COVID Update from PK Chairman Ken Harrison
Info on Covid-19 and the 2020 Men’s Conference + Prayer and resources to help you during this time.
We’re getting a lot of questions lately from people who bought tickets to the event on July 31 and August 1. We have people coming from 47 different states and several countries as far away as Zimbabwe and Norway. And I want to reassure you right now that we’re planning on being at AT&T July 31 and August 1.
We don’t know what’s going to come from all of this – the virus. We do know, though, that we don’t let our lives be ruled by fear. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love Jesus as we are called to His purpose in Romans 8:28.
So I just want to encourage everyone – let’s stay in prayer, support each other and lift each other up, let’s wash our hands and listen to what people are telling us to do. And we will be praying for all of you guys.
– Ken Harrison, Promise Keepers’ CEO and Chairman
Prayer and resources to help you during this time.
Should Christians be Anxious about the Coronavirus?
With the increasing coronavirus cases outside of China, many believers across the United States wonder how to respond to the increasing alarm. What would God have us do in the face of a growing international health crisis? Should our churches close their doors for fear of spreading illness? Should I take my kids out of school? Cancel travel plans?
How should we help a panicked world?
Remember What We Know
First, it’s important to be reminded about what we already know. Worry is not our friend, and panic is not our way. Solomon reminds us, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Prov. 24:10). May it never be said that God’s people are governed more by fear than faith.
Corrie ten Boom, along with other faithful from among the nations, led courageously in the face of the Nazi fascism—a different form of deadly virus. And she reminds us, “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength.”
In times of crisis, the world needs steady people who are strengthened by God’s grace and selfless by God’s power. Worry accomplishes nothing except weakness of heart and head. It’s been said that 90 percent of the things we worry or become panicked about never happen, and the other 10 percent are outside our control.
While we remain on alert against viruses of doctrine or disease, worrying won’t change our circumstances or lower our chance of infection. It won’t help us fight off illness or move us to action. Worrying about COVID-19 (or anything else) will only increase trouble. Rather than worrying and being anxious, Jesus calls us to respond with prayer and faith in him (Matt. 6:33–34; Phil. 4:6). We need not worry ultimately because we know the One who has defeated sin and death (1 Cor. 15:55–57).
Remind yourself continually: it takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. One leads to peace, the other to panic. Choose wisely.
Love Well and Trust Him
If God calls us to worry about anything, it’s how to love people well. The psalmist encourages us, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness” (Ps. 37:3). Peter reminds us to press on in the midst of every evil. Whether persecutions or pandemics, we can trust in the Lord, knowing, “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3:17).
Worry is common to man. But God has called us to face troubles and threats with courage, leaning our weight on him.
Throughout history, Christians have often stood out because they were willing to help the sick even during plagues, pandemics, and persecutions. They loved people and weren’t afraid of death because they understood that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). By stepping into the mess of sickness and disease, they were able to demonstrate their faith to a watching world. So, rather than just asking “How do I stay healthy?” perhaps we should be also ask “How can I help the sick?” Let’s be quick to help and slow to hide in basements.
Prayer-infused confidence, compassion, and selflessness should mark how we talk about the coronavirus. Why? Because our Savior put on flesh (John 1:14) and stepped into our sickness, sin, and death. He healed the sick and cared for the hurting. We must do likewise.
We Can Be Careful, Too
None of this means we should be reckless. Neither Christ’s love nor God’s Word encourages careless risks, but both promote obedience. Loving the sick doesn’t mean we intentionally infect ourselves (Prov. 22:3). If infection becomes a legitimate risk (at the moment, the Center for Disease Control says the virus isn’t communally spreading in the United States, and the health risk is low), responding to the coronavirus likely means taking small practical steps like washing our hands and staying home if we’re sick.
Before you think of canceling church services, ask, “How can we care for those at risk?” As others get sick, care for them. Are most of you still healthy? That’s a great reason to gather for thanksgiving and prayer. Seek appropriate medical care as symptoms arise and don’t forsake caring for one another.
Follow the example of those who’ve acted faithfully in the past. In 19th-century England, when thousands were dying of cholera, Charles Spurgeon visited homes to care for people. The church of Jesus in Wuhan China, the virus’s epicenter, is faithfully leading even today.
Finally, as you watch the world react to this crisis—itself a stark reminder of our mortality—don’t neglect to share the hope you have in Jesus (1 Pet. 3:15). Share how he rescued you from the universal epidemic of sin and the penalty of death. Share that your hope is not found in remaining healthy this side of heaven.
We’ll all face death eventually. Thanks to Jesus, we can come to that day with confidence. Like Paul, we can remember that to live is Christ, but to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). We truly have nothing ultimate to fear—not from the coronavirus, the Ebola virus, natural disasters, or anything else.
Press on, friends. Pray for the sick. Walk in God’s strength. Love the brotherhood. Do good to all men. Use your health to serve, not to hide. Jesus is sovereign over it all. And we are immortal until God’s work for us to do is finished.
This article appeared March 3, 2020 on The Gospel Coalition website.
Todd Wagner is senior pastor at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas and is on the Promise Keepers Board of Directors. He is the author of Come & See: Everything You Ever Wanted in the One Place You Would Never Look (David C. Cook) and hosts a weekly podcast, Real Truth Real Quick, on life, leadership, and the world we live in.
This is a Time to Pray and Work Together
Be Patient in Times of Tribulation
Resources from Focus on the Family
“I’m grateful to President Trump for calling for today as a National Day of Prayer. In times of trial, our nation has a wonderful history of bringing its many needs to the Creator of the world, humbly and expectantly asking him to intercede on our behalf.
As fear and uncertainty continue to rattle nerves and roil the global financial markets, this declaration of prayer is the right call – at the right time.
‘To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees,’ the late Dr. Billy Graham once said.
The Bible exhorts us to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city.”
– Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family
Talking with Kids about the Coronavirus (article)
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