22 Mar 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic is like a storm that sweeps us off our feet. But we can sail through the storm with Jesus. Let us remember: 🌊 Even when you are following Jesus, you may go through the storms of life. 🌊 When in a storm, the best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus. 🌊 Before Jesus calms the storm in the seas, He wants to calm the storm in your heart. 🌊 The storms obey when Jesus says "Peace, be still. " 🌊 Storm travels are faith-building expeditions. So, even “when the physical church cannot congregate, the spiritual church must elevate. ” May our physical distancing not lead to spiritual distancing May we always drink in, live out and give out the GOSPEL. Let's trust God to bring us through it all, and come forth stronger, purer, better!
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As you know, the COVID pandemic has escalated quite quickly. Even here in Singapore, we are seeing a spike in the number of new cases. We are having clusters in churches and even in Malaysia, our neighboring country, they have just gone into a national lockdown.
And so in line with the principle of loving our neighbors and to protect ourselves and our community, we thought it would be wise, it would be necessary, for us to also do our part in national efforts, to bring down or to flatten the corona virus curve. We want to be part of this effort to break the chain of transmission.
Now, I'm very thankful for our government, to our ministers, to the people in the front lines. Our health care workers who are fighting this battle and doing their best to protect us as a people. So this is the very least, we can do, to do our part to help break this chain of transmission.
Now, I'm sure if you have been reading our media, you would realize that in Singapore, many churches have also decided to suspend their services, this Sunday morning. I read about the Anglican church, there are some 27 congregations represented there, they have decided to suspend their services. I read about the Methodist Church in Singapore, 50 congregations have decided also to suspend their services. And I'm sure there are many others and we are just one of the many churches that are doing so today.
But we are thankful for this online means, by which we could still continue to connect together before God in the throne of grace. The board of elders together, we have decided this is the loving, necessary and wise thing to do. So, our physical gatherings will be suspended for two weeks, the church building here will be suspended for two weeks or closed for two weeks.
There'll be no prayer meetings and so on. But hey, I want to remind you, even though the church building is closed, the church is not closed, alright. We are the church, the people are the church. And worship continues daily in our lives, fellowship continues, maybe via a phone call, via zoom, via WhatsApp, and outreach continues.
In fact, I hope outreach continues even more during this time. And if you are someone, who are struggling, you're maybe diagnosed, you're sick, you're worried, you're fearful and you need someone to pray for you, you need someone to serve you in any way, we want to reach out to you and say, “Please get in touch with us.” Please feel free to drop us a message online, Facebook, email, phone call. And our elders, our staff, our volunteers, our members would love to be able to serve you in this time.
So I want to ask this question and deal with this question this morning and that is this - what do we do in a time of crisis like this? How should we respond? Because I know many people today are living in fear and anxiety. They're actually panicking and that includes Christians.
What do we do in times of turmoil? Because you feel like this is like a tsunami, isn't it? A tsunami that is sweeping across the world and coming to our shores and it's really getting near you. You might even feel that you're already swept up in a storm. You … you feel uncertain. You feel fearful. You feel like life is not under control anymore.
Everything is upside down. It's topsy turvy. I think a storm is a very appropriate way to describe how some of us might feel. And you know, the Bible talks a lot about storms. We read about Jonah in a storm. We read about Paul en-route to Rome being caught in a storm.
And today I like to encourage you, I like to provide some guidance for you. I like to provide pastoral care for you, as you look at the story of a storm. The Bible tells us in Matthew, chapter 8 about the story of a storm that Jesus brought His disciples through. So today we're going to learn what it means to go through the storm with Jesus.
“When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but He was asleep. And they went and woke Him saying, “Save us, Lord, we are perishing.” And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this that even winds and sea obey Him?” [Matthew 8:23-27]
Today's sermon will not be a typical three points, one conclusion kind of message. It's not going to be nicely alliterated. But I just want to give you five simple thoughts, that I hope will be relevant for you as we battle through this COVID-19 situation.
1. Even When You Are Following Jesus, You May Go Through The Storms Of Life
The first thing, I notice in this text, and I hope you'll join me in noticing in this text, is that - even when you are following Jesus, you may go through the storms of life.
Following Jesus is not an immunity from difficulties of life. The disciples followed Jesus and they met with a great storm, that's what Matthew said. See what happened is that, “There was a windstorm that came down on the lake …” [Luke 8:23] It's a common phenomenon in the Lake of Gennesaret. “… And they were filling with water, the boat was filling up quickly and they were in danger.” They knew that if this persists and worsens, they might lose their lives.
In Mark, we read that, “This was a great windstorm, the waves were breaking into the boat, and the boat was already filling.” [Mark 4:37] So it is clear that even when we follow Jesus, we may go through storms of life, not just small storms, but great storms of life.
People say, people think that, “If we are Christians, we will not go through difficulties.” In fact, there are even preachers, pastors today, who say that, “There will be no virus [sic:who can], which can come near you. You will be immune from all these things.” But that's not true!
Romans 8 tells us that, we live in a sin-cursed fallen world and decay and disease and death are part of this world. And Christians we live in this world and we will face decay, we will face disease and we will face death. Unless you are Elijah, or unless you're Enoch, we all will die. When we follow Jesus, we may go through the storms of life.
You see, some people are very surprised why Christians would get COVID-19 infection. People initially are saying, “Oh, why did God forsake the church at Life Church and Mission?” They had a cluster, the first cluster. Then people start to say even more things about God's love or they doubt God's love, when Grace Assembly of God had another cluster.
Recently, we read that perhaps the Church of Singapore might have another cluster. And so people jump to conclusions and say, “O, maybe God is not faithful” Or “Maybe God doesn't love them.” Oh! But these are wrong assumptions.
The fact of the matter is when we follow Jesus, we may go through the storms of life. And therefore we don't judge God's love for us based on the circumstances. We don't judge God's love based on whether they are winds or waves. We judge God's love based on the cross of Jesus Christ.
That's the power of the message of the Gospel, that even when we go through the winds and waves, even when we hear the howling winds and the waves are beating on the boats of our life, we can say, “I know God loves me because Jesus Christ, His Son, died for me.”
Some of you, today might be going through real hardship. Not just direct infection by the virus, but your livelihood is being threatened. You're being hit economically. You're fearful. It's winds and waves. And you say, “Lord, do you love me?” I say, “Don't ever doubt that! Look to the cross, where God sent His Son to die for you.” That's where we see God's love, not by the winds and waves, but by the cross of Jesus Christ, who loved you, and gave Himself for you.
2. When In A Storm, The Best Thing To Do Is To Cry Out To Jesus.
A second thing I'd like us to see in this story is - when in a storm, the best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus. You see, when they were in a storm, I'm sure they must have done many things - scoop water, steer the boat, that's I think for granted. But one thing the Bible records for us is that, they cried out, “Save us, Lord!”
I think, I wonder if this is the time that they have cried out louder than any time before. I don't read of them crying, “Save us, Lord!” as much as here. I think they were desperate! They were saying, “O, please save us!” They must have shouted at the top of their lungs.
Storms have a way of bringing out desperation in us. The fiercest storm often brings out the highest worship. And they knew that in this storm, even though they are experienced fishermen, they knew that they needed God and they cried out to God. When in a storm, the best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus. Today, we are in a storm, I want to encourage you, learn from the disciples, see the winds and waves. It's out of control for you, but cry out to Jesus.
Now there are many things you can do in COVID-19 situation. You should wash your hands. You should use a lot of hand sanitizers. You should stay at home. You should do physical distancing. Do all these things, but the best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus.
Maybe today the wind and the wave of job insecurity is hitting you. Fear and anxiety is gripping you. The best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus. The best thing to do is to cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you. 1st Peter 5.
The best thing to do is not to be anxious for anything but by everything, by thanksgiving and prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus.
Yes, wash your hands. But when you're washing your hands, cry out to Jesus. Yes, pray that hand sanitizer, but if you're worried, the best thing to do is not to depend on the sanitizer, but to depend on Christ. In crisis, cry out to God! And that's the beautiful thing.
We can cry out to God anywhere. We can worship God, we can look to God anywhere. So in this time of crisis, learn to cry out, learn to worship. Worship doesn't stop when we are not able to join together here in Punggol building. Worship is not limited to any geography. I mean, Jesus taught us that, isn't it?
He said, “You have always thought …”, to the Samaritan woman and to Samaritans, “… you have always thought that worship is in this mountain or that mountain …” Jesus says, “No! Real worship is in spirit and in truth.” It's about the heart!
Worship is not geographically bound. You can worship God everywhere. You can worship God every time. You can worship God in everything you do. Whatsoever you do, whether you eat or drink, you can do it all to the glory of God. And that is worship. You can worship God in your school. You can worship at home. You can worship God in your workplace. In all that you do, you say, “I want to glorify You.”
So in this crisis, yes, I can't meet you in this hall, you are at home, but I know worship doesn't end, worship continues. In fact, I think worship flourishes when we are in crisis. That's the way it should be. I want to encourage you, in your worship, in your daily life. I'm glad we can connect here once, this Lord's day. But I hope you will worship God every day, particularly so in this time of crisis.
I want you to know how to really worship God. In our church, we have simple things that we say to help you understand and live out God's truth. Regularly, in my closing prayer, you will realize. I'll pray 3 things for the church.
A. Drink In The Gospel
I'll pray, number one - that our church would drink in the Gospel. What do you mean drink in the Gospel? It really means to worship God through the ministry of the Word and prayer. Seeing the Gospel in the Word and praying the Gospel in our prayers.
I like you to worship God daily by drinking in the Gospel. Reading the Bible, seeing the love of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And reminding yourself, soaking yourself, marinating yourself in His love, as displayed in the Gospel. Do that!
You say, “I do not know how to read the Bible.” Well, in this time of crisis, since you can't go out, go to the internet, go to YouTube. You might check out our church resources. There are lots of sermons, lots of messages, lots of things you can learn and equip yourself and … and drink the Gospel in for.
I hope, you would see that in every message, we want to point you to Jesus and His Gospel and His love. And let this be a time of deep worship for yourself. Resources are available. Write to us, if you need any help at all, we will be glad to reach out to you to help you. But in this season, don't just drink lots of water, don't just drink lots of vitamin C, drink lots of Gospel into your soul.
And then help your children drink the Gospel. We … we don't have children's ministry these 2 weeks. And said, “Oh no! My children, - how can they worship God?” It's through you parents. We always say that, “The primary responsibility of raising godly kids does not lie with our children's ministry. We think it's a good supplement, it's like some vitamin pills. But your kids do not survive on vitamin pills. They need a steady diet of the Gospel from you, parents.”
So in this time, where maybe you are served LOA [Leave of Absence] or SHN [Stay Home Notice], you have to stay at home, your kids are at home, no CCA. Take that time, don't just play computer games, talk to them about the Gospel. Tell them about Jesus and His love. Don't just tell them about the virus, COVID-19. Tell them about the sin virus, how far more deadly sin viruses and how Jesus paid it all on the cross.
I want to encourage Care Groups. Many of you are in Care Groups. Some of you are not yet in Care Groups. But it is a time like this that reminds us of the necessity and the importance of small group gatherings, of Discipleship Groups, Bible Study Groups. And it is in these platforms, that we should encourage one another, provoke one another, even as we see the day approaching, the day of the Lord's return getting near.
In fact, I think far from quitting from church, quitting from CG, quitting from Bible study, we need to step up effort here. It's a needful thing! People's hearts are fluttering in fear and anxiety. So all the more if you're a Care Group Leader, if you're someone in a Care Group, reach out, connect, serve, share, pray one for another.
You may not want to meet at this stage, that's fine. You can still meet on FaceTime, you can still meet on WhatsApp, you can still meet on Zoom. We can all do that. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, especially on cyberspace in this season.
So I say to you, “Worship God.” How? Drink in the Gospel. Go to the Bible. Pray. Let that Gospel get into your spiritual system, fortifying your faith.
B. Live Out The Gospel
And then I say, “Worshiping God is also about living out the Gospel. Worship is not just in, in, in, in. Worship is also about out, out, out. Because when I read Romans and about what it means to be a living sacrifice, what it means to be someone worshipful, it's about living out the Gospel. Living out a life of peace, of joy, of hope.
The world today, worships everything else apart from God. And therefore, they are living in fear and anxiety. But we who follow Jesus, who know of this sovereign God, we should be a people living out the Gospel, knowing his love, His faithfulness, His sovereignty. And I think it's that life of peace and poise and calmness and hope, that people would see and say, “Wow! Surely God is real in his life.” That brings glory to God. That's worship!
And I think living out the Gospel involves living a life of love. I'm … I'm so excited, because in this season, I hear of brethren in our church, they say, “Hey! I'm … I'm looking at people around and they are living in fear. And I've been asking them, “What can I pray for you in?”” They're reaching out in love!
There are people who are thinking about how to bring food to people stuck at home. There are people thinking about even in our church, they're thinking about how we can distribute hand sanitizers around this estate. And by the way, there's a group of people who would be doing so this Friday. Funds are raised, volunteers are asked for. And they will be going out to this Punggol neighborhood, putting out hand sanitizers together with Punggol CC [Community Centre]. I think there are people today who want to worship God by living a life of love. They want to live out the Gospel.
C. Give Out The Gospel
And I guess that leads us very easily to the 3rd thing about what it means to be Gospel centered, to worship God and that is to give out the Gospel. Tell people about Jesus. Don't tell people only about wearing masks and sanitizing your hands.
Tell them something far more deadly than COVID – sin. And something that has 100% infection rate, 100% death rate – sin. And tell them that there's a Gospel message that can save them - Jesus dying and rising to save us from our sins.
In times of extremity like this, it's our opportunity. It is when it is the darkest night that we can be the brightest light. As I've said, people today are living in fear. People are worried about life and death issues. They are thinking more deeply about the future, as compared to probably when we are in terms of comfort and ease. And don't you realize, it is a great time for God's people to step out, to step up, and to reach them with the Gospel.
I was so encouraged yesterday, when I had my Care Group on Zoom, and people were talking about how they were reaching people. Thinking about sharing posts, sharing media stuff, sharing some of the sermons or messages. Reaching out to them, asking them, “How can I pray for you?” It's so encouraging to hear God's people share that! Because their mindset is not just preserving my life but giving out the Gospel.
That's what worship looks like! It doesn't need to be here in this building. In fact, I think perhaps this COVID-19 situation may turn out for the good of the church. That God would scatter us away from this building, so that we realize, worship is not just coming to 39 Punggol Field Walk, sitting here, watching someone perform and say, “I've done my worship.”
No! Worship is where you are out there, right where you live, being the salt, the light, the priest, God wants you to be. You are priests. We are a royal priesthood. We are the salt. And God is shaking His people out of the salt shaker. That's what an Acts church for today might look like.
Some of you today might need to in this time of worship think, “Lord, what do you want me to do? How can I serve you? How can I worship You, when I'm in stay home notice? When I'm not going to go out, where I can't gather with my people as I used to, how can I worship You? Who can I reach?”
I think these are things that you should pray about, think about, ask God for. That's the balance, we need to have. Oh yes! We need to protect ourselves. We must not be cavalier in our attitude, we need to be responsible. But let us also not only think about protecting ourselves.
A good balance, I think someone, many people in our church have already received a text like this. And it's a quote by Martin Luther, during the time when he was in a black plague. Epidemic, like the world today, but this is what he shared:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed, in order not to become contaminated, and thus, perchance inflict and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence …”
He wants to do his part. He wants to contribute to the national effort to cut this disease.
“… If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me, and I've done what He has expected of me. And so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy, and does not tempt God.”
May we have that balance, to know that we are not to be cavalier, brash, foolhardy, but let us also not hide in our own caves and forget the mission, the Great Commission that God has given to us. Oh! When you're in a storm, the best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus, to worship, to still continue to serve Him.
I read about the bishop in the Methodist Church in Singapore, he had a good line and I like to quote it here. “When the physical church cannot congregate, the spiritual church must elevate.” [Bishop Chong] What do you mean?
Well, we can't gather here, but the way I see it, let's step it up, in drinking in the Gospel every day. Let's do it for ourselves. Let's feed our children. Let's do it for our Care Group, for our Discipleship Group. Let's remind one another about the love and the faithfulness and the sovereignty of our God. Let's see His beauty in the Gospel.
And let us elevate in a sense of being mindful to live out the Gospel. Not to be a people panicking in fear, and if we are, go back to drink more of the Gospel. Alright? And then, let's remind ourselves that we need to give out the Gospel. Elevate, reach out more! Pray that God will give us many ground up initiatives. Many individuals will be the salt and the light where God has placed you.
Exciting! If we think, worship is called out in the fiercest storms. So when in a storm, the best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus. I hope you'll keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. May this physical distancing, not result in spiritual distancing. But let this even be a call for you to draw near to the heart of God and then go out for the will of God.
3. Before Jesus Calms The Storm In The Seas, He Wants To Calm The Storm In Your Heart.
The 3rd thing, I like to share is - before Jesus calms the storm in the seas, He wants to calm the storm in your heart. Hah! This is what we want because we live in a world where everybody is in panic. No one laugh here because too few people. But you know this Lego set, not a real one, of course. But hey! Look at the props man, plenty of toilet paper. People are living in panic, in fear.
And so this so accurately parallels the great fear of the disciples as recorded in Mark. We read about how they are saying, “God, don't you care, we are scared.” [Mark 4:38] They are in such a panic that they begin to doubt Jesus and doubt His love. And Jesus puts the finger to the problem, “Why are you afraid, O, you of little faith?”
What's the problem? Faith. Little faith. The problem is not the great storm. The great storm is no issue! Jesus … Jesus will still the storm at any moment if He wants. The problem is the little faith inside, not the great storm outside.
So before Jesus calms the storm in the seas, He wants to calm the storm in your heart because He puts the finger to the real problem. “And then He rose and rebuked the winds and the seas.” Oh, we wish today God will calm the storm, isn't it? Or how we wish that somehow the COVID virus is swept away by a heatwave. Or if China were to come up with a new vaccine. Or somehow some miraculous cure would arrive.
Oh! We wish God would just take it all away. “I wish life will be normal. I wish I would not, not fear for my job, for my livelihood. I will not be scared of touching surfaces. I wish this is all going to go.” But before He's going to calm the storm, He wants to calm the storm in your heart. He wants to deal with the real important issue for all eternity - your faith, your soul, your regard of God.
Don't waste this storm! Take this time, reflect upon your own life. Maybe this is not so much about your health and immunity, as it is about your faith. So, before He wants to calm the storms in the seas, He will deal but He wants to calm the storm in your hearts.
4. The Storms Obey When Jesus Says, “Peace, Be Still”
Number 4, coming to an end - the storm and the storms obey when Jesus says, “Peace, be still.” No issue! No issue!
Jesus is the ultimate superhero, you know. He says, “Peace, be still.” “And there was a great calm.” Imagine, the choppy, topsy-turvy waters suddenly become like a glass - still and calm. What is this story reminding us of?
Paul David Tripp has a good statement, “Everything that is outside of your control, lives under the control of the Savior who gave His life for you.”
Like I said, there's nothing like a storm that makes you feel more out of control. But everything that is out of control for you, live under the control of Jesus. And what's real cool, is that this Jesus gave His life for you. This all-powerful Savior loves you. He proved it on the cross! And my friends, today we don't have to fret, we don't have to fear because the storms obey when Jesus says, “Peace, be still.”
Now, I'm not saying that, “Jesus will heal every single Christian. Protect every single Christian from COVID-19.” I'm not saying that! God's ways are higher than our ways and God sometimes allows us to be sick. God allows us even to die.
But the point is, though God has all power to do all that, He's wise not to always do that. Because He knows what's better for you. We trust that God's good is always better than our good. And then we can rejoice that in the time to come, in eternity to come, we can look back and say, “Surely, the temporal sufferings of this life, are working out for us an exceeding weight of glory that is to come.”
My friends, don't judge God too early, now. Wait till that time, then we will praise Him for all that He has done, even allowing storms. But ultimately, I want to remind you, the great storm of death will be taken away, we all will be with Christ. We will share in His glory. We will behold His glory. There will be joy and bliss forevermore. So hey! Let's keep trusting God. Let's realize Jesus is sovereign over the storms of life. This small virus, not an issue for Jesus.
5. Storm Travels Are Faith Building Expeditions
The last thing I want to share with you - storm travels are faith building expeditions. Huh … storm travels, are faith building expeditions. Yes, we are going through a crisis, but do you realize this is also in a sense, an adventure ride to build up your faith.
You know this week, as the pandemic escalates in our country, I was lamenting actually. I'm not worried but I'm sad. I'm sad because I think many people who used to go church, attend services, but who may not really be saved yet, they're just halfway there, if you know what I mean.
They are coming to church when it's convenient. They … they kind of don't mind but they don't really know God, they don't really love God. This group of people, I fear, with this prolonged, protracted period where we can't gather together as a church, they may just say, “Oh! Let's quit. Let's not go to church.”
Week after week, then month after month, it might turn out this way. They may just fall into the habit of never coming back to the means of grace. And I'm sad for them because I fear that, that might mean the end of their search for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I … I thought to myself, how sad that will be when God's people's faith will be eroded away because we're not gathering, we're not meeting.
And then I realized, when I look at this text, when I looked at this story - storm travels are faith building expeditions. The disciples, when they saw Jesus calm the storm, they said, “What sort of man is this that even winds and sea obey Him!”
Now, they have seen many miracles Jesus had done - for the leper, for the woman and so on. But now, now that they are personally in this storm, and experiencing firsthand deliverance, powerful deliverance by Jesus. Oh! Their faith is extremely built up! It changes my paradigm.
I am still praying for you. I'm still praying for you who are on the fringes in terms of the search for the faith, in terms of church and in terms of Christianity. I'm still praying for all my brothers and sisters here that your faith will hold up and shine. I'm still praying for you that you will reach out with the Gospel.
But now, I'm encouraged! I know my God is sovereign and is in control. I know my God, even though it looks bad to the human eye. He's doing something deep in those who really believe in Him. And I'm excited to see what this will turn out to be for our church.
Perhaps at the end of this crisis, we will emerge a stronger, purer, better church. I believe that's what God is doing in your heart. If we are going to respond to Him properly, He's going to strengthen you and I'm excited about that beautiful prospect.
Those are the lessons in a storm. I hope you'll take it to heart. I hope even after this livestream, you may want to check it out again. Look through the 5 points. Look through how it applies to you. Maybe you will gather in your small groups on cyberspace, on Zoom or WhatsApp. Talk about these things. Share about these things. Pray for one another about these things.
And may your faith be built up, may your eyes be fixed upon Jesus. I'm praying for you, I'm praying that your faith will not fail. I'm praying that your faith will be red, hot and strengthened even as the pressure out there is getting stronger. I'm praying that God's people will live out missional lives. We’ll worship God by drinking in the Gospel. Living out the Gospel. Giving out the Gospel.
And if you're here, watching this, and you're not a Christian, can I shout out to you and say, “Hey! Maybe God is getting your attention with this COVID-19 situation. He's bringing a storm in your life, that you're not in control, that you will die. He's bringing you face to face with death so that you might look death in the face. And then say, “Where am I going? What's going to happen to me?””
Can I say to you, “When in a storm, the best thing to do is to cry out to Jesus.” Jesus is God's Son, whom He has sent to come and to live a perfect life, in order to die. Why does He come to die? He came to be the Lamb of God, sacrificed, to take away your sin.
Dear friend, there is no way you can reach God. There's no way you can be good enough for God on your own. But the Good News of the Bible is, Jesus lived that life and is willing to give it to you, if you repent of your sin and believe in Him.
I pray this storm would bring you to real blessing in knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I pray today that your soul will be saved. I pray today, God will be glorified through this storm. May God bless all of you. May we bow for a word of prayer.
The world and the media all around us, are giving a doomsday message. A message of pessimism, of deaths, of gloom. Hey! But when I read my Bible, my heart is encouraged. And so, I want to encourage you today, I want to give you pastoral care today in guiding you to think biblically in this time.
The world is in doom and gloom because they do not know God, but we do. So let's turn our sorrows into joy. Let's turn this extremity into opportunity. Let's turn this darkness into light. And let us, as God's people live out - faith, love and hope.
And once again, my heart goes out to you. If you're struggling and wondering and thinking whether you should continue or not. I pray you will continue to read God's Word, hear God's Word. I pray that you'll continue to join in the small group gatherings, Bible studies, Discipleship Groups. Double down on these efforts, because we need to do it even more in times of crisis. And may we today, give out the Gospel.
What a joy to hear from God's Word! My heart is thrilled and I hope yours will be too. May God bless you all richly, my friends. Father, we thank You so much. Thank You, that You are the Lord above the storm, that the winds and the waves obey You. You did not leave us in a storm that we perish and face a hopeless end. But we thank You that the cross reminds us we have an endless hope and therefore, You have brought us through the storm to increase that hope.
Father, I pray Your people will not be foolish or brash. But on the other hand, I pray Your people will not be faithless and cowardly. Lead us into that center of the Gospel. Lead us into obedient God glorifying lives.
Protect us, protect us from the disease. But more than that protect us from spiritual disease. From apathy, from selfishness, from fear, from anxiety, from laziness. Oh! May the love of God motivate us to live, holy, God glorifying lives.
Father be with each one, some are struggling today. You know their needs, please comfort them. May Your Holy Spirit strengthen their inner man, that they might comprehend Your love and Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith.
Lord, build up this church. Build us up even when we can gather physically. Lord, do Your work. It's, it's so amazing, so that when we do meet one another one day again, we can say, “Only God could have strengthened our faith. No man could have done that! All glory be Yours.”
So when we are weak, Lord, show Yourself strong. Thank you today, we can entrust all these to You in prayer. Glorify Yourself. Save souls. Strengthen hearts. Bless our homes. We thank You in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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