Pastor’s Blog

  • Steve Hatter

It is my privilege to offer the first of what will become a daily AGC Pastor’s Blog going out to our church family as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis together.

First, let me offer warm greetings in Christ Jesus and thank many of you for your earnest prayers, your eagerness to connect using technological means, and your faithful hearts. Courageous faith is beautiful to witness, and I see much of it on display within our church family!

I have two things on my heart this morning. The first is the steady progression of negative media reporting that we’re all seeing. Second is the reality that all of us, to some degree or another, have people dear to us who are considered more vulnerable to the virus than most.

Regarding the first concern—the media reporting—I think it wise to find a way to stay responsibly up to date on need-to-know information, but to then severely limit your exposure to the non-stop hysteria. 

There is just far more flowing from a myriad of outlets and means to even keep up with, and much of the reporting can be questionable in its purposes or its reliability. I would argue our media culture in this crisis is a “feed the flesh” temptation that will pull you towards fear.

Timothy 1:7 says this: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” To me, this verse is an encouragement to seek God first and always, while filtering all that I hear through His truth. The day-by-day frenzy of this unfolding global crisis reminds me of the weeks and days preceding Operation Desert Storm back in 1990. The media hype was over the top even back then, and most of the doomsday descriptions were unfounded. Moreover, most of the predicted outcomes from the so-called experts did not come to pass. I was tempted to fear back then, but God used that circumstance to bring me to faith in Him.

I have faith we will all get through this, but people must keep their heads. Who but God’s people of faith are better to set the example of self-control before those tempted to panic? Let’s help each other to be brave! Let’s also remember that God is saving souls in and through this pandemic.

Regarding the second concern—that each of us has vulnerable loved ones weighing on our hearts—allow me to offer the following from Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” My brother and sister-in-law live in Orlando, FL, and they are in their mid-sixties. They both have the virus. I sense I could poll every person in our church body, and each would offer a similar weighty burden. The threat is broad and real, whether its nature is health, finances, spiritual temptations, or other things. The enemy knows our vulnerabilities and will seek to exploit them. 

But here is the beauty of the body of Christ. I am so appreciative of the compassion my church family members have offered me as I navigate what is hard, but also could be so much worse compared to some. I feel the weight of my family’s trial being carried by others as they obey “the law of Christ,” and I can attest to its authenticity. I am humbled and grateful. As my millennial kids would say,” this is how we need to roll, church family,” putting our faith to work perhaps like never before in our entire walk with Christ.

Stay hunkered down but connect and pray!