Peace Amidst Pandemic 

Messiah Family,

In unsettling and uncertain times, we find our peace in the presence of the Lord. He is the only one who can effectively prevent the contagious epidemic of fear. I want to share five prayers with you to use to help you during this difficult time. (They are printed at the end of this letter)

Out of concern for the health and safety of all our members we have made the difficult decision to cancel all on-site worship, classes and events through at least March 31st. We will reassess the situation at that point and communicate with you what our next steps will be at that time. We will provide online streaming of a worship service on Sunday at 8:15 a.m. The service will then be available to view at any time. Here is the address for Messiah’s YouTube page:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNpaDwe69JD01cWs20EitsQ
  
We also will send out via email copies of Bible Study materials that you can print off for use at home. You can have “Church” and “Sunday School” class at home for the next couple of weeks.

While these are challenging times, we can also see this as an opportunity to do some things we don’t always do or would like to do more of when we are caught up in the normal, fast pace of our hectic lives. Let me share a few ideas for this time of social distancing:
1. Spend more time each day in personal devotion time, Bible reading, prayer and reflection
2. Use the phone to stay connected with family and friends (make 5 calls a day)
3. Take care of some of those “to do list” items you “haven’t had time” to do 
4. Enjoy time with your family
5. Send handwritten letters or cards to those who might be isolated without many contacts

To help us stay connected as a church family as well as to give you some opportunities to serve others, we would like to set up a “BUDDY SYSTEM CALLING MINISTRY” with our seniors/shut-ins. We would like to pair up one of them with an individual or couple or family who will check on them each day via phone. We have had some couples offer to make grocery or pharmacy runs for our seniors or others who are at risk and are not to leave their homes.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP WITH EITHER THE BUDDY SYSTEM CALLING MINISTRY or to help make grocery or pharmacy runs, please call me at church 946-0681 or email me at mmuenchow@messiahokc.org to let me know and we will get you connected to one of the shut-ins or those in need of assistance.

Also, if you or someone you know is having a lot of anxiety and would like to talk, they can contact me as well. The staff will be working at home and one of us will check in at the office each day. Therefore, it would be best for prayer requests you’d like to share to be emailed to me.

To help us stay on a solid financial footing we do ask you to stay current with our offerings/tithe. We know our income is likely to be impacted, so if any of you are able to make an additional gift to help that would be awesome. Ways you may donate include:

1.    We have enclosed a return addressed envelope to mail in your check
2.    Or you can donate online, or by text. Messiah offers safe and secure online giving via our  Realm App.
If you haven’t signed up for it yet now would be a great time to do that- contact the office and we will email you an invite ( https://onrealm.org/messiahokc/-/give/now ) .
3. Or you may use your smartphone to give via text message. It’s fast and easy using your text messaging,
just text MLCOKC to 73256 and it will walk you through the steps to give. You can select “Regular Church Offering” from the drop down menu.


Please keep all of Messiah in your prayers as we walk with the Lord through this stormy time! (See below for prayers)

Your Brother in Christ,


Pastor Mark   


Fear is a powerful human emotion that can cause us to respond inappropriately or motivate us to take positive action. Fear has the ability to paralyze us from taking any action. Fear can even stop us from turning to God, our Rescuer, who knows every personal and world disruption we will face.
The Bible provides us with good antidotes to keep us calm, cool, and collected. He assures us in Isaiah 41:10: 
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
We want to trust God but there are times when peace eludes us. We’re worried and anxious. Then God reminds us in Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Here are some scriptures and prayers to help us faithfully move from panic to peace:

Take Your Worries to the Lord
Lord, I know that Satan created the spirit of fear, anxiety, doubt, and worries to torture and entrap my mind and rob me of my joy, peace, and sleep. When “what-ifs” wake me in the dark of night, please help me to denounce the devil and rest in You. In Jesus’ name Amen.
Isaiah 26:3 God will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him, all whose thoughts are fixed on Him!
Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

Believe God Hears Your Prayers
Father, I trust that You don’t want me to waste a moment of my life fretting. Please calm my racing heart and fill my troubled mind with hope and my spirit with peace. Assure me that You have a plan and a purpose for me in this time of turmoil.  Father, show me Your ways and grant me the courage to follow where you lead. Amen.
Lamentations 3:57 You came near when I called you, and You said, “Do not fear.” 
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

A prayer to help us faithfully transcend from panic to peace
God, I know that You’re looking at the big picture. Help me to have faith and confidence in what I hope for and assurance about what I do not see. Amen.
Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Lead me to the truth
Lord, I want desperately to take Your Word to heart, but a tsunami of negativity and fear engulf me. My thoughts wander to worst-case scenarios. I need Your insight to diligently untangle truthful facts from hysteria. I ask You, Holy Spirit, to guide me in filtering out what I should avoid listening to or considering. Infuse me Lord with discernment and wisdom. Give me clarity of mind and heart. Amen
Proverbs 1:5 Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Seek Opportunities to Comfort Others 
Lord, quiet my raging emotions so that I can be a beacon of healing love and peace to those in my sphere of influence. Allow me to offer peace to those overwhelmed by panic and fear. Jesus, You said in John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” These are words that You are speaking to me today, may they also give me comfort when I don’t know how the story ends. Use me Lord as your disciple to bring healing to a hurting world. I love you Lord, Amen.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

MAY THE LORD BLESS AND KEEP YOU!
Pastor Mark