2020.03.15 | Nedeľa online [EN subtitles]

2020.03.15 | Nedeľa online [EN subtitles]

I want you more,
My God My Lord. I want to dwell
In the courts of God. Draw me close and I’ll run
to you gladly. Your love is sweeter
than wine. Wake me up with the sunrise
wrap me with sun rays. Let my face shine
from your presence. Let the cloud of God’s glory
fill my world. Wake up what is asleep in me
restore what is sleeping in me. I want you more,
My God My Lord. I want to dwell
in the courts of God. Draw me close and I’ll run
to you gladly. Your love is sweeter
than wine. Wake me up with the sunrise
wrap me with sun rays. Let my face shine
from your presence. Let the cloud of God’s glory
fill my world. Wake up what is asleep in me
restore what is sleeping in me. Wake me up with the sunrise
wrap me with sun rays. Let my face shine
from your presence. Let the cloud of God’s glory
fill my world. Wake up what is asleep in me
restore what is sleeping in me. Dear friends, I wish all of you a lovely Sunday My name is Janči Máhrik and I’m a pastor of the Cirkev Bratská church I’m responsible of Za Kostolom community in Žilina and Púchov and hopefully in more locations in the future For those of you who are here online for the first time Za Kostolom means two things: First we believe the church should be here for more than just itself The church should be here for those people who are outside the church So our vision is to be a church unchurched people love to attend And the second thing is that we believe the church is not only what happens on a Sunday morning for so many minutes in the church building We believe that it is a lifestyle that we take within ourselves wherever we go And it’s a community of which we are a part of for more than just the Sunday But also on Monday, and Tuesday and during the week And the truth is that 3 and a half years ago, when we thought of this name I never thought that Za Kostolom would also have the dimension of meeting outside the churches as they are closed in all of Slovakia, but meeting online And really it is unusual for me, because I’m looking at 2 or 3 cameras and I just see darkness and then very bright light and I don’t see your faces, how you look like But I’m trying to imagine that you feel fine, you are with your families and you are having maybe some good coffee, but even if that’s not the case and you are watching in a situation when you are not feeling really well I send greetings and I hope we have a good time together Maybe just a couple of ideas in the beginning and there will be some more songs and the teaching of the Word One idea is that this situation with coronavirus is new for us in Slovakia and Europe and it has a very negative but also positive side. The negative side, maybe you feel it, is that this situation will affect us long-time: maybe our health, maybe financially, I don’t know in which other ways, maybe limiting our freedom and maybe we are in a bad mood. I believe that for all of us is this space where we are meeting, even though it is online, can be a contrast to what we see outside, while outside there is panic, nervousness and insecurity, maybe not for everybody but it is there, I believe that in this space we can talk about hope, about how God is bigger than these things, even though it might look like God is smaller, but we can be reminded that God is bigger and we can be under his wings. The positive side of this, even though positive is not really what we talk about when we talk about coronavirus, is that the whole continent right now is on a kind of “sabbatical”. Finally we have the time and space to do those things which we didn’t have time until just now. Finally we can write that song that we’ve been wanting to write, we can read those books we’ve been meaning to read, maybe even write one. Maybe even you have the time to sit down and work on your spiritual life because you didn’t have the time before this, because other things were more important. Now you can sit down and work on your soul in a completely different way Maybe a third thing is a video I’d like to introduce. I asked my colleague Slavo Poloha to record this video for me. He is the pastor of the CB church in Banská Bystrica. They wrote a status on Facebook while they were on Israel last week and they described two worlds in there: the first one was our world in Europe, where this situation is completely new for us and we’re not used to it. Something has come into our bubble, where we felt good and safe, and that something is radical and threatens us and he compares it with the world in Israel, where they are constantly under threat and always something is going on and for them all of this is just another life situation and that’s how life is. Slavo describes the situation in a very interesting way, so I’ll play you his video and I believe that his spoken version, when I asked to record it for people online, will be for you a blessing. Hello Zilina
Yesterday, Maťka and I got back from Israel where we spent 11 days. It was very interesting to see how they deal with the threat of corona virus. When we left Slovakia it wasn’t so serious here yet. And suddenly it started getting more serious as several cases occured, there were even more of them in Israel. And we went to this service organised by the local Messianic Jews in a bomb shelter it was very precious for us to see those people raise their hands in worship and the joy of belonging to Jesus so clear on their faces. These people are used to facing some kind of menace whether it’s the Arabians, the Palestinians or the older generation that experienced the Holocaust, coming as immigrants to their own country wihout any possessions and still the Lord took care of them. And that’s why in Israel, even the current situation with corona virus is considered just one more thing, which might even be less serious compared to their previous woes. I feel like they have learnt that through all the challenges that life brings, the Lord is always present and that He is able to protect them. And even if He doesn’t protect them, they have a clear hope for eternity. This was very powerful to see when this 70-year-old lady raised her hands in worship and she sang with this smile on her face as if saying: “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” the words of the apostle Paul. So let this be an encouragement for you and I pray that we could live with the same hope and faith. The Lord will lead us through this
whatever that will look like. Even if we were to die here, ultimatelly it’s not such a tragedy since He has this glorious eternity prepared for us. So let’s set out eyes on that eternity
and let this hope give us strength to spread peace in the panic that surrounds us so that this situation could be an opportunity for us to bring the gospel of peace to the people who are scared. The only place where I find peace
where I feel safe is with you, Jesus, there I find everything
you always prove me right. I don’t have to worry anymore
when you live in me. Now I can firmly stand
you are my assurance Jesus you have it all. Immanuel, Immanuel
I know you are watching over me. Immanuel, Immanuel, You know my voice in the crowd
You never leave me, you will always stand by me. The only place where I find peace
where I feel safe is with you, Jesus, there I find everything
you always prove me right. I don’t have to worry anymore
when you live in me. Now I can firmly stand
you are my assurance Jesus you have it all. Immanuel, Immanuel
I know you are watching over me. Immanuel, Immanuel, You know my voice in the crowd
You never leave me, you will always stand by me. One of the advantages that were the result of our canceled calendars and this 2-week-long break is that we finally managed to invite one special guest to our zakostolom service. His full agenda never allowed him to make it before but everything has been canceled now so he can finally be here. This guest is José. so José welcome. hi Janci. As you probably realized because of his name, José is a Spaniard living here in Slovakia. I think you will appreciate his level of Slovak. José came here a long time ago through a project called Erasmus+ He stayed here, got married, studied. He learnt the language very fast and recently he’s been preparing to become a pastor of Cirkev Bratská church. He is here with us today.
José, tell me what you’re going to preach about. This has been a strange season and I’d like to talk about hope
and about where our help comes from when we need it. You probably won’t give it away just now?! I’ll keep it for later as a surprise. But I wanted to talk about the idea that with most of the world problems till now, we weren’t afraid because they didn’t concern us. When there was a terrorist attack, it always happened somewhere else
so was the case with other epidemics, as Ebola. We knew it didn’t concern us so we didn’t need to be afraid and we didn’t need to trust God that He would help us since it didn’t concern us anyway. This case is different though.
David Novák, a pastor and chairman of the board of Cikev Bratská in the Czech republic, says that this case is different. the idea that it doesn’t concern us doesn’t apply anymore. That’s why I would like to talk about where to find hope in this strange season. We are excited to hear it.
I will pray for you . Lord thank you for this opportunity that we live in a time when we can use straming and the internet and despite having to stay at home we can listen to this your word and be part of some virtual reunion of the church. I ask you to use José’s words even in this virtual way and let it be a blessing to everyone.
Amen. José this is yours.
I’m leaving now. As I said before, this has been a strange season for all of us. At least because it’s the first time that I’ve preached facing an empty room
just hoping that there is someone listening on the other side. It’s hard because this is the first time that something this big concerns us. At least for me, this is the first time that I have experienced something on such a global level so close to me personally. Until now, it has always been something distant, happening somewhere else, concerning other people and I knew that they didn’t concern me personally and that they wouldn’t affect my life. But this is the first time that this kind of global event changes our life here in Zilina or wherever you are today. We have to stay at home, we have to follow new rules, businesses are closed, people even started wearing face masks which I had never seen before. It’s the first time that the rule “it doesn’t concern us” does not apply, as David Novák said. There is this temptation to succumb to panic.
It’s our first time. It’s not clear how it will all work out.
We see what happened in China. We see what’s happening in Italy.
We see what’s happening in Spain
something that’s very personal to me. and we are afraid whether the same will happen here
whether there will be thousands or millions of infected people or a number of dead ones. There is this temptation to succumb to panic
be scared and have a very unhealthy approach to all of this. It’s ok to think about fear and panic but they are two different things.
Fear is normal and healthy. When something dangerous happens something we didn’t expect
fear is a natural reaction to danger. And that’s ok and healthy and it helps us survive when a monster attacks us or a thief or we are driving and someone jumps in the road. That’s alright.
But when it comes to panic, there is a difference. Panic happens when this fear overcomes us and controls our life.
It blocks us. That is the risk we are facing.
That this good fear from something dangerous would get to the point of panic when we are paralysed. What if I catch it, what if my relatives catch it, what if they close the shops and it will be impossible to buy flour. What if the consequences will be more than just a 2-week-long break.
Fear is healthy but panic can paralyse us. I don’t know of any cure for corona virus, which is probably not surprising.
That’s someone else’s job. But I think that what we need today is a cure for panic.
And I think that hope is the cure. That’s why I don’t want to talk so much about corona virus today, although the situation surrounding this virus helps us contemplate where our hope is. Where can we find the source of hope for our life so that we do not succumb to panic.
I’m not a doctor or an epidemiologist. I’m talking to you as a pastor and a theologian who studies the Scripture.
That’s why I don’t have any answer as to what lies ahead of us. I am asking these questions myself.
I don’t know if there will be 100 or 500 cases tomorrow. But I know that panic is very dangerous and that we can find a cure for it in the Bible. I believe that as a society and as the church, we need hope in these hard times.
We need hope, we need a cure that will help us face this crisis. That’s why I’d like you to have a look in Psalm 121 today.
It’s a short psalm but I think we can find our hope there. Wherever you are you can open your Bibles. I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. This psalm starts with the words ” I lift up my eyes to the mountains”
and I think that many of us have this experience. When something unpleasant happens whether it’s something huge like the current crisis or a small thing like losing your car keys. We always look around us, looking for someone who could help us.
When I lose something I always look at my wife to see if she knows where it might be. When there’s a problem we look around us.
Where does the psalmist turn to when he finds himself in a hard situation? He says: I lift up my eyes to the mountains.
And I’m thinking that mountains, on one hand, are a symbol of power and majesty. When we get out of the city, here in Slovakia we have the beautiful Tatra mountains. We can see that they are a symbol of power, greatness and stability.
They surpass us. They were here before we were born and they will be here long after we have died.
So it is a symbol of stability and strength. That’s where I look, at the mountains.
I find my hope there. What would the Israelites have seen when they read this psalm though? What did the people from that time period see when they looked at the mountains? If you know the history of Israel or if you have seen the previous books in the Bible like the Chronicles. You know that Israel wasn‘t always faithful to God.
Israel was a nation chosen to serve God. But they weren’t always faithful.
They served other gods, and sacrificed to other gods. They had idols.
Idolatry was widespread in Israel. And this whole worship of other gods was happening in the mountains.
the other gods had their altars on moutain tops. That’s where the sacrifice to Baal and Asher and others took place.
So when the psalmist is seeking help and says that he lifts up his eyes to the mountains, he doesn’t see just some symbol of majesty. He sees real altars of foreign gods.
And he is asking: Where does my help come from? Does it come from these foreign gods? From that Baal? No. He says that his help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He knows that those foreign gods cannot help him . they are not a source of hope during hard times.
His helps comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth. In a different translation by Eugene Peterson, it says that: My help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth and mountains. The God who created those mountains where the others worship other gods.
The Lord is the greater one, the stronger god that can really help us. He then continues and says: He will not let your foot slip.
It says in the introduction to this psalm that it’s a pilgrim song. That’s very important because the Israelites were supposed to travel to Jerusalem three times a year and they would go on this pilgrimage together and sang these pilgrim songs to remind themselves of God’s faithfulness and to encourage each other. But who has ever been on a hike knows that these dangers are relevant for us too.
The author of the psalm tell us about three dangers on their way to Jerusalem. He says: 3 He will not let your foot slip
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. What does that mean? There are 3 dangers.
The first one is very simple. When you are walking to Jerusalem or anywhere
else and your foot slips, you sprain your ankle. You will not be able to continue. Your journey will stop.
That is the danger that will stop you. Next he says that the sun will not harm you by day,
when it was hot and they spent the whole day traveling
in the heat they could get a sunstroke or get dehydrated. They didn’t have comfortable planes or air conditioning.
Sunstroke in the middle of nowhere with Jerusalem out of sight could have been very dangerous. Then he mentions the moon:
not even the moon will harm you by night.
This might be the strangest one to us. The moon can’t harm you, right?
But we must consider that the people in those times thought that the moon affected their mental health. If someone was mad they would call him a “lunatic” a term which literally means affected by the moon. On such a long journey when you can’t see the end there is a danger of becoming mentally ill which would prevent you from reaching the end of your journey. That’s why the initial verse “where does my help come from?” is even stronger now. The pilgrim is looking at the mountains around
and he sees the altars of the foreign gods. They must have been something like billboards along the road
like those we have here in Slovakia. The altars might have been something like our billboards saying: Make a sacrifice to the god of the sun. 2 sacrifices and you get the 3rd for half price
or make a sacrifice to the god of the road so that your foot doesn’t slip sacrifice to the godess of the moon and you will get a loyalty card, for every 5 you get 1 for free so that they protect you. This was the temptation those people were facing.
Looking for help at the altars of these foreign gods. But the problem with this system of sacrifice is that it makes you anxious. If you are traveling and you sacrifice to the god of the road and nothing happens to you, then on your way back you need to stop and sacrifice to give thanks. but if you make a sacrifice and something happens anyway, that means the gods were not satisfied and you had to sacrifice more and more. this system only makes you more anxious about having to sacrifice more and more to satisfy those gods. But our God, the Lord works differently.
Our hope is not in the promises of the mountains and the other gods. Our hope is that our God will protect us.
Does it mean that nothing will ever happen to us? Does it mean that during this current crisis, nothing will happen to any of us?
that when you believe, your life will be perfect and without harm? happily ever after? From your own experience you must know that it doesn’t work that way.
We experience troubles and problems and diseases. And maybe some of us will get infected by that virus.
That is not what God promises to us that nothing will touch us. What God promises is that He will be with us whatever happens
that He will not forsake us in the midst of trouble. What He promises is that when something bad happens to us it’s not because He doesn’t love us or because we have done something wrong. It’s not because we haven’t deserved his favour. What He promises is that in the midst of trouble He is with us and He doesn’t forsake us.
That is the hope we have. And the the psalms goes on and says:
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. And we can ask why the psalmist wants to say this
Does that mean that God is a sleepyhead? I’d like to get back to those mountains.
There were the altars of foreign gods
and one of those gods that the Israelites sometimes worshipped was Baal. There’s one story about him in the Bible and it’s very interesting.
It’s in 1 Kings and it’s a battle between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal. It says that in this battle, each group built an altar, they prepared the sacrifice and each was supposed to pray to their own god that he would send fire from the heavens and burn it. The prophets of Baal started to shout and worship.
They even started to harm themselves to make their god Baal send fire from the sky. And as he saw that Baal did not react, Elijah started to make fun of them.
He says: You’ll have to shout louder for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. This is the way people thought about those foreign gods.
The foreign gods were basically just super humans. They were like humans but more powerful.
but they were still humans. they needed to eat and drink, and sleep
and go to the toilet – that’s what Elijah means when he uses the words “relieving himself”. They are just humans, more powerful but just humans.
And that’s why the psalmist contrasts those foreign gods with the Lord our God. Those foreign gods sometimes need to sleep and you have to wake them up so that they could fill your needs. but The Lord never sleeps.
He is constantly watching over his people. I think that this psalm adresses our troubles and our situation directly.
Where do we look for help? Where does our hope come from?
Maybe we look at the things around us
at people who could help us. the government that can or cannot save us.
at the circumstances we need to change to make our life good at last. We look at the prospect that once we are successful, rich, have that job, that relationship, that kind of love, those kids or that career. once we have collected those experiences and have reached that level of adrenaline, only then will we have a good life. But the question is, where does our help come from?
Can these things really help us in the hard times or will they fail? Like those foreign gods failed and fell asleep when they needed them the most. We look at the mountains and the altars around us at the billboards saying they can save us or do we look at the Lord, our God the Maker of all things who can really help us. because he who watches over you will not slumber That’s why I want to challenge all of us in this crisis
wherever you are right now listening to this. I want to challenge us to respond like responsible Christians.
responsible in the way that we will keep all the instructions we have been given about the isolation and quarantine. the guidelines from the government about sanitation.
all of the things to help us protect ourselves and the people around us. responsible to our surroundings but as Christians who will not despair and succumb to panic because we believe in a God that does not sleep and He is our hope
by praying for the people around us. for those whose health will be affected, those who will be affected financially.
Pray for the medical teams and everyone who is working hard to control this disease and its influence over our society.
pray for our government. both the one leaving and the one taking over
because they have some difficult decisions to make. We can pray for them to have the wisdom and courage to take the needed measures. As Christians we are called to be responsible and that’s why we need to pray and act for the benefit of our society. And maybe the most beneficial thing we can do is to stay at home, pray and trust the God who does not sleep and who has control over this situation, however hard and painful it is. So may the God who is our help and our hope lead us even through these hard times. In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song. This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand. In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe. This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied. For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live. There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain: Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again. And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me, For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ. I find my strength, I find my hope
I find my help in Christ alone. When fear assails, when darkness falls
I find my peace in Christ alone. I give my life, I give my all
I sing this song to Christ alone. The King of kings, the Lord I love
All heaven signs to Christ alone. No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand. Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand. Friends, we are at the closing of our virtual meeting.
I hope this has been a blessing in these chaotic times. I hope that what we’ve heard can bring hope to the next weeks.
I hope we see each other again next week. Please, if you have any feedback, if it encouraged you let us know, we’ll be glad. At the same time I’d like to encourage you to follow many other churches and communities who are streaming their services these days, so if you’d like you can also follow them. If nothing else, I hope we’ll see each other again next week. I’d like to say a blessing over you now by remembering the words of the apostle Paul to the Philippians, where the apostle Paul talks about a supernatural peace to a people who are stressed and worried. This peace is what I want for you. This is what the apostle Paul says: the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen

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