the fellowship of those intimate home groups, where people can interact, ask questions, and hold one another accountable, was the place of growth for all of us — teacher and student.

This was, of course, the way it all started. A group of but a dozen — fishermen and others — along a seaside in Galilee. Even later as Paul traveled and planted, it was the intimacy of home fellowships that provided the earliest forums for the Gospel. The declarations in the synagogues and on Mars Hill were but an initiation. Their resulting questions were responded to in small groups in homes and on hillsides.

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COVID-19: Koinonia House Update

Greetings!

Living in isolation can be both a blessing and a curse. Separated from the normal daily routines that previously filled our busy lives, we can struggle to find things to do during this unplanned free time.

Caught in the unalterable paradigm shift that is sweeping the whole world, I think that it is safe to say that “tomorrow will not be like yesterday, next week will not be like last week, and certainly next month will not be like last month.” Therefore, we are all witnessing the sweeping away of our previous life’s markers by which we measure and direct our daily lives.

During this time, we here at Koinonia House are analyzing and reevaluating our practices as a ministry. We acutely feel that we need to be making ourselves more available to those who look to us for assistance in their discovery of and/or journey through the Bible. Therefore, we are implementing some fundamental changes that we hope will be of some practical use to you during these days of isolation.

  1. Although we have implemented a work-from-home policy for our employees in the interest of their health and safety, our North American Customer Service Department is still available to help you 7-days a week, 6:00 am to 9:00 pm Pacific Time. Our toll-free number in the USA is 1-800-KHOUSE1 (1-800-546-8731).
  2. We are still able to ship physical products from our North American office, so don’t be afraid to order what you need.
  3. We are not able to ship physical products from our New Zealand office, but digital downloads can still be purchased as normal.
  4. We have discontinued the printed version of our “Personal Update” news journal. You can still get the electronic version for free through our website, khouse.org.

Please, please let us know if there is anything that we can do to help you. We may not have the answers, but we know a God who does. Are you stuck in isolation somewhere? Are you filling your day looking at your phone for answers? Are you overwhelmed by the constant flood of bad news that seems to fill your media portals to the outside world?

I have these three practical home remedies to suggest:

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Lockdown

Foreshadowing the Final Age?

In recent weeks, the world has witnessed a global phenomenon that is unprecedented in human history. National governments, businesses, churches, and local communities have responded to the COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic with, what appears to be, a sudden and severe suspension of people’s individual liberties. National borders are closed, travel is restricted or completely suspended, businesses are closed, and planned public events are canceled. One of the sad results of this global crisis is the panic-driven purchasing of essential goods by a bewildered public who have been forced into unwanted and unprepared isolation. At this point, it is very hard to discern what is really going on.

As I am writing this article, I have been communicating with friends in Italy, where they have been told that all citizens must remain in their homes until further notice. Limited to “essential errands,” the Italians are forced to remain in isolation. One gentleman told us that he was not allowed even to cross town to visit his own family. Restaurants are closed, coffee bars are silent, and streets are empty.

In the midst of these initial chaotic days, I was faced with a nagging question of “How did so many give up so much so quickly?” The speed of this blitzkrieg has surprised even the most pessimistic conspiracy-theory advocate. It has been said that Knowledge is Power. Therefore, it would appear that an informed and powerful elite can easily control an ignorant public if fear blinds the minds of the masses.

Now, the purpose of this article is not to debate the reasonableness of these actions or reaction as they are related to the current WHO1 declared pandemic but to examine a possible Biblical perspective that might give us insight into this current social phenomenon. In other words, is there a future parallel to the coming subjugation of the whole world as predicted in Scripture?

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Corona Crisis and the Concentration of Control?

Former President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel stated in 2008: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” The Russian dictator Joseph Stalin stated: “Crisis alone permitted the authorities to demand – and obtain – total submission and all necessary sacrifices from its citizens.” From the beginning of history, people have given up freedom in a time of fear. Fear and insecurity caused people to give up the independence of their farms and gravitate together for protection in the first communities. They looked for someone good at fighting to be their captain.

An example of fearful people wanting a captain is in the Book of Judges 11: “And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went … unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.”

After captains won victories, people showed favoritism to them and their families, leading to a concentration of power in the hands of kings. An example this was after Gideon led Israelites to victory (Judges 8): “Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.”

Another example is the Roman Republic, ruled by 600 senators. When there was an attack, they created an emergency one-year position called a “dictator.” After the year of crisis, the Republic went back to business as usual. Julius Caesar took the unprecedented step of making himself dictator for life.

Crises can be natural, such as the famine in Egypt, where people surrendered not just their freedom, but their cattle, land, and lives to the Pharaoh in exchange for food.

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