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It's Coming!

For those of us who have lived in south Hampton Roads for years, we are all too familiar with models that predict oncoming potentially destructive storms and that we are in its direct path. We summarily tie down everything, get gas for our cars and generators, and do a run to the grocery store. Schools and stores close and then we hunker down in front of the tv or simply evacuate. So in some ways, we are uniquely prepared for an impending health crisis. And yet the forecasts and models from this past Tuesday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing was disturbing. This “invisible war” is unlike meteorological storms in at least six ways: · Every model predicts it will hit Hampton Roads. · The fear people feel tends to be less directed toward a “storm” and more directed at people who may be infected. · We have, and will have, more time to dwell on it. · It threatens to selectively do the most harm to people who are most vulnerable. · We won’t be able to visit those who get sick, in homes or hospitals. · The storm is global so there is nowhere to evacuate. How do we prepare for a crisis of this nature if we can’t board up our windows, fill up our tanks and evacuate to some remote place? What should our response be? We should respond right now in three ways: 1. Connect. In other words, be present with people. People are scared. They worry about their health and the health of those they know. They are worried about their jobs and the economy. They are worried about healthcare; both the costs and fear of what a hospital stay might entail. They are worried about death. People need the confidence and peace that a Christ-follower can bring to a conversation. God wants to use your sphere of influence, your family, your friends, your work and school mates to be that place of peace for them…so connect with them while maintaining your distance. 2. Protect. Be a positive and effective influence through. The greatest way we can protect happens through our prayers. This is our moment to shine! And I can’t think of a better verse to be praying right now than 2 Chronicles 7:14 in which God says “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Here is a prayer list to get you started: To see people turn to Christ during this challenging time; For people to experience forgiveness and healing through Christ; Protection for our healthcare professionals, first responders & those who support them; Effective treatment and a vaccine to be developed quickly. Let me remind those of you who are Dream Team leaders to be reaching out and praying for your team weekly! Oh, and don’t miss another obvious way we can protect people: Follow the national guidelines to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (www.whitehouse.gov). 3. Grow. Friends, this is a time to grow in your faith like never before. Read your Bible. Spend time with those in your home. Give faithfully. Share with others the reason you can face your future with confidence and peace. AND be a part of our online gatherings. Join us each weekend at www.vineyardchurch.com for our interactive streaming service. Since every church in America is having services online at this time, our online provider has been overwhelmed the last two Sundays. If you experience any problem, we will also have our services streamed on Facebook.com/VineyardVa. If you missed any of the previous online services, take the time to watch those located on the church webpage. Special Note: If you are unable to watch our services online for any reason, please reach out to us at 757-424-4444 and let us help you be a part of our online community. My friends, as I said in last weekend’s message, each of us needs to stay spiritually connected while socially distanced. Don’t try to go it alone! We are in this together! Love, Andy and Sharon Meade “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

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