featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church during COVID-19

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Bringing calm to an anxious heart

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on Him (Jesus), because He cares for you.

One of the joys of being a grandparent is to be able to come alongside one of the grandkids and be that calming presence in their life. We were having one of our very active and high-volume family gatherings. One set of grandkids was running out into the backyard, down the side of the house, in through the garage, into the entry way of the house crawling under the dining table, dodging parents cooking food in the kitchen, doing diving rolls on the couch, because Mormor (what they call Kristi; it’s Swedish for ‘mother’s mother’) said they could not jump on the couch, then back outside to do it again. Another set of grandkids was in the playroom looking at books and one was in the front room by herself, looking troubled. I went up to her and asked her what was going on. She looked at me and said, “I don’t know Papa. I just feel sad.” We talked of why she did not want to play with her cousins. She said she did not know. So, I just asked her if I could hold her. She jumped into my arms before I finished speaking and buried her head in my neck. I started sing to her. At first, she felt tense, holding on tight, but then slowly she started to relax. She eventually pulled back, looking at me straight in the eyes, and said in such a sweet, meaningful tone, “I love you Papa!” Then with a playful, shy grin said, “Can I have some chocolate?” I laughed, hugged her tight and, of course, got her some chocolate.

Now sure, chocolate can bring on calm, but so much more, calm can come when we feel loved and cared for. We relax knowing and experiencing someone who notices us, sees us, and takes the time to be with us. God is actually that way with us, bringing calm to our anxious heart. Jesus said:

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

‘Yoke’ in this Bible verse means ‘way of life.’ Jesus says jump into His loving arms and take on His way of life and you will experience rest and peace. Jesus also said:

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Jesus offers this amazing calm to life’s anxieties if we would just cast our cares on Him as 1 Peter 5:7 says, sharing with Him all those issues we struggle with. It starts with naming them. Maybe we get anxious over a medical issue, the fear of getting COVID or some other disease, financial issues, relationship issues, family issues, stuff at work, stuff at school, all the list of things to do, tasks we have never gotten to. What is causing you anxiety? When you name it, cast it, meaning chuck it at Jesus, tell Him. Maybe some of what makes us anxious is expectations we have put on ourselves, promises we made as a kid: like ‘I will never be like this’ or ‘I am going to achieve this’. It’s not that seeking to be better and achieve is wrong, but if that is where we are looking to find calm and peace, it will never satisfy. Jesus really is the only One who can give us a peace that lasts and satisfies.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given (Jesus!); and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Church is great place to learn more how to cast our cares upon the Lord and soak in His calming love. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. We would love for you to join in. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to find calm to life’s anxieties in Jesus along with you,

Mike