Hey, Everybody! My name is Larry Szyman, and I am one of the pastors at Faith Community Church.
At the beginning of the COVID experience, I was shopping and decided to pick up some hand sanitizer, only to find it was out of stock. My “hope” was that I would get the sanitizer. Often when we use the word hope, it’s because we want something to happen or be true.
Consider the young person who hopes to secure their driver’s license—they take driver’s ed; study the material, and take the permit test. They practice with their parents and do all their behind the wheel training. The actual driver’s test is scheduled as close to their sixteenth birthday as possible. The teen makes sure the car used for the test is clean and in working order, has sufficient gas…you get the idea. What is driving all this behavior? The hope of getting a license. We can see here that hope is not merely a desire, it controls thoughts and actions.
We are in the middle of a season where our hope is being attacked. COVID is altering our lives in significant ways. Two months ago we were experiencing a roaring economy and all our hopes seemed secure. Now the colleges are closed and students are moving back with their parents. Jobs are vanishing, the economy heading south, and of course, there are so many legitimate concerns about our health and the health of our loved ones and neighbors.
Recently, one of my neighbors, seeking to encourage those walking by, placed a sign on their screened porch saying “Have hope.” Hope is a vital element for life, especially at a time like this.
Hope is only as helpful as what we are hoping in. Whether the hope you have is simply wanting something to happen, or if your hope is the kind that drives your behavior, our hope needs to be anchored to something more powerful than the things threatening us. It’s one thing to handle empty shelves where the toilet paper Is supposed to be, but is it possible to have a diploma, debt and no job and still live in active hope? Is there a hope that you can attach yourself to that can withstand being tested positive for COVID-19?
The Bible’s answer is a resounding "YES!" There is a hope that is bigger than anything life can throw at us. A hope rooted in the love of God. An early church leader named Paul wrote of a "Hope [that] does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5).
For a Christian our INTERNAL reality has a capacity to withstand any downturn in the status of our relationships, finances, or physical health. This isn’t to deny or make light of the realities of COVID-19, but the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Spirit offers something greater, because God’s love has already come to earth and been to hell and back for US through Jesus.
Another early church leader named Peter said that because of God’s great mercy, believers are given a new life and a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4). This inheritance we have is a hope that can’t be conquered and is being guarded by God Himself.
I recently led a funeral attended by seven participants because of our current crisis. The pain of losing a beloved matriarch was multiplied by the inability of the family to grieve and honor Patti like they wanted. As I committed her body to the ground for burial, I declared the hope of Jesus…earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust...in the sure and certain hope of her resurrection from the dead at the return of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We are facing so much challenge and so much anxiety in these days. My hope was to convey to you a hope that has been to the grave and back and will not lead to shame, Jesus Christ.
Before you move ahead with your day, would you share this video so we can continue to spread the hope of Jesus through these videos? We will see you back here next week for the next edition of FAITH and Life.
We can approach the future with hope, even if our candidate loses.
In this week's episode of FAITH & Life, Pastor Larry Szyman takes us on a brief journey to consider our future as a new season of reopening unfolds. Could it be better than the pre-COVID era? Try this exercise.
It’s hard to believe that something so significant could happen that it would replace COVID in the headlines, but it has. Another charged incident of racial conflict and death has grabbed our attention. What has set off the explosion in MPLS are the differences; what will set healing into motion are the similarities. Watch this week's FAITH & Life as Pastor Larry Szyman explains.
Loneliness is a sign that something is off, because we were made for community. So where is there hope for the lonely? Pastor Larry shares the promise Jesus gives us and the hope we can find in Him.
Over the last couple of months, not only have we been confronted with a virus, but we have also been confronted with our illusion of control in our lives. Watch this week's FAITH & Life video, as Pastor Tim Porter shares the invitation Jesus gives us to trust God with the things we cannot control.
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Are you finding it difficult, stressful, or downright impossible to teach your children at home? Find encouragement from Shannon Christopher in this week's FAITH & Life video.
Are you frustrated with all the changes and lack of progress brought about by COVID-19? I think we all are to some extent. But God calls us to use our frustration as a tool of transformation in our lives.
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Moms, are you feeling weary from the abrupt transition to the combined role of Wife, Mom, Teacher and/or Employee? Well, this week's FAITH & Life video is for YOU. Tracy McCutcheon, Director of Women's Ministry at FCC, shares hope-filled encouragement to the worn and weary: "Moms, you’re not alone. You aren’t the first woman who’s felt like this, and God wants to bring His perspective of hope and peace to you."
Over the last several weeks, almost 17 million people have lost their jobs in our country. MANY OF US are experiencing this emotional and economic hardship and ALMOST ALL OF US fear that we may be the next to hear our job is gone. In this Faith & Life video, Pastor Steve Holsteen tells us how God brings us hope in the shadow of job loss.
In today's FAITH & Life video, Pastor Steve Holsteen shows us how the Holy Spirit establishes rhythms of relationship and a pulse of purpose in our lives during this time of physical distancing and "Safer at Home."