March 22, 2020
Faith, Hope, and Opportunities in the Midst of Crisis
Below is this week’s Sunday morning message from Pastor Jim. You can read the text on this page, download a pdf, or watch the YouTube video. Here’s also a short note from Annalea Eastley, HVWC’s Worship Leader, on worship this week:
Hello, dear church family. Man, I miss all of you! While we continue to learn about copyright requirements for live streaming of worship and develop new approaches to corporate worship, I encourage you all to choose a few songs you love and spend a few minutes praising and worshiping God in music today. (And you know me: I hope you’ll end up spending more than a few minutes…) Some of the songs we’ve sung lately at church (or that have been on my heart) are included in a YouTube playlist I’ve created: Worship at Home. YouTube will suggest additional worship music as you listen; I’d love to hear what new songs you discover. Feel free to share those on Facebook and tag me, k? I’ll be doing some Facebook live videos this week, so stay tuned. Love you all! ~Annalea
Faith, Hope, and Opportunities in the Midst of Crisis
By Pastor Jim Kubiak
We are moving into a season of doing new things and doing old things in new ways. So, I am not doing this message in the style of a typical sermon, but rather in the style of a presidential address because it is a proclamation, declaration and call to action to challenge us all.
I am seeing a spirit being awakened in America similar to the one awakened during World War II. When the war broke out in Europe, the world was in the Great Depression and America was an isolationist country. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the “sleeping giant” was awakened. America came together to fight their common enemies. Some went to fight the war while others did their part on the home front where society pivoted in a remarkably short period of time.
Everyday life changed dramatically. People were ready to sacrifice in order to achieve victory. Factories were converted to produce war materials, women entered the workforce, food, gas and clothing were rationed, communities conducted scrap metal drives, recycling programs were instituted, people purchased war bonds to help pay for the conflict and individuals came together to support one another in community.
This is the kind of spirit I see being awakened in both America and the church today. We are beginning to recognize that we are all fighting a common enemy and that we all need to sacrifice in order to achieve victory. For some, like doctors, nurses, epidemiologists and EMTs this means fighting on the front lines. For others, this means continuing to work in areas that provide essential services to keep our population fed and supplied. For the remainder of us it means staying home as much as possible to decrease the potential spread of this virus. And we all need to come together as a community to support one another.
In just a short couple of weeks, life has changed dramatically in this country and it is requiring each of us to step up and to step into all God is asking us to do in this season in which we fight what the Enemy has unleashed through this virus . As children of God our calling is to be salt and light, to serve as the catalysts and the vessels He uses for His goodness to be manifested on earth as it is in Heaven.
Faith and Hope
So how do we step into this calling? I believe a couple of keys are found in a word He has given me for the church in this season:
“Let faith arise and let hope prevail.”
In this crisis, the Enemy would love to have us choose fear and hopelessness. His goal is to disarm us, to render us powerless. God, on the other hand, offers and invites us to choose faith and hope. His desire is to equip us, to empower us. We are meant to be overcomers.
1 John 5:4 New International Version (NIV)
4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
How is faith tied to empowerment? Because faith is tied to His goodness.
Faith and fear are opposite sides of the same coin called belief. Faith is the unwavering belief in the goodness of God; that He will take care of us no matter what kind of circumstances we are going through. Fear is the opposite of faith. It is a lack of belief in God’s goodness. In other words, we don’t trust Him or His ability to take care of us.
It is important for us to settle in our minds that God is always good and that He will take care of us in all circumstances whether easy or difficult, good or bad. The circumstances of life may change, but His nature, His character is unchanging.
Malachi 3:6a New International Version (NIV)
6 “I the Lord do not change.
When we choose faith instead of fear, we are choosing to trust His unchanging goodness. We don’t blame Him for our circumstances. Rather we trust Him to be with us and to care for us while we are walking through them.
Psalm 23:4-6 New International Version (NIV)
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
So how is hope tied to empowerment? Because hope is tied to faith.
Hope is the confident expectation of good. It says, “Since I trust in His unchanging goodness and His ability to take care of me, I can expect this goodness to be manifested towards me and others.”
Hebrews 11:1 New Living Translation (NLT)
1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
Hope allows us to see our circumstances from a different perspective. We no longer look at our circumstances from an earthly perspective, we can now look at them from Heaven’s perspective. We can ask Him this question, “How do You view this situation?”
Colossians 3:1-2 English Standard Version (ESV)
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Call to Action & The Challenge
When we know how He views this situation, we begin to see the opportunities He has placed there. We can then seek His will, partner with our heart’s desires and use the imagination He has given us to identify creative solutions to the problems present in this crisis. These are the things He is giving us permission to do in this season. These are the ways we can be salt and light. These are the ways that will bring life to the people we are called to influence.
So, permission is granted for you to dream, to innovate, to think outside the box, to create. God is saying “You are free to the step into your gifts, to step into your callings, to step into your design, to step into your destiny.” Will you choose to partner with Him in the new thing He is wanting to do through you? It will be liberating. It will be fulfilling. It will be full of joy. And, most importantly, it will produce much Kingdom fruit. So, will you accept the challenge?