How we should respond to the virus
brad

Firstly, well done to all of the GraceHill@Home groups that met in homes. I have had such encouraging and uplifting feedback from you all. To those of you who were at home by yourselves and watched the GraceHill@Home Sunday service, to you too, well done. In these times we currently find ourselves in, remaining connected and communicating with each other is going to be of vital importance.

Whilst we may be isolating ourselves to one degree or another physically, let’s not isolate ourselves spiritually. Keep connected to GraceHill and the people of GraceHill via our FaceBook Page (GraceHill_hillcrest), our website (www.gracehill.co.za) and our YouTube Channel (GraceHill Family Church).

Please “friend” us on FaceBook, bookmark our website and subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking in the “SUBSCRIBE” button on the right of the YouTube page. We are also asking that you rather give by EFT, the bank details can be found on our website home page at the very bottom.

You will be contacted regularly by your Group Shepherd (we have allocated each of you to a Group Shepherd for care, prayer and if you need help). If you were not contacted by a GraceHill leader, please either surf on over to our website and fill in the GraceHill@Home Connect Form, or message us on our FaceBook page.

I trust you have all watched our very first GraceHill@Home sermon and possibly you have a few questions. I encourage you to phone or message your Group Shepherd who will try their best to help answer your questions. If they are unable to, I am more than happy to try help answer your questions. (But try them first, not that I don’t want to talk to you, but they are really well equipped to help you – honestly, they are the bees knees).

If you do need to contact me, the best is to email me on brad.sadler@gmail.com. Please don’t use this opportunity to spam me or send me links to video’s, articles and the like. I want to use my time effectively and efficiently and not spend the majority of it deleting “happy cat” videos and articles on how this virus was left here by aliens thousands of years ago 🙂

That was a long intro to this Week 1 Sermon Resource (it would be better if you have watched or listened to Sunday’s sermon). My very first scripture reference this morning was from Matthew 24:3-8. Why not have your Bible next to you, and maybe a notebook so that you can make notes. Spend some time just thinking on what you heard this morning and write down what you feel the Holy Spirit is telling you.

So back to Matthew 24:3-8. You’ll remember I made it clear that I am not saying that Jesus’ return is imminent but rather that Jesus indicates here that God uses the things like this to wake the world up to the fragility of life. Jesus said these things ate like birth pains. A birth pain tells you something is going to happen, but you don’t really know when… what yo do know is that something is afoot.

Someone once said that at times God knocks us flat on our backs so that we’re facing the right direction… looking up.

In Psalm 90:12, Moses prays “teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” Moses is telling you and me, that when we reflect on our fragile lives, we begin to develop the right perspective on life. Moses is saying “Count your days, so that you’ll know how to make you days count”. That statement is definitely an Instagram worthy picture quote and most certainly is a winning Twitter quote.

In Matthew 24:3-8, Jesus also reminds us to avoid false hope because lots will be offered. In verse 11 Jesus says “Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many”. However in verse 13 we see where our hope lies “But the one who endures to the end will be saved”. Our endurance is by you and me resting on a firm foundation. That foundation is Christ and illustrated so well in the story Jesus tells about the two foundations in Matthew 7:24.

Why not read through Matthew 7:24-29 right now in your Bible. List 3 or 4 things that you feel are your foundation in Jesus. One might be one of His promises, ie “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you”.

To end this morning, let me encourage you toward a few practical things :

1. This is not a time to be careless or unwise bravado, but neither is it a time for panic.
My counsel is to avoid unnecessary extremism on social media and the adage “if it sounds weird or unbelievable, it probably is”. Our disposition as a local church is to defer to our government, neither getting ahead of them nor lagging behind them. We believe this is why God gave us governing officials and we’re going to follow their lead.

2. Let’s move forward in faith, not backward in fear. Throughout history, the church has been known for its hope, faith and self-sacrifice, imitating the very character of Jesus, especially in times of hardship and uncertainty.

3. Let’s proclaim Hope. Whilst this situation we all find ourselves in is new, our calling as believers has not changed.The Gospel is the most important message to those around us, and the Gospel of love and faith is what is needed by so many right now.

4. Lastly, let you and me use this time to develop new habits. For many of us we are going to experience an extended “Sabbath” when doing what we normally would be doing, we won’t be able to do. Don’t just survive this time… redeem this time. Use this time to read your Bible, pray, help others where possible, phone people and speak to them, encouraging them and loving them in their fear and hopelessness.

In the days and weeks to come, we will be sending out daily devotional material, updates, ideas and testimonies. We can do this together and the church will rise up in faith and with hope for all.

God bless you all, Brad.

Amen.