During Reach's first ever live stream church service, Pastor Brian and many leaders from the church spoke hope and rest into some of our anxious and worried hearts. In this unique cultural moment, COVID-19 provides an opportunity for us to love our neighbors, reach out to those who feel isolated, and be relentless in our pursuit of the only one who can give us true peace, Jesus. We will walk through a handful of verses from our virtual service and apply them to our current situation. Let's study and trust in God's steadfast love (hesed) together.
Read this from the Bible together:
Proverbs 13:9a - "The life of the godly is full of light and joy..."
Psalm 59:16 - "But I will sing of Your strength and will joyfully proclaim Your steadfast love in the morning. For You have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble."
Psalm 139:5 - "You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me."
Isaiah 26:3 - "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
Isaiah 43:1 - "Now this is what the Lord says — the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel — “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine."
Phillippians 4:6-7 - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
The life of the godly is full of light and joy...In times of chaos or crisis, Christians are given a unique opportunity to lean on the Holy Spirit and ask him to produce the light and joy that we are not capable of producing on our own. Do you find it hard to be light and joy when you are anxious? Why is it important that we don't give into temptations to despair in light of hard times?
I will joyfully proclaim your steadfast love...In Hebrew, the word hesed is translated as "steadfast love". Pastor Brian mentioned how the English language struggles to translate such a word to its fullest—we simply don't have the breadth of language to capture how big God's love is. In what ways does this bring you comfort? In times of uncertainty, how important does God's character trait of "steadfast love" become?
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast...Again, we see the word "steadfast", but this time its a different word and its a character trait attributed to believers. This Hebrew word means, "supported, unflinching, firm"—does your mind feel that way right now? If so, share an encouraging story of how God has helped you in this time. If not, share an area where you are struggling to trust him and have someone pray over you.
Do not be anxious about anything...but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God...Our God is generous in times like these. He wants to protect and provide for our city. Take a moment and pick a vulnerable place or people group and pray God's protection and peace over them.
"This is an opportunity for our routines to be disrupted—crisis situations create commonality between strangers."" - Sandy Jeong It can be easy to let our regular routines dictate those we cross paths with. No matter if you are out and about or in close proximity to family members whom are usually at work or school—what unique opportunities might you have to allow this disruption to display Jesus' love? Have you already experienced this, how so?
"The most contagious thing in our world today is not a virus— it’s the good news of Jesus.”" Pastor Brian always points us back to the main point. And again, here we find ourselves encouraged by the good news of Jesus in the midst of the health crisis among us. Why is it important to remind ourselves often about the good news of Jesus? Why does his death and resurrection speak directly to our fear of death and disease?
"Difficulty is the gas that fuels the flame of revival." Historically, the church has seen many eras of persecution and pestilence. God has a unique and mysterious way of transposing terrible circumstances into platforms for renewed faith and joy. Why should we be praying for our community to experience the hope of Jesus during this time? As a DNA commit to praying a bold, prophetic prayer for renewed faith and trust in our city as this continues to unfold.