Dear Echo, 

Just like you, my heart is heavy for our nation. My heart was sick as I witnessed the images of people storming our nation’s Capitol building this week. Without a doubt, when people place more hope in a political leader than Jesus, we end up in a really bad place.

This comes after almost a full year of division and rioting in cities across the country. Our nation is a nation crying out. There is pain, sorrow, and brokenness screaming from our streets and our newsfeeds.

“How do I respond? What am I supposed to say? How do I deal with my own confusion and pain? What does God want me to do?”

I will share more of what I believe God is speaking to us in my message this Sunday, January 10, at Echo. I want to ask you to carve out time to join us online or at our in-person outdoor services. This Sunday’s service is an important time for our church to get aligned around what is happening in our world.

I also encourage you to invite a friend to join you. People are looking for hope and answers. We can help with that!!

After praying about this, I have 5 important reminders for our church:

1. Jesus Is Our King. I’m so glad this is the case for us. He is righteous, true, kind and merciful. His Kingdom is eternal and is not built on party lines. His Kingdom is a place of love and flourishing that finds its way into homes, businesses, churches, and city governments through the lives of His followers. Everything His Kingdom touches improves. His Kingdom is to be pursued above all things. He is not picking sides politically. He is wanting to build His Kingdom into every nation, tribe and tongue. This Kingdom will go on well past our lives and any earthly kingdom! Today, we can have confidence in His Kingdom and His Church. All of our investments in His Church outlast our lives. 

2. Prayer Is Our Weapon. We are in a battle – one that is neither physical nor political, based on the ideals of the world. There is an enemy actively trying to destroy the hearts of people. Our church is a diverse group with people on the left and the right. We may even have some disagreements in politics, but we are unified in one thing: JESUS IS OUR HOPE!! Not only is He our HOPE, He is the HOPE that our cities deeply need. We are trying to win the hearts of people. NOW IS THE TIME TO PRAY! We need to beg God to show us MERCY and reveal Himself to our region.

I want to invite you to join me in our 21 Days of Prayer journey starting this Monday, January 11. In addition, on the same night, Stacie and I are going to be hosting a special time of prayer online. Join me and Stacie on Monday, January 11 at 8:00 PM PST on YouTube LIVE as we pray for our nation, our city, and our church. 

3. We Are Marked With Love. Jesus said that the world will know we are his disciples by our love (John 13:35). A divided world needs a unified Church. Physical and verbal violence are never the answer. Before you post or share online, ask: “Is this what love does?” Let love guide you. Even when we disagree with one another on issues, we can still be people of love. There is a place to stand together called LOVE! 

4. Our Words Matter. The average person speaks tens of thousands of words per day. We are saying things to our spouses, our kids, our friends, our co-workers and to everyone we know online. Of course we need to grieve and process in private. But, we can all agree, this week is an example of the power of words. The things we say and the things we don’t say matter. Your words have the power of life and death. Let’s keep our words in check and use them to build others up. Let’s be peacemakers, and when we have hard conversations do it with love, compassion and kindness. 

5. Truth Needs To Renew Our Minds. There is so much in the media right now that is aimed at getting you anxious, fearful and angry. None of the major news channels are sitting around asking the question, “How do we help people become mentally healthy and emotionally whole?” They are asking, “How do we get more clicks?” Your emotional health is not their primary concern. I’m not saying we should not know what’s happening – we just need to be careful with the news and how it impacts us, because the algorithm is designed to divide us.

The source of wisdom and truth is God’s Word. Pick up your Bible. Do a Bible reading plan. Pick up the 21 Day journal we’ve created for you. Dig into God’s Word, and let that be your foundation. His truth will prevail. If you want to be truly wise and knowledgeable, seek His wisdom above all else, and people will flock to you for advice instead of you going everywhere searching for truth.

We are going to get through this together! I have no idea what will happen this year with our nation, the virus, or the political landscape. But regardless of what happens, I know Jesus will be on His throne at the end of 2021. He will build a shelter around us and help us thrive in this chaos if we seek Him and His help.

Stacie and I love you more than ever. We are in this with you and believe from the bottom of our hearts that the best of what God has for us as a church is ahead. 

Let’s stay faithful!

With love, 

Andy 

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