Hey there, Hope Family. Hope you are well and tucked in as much as possible. I know these are unsettling times for all of us. Never in my lifetime, except maybe 9/11, has God made it more clear to the world that we are not enough. We've been discovering that throughout the opening chapters of this story of ours. Over and over God reveals himself to be bigger than we knew, more powerful, more sovereign, and at the same time more gracious and merciful to those who turn to Him. I can't think of a series that could have offered us a better foundation, a faith context, for facing this pandemic together.
God is on the throne. What appears to our eye as an unraveling appears to His eye as an unfolding.
We make our plans. God directs our steps.
The psalmist says, "Let all the earth fear the Lord, all its inhabitants stand in awe of Him. He brings the counsel of the nations to nothing and frustrates the plans of the nations. The Lord’s counsel stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage." That's us, not America generally, but the Church—those who call Jesus King. His blessing is for us in Christ, and He intends to bring blessings through us to those around us.
What a moment for us to be deployed on mission, Hope Church.
We've been talking about this for years together. The calling of the Church—to love one another and equip one another so that we can be faithfully and fruitfully deployed with our families, with our neighbors, and our friends. Just no greater time than this one for such a mindset. Yes, we're tucked in physically, but spiritually we can be unleashed in prayer, and we can be making much needed personal contact with those in our sphere—bringing peace to anxious hearts.
No need to call a neighbor and just ask them out of the blue what they think of Jesus. Call them up and ask them, "How are you navigating such troubling times?"
And watch Jesus give sail to that conversation.
This psalm—Psalm 33—ends with these comforting words, "Our soul waits for the Lord, He’s our help and shield. Our hearts are glad in Him because we trust in His holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you." Oh man, I'd like that to be our benediction as we navigate the uncertainties of the coming weeks and months together.
We are in this together, Hope Family. And what a blessing to not be alone.
In fact, if you are unconnected, please let us know. Send an email to a staff member—call the church office. We're eager to help you get connected so you can walk through this with others in your life. So glad I can at least have this touch through this medium.
Two updates in closing—first, I want you to know that I'm connected regularly now with 12–15 pastors across our city. We're praying together and coordinating our plans and efforts with our own church families—really encouraged by that. We are all holding our own version of virtual worship and messages for at least the next four weeks and we plan on reopening our campuses together when state officials suggest that it makes some sense.
Secondly, look for a communication from Hope leadership this Friday. Your leadership team and staff have been working tirelessly this week, attempting to re-imagine how we do church in a virtual world.
Please pray for us. It's not simple.
But we're as committed as ever to equipping the body for living the life. We're dialing in on tangible ways that each of us can continue to grow in our love for God, love for one another, and love for neighbor. We'll be outlining on Friday some of our initial opportunities that we will invite you into. Please commit to reading that and engaging as much as possible.
This is a moment.
A pivotal moment in what God's doing in your life, and through your life in the lives of those around you. So let's not miss it. Let's embrace it and tell stories of all the many ways God has been busy.
He is busy. He's on the move.
I hear a low, bass-filled growl, I see a bright grin, and a steady hand—power and grace. Yes, life's going to look different for a while. But I think when we signed up to follow Jesus, he said, in as many words, "Get used to different!"—in a good way. Oh, I love you, Hope Family, and I'm praying for us all! We'll be in touch.