When we put our faith in Jesus, we are "spiritually re-born" into the family of God. In a very real sense, we start this new life as "spiritual babies" - but just as physical babies must grow into adults, spiritual babies must also grow into maturity.
This challenging season is not a time for us to live as "spiritual babies", but a time to mature as "spiritual adults". Let's "dig our own wells", reading the Scriptures and engaging the Holy Spirit in prayer ourselves. Let's take responsibility for ourselves. Let's not seek to be helped as much as we seek to help others. Let's make this a rich season of growth!
1 Corinthians 13:11, Hebrews 5:12-14, Matthew 5:13-16
Our coronavirus/lock-down experience is not a season to merely survive; it is an opportunity to experience a deeper work of God. If we would seek his presence, his purposes and his Spirit in this time, we will come out of the season stronger and ready for our next! Let’s seek to see Jesus better, to know Jesus better and to serve Jesus more effectively!
Acts 9:1-22, Job 42:5, Ephesians 1:17-21, Acts 20:24
In many churches today, we find two groups of people: "ministers" and "members". But the New Testament teaches us that we are ALL "ministers"! We are PRIESTS, representing God to people and people to God. We are AMBASSADORS, representing Jesus and his Kingdom wherever we go. When each one of us does our part, the church will become strong - and the world will know the love of God through Jesus!
1 Peter 2:4-5, 9, Ephesians 4:11-16, 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
The COVID-19 pandemic has put us in a crisis situation. In this situation, there are many challenges and dangers that we are very aware of. There are also dangers that we are possibly unaware of, in particular, the condition of our souls. Jesus spoke to a church whose members were surviving physically, but they were dying spiritually. He called them to urgent action, before what remained of their life expired. We need to hear the same warning: let's not become so preoccupied with our physical situation that we forget our spiritual condition! We don't want to survive this crisis physically alive, yet spiritually dead!
Revelation 3:1-3, 1 Peter 5:8, Ecclesiastes 3:1, Judges 7:1-5
When we put our faith in Jesus, God gives us an eternal hope that acts as an anchor for our souls. The storms of life may rage, but this anchor holds firm! When we hold on to what Jesus has done - such as forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, restoration, eternal life, the rule of God and his victory over evil - we can enjoy security in every storm of life. We hold onto our anchor by growing in our relationship with Jesus, growing in our obedience to Jesus, growing in wholeness and security as God's children and by maturing into disciple makers.
Hebrews 6:19, Colossians 1:23, Romans 10:17, Hebrews 2:1, Revelation 14:6, Galatians 1:6-9, Luke 16:16, 1 Peter 1:10-12, Hebrews 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, John 17:3, Hebrews 2:10, 5:11-12
Jesus has given his Church a global mission - to represent him and to make disciples world-wide. This is humanly impossible... but the Holy Spirit makes it possible as he empowers and transforms ordinary people like us!
The Holy Spirit does amazing things like:
- enabling us to enjoy a personal, day-to-day relationship with God,
- teaching us and reminding us of Jesus ways, and
- empowering us to be effective witnesses for Jesus.
And the great news is that God delights to give this gift to all of his children!
Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 28:17, Acts 1:4-9, Acts 4:13-16, Acts 17:6, 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, John 14:15-17, John 14:26, John 15:26, Luke 11:11-13
The COVID-19 pandemic has been dramatic and traumatic, and has led to widespread INSECURITY and CONFUSION. But JESUS IS STILL IN CHARGE! And because Jesus is always in charge, we can navigate these turbulent times with SECURITY and CLARITY.
We can live with SECURITY because we know that Jesus is always in control.
We can live with CLARITY because we know that Jesus' ways are always right.
So we trust him - and obey him - and he will lead us through!
Matthew 28:18, Mark 4:35-41, John 6:16-21, Mark 6:34-44, John 16:33, Luke 6:46-49
Life is like a marathon. God has mapped a course for each of us to run, and it will not always be easy. We will need to persevere through difficult times, when we could grow weary and lose heart. It is important that we don't look to ourselves, to others, or to circumstances for hope, because they can fail us; we must look to God.
It is OK to admit it when we are struggling. There is no shame in this and we should ask others to pray for us.
We also need to look ahead to the finish line - eternal glory awaits us that will make these trials seem insignificant by comparison!
And if we are disciplined spiritually, our “spiritual fitness” will make us stronger to push through our trials.
Hebrews 12:1-3, 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, 2 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Our mission from Jesus is to go to others and help them to leave their old life behind and begin an apprentice-relationship with Jesus… to begin living a new way of life that will result in them becoming more and more like him.
We do this by showing them and teaching them how we are following Jesus.
We do this anywhere and everywhere in the world - wherever Jesus leads us!
This is our mission. Let’s do this!!
Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 4:43, Luke 19:10, Mark 8:34, 1 Corinthians 11:1
With all the fake news and faulty journalism about, we may wonder if we have heard the true message of Jesus! Here is the fact-checked message:
The "Gospel" is the good news of Jesus. Although we have rebelled against God and become alienated from him, God still loves us. He promised to send a Saviour and King who would die for our sins and then rise from the dead. And Jesus is this promised Saviour and King! He now calls us to come under his rule... to enter into the glorious Kingdom of Heaven... to live a new life reconciled to him!
Luke 1:1-4, Luke 4:43, Luke 9:2, Luke 19:38, John 18:36, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 15:1-6, Isaiah 53, John 3:16-17
Many things all around us have changed - and are changing. Things that we thought we could put our trust in have failed us. Very real dangers are all around us. We need FAITH. We need a confident assurance that looks beyond what is visible. To have this confident assurance, we need a reliable basis for faith - and that reliable basis is Jesus. If we would put our trust in him, earnestly seeking him, we will find him - and we will find a peace like no other… a peace with God, who we can trust with everything - and for all eternity!
Hebrews 11:1-2, Genesis 15:4-6, Hebrews 11:6, John 3:16-18
When lockdown was imposed, we lost many things, some very important to us. As churches, we are unable to gather for meetings, so "church as we know it" in many ways has been closed down. We have looked for new ways to do the things we usually do, but the crisis has also prompted a great question: "What REALLY matters?" Could God be correcting our focus: refocusing our faith on Christ alone, our message on Christ alone and our discipleship of Christ alone?
Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 8:28, James 1:2-5, Acts 8:1-8
The resurrection of Jesus is a really big deal! It proves that Jesus IS who he said he is. It proves that Jesus WILL DO what he said he will do. So we can believe his promises. We can trust him completely! We can believe in him as our saviour!
Matthew 12:38-40, John 2:18-22, Mark 10:33-34, Matthew 27:62-66, Matthew 28:1-7, John 11:25-26, John 14:1-6
Here are some links for those who wonder if the resurrection was not "fake news":
Lee Strobel - 4 compelling reasons
Historical evidence for the resurrection
Hippocrates wrote: "For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure... are most suitable." The human condition, called "sin" in the Bible, is a truly terrifying pandemic, far worse than COVID-19. Everyone is infected, and it always causes death - not to the body, but to the eternal soul. Dead people cannot save themselves or anyone else, so the plight of humankind is truly desperate. So God did the unthinkable: he came to earth as a perfect human, a fully alive human, one who could rescue us all. Good Friday remembers that Jesus came as our cure - our saviour - and it remembers his promise of eternal life to every soul who would believe in him!
Genesis 3, Romans 1:18-32, John 11:25-26, Romans 5:18-19, John 5:24
A common question in times of crisis is "Where is God in all this?" The Bible has encouraging news! God is present in power to help us! Crises do not mean that God has stopped loving us! And, although we may have no idea what God is doing, we can rest assured that he knows exactly what he is doing! I hope these truths encourage you today!
Romans 8 verse 28 tells us that God works for the good of his people in ALL situations - even in the most difficult ones. One could say that good things are hidden in bad situations. This message is about taking hold of the good in the midst of a pandemic and lock-down.