Living Above Fear
The stories out of China regarding the coronavirus are truly frightening. This past week saw the US stock market get sick over the possible threat of the virus. Various pockets in the world have shut businesses, closed schools and restricted travel. In light of the caronavirus threat, it is a challenge to practice precaution without living in debilitating fear.
The Bible is filled with the challenge to ‘not be afraid.’ One example are the words given to Joshua before he led Israel into battle. Joshua 1:7-9 says,
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Here are a few thoughts on living above the temptation to live in fear.
First, God is calling the church to be ‘strong and courageous.’ Fear is easy. Courage is feeling fear but moving forward, believing God, and doing the hard thing until the feeling of fear subsides.
For many of us, we need to turn our fears into prayer. Phil. 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” The promise of peace follows those who pray.
A second lesson on fear from Joshua is to be fed by God’s Word. The Bible is filled with faith building promises and stories of overcomers.
I wonder if spending more time following the news than time in God’s Word is a major reason for fear among the people of God. The news presents problems with few solutions. God’s Word is filled with people of God facing problems until God brings deliverance. The old gospel song said, “Who’s report will you believe?” followed by the refrain, “We shall believe the report of the Lord.”
A third lesson on fear is that fear is overcome when we know God is with us. Joshua was told to not be afraid or discouraged because “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
The reality of life is that we face challenges and sometimes our prayers are not answered as we wish. We can still do well because of the presence of God with us in each and every situation.
The promised for the Christian is that God will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). This breeds confidence and courage.
I do not know what the coronavirus will mean for us in the coming months. I do know that our faith is Jesus Christ is central to our well-being and our mental state. May we live with confidence that we can trust that God will see us through the days ahead.
-Pastor RickLead, Grow, Move in the Holy Spirit
You are invited to “Lead Grow Move in the Spirit” on Saturday, March 14, 2020 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Hosted by the Metro District at Princeton Alliance Church.
This is a leadership event to refresh every leader who desires to grow in the power of the Spirit for their lives and lead in the power of the Spirit for their ministry.
Bring your leadership team, spouse or friend! You will not want to miss worship ministry by Rev. Kelvin Walker and Gabe Tringale. Speakers including Dr. Rob Reimer, Dr. Ron Walborn, and Dr. Martin Sanders, hosted by Dr. Wanda Walborn. Cost is $30 and includes lunch. Please register as soon as possible at https://metrocma.org/events/2020/3/14/lead-grow-move-in-the-spirit .
Breaking the power of shame in our lives.
Unlocking keys to spiritual authority
Releasing keys of spiritual authority to others
Preparation for Easter Week: April 5—12
The following programs are planned for Easter week.
11:00 AM Palm Sunday, April 5
We start our Easter week with a special service remembering Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
7:00 PM, April 7 Passover Meal
We host a Passover / Seder Meal for our church. This meal will reflect aspects of the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples. The church is invited to join the Tuesday Bible Study for this full meal which includes Lamb and unleavened bread.
Noon – 3:00 PM Community Good Friday Service, Apr 10
This service is at Fairview Gospel Church and includes pastors from a number of churches in the area, including Pastor Rick. Fairview Gospel is at 724 Fairview Ave. in Fairview, NJ.
7:30 PM Good Friday Service, April 10
Our Good Friday service includes participation with other churches we partner with in this area. This service reflects on the cross and remembers what Jesus has done for us.
6:15 AM Sunrise Service, April 12
This service remembers the wonder of the women and disciples who discovered an empty tomb, early in the morning. We plan to meet outside at the park across the street, weather permitting.
11:00 AM Resurrection Service, April 1
Our main Easter service will celebrate our hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The themes of Easter are central to all we do as a church throughout the year. This also a great opportunity to invite a friend who usually does not attend church.
Pastor Rick’s Trip to Ghana
Pastor Rick Spenst will be joining Rev. John Hwang and a few others on a ministry trip to Ghana, West Africa. This trip will take place from March 16th through March 27th.
The focus of the trip will include ministry at a church in Accra and sharing in teaching at a three-day pastors conference. Of added benefit is that Pastor Rick will get to experience a culture where many past and current church members have their roots.
In preparation for this trip our church is invited to pray for health, safety, and effective ministry. As the majority of costs are covered, there is an opportunity to contribute to a fund that will be used to aid the local Ghanaian church, including a medical clinic outreach. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.
March Events at Fort Lee Gospel Church
11:00 AM Worship Service Our weekly service including worship through singing, prayer, preaching and fellowship. Nursery and three children’s classes are available.
9:00 AM Chinese Worship Service The Chinese worship service is led by Pastor Sandy Xie and she can be reached at 917-593-0420.
1:30 PM Korean Worship Service Contact Pastor Jaedoo Lee for further details at 646-464-2448.
5:30 PM Spanish Worship Service Contact Rev. Esteban Canales at 973-510-8834 for more details.
1:30 PM, Mar 8 & 22 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
1:15 PM, Mar 15 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
12:30 PM, Mar 29 Church Dinner Our monthly meal for fellowship and sharing.
12:30 PM, Tuesdays Men’s Lunch & Bible Study We meet for a meal before we study the Bible and pray together.
7:30 PM, Tuesdays Bible Study The group is studying the book of Joshua.
6:00 AM, Wednesdays Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
6:00 AM Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting combining personal and group prayer meets every Saturday.
2:00 PM, Mar 7 & 21 Women’s Bible Study Study from Life in the Vine: Increasing the Likeness of Jesus in You!
5:00 PM, Mar 7 & 21 Youth Group For those in 7th grade through 12th grade.
The Lenten Season
Ash Wednesday was on February 26th, the start of the Lenten season. The month of March 2020 includes the bulk of the Lenten season leading up to Easter Sunday on April 12th. The tradition of Lent is being reclaimed by many evangelicals of our time. A recent study says that 30% of people in our tradition who attend church at least once a month observe some form of Lent. The main concept of Lent is setting aside 40 days (actually 46 minus the 6 Sundays before Easter) to prepare for Easter celebration.
There are four themes associated with the Lenten season. The first and best known theme is that it is a time of fasting or giving up some food or pleasure. You may consider fasting one meal or one day a week during the Lenten season.
A second theme is to stop a bad habit during Lent (and hopefully beyond). This can include things like social media or time spent in front of the TV.
The third theme of Lent is to add spiritual disciplines to our lives, such as added prayer or Bible study. You could consider joining the 6:00 AM prayer meeting or adding to your personal spiritual disciplines.
The last theme of Lent is to add a charitable or compassion ministry to our usual routine. This is where we do good for the sake of Jesus Christ.
The challenge for the Christian is to continue to strive towards growing in their faith. Phil. 2:12-13 expresses the relationship between our effort and God’s work in saying, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” May the season of Lent be a time of spiritual growth for all of us.
St. Patrick’s Day: March 17
On March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, it is said that everyone is Irish for a day. It is a day to find green bagels for breakfast, four leaf clovers at school art classes and often excessive drinking for many adults. Few people in our culture connect spiritual themes to the day that bears St. Patrick’s name.
The truth is that Patrick was a remarkable missionary who evangelized a country steeped in witchcraft. First, Patrick was English, raised in a godly home. He was captured and enslaved by the Irish when he was 17 years of age. During his 6 years as a slave, Patrick began to personalized the faith of his parents. God helped Patrick escape and returned to England, where he felt called of God to return to Ireland to preach the gospel. After theological training, Patrick and a group of believers moved to Ireland and established its first Christian community.
Patrick faced much opposition as he preached the gospel and confronted the demonic strongholds of the culture. It is hard to know which stories are fact and which are fiction, but many miracles are associated with Patrick’s ministry in Ireland. What is indisputable is that during the fifth century, Ireland went from practicing pagan religion to becoming almost 100% Christian. This Christian movement was so powerful that for a few hundred years after the death of Patrick, Ireland sent hundreds of missionaries to Europe to evangelize other pagan cultures.
Be reminded this St. Patrick’s Day that we remember a man who was a man of prayer, an evangelist, and a passionate follower of Jesus. Patrick is an inspiration to us who believed that Jesus can change a life and a culture. May God raise up a new generation of ‘Patricks’ to preach the gospel today in our nation and beyond.