Resources from Grand Parkway Staff | Week of March 15, 2020

People I Love,

I wanted to pass along a few things to keep in mind as we all do our part to flatten the curve on this virus. If anything I write here stirs a question in you just ask as I would be glad to answer. If your children have any questions during this time they can ask them as well. Just have them email me and I will respond in a timely manner. Now for a few things to keep in mind...

First, I know we were all taught to listen more than you talk but in chaotic times like these it is important that we talk to ourselves more then we listen.  Allow me to explain...if all we do is listen to the voices in our head, over time the voices get more shrill, jumpy and uncertain. David models talking to your soul in Psalm 103 when he writes, "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."  It is imperative that you speak to your soul, thus reminding your soul and self of what the truth is and Who the the Truth is. By Gospeling ourselves with the truth we are heralding the Good News which nourishes our soul so let's be sure we are striking the right balance.  

Second, this could last for a couple more months so it is important that we all maintain our giving posture as we want to come out of this financially healthy as well. It would be a shame to survive one crisis by creating another. You can give online or you can mail your tithes and offerings to the church. The mailing address is 12000 FM 1464, Richmond, TX 77407. To be clear, I am not trying to be insensitive as much as I am wanting to be mindful. This too will pass and we need to be prepared for it to do so. My prayer is that we flourish during this time and that everybody does their part to make that happen. 

Third, the staff is here and working everyday so if you need us don't hesitate to call on us. Our staff with small children at home are working from home whenever possible but our pastoral staff is here and available. All except for Wade Burgess who drowned yesterday in a pool of Purell hand sanitizer.  Services are pending. 

That's all I've got for now.  Feel free to check out some of the links in this newsletter that apply to you and yours.  God is faithful so we will get through this. Don't lose perspective or heart.

I love you,

Neil

To stay up-to-date throughout the week, you can follow us on social media:

Read: This selection of excerpts is from three books on anxiety. It’s 28 pages you can read slowly this week to feel your blood pressure drop and your faith rise.

Listen: How can Jesus say, “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow”? Listen to this 10-minute podcast, suitable for the whole family.

Pray: Our Missions Prayer Update from our Partners provides specific prayer points. One in particular is for Ovidiu and Adina, who are in the mist of adopting two kids.

Something to consider: In our culture, we can often overlook or take for granted the importance of biblical community, regardless of how often the Bible emphasizes its significance to our spiritual health. We learn to express the “one anothers” in the Bible within the context of community. Here’s something to consider: not knowing what the next few weeks have in store for us, how do you plan to practice biblical community if you can’t meet together in person?

Biblical Community starts at home: Dr. Donald Whitney is a well-known author and professor at Southern Seminary. A few years back, he wrote a short book on family worship that aims to reduce the anxiety and intimidation that comes with leading out in family worship. Take a few minutes and watch his YouTube video to see how simple and impactful family worship can be.

Men, with the closure of schools, restaurants, sporting events, arts, and just about anything fun, there will be a temptation to reward yourself. Be wise in that, because the Gospel commands us to die to self. This video describes what the Bible means by “dying to self”.

Neil’s pastoral prayer on Sunday has stayed with me the past few days. It started with these words, “We come to our Certain God in a time of uncertainty.” What better time than now to gaze more intently on this Certain God. Many of you are familiar with the ministry She Reads Truth. You can find it online or as an app on your phone. Over the next 21 days, I want to encourage you (if you are not already on another reading program) to check out the reading plan called Names of God. You are given verses to read and a short devotional that encourages you to reflect on that name. It is free online and $1.99 on the app. Let’s turn our minds toward what is unchanging and command our souls to come in line with this Certain Truth. Our women's ministry social media links are below.

For Parents: If you’re struggling with how to manage your family’s increasing anxiety about the current public health crisis, you’re not alone. Read how you can help combat some of your family's fears in the article "Managing Fear and Anxiety During a Health Pandemic" by Dr. Chinwé Williams.

Reading plans: We’ve invited and challenged your student to join us in Bible reading plans. You can download the free He Reads Truth or She Reads Truth in your app store and sign up for this free plan. Let’s go!

For Your Student: Does your student have questions about faith and fear in light of Coronavirus? Share this encouraging article, "Faith in the Face of Coronavirus," with them.

For Parents of Students: Our current Sunday series for students, Stand By Me, looks at friends, dating and marriage. We were scheduled to discuss marriage last Sunday. Here is a conversation starter for you to discuss marriage with your student.

For Bridge Parents: Currently with Bridge students we’re working our way through the Old Testament. This week’s story is both familiar and timely, Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Here is a video teaching and discussion guide.

Our student ministry social media links are below.

Here's a video message from Krista and Jana. Our Bible story for last week, including the lesson video and activity pages, is available as a Family Worship Guide. We hope you will set aside 15–20 minutes this week and use this to lead a discussion with your children. Also, here are some at-home lesson activity ideas to do with your babies and toddlers over the next few weeks. We miss your kids and would love for you to join the conversation in our private Facebook group to stay connected. Our kids' ministry social media links are below.

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