My PK Story – A Note from John

March 27, 2020By PK ManagerMy PK Story

I went to PK in 1999 as a bratty twenty year old agnostic and came out knowing for sure who my maker was.

We were printing instruction manuals for Microsoft MSDN Subscribers back then. It was growing like crazy so a guy named Shawn was sent out to my shop to walk through and make sure that our ISO procedures were in place.

The same morning, I received a package from FedEx and it contained a hard cover King James Study Bible with a note on the inside front cover that read: “John, I know you don’t believe it…but God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. I’ll always love you.”

It was from my high school girlfriend. I’d recently broken up with her, mostly because she had professed faith in Jesus and hoped I would “make some changes” that included no sex, booze or bad language. Upon opening the Bible and reading the note, I threw it across my office and it hit the far wall and landed open on a table.

I put my head down and kept preparing for Shawn’s visit. At 2:00 sharp, in he walked. He had a big smile and a bigger belly.

“Well hey John! This is going to be easy-peasy. Just a quick walk through and then…what’s this?” He saw the open Bible. “Well, I guess I didn’t realize you were a believer…that should make this even easier than I thought!”

Then he sat down and wanted to talk about Jesus. I faked Christian the best I could but he was relentless. By the end of our time together, he had gotten a commitment from me to have lunch with him each Tuesday for Bible study—”so I can stay in the Word and in fellowship” while I found a church home.

Hilarious.

I confessed to Shawn that I didn’t believe during our first lunch. He smiled and assured me he already knew that I was full of something other than the Holy Spirit.

We met each Tuesday and Shawn patiently answered my questions about Jesus by using the Bible. When there weren’t clear answers, he didn’t offer manufactured drivel. He would just explain humbly that some things aren’t buttoned up all nice and neat and that it’s faith that helps bridge the gap.

I didn’t like that answer, but I loved that Shawn was humble enough to be honest rather than use a million words to say nothing.

After 8 weeks he bribed me. He said if I would go to PK with him and his mens group, he would leave me alone if I wanted. And he promised I wouldn’t lose the Microsoft business if I didn’t want to pursue Jesus.

I was secretly excited, but with my usual reservations—primarily that no matter how close I’d gotten in the past to “believing,” I couldn’t reconcile it with the way the different types of “Jesus People” treated one another. Everyone seemed to think they and their little group were the only ones saved by God’s grace. I didn’t know much about much, but I knew for sure that if it were true—the Jesus thing—then he certainly wasn’t sitting up in Heaven with a referee jersey on, calling technical fouls for how deep the baptismal water is.

Those hesitations were obliterated as I saw 50,000 men from 100 different denominations, hand-in-hand praising the same Jesus from the top of their lungs! [At Promise Keepers,] the Gospel was presented simply and powerfully, and believably. The sights and sounds of it all caused my heart welled up with something new, and strong.

Later in the day I was invited to accept Jesus by responding to a classic “altar call.” I didn’t bite, I was concerned that I was getting caught up in emotionalism, so I let the moment pass.

I knew I’d wanted to claim Jesus as Lord, so letting the moment pass made me quiet and withdrawn.

On the way home I didn’t say a word, I just stared out the window hoping Shawn wouldn’t try to help me unpack what I was feeling.

Shawn pulled up in front of my house and said, “Forget the altar call, John. If you want to ask Jesus into your heart, then go in your house and walk into your bedroom and hit your knees and ask him say, ‘Jesus, I’m a mess and now I realize that it’s mostly because I don’t know you. Please forgive my sins and come into my heart. I believe that you lived, and died, and rose again and that you did it for me, I’m yours Jesus!’”

I virtually ran up my driveway and into my bedroom in order to say that very thing and much more…and Jesus has been calling the shots ever since.

I went to church the next day because they told me to about a dozen times at PK.

I didn’t know of a church by me and didn’t want to go with Shawn cuz he was 50! So I just went to the one I could see from the patio of the coffee shop I sat at most everyday.

The pastor from Irvington Baptist Church taught from James that morning and I remember loving how practical it seemed as he read it. We chatted after and get this: Sensing a prompting, he told me about a pastor named Paul and a church named Crossroads that had recently begun meeting at the movie theater in town.

It was awesome. The people were so human and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t smell religion at all…just popcorn.

They became my people, my family—my church. Paul became my pastor and my mentor. He still is.

Shawn, the man that came into my office all those years ago, wasn’t setting any records for letting the world know about Jesus. I was the 1st person Shawn ever felt like he “lead” to Jesus. Seeing me come alive in Christ over the next couple years was spiritually invigorating for him and ultimately, he and his wife left their home and jobs and moved to Mexico to do full time missionary work training pastors. They left 15 years ago and they are still there and their ministry is advancing the Gospel in wonderful ways!

I could go on in infinitum, but I’ll stop. 🙂

John

Update: COVID-19 Response

March 24, 2020By PK ManagerNews

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in Love.”   – 1st Corinthians 16:13-14

Our first response to the coronavirus and the real fears that so many are feeling is…

Lean into our Lord, love your families well, and stand strong on the Word of God.  Only God has the power and authority to calm our storms, give us hope in the darkness; and fill you with His peace that surpasses all understanding. 

As our good friend Max Lucado says, “It’s not a time to despair but a time for prayer.” Our prayers are with you today and we are committed to help if you need us.

Like most of the world, our lives have been deeply impacted by the important precautions and measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But now more than ever, we believe God is calling us to pray and to stand firm in the faith. It was one year ago that God gave PK leadership this Corinthians theme verse to represent our 2020 Conference message. We had no idea how significant it would be as we now enter into this season of uncertainty.

Here is a message PK CEO and Chairman, Ken Harrison shared on March 11:

We’re getting a lot of questions lately from people who bought tickets to the event on July 31 and August 1. We have people coming from 47 different states and several countries as far away as Zimbabwe and Norway. And I want to reassure you right now that we’re planning on being at AT&T July 31 and August 1.

We don’t know what’s going to come from all of this – the virus. We do know, though, that we don’t let our lives be ruled by fear. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love Jesus as we are called to His purpose in Romans 8:28. So I just want to encourage everyone – let’s stay in prayer, support each other and lift each other up, let’s wash our hands and listen to what people are telling us to do. And we will be praying for all of you guys.”

For a video of this update and future updates, please visit our Facebook page. 

As Promise Keepers, we honor Jesus Christ, we love our families, we disciple men, we strive for integrity, and we do our best to keep our promises…so here is our promise to you:

  • Your Safety –  We are committed to carefully monitoring all updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SDC) and will make wise decisions regarding the safety of our PK family and friends. Currently, we have cancelled all March events and will re-evaluate our April gatherings.
  • Our PK Family – We are committed to praying for you, for our families, for our pastors, for our ambassadors, for our volunteers, for our donors, for our speakers and artists, and for our ministry partners.
  • Daily Prayer – We are committed to ministering to the body of Christ and would like to invite you to join Pastor Steve BergerGrace Chapel Church and a member of the PK Pastoral Board for a daily prayer. Pastor Steve will be going LIVE on Facebook at 7am and continuing daily until we have a breakthrough with the Coronavirus. Please share and invite others to join. We’re in this together.
  • PK Updates – We are committed to keeping you informed with regular ministry updates and sharing a collection of inspirational messages and resources from PK Leadership and our Ministries Partners.  Consider signing up to receive our newsletter or visit our website.
  • PK Partners – We are committed to your ministry and we will continue to lock arms for Christ during this difficult time. We would love to share your content and resources to bring help, hope and healing to our PK audience. Please contact Greg Tull (GregT@pknet.org) or Nicole Stark (NicoleS@pknet.org).
  • Virtual Gatherings – We are committed to hosting virtual PK prayer gatherings, informational sessions, leadership forums. Our event planners are happy to serve your needs. Please contact Lisa Aleckson (LisaA@pknet.org) or Nicole Stark (NicoleS@pknet.org) for more information.
  • The National Conference – We are committed to praying for God’s favor and provision for our National Conference and Simulcast on July 31-August 1 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.  At this time, barring a mandate from the state or national government, we plan to hold our 2020 Conference and simulcast events across the nation.
  • Marketing Requests – Marketing materials and resources are available for download and sharing at www.PromiseKeepersEvent.com. Or, contact Nicole Stark (NicoleS@pknet.org).

Personal Message from Judge Vance Day, President of Promise Keepers

These are tough times no doubt and it is so easy to lose heart but our perspective on current events is always informed by our worldview. Believers in Jesus should find a tremendous amount of confidence and encouragement if they study the Scriptures, fashioned by our Creator.

God’s Word reminds us that what he allows in his wisdom, he could easily stop by his sovereign power. We also know that every problem that passes through his hands and comes to us always comes with a promise and a provision for that promise.

We see this in James 1:2-4. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials for the testing of your faith. For it produces endurance and will make you mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

With this in mind, please be encouraged today that with every problem we face, no matter how hard and difficult it may appear, God sees it as an opportunity to grow our faith and to do something good.   

Yes, protect yourself and be wise. God does not want us to be foolish. We should not tempt him by jumping off a cliff and asking him to save us, nor should we go about kissing and hugging people who are infected. Nevertheless, we are people who are called to be courageous, kind and involved on behalf of our Lord.  The church should, or dare I say, must engage this crisis as an opportunity to show the love of Christ in how we care for others.

We here at Promise Keepers plan to engage. We will be wise, but we will engage. Absent an emergency directive from the government, we will be having a catalytic event for men at AT&T Stadium on July 31 and August 1, 2020.  If that directive comes from the government, then we will understand that in God‘s wisdom he has allowed us to execute on our contingency plans. And we will do so.

This year‘s theme is a reminder of what we must do in this crisis: we must stand strong

We believe God is calling his people into action but ultimately, we have a choice. I love the scripture found in Joshua 24:15, when God said to his people, “Choose this day who you will serve”  Just like then, we face tough times but it is our prayer that God’s people will find courage to stand up and boldly respond, “But as for me in my house, we will serve the Lord.“  

Below are the thoughts of Martin Luther as he considered the ramifications of the black plague in Europe during the middle ages. I think we should read them and pray about how God would have us each of us engage. 

Please know that Promise Keepers will move forward with our plans, while caring for those as best we can in our communities. We plan to hold a catalytic event which we pray will ignite a revival for a world that is desperate to see our God. 

Serving the Lord, 

Vance Day

PK President

Promise 3: Taming the Tongue

March 24, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 3: Virtue

A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

 

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

– James 3:3-12

In this short passage, James bluntly addresses the issue of our speech. Read over this passage again to catch the metaphors he uses to describe the tongue. Have you ever realized what a potentially wicked thing that little muscle in your mouth is? Make no mistake about it—the words you speak are powerful beyond imagination. They expand or limit your friendships. They can make or break your career opportunities. If you’re married, they’ll help determine the quality of your marriage. If you’re a father, they’ll shape your children.
A godly man recognizes the tongue’s power to build up or to tear down. But the tongue only shapes the words that originate in our hearts and minds. Hearts that are controlled by the Spirit’s power will produce speech that builds other sup instead of tearing them down. In other words, if we want to control our tongues, we must ask God to help us control our hearts.
The book of Proverbs is filled with verses that address a person’s speech. Turn to that book and take an hour or so to read through it. As you do, highlight in some way every verse that addresses this subject. Allow the Bible’s wisdom and the Spirit to direct your heart—and your tongue.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Why Sexual Purity Matters: A Woman’s Perspective

March 23, 2020By PK ManagerCulture

By Dr. Sheri Keffer

Sexual betrayal is devastating. I know because it happened to me. My own story, coupled with the voices of others who’ve experienced the same thing, shows what can happen to our relationships when we’re not diligent to protect our relationship and sex life. But there is another way.

The Impact of Sexual Betrayal

In my book Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal, I share what I learned through research with 100 betrayed partners. My research revealed that 76% showed clinical symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Yet surprisingly, 88% of these same women said they would be willing to stay and work through the difficult process of healing — if the one who betrayed them would stop lying.

Men, this speaks to the incredible resiliency of the woman in your life. Most women are willing to fight for those they love. But it is critical that you understand what your wife needs from you. That’s why I recently asked 6,000 women to share their words and wisdom on the subject of sexual purity.

Most women are willing to fight for those they love. But it is critical that you understand what your spouse needs from you.

Restoration is possible, even after a betrayal. But pay attention to the insights from women [below]. They will help you avoid a disaster in your life, and your spouse will thank you. You see, to her, your sexual purity isn’t just important; it’s priceless.

How You Can Help Your Wife Feel Sexually Honored and Safe

  • Keep your word.
  • Tell me I’m beautiful.
  • Share your passwords.
  • Don’t have private social media accounts.
  • Don’t check out other women, thinking I don’t notice.
  • Take time to notice me, flirt with me, and listen to my needs so that I’ll feel cherished and protected.
  • Don’t look at porn. Honor my body by valuing my heart.
  • Look at me. In the kitchen, in the living room, and at dinner. Hold my hand. Offer a back rub or a foot rub and then let me enjoy it without expecting sex (unless I feel like initiating sex in response, of course☺).
  • Appreciate my “yes” and respect my “no.”
  • Stay present when you’re making love to me. Don’t close your eyes and go elsewhere (to your fantasy or porn library).
  • Take responsibility to rebuild trust when it’s been broken.
  • Be transparent and real in a solid men’s group that’s encouraging each other to love Jesus, their wives, and families.
  • Pray. Stay faithful in your relationship with the Lord.
  • Don’t wait. If you’re struggling with sexual purity, get help.
  • Be an example for our kids. They need to see what a healthy marriage looks like.

Dr. Sheri Keffer is a marriage and family therapist and a regular cohost of the nationally syndicated radio talk show New Life Live! Through her own personal story of recovery, she understands the trauma symptoms often associated with sexual betrayal and what it takes to heal well. She received the 2019 IITAP Outstanding Publication Award for her book, Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal. Sheri also holds a degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Don’t miss Part 1 of this series on sexual purity, written by Dr. Steve Arterburn.

You’ve Got to Run! Practical Advice for Staying Pure in an Impure World

March 20, 2020By PK ManagerCulture

By Stephen Arterburn

Perhaps you can identify with what happened to me. I was raised in a Christian home. We lived next door to my grandfather, whose name I carry. Grandpa and I had a special relationship. For reasons I still don’t understand, my parents allowed me to visit him without being supervised.

It was on one of those visits, at the tender age of 4, that I first encountered pornography.

The World Has Warped How We See Women

On the wall of Grandpa’s office, along with many other photos and drawings of naked women, hung the first Playboy centerfold. It featured Marilyn Monroe and was taken from the first edition of Playboy, published in 1953. That day, when I was only 4, one of the men I loved best taught me that women were merely objects for pleasure.

The women in those pictures were not equal to men. They existed only for our gratification. That is what my grandfather taught me, and that is what the world around me reinforced. It would take me half a lifetime to unlearn those pornographically induced lessons that created superficial connections and painful relationships with women.

God Has Called Us to Better Things

I share this story because no matter where you are on your journey to becoming a mature and godly man, I have most likely been there. I am grateful to have found the way out and to have found the path to becoming a real man of God.

In searching for that path, I have discovered a verse in the Bible that provides a lifetime of wisdom from God and protection from Satan’s lies. If you accept Christ as your Savior, then follow this verse. You will have an extremely good chance of living a life of virtue as a godly man who loves God and others well.

This verse is 2 Timothy 2:22: “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts” (NLT).

Porn Is Only Part of the Problem

If the latest statistics are true, and I believe they are, over 60% of Christian men are struggling with pornography. A Christian man should not look at pornography, of course, but stopping, while a good start, is not enough. This is about more than just pornography. It is about running from anything that stirs up lust or anything that could be said to “energize” lust and desire within you. That includes your best friend’s wife, the female down the hall you try to connect with “un-accidentally” every day, or a movie, or anything else that you would not want your wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter, or son to see you watch.

Stopping is a good first step, but it is far from enough. Stopping does not produce virtue in a man. You have to run from inappropriate images and connections and pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. When you pursue those things you are going after the pure gold of character and virtue. Pursuing “fool’s gold,” or the things, that arouse your lust, may look very appealing, but these are things Satan will use to make a total fool out of you.

The Key to Winning the Battle

Pursuing godliness means going after God’s standard, which means not only doing better than you used to or doing really great, but living the life of holiness God has called you and me to live. If you have ever tried living out of and into this standard of holiness, you know it is impossible to do alone. It is a never-ending battle, and winning it takes brothers who will come alongside you as fellow strugglers. You need the companionship of pure-hearted men who are in pursuit of our Lord and in pursuit of fulfilling Christ’s directive to love others well.

This is one of the biggest reasons why Promise Keepers and the opportunity it provides to build relationships with other godly men is so important. My prayer for you is that you will use the wisdom and direction of this powerful verse to cultivate a life of virtue that honors God, yourself and all those who are counting on you to do the right thing.

Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the #1 nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show, New Life Live! He is also a keynote speaker at Promise Keepers’ 2020 men’s conference. A well-known public speaker, Stephen is also a bestselling author of many books, including Every Man’s Battle. Stephen and his family live in Carmel, Indiana, where he serves as teaching pastor of Northview Church. We’re excited that Stephen will be a platform speaker at Promise Keepers’ 2020 Conference. Need help? Call 800-NEWLIFE.

 

Don’t miss Part 2 to this series on sexual purity by Dr. Sheri Keffer.

Promise 3: Contamination Alert

March 19, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 3: Virtue

A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

 

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’

Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’ Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

– 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

If you’ve ever had a bad cold or the flu, then you know what contamination is all about. Just as a single flu germ can infect a healthy person, so a little evil can contaminate a spiritually healthy person. Paul warns us to guard against the power of evil to contaminate good. His message about the dangers of alliances between believers and unbelievers (vv.14-16) refers not only to marriage, but also to business, religious, and other personal relationships. Notice that Paul emphasizes both a negative and a positive duty of every believer. First, we must avoid being corrupted by the influence of unbelievers, keeping both body and spirit clean from anything that might defile us. Second, we’re to continually seek to please God with our lives out of reverence and awe for him.
Paul raises five questions in this passage. Take a moment to read and answer them for yourself as you think about your relationships. How can you go about avoiding spiritual contamination? What steps can you take to pursue holiness?

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Message from Promise Keepers’ Chairman

March 17, 2020By Ken HarrisonNews

We’re getting a lot of questions lately from people who bought tickets to the event on July 31 and August 1. We have people coming from 47 different states and several countries as far away as Zimbabwe and Norway. And I want to reassure you right now that we’re planning on being at AT&T July 31 and August 1.

We don’t know what’s going to come from all of this – the virus. We do know, though, that we don’t let our lives be ruled by fear. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love Jesus as we are called to His purpose in Romans 8:28. So I just want to encourage everyone – let’s stay in prayer, support each other and lift each other up, let’s wash our hands and listen to what people are telling us to do. And we will be praying for all of you guys.

Ken Harrison, Promise Keepers’ CEO and Chairman

Watch the video on Facebook

Should Christians be Anxious about the Coronavirus?

March 17, 2020By PK ManagerCulture

By Todd Wagner

Author’s note: Since this article was originally published, authorities have increased their concern and the author agrees that our vigilance in preventing the spread of COVID-19 should appropriately increase as well. The heightened concern, however, only makes the truths below more important. Respect for others who are more susceptible to illness (including the elderly and immune-deficient) should cause us to operate with prudence and compassionate care, all the while modeling the strength and hope characteristic of those who know Christ (Prov. 24:10). Christ followers should also model compassion for those who choose to respond differently or react more strongly to circumstances and events (Prov. 18:2). Be gracious toward others. Continue to lead and minister in ways that express your God-given gifts. Recognize there is some subjectivity in responding to this crisis, even among those listening to and seeking God’s wisdom. Because Christians are citizens of heaven, filled with the strength and peace of Christ, we should be the best citizens on earth. I pray the principles below will help you do that.


With the increasing coronavirus cases outside of China, many believers across the United States wonder how to respond to the increasing alarm. What would God have us do in the face of a growing international health crisis? Should our churches close their doors for fear of spreading illness? Should I take my kids out of school? Cancel travel plans?

How should we help a panicked world?

Remember What We Know

First, it’s important to be reminded about what we already know. Worry is not our friend, and panic is not our way. Solomon reminds us, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Prov. 24:10). May it never be said that God’s people are governed more by fear than faith.

Corrie ten Boom, along with other faithful from among the nations, led courageously in the face of the Nazi fascism—a different form of deadly virus. And she reminds us, “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength.”

In times of crisis, the world needs steady people who are strengthened by God’s grace and selfless by God’s power. Worry accomplishes nothing except weakness of heart and head. It’s been said that 90 percent of the things we worry or become panicked about never happen, and the other 10 percent are outside our control.

While we remain on alert against viruses of doctrine or disease, worrying won’t change our circumstances or lower our chance of infection. It won’t help us fight off illness or move us to action. Worrying about COVID-19 (or anything else) will only increase trouble. Rather than worrying and being anxious, Jesus calls us to respond with prayer and faith in him (Matt. 6:33–34Phil. 4:6). We need not worry ultimately because we know the One who has defeated sin and death (1 Cor. 15:55–57).

Remind yourself continually: it takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. One leads to peace, the other to panic. Choose wisely.

Love Well and Trust Him

If God calls us to worry about anything, it’s how to love people well. The psalmist encourages us, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness” (Ps. 37:3). Peter reminds us to press on in the midst of every evil. Whether persecutions or pandemics, we can trust in the Lord, knowing, “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3:17).

Worry is common to man. But God has called us to face troubles and threats with courage, leaning our weight on him.

Throughout history, Christians have often stood out because they were willing to help the sick even during plagues, pandemics, and persecutions. They loved people and weren’t afraid of death because they understood that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). By stepping into the mess of sickness and disease, they were able to demonstrate their faith to a watching world. So, rather than just asking “How do I stay healthy?” perhaps we should be also ask “How can I help the sick?” Let’s be quick to help and slow to hide in basements.

Prayer-infused confidence, compassion, and selflessness should mark how we talk about the coronavirus. Why? Because our Savior put on flesh (John 1:14) and stepped into our sickness, sin, and death. He healed the sick and cared for the hurting. We must do likewise.

We Can Be Careful, Too

None of this means we should be reckless. Neither Christ’s love nor God’s Word encourages careless risks, but both promote obedience. Loving the sick doesn’t mean we intentionally infect ourselves (Prov. 22:3). If infection becomes a legitimate risk (at the moment, the Center for Disease Control says the virus isn’t communally spreading in the United States, and the health risk is low), responding to the coronavirus likely means taking small practical steps like washing our hands and staying home if we’re sick.

Before you think of canceling church services, ask, “How can we care for those at risk?” As others get sick, care for them. Are most of you still healthy? That’s a great reason to gather for thanksgiving and prayer. Seek appropriate medical care as symptoms arise and don’t forsake caring for one another.

Follow the example of those who’ve acted faithfully in the past. In 19th-century England, when thousands were dying of cholera, Charles Spurgeon visited homes to care for people. The church of Jesus in Wuhan China, the virus’s epicenter, is faithfully leading even today.

Finally, as you watch the world react to this crisis—itself a stark reminder of our mortality—don’t neglect to share the hope you have in Jesus (1 Pet. 3:15). Share how he rescued you from the universal epidemic of sin and the penalty of death. Share that your hope is not found in remaining healthy this side of heaven.

We’ll all face death eventually. Thanks to Jesus, we can come to that day with confidence. Like Paul, we can remember that to live is Christ, but to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). We truly have nothing ultimate to fear—not from the coronavirus, the Ebola virus, natural disasters, or anything else.

Press on, friends. Pray for the sick. Walk in God’s strength. Love the brotherhood. Do good to all men. Use your health to serve, not to hide. Jesus is sovereign over it all. And we are immortal until God’s work for us to do is finished.

This article appeared March 3, 2020 on The Gospel Coalition website.

Todd Wagner is senior pastor at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas and is on the Promise Keepers Board of Directors.  He is the author of Come & See: Everything You Ever Wanted in the One Place You Would Never Look (David C. Cook) and hosts a weekly podcast, Real Truth Real Quick, on life, leadership, and the world we live in.


More resources from PK partners and friends regarding COVID-19:

‘Without Jesus, I Wouldn’t Be Who I Am’: World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield

March 9, 2020By PK ManagerNews
This article appeared in Christian Headlines.

by Maina Mwaura

Mention the name Evander Holyfield and the first few things that may come to most people’s minds are: boxing champion, the ear-biting incident with Mike Tyson or maybe even headlines from tabloids that pick apart the four-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world. However, there is far more than what meets the eye when it comes to Evander Holyfield; he is nothing short of “The Real Deal.”

Born in Atmore, Alabama before his family moved and called Atlanta, Georgia home, Holyfield – also nicknamed The Warrior – overcame many obstacles in his life to which he gives all the glory to God. When Christian Headlines asked him why he’s decided to be so outspoken about his faith, Holyfield didn’t have to think twice. He responded, “Because, without Jesus, I wouldn’t be who I am.” Holyfield went on to credit his mother and grandmother for showing him tough love and always encouraging him to call on the name of Jesus. “They (his Grandmother and mother) kept reminding me, ‘you’ve got to ask Jesus to help you,’” he recalled.

His faith in God and having a family that demonstrated the example of relying on Jesus set the foundation in his life that enabled him to not only overcome obstacles and adversity but to stay positive. No matter what obstacles he has encountered – not even his ten losses that he refers to as “setbacks” – Holyfield insists that he tried to stay positive because God should be reflected in his actions. He said, “I have a purpose to represent God and I’ve got to represent him the best way I know how.”

Over the years, Holyfield has shared how his faith in Jesus Christ has never failed him. He wants to share this message with other men to encourage them to be open and truthful about their faith, too. So, Christian Headlines asked him why he believes people should come to Promise Keepers—an Evangelical parachurch organization created for men to encourage one another through fellowship and prayer.

He responded, “Men should come together being able to open up and being able to be truthful … because you have to be truthful to overcome things.” Holyfield says he never gets tired of people asking questions about the infamous ear-biting incident during a boxing match with Mike Tyson. He uses it as an opportunity to share a pertinent part of the Gospel. Simply, “God wants you to forgive.”

He is steady in his conviction that “I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t been through what I’ve been through.”