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Our Response to COVID-19

April 1, 2020

Following the recommendations of the CDC, local government officials and Health Department regarding COVID-19, we have prayerfully decided to continue to meet online for Sunday services and suspend on-campus ministry events, activities, childcare, and MDO through the month of April.

 

We miss gathering with you and your family in person and are looking forward to when we get to meet in person again with hopeful anticipation.

If you are interested in serving our community during this time, stay up to date with our COVID-19 Serving Opportunities page!

As we strive to live in faith rather than fear, we ask you to join us in praying expectantly for God to miraculously move and grant wisdom to leaders worldwide.

In the midst of uncertainty, there are key truths we can always rest in:

• God is in control and we can trust Him (Isaiah 46:9–10; Ephesians 1:11).

• Gods promises are true and we can believe Him (Romans 8:28–39; Hebrews 13:5)

• Gods commands are good and we can obey Him (John 15:1–11; 1 John 5:3–4)

Responding in Faith

Situations like the outbreak of COVID-19 confront followers of Jesus with some unique challenges. It’s tempting in these moments to run to extremes of either panic and paranoia on the one hand or dismissal and naivety on the other. Faithfulness to Jesus and His Word require us to reject both of these extremes and walk the narrow road of balance, wisdom, and faithfulness. 

Furthermore, it’s tempting to stay glued to our devices, waiting for the next update, hoping that some good news will be reported. It’s tempting to respond with spiritual and relational paralysis—not knowing what to believe, how to pray, or how to engage with people. It’s tempting to create scenarios in our minds that are not informed by Jesus and His good promises, but are more informed by the fear we experience from realizing we are not in ultimate control. 

Practically, then, what are some things you can be doing to nourish your soul and strengthen your faith during this time?

  1. Resist the urge to Catastrophize. Catastrophizing is when we take the information we know and create a future scenario that is nothing less than catastrophic. It’s another way of saying, “There’s no hope.” This way of thinking lives in a future in which God is not present, good, or in control. But no such future exists—the Scriptures make this clear. Our God is the God of hope and we can trust Him (Romans 5:1–5). Rather than dwell on a future that does not exist, let’s actively choose to believe what Jay Mayo taught us a few weeks ago: This is God’s Story, We are His Children, and He is For Us. 
  2. Feed on God’s Word. Maybe now is the time for you to open the Psalms, begin a short Bible Reading Plan, or listen to the Scriptures as you drive. With all the information coming at us through the media, we need the rock solid truth of God’s word to inform and stabilize our minds during this time (Romans 12:1–2). 
  3. Remember God’s Word. Maintain a discipline of remembering the truths of Scripture. When you feel the impulse to panic, take those thoughts captive by submitting them to God’s Word and choosing to believe what’s true (2 Corinthians 10:3–5). (Click HERE for a great resource to help you do this). 
  4. Pray God’s Word. As one church leader recently noted, “It takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. One leads to peace, the other to panic. Choose wisely.” It may do us good in this season to commit Philippians 4:4–8 to memory and make it our prayer each day. Moreover, we have an incredible opportunity to pray for our nation—those who are hurting, those who are serving, and those who are leading. Interpret this time as an invitation from God to intercede on behalf of those who need the wisdom and grace of Jesus. (Click HERE for a great cell-phone app to help you do this). 
  5. Stay Faithful to God’s Word. As C.S. Lewis so eloquently reminded us, let’s stay faithful to all the things we know God has called us to do. God has not called us to be in control. Instead, He has called us to be faithful and leave everything else in His hands. 

As one pastor in Italy recently wrote:  “Perhaps this crisis is challenging us to react in a different way—with faith and not fear. Faith not in the stars or in some unknown deity. Rather, faith in Jesus Christ, the good shepherd who is also the resurrection and the life. Surely only Jesus is in control of this situation; surely only he can guide us through this storm. He calls us to trust and believe, to have faith and not fear”.

As Paul wrote to Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (2 Timothy 1:7). This does not mean we turn a blind eye to what’s happening, but it means that we fix our eyes on Jesus amidst the uncertainty we face. Moreover, it also means we stay committed to doing what Jesus has called us to do in the ordinary moments of everyday life.

The truth is: neither the great commandment nor the great commission have been lifted during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are still called to place our hope in Jesus and share this hope with others. In times like the present, we are given a special opportunity to embody and experience the truth articulated by the Psalmist:

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its water roars and foams and the mountains quake with its turmoil.…The Lord of Armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. —Psalm 46:1–3, 7

Trust, believe, and obey—this is how we can respond in faith. It may just be that God is interested in creating the sort of faith and love in His people that is not dependent upon certainty, control, or pleasant circumstances. That doesn’t mean we don’t stay informed or that we don’t take preventative measures, but it does mean that God may want to strengthen the muscles of our faith by allowing for the very conditions that stretch our faith and increase our concern for others.

As noted above, we will continue to post updates about our Sunday Gatherings as the days progress. Until then, remember that we are God’s people who can believe God’s promises in all seasons—especially in times of crisis and confusion.

We will email you each week when the latest sermon is posted.

 

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