Facts over Fear
Greetings! I hope that all of you are choosing to love God first and foremost and choosing to love your neighbors—everyone around you—as we follow the stay-at-home orders from our leaders. Thank you for joining the church on Sunday for our first live stream. From all reports, it was a good start, and most importantly, God met us all where we were. Please continue to join us on Sundays at 9:00 am. It’s so very important for us to keep meeting together and connecting as God’s family. Please pray for this week’s stream as we make adjustments in keeping with the stay-at-home order. I am so blessed that God has provided the tools we need to meet together as one church, in many locations. I would like to encourage you to keep inviting everyone you know to join us on Sundays. Encourage everyone you know to subscribe to our YouTube channel and join us as we gather as the family of God. I just have a few reminders to share and a word of encouragement from someone I respect greatly.
Keep joining us on Sundays and invite everyone you know. God is speaking to many people right now in this time of much fear and uncertainty.
Keep checking our website regularly for updates, information and resources. We have resources for families and children from the curriculum we use on Sundays.
You can give your tithes and offering online. It’s up and easy to use.
You can share prayer requests on our website. We would love to pray for you.
I also have some prayer requests:
Pray for God’s wisdom as we discern His leading for Easter. Very early last Sunday morning, I sensed God saying, “Easter will be a time of breakthrough. Homes across the state and beyond, all agreeing in prayer will produce miracle working power!” I’m not sure what that looks like yet. Please pray.
Pray for God’s leading in creating a way for us to personally connect and pray for each and every one of you. A challenge of this time is to make sure we are all connected and covered by prayer. I’m asking God for His plan in the next few days.
Pray for those who have stepped up to serve us all by leading Life Groups, in producing the live stream, the communication lines through the website and social media and all the work that goes on behind the scenes. I am so very grateful for their service to God for us all.
Here’s the word of encouragement from Kris Vallotton, who is the Senior Associate Leader at Bethel Church. He is a spiritual father to many, a man who enjoys an intimate relationship with God and loves the church. This word is from his March 14th blog post. May the Lord use his words to encourage you. Blessings!!! Mark
Kris Vallotton, March 14, 2020Facts Over Fear
The coronavirus is creating a tornado of intense fear across the planet. In the scurry to safeguard health, I can understand why some have found themselves in a global stampede fueled by lack and pressured by a message that doom is impending. I believe what is masquerading under the guise of a worldwide outbreak is devious and even demonic, but it does not need to dictate a feeling of demise. I’d like to propose that we are going toe-to-toe with a foreboding spirit that’s pressing in on our planet...threatening to shut down entire nations, attempting to destroy economies. Let’s remember that while this may feel like a scary moment, the God of the impossible, whose love casts out all fear, is with you! God has plans to give us a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of calamity and suffering despite what this climate of fear is forecasting. Now I know what some of you may be thinking, "Of course you're going to say that, Kris. You probably don't even believe in germs because you believe in Jesus!" You are right that I believe in Jesus, but I'm not a medieval fool that ignores science and medicine. It's paramount that we are wise, take precautions, and not participate in spreading the virus. Yet it’s equally important that we do not perpetuate any fear from this evil doom and gloom spirit that’s projecting a false narrative through the twisting of facts and spreading of fallacious rumors.
Fear is a fantastic storyteller and an even better moviemaker. It’s in part why media outlets focus on it so much. However, I bet you’d never trust a person who lied to you as much as fear lies to you about your fate. Speaking to you as family, the ultimate revelation that we as Believers carry during times of crisis is found in Romans 8:15—“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him, we cry, “Abba, Father.” In other words, we are no longer enslaved to fear anymore because our faith is in a trustworthy Father. Let me be clear—I’m not proposing we ignore critical facts and turn our eyes and ears from concerning information that may help us to safeguard ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities; instead, we respond differently as our faith and hope is rooted in God’s abilities, not our finite efforts. With this in mind, we can partner with our government officials in wisdom to practically take care of ourselves, and therefore the greater good, without allowing fear to dictate our decisions.
Have you ever heard Henry Ford's quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right”? I agree, and think this quote is spiritually intelligent! Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. In the world, seeing is believing, yet in the Kingdom, believing is seeing. Faith is not the absence of facts; it's the presence of conviction. One of my favorite biblical responses on faith is found in Matthew 17:19 when Jesus meets up with several of His disciples who could not drive out a demon: Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith;” The word littleness in this passage is the Greek word “oligos” which means “briefly.” Jesus is not referring to the amount of faith the disciples had but instead, is speaking to how briefly they held onto their faith. It doesn’t take much faith to move a mountain, but it most certainly takes persistent faith. And here’s some good news for you—perseverance is a fruit of the Spirit. This means the devil doesn’t have it, but you do!
Without hope you can’t have faith, and without faith the world could feel like a miserable place to live right now. The truth is that when all seemed hopeless for Daniel in the lion’s den, God saved him. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, Jesus himself set them free. When God found a man so bound with hatred that he was murdering Christians, Jesus encountered him on the road to Damascus and changed his name from Saul to Paul, transforming him into one of the greatest heroes of faith to have ever graced this planet. The stories go on and on of God’s amazing ability to redeem any situation. There is no hand that can be dealt to you with which God is unable to win. There is nothing impossible for God. Whatever impact this virus is having on you or your loved ones, remember this: Jesus is a master of making all things new. God specializes in the impossible!
Let’s break off this foreboding spirit that’s manhandling our planet. Lord, I pray that your people would be full of faith and would learn to persistently speak to the mountains of despair and cast them aside! Together as a family of faithful Believers, let’s declare healing over the sick, peace over the frightened, and silence to this foreboding spirit, in the name of Jesus! I want to issue a challenge to all Believers! Let’s remove any and all rights that this foreboding spirit has been given to our lives by our agreement with fear. Join me over the next 40 days in detoxing from fear by exercising the following:
Remember that fear is a liar. Think of the things that brought on fear in the past but never happened. Though it felt real, remind yourself that fear is fantastic at narrating fiction.
Get a new perspective. The Holy Spirit is ready and able to give you a new vantage point that will open your mind up to what’s true and what’s possible. This is a way to revive hope that fear has tried to rob you of.
Be intentional with where you place your faith. Make a conscious choice to trust your future to Jesus and remind yourself of the Spirit in which He’s given you. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Testify. Recall and share the testimonies of God’s work in your life.
Prophesy. Recall and speak aloud what God says about your future. This will silence any spirit that is speaking untruth over you.
Meditate on Psalms 91 in this season. Remember to rest under the shadow of God’s wings and meditate on the truth that He is your Protector!