Hey, Everyone! My name is Pat Stream, Pastor of Counseling at Faith Community Church.
My heart was captured by so many “what-ifs”. Like all of you, I care so deeply about my family, my health, my neighbors, my employment, and my community. Do I have enough money in the bank? What do my kids need to understand? Is my wife going to be safe? Should I start stockpiling toilet paper? Seriously. What if our food supply is too small?? What if I’m the first person in Hudson to be infected? Right? What if everything I am concerned about is actually at risk?
When the hard reality of all this hit me, I felt anxious thoughts and emotions starting to take control of me. If you are listening to this, I want you to know that many concerns you have about life in this season of COVID-19, they are legitimate. Anxiety is universal for all of us. We’re human, and Anxiety is real!
“Fear not” is mentioned more than 300 times in the Bible. In most of those time it is combined with this magnificent truth - the Lord is near. God hasn’t promised we won’t go through trials. He has promised to be there with us! Even with “social distancing” and “self isolation” of COVID 19, God will never leave us alone!!
When worry, fear, and anxiety attack, God invites us to take our eyes off of our emotions and the situation and trust him, to believe “he’s got this.”
In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he speaks God’s promises to people who were facing great difficulties. He says: “…. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything..." It goes on to say, "in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." And then it says “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." In other words, even in situations that are full of concerns, God the Father who cares for us, makes it possible to have victory over anxiety.
In addition to our prayers of gratitude to God, there is something else we can do to guard ourselves from the grip of anxiety; this passage continues… "whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." When we "put into practice" these things, God again says "peace will be with you." This peace doesn’t come from going overboard on stocking up on supplies or by isolation. This is a peace that comes only by the Spirit of God. God does not hoard, he rewards, with peace.
But we are going to have to train our minds to think this way. Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection can give you the strength to renew your mind every day. Self-sufficient and self-protective attitudes will only fuel your anxiety. So, trust fully in God for everything you need, and live that out by praying with thankfulness, and looking for admirable and excellent ways to serve your neighbors and others in our community during this time.
This week, as I was cycling through all my “what-if scenarios,” I thought to myself “Maybe I should stock up on gas?” So, I checked my garage, and all I had was this small container. Then I checked the level in each of the cars. They were fine. Almost full. Then I thought “I’ve gotta go top them off and get a couple larger gas cans too!!” …That was enough! I could see that I was trying to be self-sufficient! I reminded myself what the bible said, “Do not be anxious about anything... present your requests to God. Think on what is pure. God is SO wise, and he is more capable than you can imagine to handle ALL that you are facing.”
The good will always be that we have learned to trust Him more in all circumstances. None of your struggle against anxiety will be wasted if you remember God is near, and turn to him.
Jesus’ promise for you is that all suffering can ultimately lead you to knowing His peace. He invites you to trust him to give you victory in the face of anxiety. I encourage you to remind your heart over and over again that “God is near.” Be courageous, friends, and talk to God about your fears and anxieties. God wants to hear about every fear you are facing.
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.
To mask or not to mask, is that the question? Opinions abound on how we should move forward in this pandemic.
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.
Struggling with grief, sadness, or depression? Pastor Pat Stream, Pastor of Counseling at FCC, shares the hope that's ours, and invites you to an online event called Faith & Life Conversations.
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.
"Hope is only as helpful as what we are hoping in... our hope needs to be anchored to something more powerful than the things threatening us." In today's FAITH & Life video, Pastor Larry Szyman tells us about a Hope that will carry you through whatever trials you face.