Hope Isn’t Canceled
About the Guest
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- The Kensington Service: https://youtu.be/WJc43ite728?t=311
Dave and Ann Wilson bring us six W’s of hope for families during COVID-19, on FamilyLife Today.
Hope Isn’t Canceled
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thank for joining us. I'm Bob Lepine, along with Dave and Ann Wilson, who are joining us remotely from their home in Michigan, where the state is on lockdown. Welcome, guys.
Dave: You know, it's good to be with you, Bob, from a looong, socially, distance. [Laughter]
Ann: I'm glad we can see your face, though.
Bob: I'm glad that we have an opportunity to connect and to connect with our listeners. We are pre-empting what we had planned for today; so that, we can offer encouragement, and hope, and guidance, and counsel in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a pastor in a local church, Dave, we're having to think through: “How do we counsel and shepherd the spiritual family that we connect with every week?” You had to think about that as you gathered for a remote service this past weekend at Kensington.
Dave: Yes, we've been in ministry over 40 years; never have we had a time like this. You know, thinking about doing a weekend service online—a stream to our congregation—thank God that we have technology that we can do that now, which is awesome. We had to do it a little different this weekend, and last weekend, and probably next weekend.
Bob: You did the service, Ann, from your living room this weekend.
Bob: The worship team was somewhere else; you guys were in your living room. You can't even go on your church campus right now; can you?
Ann: Right, we can't even be together. We were for mid-week, last week; but there were 30 people in the room. We thought, “That's not even safe.” So now, we're all doing it remotely; and we're kind of tying it all together, which was really pretty cool.
Bob: We're starting to think—again, pastors are starting to think about what Good Friday and Easter are going to look like this year, and how we do that remotely, and how we do that in a way that pulls us together and we can celebrate the resurrection in a unique way. These are challenging times.
Dave: Yes, as we all know, the great truth is the resurrection wasn’t canceled. Even though we're living in a sort of canceled culture/everything's getting canceled, the resurrection wasn't canceled; and therefore, hope was not canceled—that was the title of our message this past weekend. There is still hope, even in the middle of this storm.
Bob: You organized your thinking around six words that all start with the same letter.
Ann: Of course he did, Bob! [Laughter] This is how he does it; it's the six “W’s!”
Dave: Bob, we're the Wilson's; so it had to be “W’s”; right? [Laughter] We just felt like—this is our second week, obviously, of doing an online service—we just thought, “So many people are stuck in a house together,”—not stuck—“but they're closer than they've ever been in a house.”
Ann: —“and kids are with them too.”
Dave: Yes, so they're all over the place. Everybody's a homeschooler now, whether they want to be or not. People are working from home; we're working from home. We thought: “Let’s try and help families navigate: ‘How do you guide?’ ‘How do you lead?’ ‘How do you lead your family to hope during this time?’”
I saw this really interesting quote on Twitter® this week. It's from a woman/from a mom, who had been homeschooling a six-year-old and an eight-year-old for one hour and eleven minutes: “Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year or a week.” [Laughter] It just caught the sentiment; this is what people are feeling. We just thought: “Could we offer a guide to families?”—and this is true for single people as well—“You're in this home: ‘How do we do this?’ and ‘How do we do it well?’”
Bob: Well, here are the six words—
Ann: —six “W's,” Bob.
Bob: Excuse me—the six “W's.” I think these are great words for all of us to lock in on.
Dave: The first one is Word/the Word—we're talking about the Bible. We would just say, “Spend some time everyday, as a family, in the Word.” Here's the thing: “Where you look”—I said this, Wednesday night, at our mid-week—“Where we look will determine our mood.” If you're always looking at your screen, oh my goodness, you'll be mean; because there's just bad news. Look at what Isaiah 26 says—we mentioned this last week—“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You.” It's: “Fix your eyes on Jesus—on His Word/the Word of God—the living Word of God, and it will change your mood; it will bring a sense of hope and a sense of peace.”
Ann: I got this book—it's so good—it's called Beholding and Becoming as a gift. Listen to this quote by Charles Spurgeon: “Nearness to God brings likeness to God. The more you see God, the more of God will be seen in you.” I thought that was so good. And then, I was thinking about this verse—the book is called Beholding and Becoming because whatever you behold, you start becoming like that thing; and so the more we behold God, the more we become like Him.
Even in 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul was talking about this when he was talking about—you remember how Moses would be with God, and the glory of God would shine on his face so much that he covered his face with a veil because of the glory that came of his time being with God—Paul said in 2 Corinthians, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” In other words, the more we're with Him and beholding Him, the more we become like Him.
This author said, “We are being transformed into His likeness by looking intently on who He is.” Especially during this time, we could focus on the news, and what everybody's saying, and the grim, dire reports; but let's focus more on Him. Especially for our kids: “What do they see us focusing on?”
Dave: Today and then tomorrow—each day—just go to the Word. If you don't know where to go, just start anywhere. Start in the book of Psalms if you want, or go through the Gospel of John in the New Testament; take a really good look at who Jesus is.
Ann: Easter's coming, so even to go through what's happening prior to Jesus's resurrection would be cool for a family.
Dave: Here's some Scripture—we'll just read it to you. Just listen; these are all about hope.
Ann: Try to focus in.
Dave: Where does hope come from? Kids, listen in; and listen for the word, “hope”; because it's mentioned in every one of these passages.
Ann: “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Your laws are my treasure. They are my heart's delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end. You are my refuge and my shield. Your word is my source of hope.”
Dave: Where's our source of hope?—the Word. That's why the “W,” Word, is the first.
Ann: That's Psalm 119.
Dave: I love this one; it says: “Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint [Isaiah 40:30, 31].”
Ann: Romans 5:5 says, “And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” That's a good one, too; hope does not put us to shame.
Dave: It's interesting—In Romans 15, Paul writes this, “May the God of hope”—you want to know where hope is?—it's in God. “May the God of hope fill you”—listen to this—“with all joy and peace as you trust in Him…” This is a time—
Ann: That's a good one to memorize.
Dave: —it's hard to trust—and you find joy, and peace, and hope as you trust in Him. Then it says: “…so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Dave: Where does this hope come from?—it's literally given to us from the power of the Holy Spirit. So many of us try to live the Christian life in our own strength. We're trying to get through this COVID-19 virus in our own strength. I tell you what—it's so limited; you can't do it! You need—we need/our kids need—the power of God through His Holy Spirit that lives here. If you're a follower of Christ, the Holy Spirit lives right here in your soul and can give you resurrection power/His power to live a life you couldn't live, to find hope when you can't find it, to find peace when you can't find it, to find joy when you can't find it. That is found through the power of God.
I tell you what—if you're a person listening today, and you're like, “I don't know Christ,”—today's your day. Surrender your life to Christ. I think a revival may break out in our country at this time. Today's the day; give your life to Jesus and receive the power of God.
Ann: I think for Dave and I—that's what we're really praying—that there will be a revival in our own hearts. We've been so distracted; we can be so busy; that this is making us kind of hone in on what the priorities are: where our walk is with God. This could be a time of repentance—of: “God, I want to be back with You. I want to make You the supreme center of my life. I surrender all.” And also, a revival or our homes—that would be so cool—that we just heal, and our home becomes a haven; because it's a storm outside right now.
Dave: So as you're hanging out in your sweat suit, like I am, you can really dig into the Word together; and it can literally change you and your family.
Here's the second word: the second “W” is Worship/Worship. We often think worship is just singing—and it is—but it's more than that. Worship actually means ascribing worth to God/ascribing worth to God.
We all worship: we ascribe worth and value to various things. Every human being, whether they know it or not, is a worshipper of something. We're challenging you, and me, and us to say, “Let's worship the one true God, the only one worthy of our worship.”
Ann: I love this quote by Paul David Tripp—he says, “Human beings, by their very nature, are worshippers. Worship is not something we do; it defines who we are. You cannot divide human beings into those who worship and those who don't. Everybody worships; it's just a matter of what or whom we serve.” I thought that was so good.
In this time, what if we took our focus and we worshipped God?—what do you think that would look like?
Dave: I think it's interesting. I'm going to read you a passage from the Book of Lamentations. Now think about this; Lamentations is a book about laments. He says: “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter, beyond words.” Now, you think the Bible is not real?—it's real. He's talking bitter, beyond words. “I can't even describe how remorseful I am.”
How bitter this time in his life feels; he says, “I will never forget this awful time.” I don't think we are either. This is going to be something we will remember our whole lives. Our kids will mark it as a time in their lives. He says, “I will never forget this awful time as I grieve over my loss.” Jeremiah and all the people there lost so much: finances, even lives; the same thing is happening in our culture.
And yet he says this: “Yet I still dare to hope. I still dare to hope when I remember this,”—you've got to remember something/fix your eyes on something—he says, “I remember this, ‘The faithful love of the Lord never ends.’” We have to stop—that's why the Word is so important—then we have to stop and worship; go vertical. “The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” He says: “I will say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance. Therefore'—look at this—'I will hope in Him.'” I'm not going to hope in the government or hope in a certain stock market coming back: “I hope all that works.” Our hope is in Him; that's who we worship—the one true God.
And I'll tell you something—something that I think is critical, and it's been true throughout history; it's all over the Word of God—is one of the ways to remember—to stop/to plug in and focus—is to sing. It really does; it brings more than just words to you. Now, you have your soul—
Dave: —your emotion, your posture—your whole body is involved. When you sing praise songs, worship songs, hymns to God—which is all over the New Testament and Old Testament—it gets your eyes—
Ann: —it takes your eyes/it puts your eyes on Jesus, and it starts to begin to change.
Dave: I'll tell you—here's the next one—we got: we've got the Word; we've got Worship; ad then here's one that's really important in this time, because our kids are home and they're out of school: Work. You still have to get school work done and other work done as well. I mean, that's the hard thing—you've got kids at home—you've got to come up with a plan for your kids and for your teenagers.
Ann: I think the plan is really important to have a schedule, especially with young kids, so that everybody kind of knows what's going on.
Dave: It is hard, but you've got to come up with a schedule to work. We also would say this—
Ann: Wait, wait, wait. Let me just say this: “If you've lost it during the day with your kids”—you know how, as a mom, you can lay in bed and—
Dave: We never lost it.
Ann: I lost it all the time!—and then I would go to bed, and I would feel so full of shame—like: “I'm a terrible mom!” Just ask God— like, “Lord, help me.” But then apologize to your kids. They are so quick to forgive. And that's modeling to them, too; they may need to ask your forgiveness as well.
Dave: Alright; so here's the thing—you've got work—but I put a slash [/] with this one and put “Play.” You gotta work, and you've got to schedule time to get the work done—schoolwork and everything else—but also, you've got to play. In this time, especially now that you have more time around your family than ever, you've got to grab some moments to play.
Ann: You might not feel like—“I don't feel happy,” “I don't feel like this is a fun time”—but I think it's an act of our will to be intentional—like: “We're going to create joy,”—just creating moments of things that your kids will remember; because this is a scary time for them, and they're watching you. If you can create these pockets of moments of play and fun, they will love it.
Dave: Here's another word; so we've got: Word, Worship, Work/Play. Here's the fourth one—I think we’re on the fourth one—I’m looking at our clock, we’ve got to go. This one is Words. We're not talking about the Bible or the Word of God, we're talking about the words that you speak in your home during this time. Here's the thing—you’re at home with a lot of people, all the time; so it's very easy to start being snappy with our words.
In fact, Proverbs 18:21; we've quoted this verse many times in terms of your words to your spouse in marriage, but this is so true for families. It says: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” In other words, those who understand the power of our words will reap the benefits if we speak life rather than death. It's easy to speak death; but especially during this time, I'd just encourage you/we'd encourage you: “Be careful with your words.”
Ann: Yes, it would be awesome if we spoke words of life once a day; and especially this to your spouse. And to thank each other—just get into this habit. We're going to be isolated for a while; let's get into a habit of speaking life/speaking encouragement, saying, “Thank you.” Share this as a vision for your family too.
Dave: Walk is just—well, one, do a lot of walking. You can work out during this time, so that's good; we have a gym in our basement—a little mini-thing—and working out. But we're talking about walking the neighborhood. Again, you've got to be careful because you can't go up and talk to people everywhere; but you want to walk the neighborhood. I say, “Pray for you neighborhood.”
Ann: I have put on our Facebook®, and I said it on radio: “What if we saw this as this new challenge?” I called it the Corona Love Challenge. “What if we did something nice to each other in our homes and outside our homes?—just a way/maybe you call your neighbors and ask: “How are you doing?” “What can I do for you?”
And also, if you're single and if you're living alone, this can be a really lonely time. I really hope that you're interacting with people: you're Face-timing. I've been Face-timing
with my dad every day. He's on quarantine in assisted living, so he can't even eat in the dining room; he has to stay in his room.
Dave: We can't go see him.
Dave: Okay; we've got one last one. And this one—I couldn't come up with a good “W” word. We've got the Word; we've got Worship; we've got Work and Play, we've got Words/our tongue; and we've got Walk. But this last one—we've got like two minutes to do it—I came up with the word, Weave.
Weave means it's easy in your home—with a mom and a dad, or a mom, or a dad, or kids: brother/sister—they're all running around. They're all over different places of the house. You've got to be intentional to say: “No, no, no. Let's come together and spend some”—at least—“some time together every day.” Guess how you can do that?
Ann: —at the dining room table/the kitchen table. This is a great time to sit down together, as a family, and be intentional. I think it would be great; like every day you ask your kids, maybe it's a different question—like: “What's your high today?” “What's your low today?” This is a really important time, too, to talk to your kids about: “What are they feeling about this scary time?”
Dave: “What are they afraid of?”
Ann: Yes; “What are they most excited about?” “What are you most fearful of?” Talk about that. I think communication during this time with your kids, especially, is so important; with us, it's so important.
And I know, too, I'd really talk about: “Let's make a plan together, as a family, in terms of how often we're on screen time,” “…how often we're playing video games.” Just say, “What if we took this family time at our dinner table to really focus on each other and ask each other questions?” It could be one of the best things you could do as a family.
Dave: This is a time to seize the dinner table. I'm telling you—it is critical for you and your children to talk about what's going on in here; get their fears out. Man, this can bring your family closer than you've ever been.
Ann: And I would say, too, this is a great idea—we did this for a while with our kids—but do prayer requests—like, “How can we pray for you?” Put them in a little vase, or a box, or something; put them on a table; date it and say, “God, we really pray that You would answer these prayers.” And then later, you bring them out and see how God was faithful.
Dave: Hopefully, those six words/seven have helped you. This could bring hope; this could bring joy. This could bring a sense of God's presence—
Dave: —to your family; yes, unity.
I really believe this is a time that God is giving us. He hasn't moved; He's still on the throne. He's still got us, and we can trust in that; but it's a time where everything is slowed down. As I said from Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.” It's a time to be still/to be quiet. I know it's crazy and loud, but it's a time to take some time to rest. I think your family is going to be better at the end of this.
Dave: The last thing we're going to do is pray. I encourage you to do this every day with your family. Get in a football huddle—
Ann: I would say, “Get on your knees.”
Dave: Okay; get in a football huddle on your knees if you want. [Laughter] Grab whoever is with you right now. Circle up in a football huddle, or get on your knees if you want, and let's pray.
Father God, we thank You that You are the source of hope. You are the source of life. You are the only one worthy of our worship, so we worship You. We give You worth; and we don't want to do that just in singing—although we do want to do that—we want to do that in how we live and how we treat others; how we love You; love our family; and through our family, love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
So God, I pray that You would bring Your presence/Your hope into our homes and into our souls as we fix our eyes on You. And Lord, I pray, if there's one out there who's never surrendered to You, today is their day—say: “Jesus, I'm scared; and I'm realizing You are my answer. So Jesus, I surrender my life to You; and I thank You for forgiving me through the cross. And I ask You to fill me with Your power, through Your Holy Spirit, and with Your hope and even with Your peace.”
And Father, we also pray for researchers/for scientists to come up with a vaccine. And Father, we thank You for our medical workers—Lord, they are on the frontlines. We ask for protection. We ask, God, that You would shield them, empower them, equip them, protect them. Protect our families, God. We need You; we're desperate for You.
And Father, we pray that You would do above and beyond what we can hope or imagine. We are desperate for Your Spirit to run our lives/to rule us. We are so in need of You, Father. We pray for revival of our hearts and for our families. We love You and we pray in Jesus' s name. Amen.
Bob: Amen. That is great counsel/great wisdom what you guys shared with your local church this past weekend.
Dave: You know, I really think—we had some fun in that message—because we felt like there needed to be some joy in our homes during such a dark time. But I also have a real burden in my heart to say to dads, “Lead your families through this time.” And this would be true, obviously, for moms; but it can be real easy to be passive.
This is a moment that we've never encountered before; may never again. But man, this is a moment to lead your family into the Word; lead your family in worship; lead in speaking words of life. As we said, “Seize that dinner table.” Don't let that moment pass—they're not playing soccer; they're not on ballfields—they're in your home. Lead strong. God wants us to lead; and this could be a time, where families look back and say, “This was one of the best seasons of our entire history as a family.”
Bob: “This knit us together in a way that other things would not do”; right?
Ann: I think, too, I would say that our kids are watching us. If we're super fearful, you can bet that our kids are going to feel that anxious/anxiety—you know, all the things that we may feel. For us to go to God first to get that peace from Him that surpasses all understanding—I think that, really, for me—keeps me on my knees.
Bob: We have a link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com where listeners can go and watch the message again. We took an excerpt from the message; but if they'd like to view it again, they can go FamilyLifeToday.com to see Dave and Ann share the six “W's”
to bring your family together during the coronavirus. We also have a link to—you mentioned family devotions, Dave—we've got a link to resources families can use for some creative devotion times.
There's also a link our friend, Phil Vischer, has opened up for all of our FamilyLife Today listeners. He's opened up his video vault of content he's been creating for families for the last 15 years. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and get six weeks of access to Mr. Phil's Video Vault that includes his What's in the Bible? series/other series that he's created. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com, and that's free for FamilyLife Today listeners for the next six weeks. We want to thank Phil for making that available.
Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for all of these resources and for additional help for your marriage and your family during this time.
Tomorrow, we're going to ask the question: “Is God still in control in the midst of the coronavirus? Is this a part of His providence for us?” We'll talk about that tomorrow. I hope you can tune in and be with us for that.
I, again, want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team—great team—they’ve been working hard this week. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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