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Fox News reached out to several faith leaders to find out what they are saying to strengthen others during these uncertain times amid the coronavirus outbreak. These are their responses.
Evangelist Franklin Graham is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization.
“This is an opportunity for people to turn their hearts to God,” the son of Billy Graham told Fox News. “I want everyone to have the peace that comes from knowing that their sins are forgiven and that they have the hope of Heaven.
This wonderful message is for a world that is scared, frightened, hunkered down, not knowing what to do next. There is solid ground and it’s at the foot of the cross. You don’t need to be afraid when you put your faith and trust in God’s Son Jesus Christ. He loves you, He made you, He knows everything about your life. He is with us when we go through the storms of life.”
Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel.
(Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK)
Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel, a multi-campus church in Georgia and California, and a best-selling author.
“God does not want us to live in chronic fear. God delights in courageous people who choose faith over fear,” Franklin said. “The most often given commandment in the Bible is ‘Fear not.’ But this command is always coupled with the most often given promise “For I am with you.”
He added, “It’s prayer time in America and the Bible was written for times like these. How do you choose faith over fear? If you want to avoid despair, keep praying, keep trusting God, and keep encouraging one another. Remember, tough times never last, but tough people do.”
Pastor Greg Laurie speaks to thousands of faithful during the first night of the 26th Annual Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium.(Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
Greg Laurie is an author, evangelist, pastor, and founder of the Harvest churches in California and Hawaii and Harvest Crusades.
“We need to remember that God is greater than the coronavirus,” Laurie said. “You may know Jesus, but you will never know Him deeply until He comes to you in the midst of the storms of life. COVID-19 is a massive storm we are all going through. It’s better to be in a storm with Jesus than anywhere else without Him.”
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman (Sam) Bregman, 42, of Miami, Florida. (Courtesy of Rabbi Bregman)
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman (Sam) Bregman, founder of the Jewish Executive Learning Network and an internationally recognized Torah scholar.
“There is a spiritual truth that periods of hardship afford the opportunity to attain outsized and disproportionate personal growth, more than during the good times,” Bregman said. “Although it may seem right now that God has placed us in the dark, the challenges we are facing individually and globally are His way of revealing to us unparalleled opportunities for growth, giving, and achieving closeness to Him.”
Ravi Zacharias is a Christian apologist, author, and speaker. He is the founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
“We have to combine our faith and trust in God with wisdom and common sense,” Zacharias said. “Trusting God doesn’t mean you’re careless with what you do — you have to protect your children, you have to protect your family, and the elderly are the most vulnerable — they are the ones we need to protect.
“What we need to avoid is the two extremes oftentimes that happen — panic and fear on the one side, and a complete indifference on the other side. In America we get so used to comfort, get so used to quick answers, we get so used to quick data and analyses and all of this stuff that when we’ve found something is out of our control, it’s very daunting. I would say to people be sober-minded about it, don’t be cavalier about it, and make sure at all times your life and your relationship with God and with your family is strong. That’s what’s going to matter at the end of it all.”
John Piper is a Christian author and teacher, founder of “Desiring God” and pastor emeritus of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
“No fear, no anxiety, supernatural peace, supernatural contentment in every circumstance, whether horrible or happy: that’s what God offers,” Piper said.
Bishop T.D. Jakes is the senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a 30,000 member church in Dallas.
(The Potter’s House)
Bishop T.D. Jakes is the senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a 30,000-member church in Dallas. He is also the author of nearly 40 books including The New York Timesbestseller, “Destiny: Step into your Purpose.”
“We have recognized that there is more to unite us than divide us,” Jakes said. “We have discovered what we should have known without this trouble: That we need each other. That we are better together than we are apart…it could be possible that God is calling us to a place of unity that nothing else has been able to do before…we have forgotten just to be nice.”
Bill Johnson, lead senior pastor of Bethel Church, in Redding, Calif. has made revival his mission since he took over leadership of the church in 1996.
Bill Johnson is an author and the lead senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California.
“Whenever we find ourselves in difficult times like the one the world is facing right now, there’s an invitation to refine our focus, and to make sure we’re standing on solid ground,” Johnson said. “We have an opportunity to ensure that everything in our lives, including our attitude, relationships, connection with our families and loved ones, is anchored in God’s best for us and for the world around us.”
Judah Smith is an author and the lead pastor of Churchome, which has locations in Seattle and Los Angeles.
“I think we have an opportunity, actually, to engage at a deeper level,” Smith said. “We’re finding that actually being home, engaging face to face is going to lead us actually to an interesting place in faith and I think will change how we worship going forward.”
“This is an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and learn to love your neighbor as yourself,” he added. “I think church at home and church in smaller settings is going to be a massive trend going for many, many years.”
Kanye West, right, answers questions from senior pastor Joel Osteen, left, during the 11 a.m. service at Lakewood Church, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Joel Osteen is an author and the pastor of 52,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston.
“There is a lot of negativity and reason to worry and be afraid, but I think that’s when we have to make that choice to live from a place of peace and not a place of fear,” Osteen told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” “God, you’ve got us through in the past and you’ll get us through again.”