Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2

As I write this, I can picture in my mind a pond where the surface is smooth and almost glassy.  As a kid, the picture just invites one to throw something to see what happens. When I mentioned my picture of a calm surface of a pond to my grandson, Teddy, he grinned and said “Oh, yeh, that’s what I would do.”

I think every child has thrown a stone into a pond and watched the ripples resulting from the splash.  The bigger the stone, the larger the ripples.

Covid-19 is a kind of stone that has landed in the middle of the world’s calm pond.  Never before has the world collectively put their economies into cold storage for a couple of months. This post will be about some of the ripples – some large, some small, some unexpected, and some problematic

Clothing is still a necessity. But for the fashion industry and social distancing in place, there are no parties or functions that would require an expensive dress. So the fashion industry nimbly pivoted to the need for face masks, and you can now get designer masks – some for as little as $60. Who knew?

For many, losing track of what day it is has become the norm when you are stuck at home. You’re not alone because any big change in routine disrupts our structure according to one clinical psychologist. Until I read this, I thought I was losing it.

For sports bettors with almost all live sports shut down, gambling has taken a new wrinkle shifting to obscure competitions like gambling on a Russian table tennis match, or soccer in Burundi, basketball in Tajikistan or even professional darts.

Close to 40,000 Law students are finishing law school this spring.  After 3 years of rigorous study, they have had the goal posts moved because because Covid 19 has postponed most state bar exams.  That puts law firms and students alike in a pickle because passing the bar exam is a precondition to most jobs.  Uncertainty reigns.

Which brings us to unemployment, a big ripple.  In one month, 26 million became unemployed in the US. It’s estimated that 40% of Europe’s labor force will lose jobs – up to 59 million in all according to one estimate. Even China faces massive unemployment.

The rapid closing of businesses had one small ripple – people left their office plants behind when they rushed out grabbing only laptops and gym bags. The fate of plants remains in question.

While swarms of locusts already affected the world’s food supply in Africa, the UN food agency warned that Covid-19 could trigger a “food pandemic” of biblical proportions leading to more deaths from famine than from the Coronavirus.

The pandemic will have a lasting impact on millennials – both economically and politically. They experienced the great recession of 2008 and graduated into a terrible job market.

Unemployment of millennials in the 2008 recession was around 13%. Many opted for college, taking on student debt at unprecedented levels which averages $33,000 each.  They already distrusted institutions of all kinds – government, education, business and even the institutional church.  The pandemic hasn’t helped their trust.

Jerry Seib said it this way:  “You (millennials) and your friends, while less susceptible to the ravages of the virus itself, find you are the most likely to lose a job, wages and health insurance amid the crisis.”

One upshot of the uncertainty of millennials and Gen Z to this crisis may force us to take behavioral health more seriously according to Forbes magazine.  Social isolation leads to loneliness which leads to despair which leads to…..well, you get the picture.

There has been a spike in “prescriptions for medications targeted to the treatment of anxiety, depression and insomnia as the Covid-19 crisis was gathering steam.” The article goes on to suggest some simple steps to maintain better balance.

Not all is bleak, though. Some people have stepped up their giving to help others, like a couple who gave their $1,200 stimulus check as a tip to all workers in a restaurant.  Other wealthy individuals are stepping up large donations like David Tepper who has given $22 million so far.

One effect that has touched all of us is the change of our gatherings and friends. Birthdays are celebrated virtually via Zoom. Even worse, coronavirus patients are dying alone which is terribly sad.

Casual meetings with friends has taken a hit. I am “meeting” today via Zoom with my two close friends. We’ve had lunch together weekly for over 25 years, and we miss the connection.

The challenge is that we face difficult times with lots of moving parts resulting in lots of ripples in our lives.  The next generations have had their lives disrupted in ways that may forever change their futures. They need grounding on biblical concepts.

In Coronavirus and Christ, John Piper says we need reality, not sentimentalism in times like these. “God is real. Death is real. Life is real. Jesus Christ crucified and risen, and reigning is real.  Salvation is real.  Eternal joy is real.”

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Read Piper’s free book to reinforce your sense of what God is doing through all of this. It will help ground you when you face questions from your mentee.

RESOURCESTaking Behavioral Health Seriously  – Forbes

UN Report on World Famine

Dying alone from Covid-19- A Doctor’s View

Coronavirus and ChristFree Download – John Piper

WORSHIP: Listen to Beneath the Waters (I will Rise)Cornerstone

SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner and entering your email address.

















Be always on the watch and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen. Luke 21:36

The world has endured a pandemic for the past couple of months. We are at a point to look at the “Aftermask” where we are able to see the aftermath of a significant unpleasant event.

I have reflected at length on the consequences of Covid-19 on our population, our culture and even geopolitical considerations.

The first consequence is that we now see China for what it is – a totalitarian communist party-run country that doesn’t blink at human rights violations and has been untruthful about the origins and the spread of the Coronavirus.

The longer China continues their denials, the worse that they will be seen in the eyes of the world. I must say I am not optimistic they will ever admit the truth.

China is now blocking by any attempt to study the origin of the disease. Why would they do that?  Well, it’s not hard to guess. In 2018, the U.S. State Department determined that the study of viruses of bats at the Wuhan laboratory was being done in an unsafe manner.

We know that the study of bat viruses in Wuhan received funding from a $3.7 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH). This particular Coronavirus is thought to come from the RaTG13 species.  The closest RaTG13 bat colony is 500 miles away from Wuhan and is not sold in the Wuhan wet markets.

Transparency and correct and accurate reporting by China would have saved thousands of lives. They waited a week to change their story that the disease could not be passed on between humans, something that was echoed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Yet they knew a at least a month before the admission that the disease could be transmitted between humans.

On top of that, China blocked travel from Wuhan inside of China quickly, but permitted international travel for another couple of weeks until airlines unilaterally stopped flights. The cat was out of the bag at the expense of the rest of the world.

The Coronavirus has now been reported in 185 countries. While various forms of social distancing, quarantines and lockdowns have had a mitigating effect, the effort to “flatten the curve” has devastated the world’s economy.

The lone exception to government mandated lockdowns and shuttering of businesses is Sweden where the government took a very light-handed approach.  Social distancing and working from home was encouraged and businesses stayed open.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out because the Swedish population may now have broader immunity for future outbreaks and their economy hasn’t suffered.

Public health organizations, including the CDC, have long warned about world pandemics and of gearing up for what they saw as something inevitable. What we now know is that, despite those warnings, the world was largely unprepared.

Covid-19 affects everyone, but is most dangerous to the vulnerable. That includes the elderly over 65, and those with compromised immunity due to various ailments like diabetes, obesity, respiratory issues, among others.

About 25% of all cases are asymptomatic, and 80% of the cases result in non-life threatening symptoms. Restarting economies, will, in some way, be tied to protecting the vulnerable while permitting those least at risk to return to their lives.

My concern is that the virus-caused devastation to global economies may be even more dangerous to people’s health and wellbeing than the Coronavirus.  Isolation and social distancing has negative effects on mental health.

Poverty has consequences, too, and if economies collapse, poverty will certainly kill – not directly, but through suicides, opioid overdoses and skyrocketing alcoholism.

In one month,  22 million people in America lost their jobs.  Calls to suicide hotlines are up 300% and the government is now trying to come up with a 3-digit number (like 911) for direct access to suicide help.  Alcohol sales in the U.S. increased 55% in one week in March.

What the world looks like going forward is not clear. For the indefinite future, it will not return to normalcy.   Reopening an economy will be done in phases, particularly in areas not hard hit.  Social distancing will continue. Large mass meetings may be pushed off for a while until more is learned and testing is more widespread.

For the next generation – particularly Gen Z who are caught in the closings of schools, colleges, restaurants and businesses – anxiety has to be going through the roof. The millennials were just recovering from the last recession and now are faced with widespread unemployment.

But there is good news which I find encouraging. This is a man-caused pandemic, and science will find a way. This morning, a drug (remdesivir) shows promising results to help symptoms. A vaccine is over a year away.  But being able to have drug treatments for current patients is a huge step forward.

These are challenging and unprecedented times where all generations are searching for answers of that is to come in the Aftermask.  As always, we turn to the bible for comfort:  “Be always on the watch and pray that you might be able to escape what is about to happen.”

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  The next generations have been hit hard by disruptions to their lives and health. They need to a steady hand to help them. You can come alongside when they need it most

RESOURCES:  The Pandemic Threat (2017) CDC

Sweden’s Hands Off Approach to Covid-19

China’s Cover-Up  on Covid-19Forbes

WORSHIP:  Listen to Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise)  Hillsong

SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner and entering your email address.






The Passion


By his wounds, we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5

Several decades ago, I took my family to Oberammergau, a small Bavarian village in Germany. Once a decade, the townspeople of this small town put on The Passion Play – the story of the last week of Jesus life based on Luke’s account.

In 1633 during the bubonic plague,  the townspeople vowed to do a once every decade pageant on the last week of Christ’s life and death if they were spared. The first play was performed in 1634.

They have been presenting the play every decade for over 400 years. This year would have been the year for the play, but it has been postponed until 2022 due to the Covid virus.

As I write this during this Passion Week, it hit me that there are parallels to what happened in the Passion Play and today.  Passion week started on Sunday with Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, fulfilling the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9.

Expectations were high in the populace. They greeted him as the King who was going to deliver them from Roman rule.  He was treated as royalty, but they didn’t understand its significance, even though He told them of what was to come.

That was Sunday. By Thursday, the Pharisees were upset, yet Jesus was calm and communing with the disciples and washing their feet. The picture of a King washing the feet of his followers is stark. It is not what you expect of Kings.

On Friday, everything changed on the cross. The disciples scattered not knowing what to think. It was a terrible day for them, just as there have been terrible days for us during this pandemic. They immediately forgot what Jesus told them. They lost hope and ran away.

The dismay, anxiety and disillusionment of the public today during a pandemic mirror that of the disciples on Good Friday.  People are anxious, dismayed and have been taken completely out of their normal routines.

I spoke to a group of leaders around the world by Skype.  What struck me is that everyone in the world is having the same experience together, even though they live in very different cultures.

We shared stories of how our lives have been changed by social distancing, lockdowns  and isolation. We observed how anxious those are around us and how each was figuring ways to stay connected albeit digitally or virtually.

It didn’t matter if the person was in Europe, Africa, India or in the United States. The stories were almost identical save for the locale.

It reminds me of one of the great sermons preached by Tony Compolo.  In it, he repeated the phrase,  “It’s only Friday, but Sunday’s coming!” If you have never heard the sermon, I urge you to watch. You will not be disappointed.

We see Passion week from a distance two thousand years later. Friday was just the beginning, but we know that the resurrection on Sunday was the point. On Friday we are dismayed, but we have the hope that Sunday is coming.

We know we will survive the pandemic, but I must confess I am concerned that the restart of the world’s economy will not go so well. The jobs that are disappearing may not return.  Just today, another 6.6 million people were added to the unemployed here in America, which makes over 17 million in the past 3 weeks.

I am particularly concerned for the millennials who have had the misfortune of not one but two economic downturns on their watch. The first was the recession that started in 2008. Just as they were getting back on their financial feet, they have had an economic rug pulled out from under them.

Their lost jobs may not return.  Returning to work assumes that your job will be there when needed. That may not be true.

Where do we go from here?  Good question, and I am not the only one trying to think about this from a 5,000 foot view. Science and medicine will solve the pandemic. I am sure of that.  But it is now time to turn our attention and prayers to restarting economies around the world.

I am hopeful because I know in my heart that Sunday is coming.  Not all share that hope, and this is a time where we can be like Jesus and wash the feet of those around us.

For now, we know that out of despair two millennia ago, Jesus rose from the dead. We know that and have hope in Him, not in man.  We wouldn’t have hope if it weren’t for the empty tomb.

But there are those around us, particularly the millennials, who will be hard hit by the economic downturn. They are of an age not to be heavily affected by the pandemic itself, but the coming economic shakeout.

The millennials are now learning that man will let you down. They are seeking something more and are open to the gospel, perhaps more than ever before.  They need the hope that we have to give through knowing Christ.

That’s our challenge in these difficult times – letting the world know that Sunday’s coming.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Millennials may be the hardest hit by an economic downturn. You can reassure them that they have hope in something greater than themselves.

RESOURCES:  Tony Compolo: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming

WORSHIP: I Will RiseChris Tomlin.

SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner and entering your email address.




























The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  Col 1:15,17

 The past couple of weeks have been a study in contrast. On the one hand, life has slowed down due to stay in place orders. At the same time, the news cycle about the pandemic moves at lightning speed.  The situation changes daily.

I have been witnessing the transitions being made by people to extraordinary circumstances. A transition is a personal reaction to change, which is an external event. A transition is how you respond to what happens to you.  It is how you adjust to change.

Last night, we had a Zoom small group experience with 5 other couples – one of whom lives in Minnesota. One after another, they detailed how life has changed and how they are adjusting.  A family celebration of the first birthday of a grandchild has now been put on hold due to transmission issues.

One person has a new job which is supposed to start in a week, but he is wondering whether or not it will materialize as more stringent orders to be isolated are being enforced around the world.

He also said that he is seeing a level of anxiety in people who never experienced it before.  His friends were experiencing a physical reaction with tightness of the chest and an accelerated heart rate.  The symptoms are very real.

In two weeks, almost 10 million Americans filed for unemployment. That’s a record.  So, besides being worried about their health, these people are worried about their financial condition and getting jobs again.

A friend in Chennai, India runs a Christian school. The government has put out lockdown orders which happened so fast that food stores were closed before people could get to them. Another friend sent me an email describing the conditions which are chilling and scary.

India has 1/6th of the world’s population (1.3 billion) but a woefully inadequate health system with only one government doctor per 10,000 people. Given that a country where 200 million people live in slums in the cities, it is only a matter of time before the pandemic explodes. Keeping social distance is impossible.

Yet, my friends in India are positive even in troubling circumstances. He wrote me last week admonishing me to “stay at home” and at the end he said,  “let us keep exchanging emails as often as possible in a world that is falling apart and looking for a Savior who will save them from this deadly pestilence”.

My concern here is for the next generation – particularly Gen Z who are in college and high school.  They are the most vulnerable when the world seems to be in total chaos. Most don’t have social safety nets, and the isolation of staying at home is a concern to their mental health.

As an example, a friend has a son at the Air Force Academy which shut down due to the Coronavirus and two of his classmates committed suicide. It goes without saying that even before the pandemic, the suicide rate of Gen Z is triple of any prior generation.

Gen Z has gone from a structured life at school, to an unstructured life at home, and many of them don’t have a good healthy environment.  Schools in rural counties in North Carolina have continued to provide food – two meals a day. Instead of picking up students, the bus drivers deliver the food to children.

That provides some structure.  There are several things we, as adults, can do for Gen Z in these times.  The first is to keep our wits about us – if they see or sense panic in us, it will only make matters worse. Keep your wits about you and things in perspective.

Secondly, educate yourself and communicate with them what the facts are – you can go to the CDC Website for updates, or read the Guide published by the University of California a Berkley.  Gen Z are likely to get their information from social media which has proved to an unreliable source.

Exercise healthy habits – social distancing, hand washing, staying away from crowds. You can model what they need to do. If you do it, they are more likely to follow your example.

Above all, stay connected with them, even if it is in a virtual manner through Face Time, WhatsApp, Zoom or whatever. Staying connected to social networks – family and friends – can be a stabilizing force.

If you sense that someone is not coping and making a good adjustment, suggest that they go to the bulletin board on Reddit which has a discussion board of people supporting each other due to the pandemic. Sometimes just knowing you aren’t alone is helpful.

The challenge here is that the next generation has been thrust into a world that has lots of scary things going on – economies possibly collapsing and a pandemic. These are big issues for any generation, but especially for one that is ill-prepared to cope with this kind of change.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  This is a time to be more connected to your mentee as possible. They need support and assurance to navigate through troubled waters.

FURTHER RESEARCHKeeping Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Guide to Controlling Fears and Anxiety around Coronavirus – U. Cal/Berkley

Reddit Support Forum for Coronavirus

WORSHIP: Listen to You Hold It All Together

SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner and entering your email address.