Dear church family,
I wanted to take this time to encourage you in a season where encouragement is at a premium. A.W. Tozer once wrote, "A scared world needs a fearless church." This is true in every season! You may not be aware of it, but God has been preparing you and us for this moment before we were even born! Our God is not behind, He is always ahead, and is not shaken. As His people, when our world is shaken, we can be unshaken if our foundation is in Him. He is our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in a time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). I wanted to address three main issues that I believe to be at the forefront of this season that the world is in, and my hope is that we will embrace the truth that we don't have to think, fear, or sorrow as the rest of the world does without hope.
1. What We Consume
Every time we open our phone or computer, or turn on the television or radio, we are bombarded with the latest information or misinformation about the coronavirus, the troubled stock market, and falling oil prices, the latter having already affected many in our region. It is quite possible to consume this from the moment you raise your head from your pillow to the moment you fall asleep at night. It's no wonder people are filled with anxiety, worry, fear, and hopelessness! God encourages His people to let His Word be your daily food, to be strengthened and nourished on His promises and words of faith, hope, and love. Plagues are not new, wars are not new, famine and the dread of economic collapse are not new. Even from ancient times, God instructs us to fix our eyes on Him. He has always helped His people in times of great trouble. How can you do that practically?
- Start and finish your day in His word and in prayer. It will be life-giving!
- Take time for thanking Him! Take time for worship.
- Encourage each other! Text or phone a friend, or find ways to connect with someone and be an encouragement and a source of hope for those God puts you in contact with.
- Limit your intake of news. Information can be helpful, but it can be addicting and soul-consuming. The world is in a state of fear, panic, and sorrow. If this is what you are feeding on multiple times a day, you will find yourself in the same place. The Bible says, "the sorrow of the world produces death." Fill yourself with what gives you life! The joy of the Lord is your strength, especially in times of trouble.
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." - Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)
2. Regarding "Social Distancing" and Isolation
At the present time, the advice from health and government officials is to practice what has been called, "Social Distancing". This generally means avoiding unnecessary contact with people and maintaining physical space whenever possible. These precautions are necessary for a season until this crisis is over. With that said, we must not let the necessity of physical distancing keep us from the necessity of human connection. We were not created to live in isolation, but rather in community as part of the Body of Christ. We need each other, especially in a time where people can be anxious, and others are facing the loss of jobs and livelihood. Now is not the time to be cut off from one another! It's time to use our creativity in how to stay connected even when physically separated. What can we do practically?
- Fight to stay connected! Stay connected through the worship services, stay connected through home groups, even when meeting online!
- For every hand you don't shake, or shoulder you don't hug, make it a text or phone call to someone who may need it
- Think of those who have been isolated. How can you encourage them?
- Embrace the world of video chat! Once you get over the hurdle of learning a couple of new things, you'll find it rewarding
- Think outside yourself. Pray for those that God lays on your heart
- Buy groceries or do acts of service for those who have need
- Find ways to serve one another!
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. " - Hebrews 10:23-25
3. What We Choose To Believe
We are people of faith who must not forget who we are and whose we are! As the children of God, let our eyes be on our King. He is our Healer, our Provider, Our Saviour, Our Deliverer, Our Helper, Our Father, Our Comforter, Our Strength in weakness. His Name is above COVID19 and whatever else threatens us. We will not fear. You are greatly loved by a great God, and you are greatly loved by us.
Pastors Jonathan and Tiah
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." - Jesus (John 14:27)