Not Just the Flu

By Tim Butler | Posted at 10:12 AM

This is a really good piece on where the coronavirus stands, particularly in comparison to the flu.

Friends, please keep trying to #flattenthecurve. It is working and we can be ingenious to find ways to keep life, ministry and work moving along — I’m seeing so many people being so creative already. I think for the Christian this truly does come under “loving your neighbor.” Even if, say, I get a mild case, what if the person I give it to doesn’t? I know a number of people sent to ICU by this and one who has died so far.

The flu can be bad, but I have never known so many people severely afflicted during a single flu season and those run for six months. This is the situation in sum: even with drastic response unlike anything we do for the flu, in just one month, this has killed more people than a bad flu season of six months. That is sobering and calls us to carefulness as we value the preciousness of each life God has made.

A Sad Update

By Tim Butler | Posted at 5:50 PM

Those of you who are involved with FaithTree likely know that George Haynes, who had been very involved with FaithTree for much of its story as part of the worship team (percussion), a behind the scenes helper and simply a smiling presence, had been battling brain cancer since last fall. While the brain cancer had paralyzed George on his one side and forced him into a skilled care facility, he had continued to be active via online means and was largely physically OK. Sadly, despite his facility going into lockdown towards the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, George somehow contracted it and had spent the past few weeks in the hospital; the last few days his situation had grown worse and — it still feels hard to believe I am writing this — George went into the presence of his Savior this morning.

The Death Toll

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:32 AM

Since the first reported death from COVID-19 in the United States on March 2, we’ve averaged about 550 deaths per day (if you average it out over those 42 days), though the average in April is much higher. If that overall average were to continue for six months like a flu season, we would be looking at over 100,000 deaths; if the higher present rate continued, it would be more like a quarter million. Let’s hope our efforts to #FlattenTheCurve help and, more than that, let’s keep praying to the God who has power over death that he would heal our world and comfort those for whom those averages aren’t average at all, because they include their loved ones.

A Wife Writes About Her Husband's Coronavirus

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:29 PM

Jessica Lustig writing in the New York Times:

The few people walking past us on the sidewalk don’t know that we are visitors from the future. A vision, a premonition, a walking visitation. This will be them: Either T, in the mask, or — if they’re lucky — me, tending to him.

Chilling. Praying for her husband’s recovery and for the recovery of so many others.

Bible Study Unhindered

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:42 AM

In line with my blog post from last night, the photo below is another example of technology being a blessing that allows us to continue ministry unhindered: doing Bible study over FaceTime. It felt a little weird at first, but it worked!

If you are doing Bible study or other group meetings in this manner, what platform are you using? We used FaceTime, as I said, which worked great for a group that happened to be all iPhone users, but next time I anticipate needing something cross platform and, ideally, still free. Facebook Messenger looks the most suitable, but is there another alternative you are using to good effect?

Little Hills "Launches"

By Tim Butler | Posted at 5:54 PM

It was not anything like the circumstance I had imagined for so long, but Little Hills Church had its very first message last night. Not in the midst of a celebratory launch service with joyful music and a packed crowd, but with me sitting in front of my desk facing a camera.

Live streaming is a very different thing from public worship, but I find myself grateful as I watch churches and individuals all across the nation using the technology we have at our disposal today to encourage a hurting world with hope from God’s Word. Like the roads of the an oppressive empire two thousand years ago that, in spite of that empire, served to convey the Gospel, I believe we are watching the Gospel go unhindered in new ways in the midst of of the oppression of an invisible little virus.