Dr. Jim Denison: Tom Hanks Has Coronavirus, NBA Suspends its Season: The Power of Community in a Day of Isolation


Tom Hanks has coronavirus, NBA suspends its season: The power of community in a day of isolation

March 12, 2020  |  READ TIME: 5 minutes
In The Daily Article today:

  • WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic
  • More than 200 colleges cancel in-person classes
  • Three ways to answer Jesus’ prayer for us
Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive for coronavirus in Australia and are being treated. After Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert also tested positive, the NBA suspended the season until further notice.

Last night, President Trump announced in a televised address from the Oval Office that the US is suspending all travel from Europe to the US for thirty days to slow the spread of the virus. He also announced economic measures to help employees and small businesses impacted by the disease.

All this after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus to be a global pandemic. Its director explained: “We’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”

More than two hundred colleges have canceled in-person classes 

One way people and companies around the world are responding to the coronavirus crisis is through “social distancing.”

The idea is to break potential chains of virus transmission by preventing infected people from coming in close contact with healthy people. The goal is to slow the spread of the virus, buying time for doctors to treat the flood of patients and researchers to develop vaccines and antiviral therapies. This can mean canceling conferences and events as well as encouraging people to avoid crowded public transportation, postpone weddings, and reschedule other gatherings.

For example, cities across the country have canceled their St. Patrick’s Day parades. The city of Austin canceled its South by Southwest festival.

The Democratic National Committee will hold its presidential debate this Sunday in Phoenix without a live audience. More than two hundred colleges (so far) have canceled in-person classes. The NCAA basketball tournaments will be played without fans in the stands.

However, low-wage workers such as janitors, food service workers, and retail cashiers cannot work remotely and face intense economic hardships. School closings are forcing parents, including vitally needed healthcare workers, to miss work to care for their children at home.

The line and the circle to the dot 

Here’s the opportunity in the crisis: the isolation produced by social distancing and fear spawned by this pandemic is an invitation for Christians to demonstrate the power and relevance of gospel-centered community.

When I taught philosophy of religion, we discussed the Western view of history as linear, with progress from the past to the future. By contrast, the Eastern view has typically been more cyclical, as seen in reincarnation motifs and seasonally centered worldviews.

Recent generations, however, have adopted a chaotic existentialist philosophy centered on the supremacy of the person. We have moved from the line and the circle to the dot.

Postmodern relativism has taught us that all truth claims are personal and subjective. The sexual revolution taught us that our bodies are our own to do with as we wish. We have redefined marriage according to subjective wishes rather than objective values. Some are livestreaming their abortions or suicides.

We now live in an individualistic, self-centered culture that is reaping what it has sown.

“That they may all be one” 

By contrast, one of the most appealing aspects of early Christianity was its inclusive community. Jesus set the example with his outreach to Samaritans and Gentiles, lepers and tax collectors.

New believers from thirteen different language groups made up the early Christian movement (cf. Acts 2:9–11). Then Philip led Samaritans and an Ethiopian to Christ (Acts 8). Then Peter led a Roman centurion and his Gentile family to Christ (Acts 11). Then Paul broke down the walls of exclusivity in his culture with his ringing proclamation: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Such community was an answer to Jesus’ prayer for his followers “that they may all be one . . . so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).

The greater our need, the greater our need for God 

How can we answer our Lord’s prayer today?

One: Care for those at risk. It is estimated that approximately twenty-five million Americans are immunocompromised or otherwise at elevated risk from coronavirus. The other three hundred million of us need to do all we can to protect and serve them. This is why handwashing, social distancing, and other tools are essential to stop the spread of the disease to those who can least withstand its effects. And it is why sharing Christ with those who need to hear the gospel is especially urgent.

Two: Seek ways to build community. Even if you’re self-quarantined or asked to stay home from work or school, you can send emails and texts. You can make encouraging social media posts. You can tell people you’re praying for and with them. You can find ways to model the love of Jesus.

Three: Strengthen your community with your Father. The greater our need, the greater our need for God. This is a time to redouble our commitment to Bible study, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines. This is a time to meet the challenges of our day by using them to go deeper with God.

Dr. Seuss wrote: “To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.”

Who is your “one person” today?


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From Sister Shonda Savage:

Which is worse—the coronavirus or fear?

While I believe the coronavirus is a genuine health concern and safety precautions need to be taken, I believe the spirit of fear is the greater epidemic.

Actually, fear has turned into a pandemic. According to Dictionary.com, a pandemic “is essentially an epidemic that has spread even further than outside its epicenter.”

Fear is a tool of the enemy. Here’s what 2 Timothy 1:7 says,

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (NLT).


Here’s a testimony of John G. Lake:

John G. Lake, a great missionary to South Africa in the early 1900s. In his account, many people in South Africa were dying of disease. While assisting doctors during a bubonic plague outbreak, Lake was asked why he had not contracted the disease, since he used no protection. He said, “It is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” To demonstrate, he had them take live bubonic plague germs still foaming from the lungs of a newly dead person and put them in his hands, and then examine the germs under a microscope. The germs were dead! The energy and presence of God was invisible to the naked eye but magnified under the microscope’s lens—there proved to be a real formidable, existing power that killed the virus. This is how John G. Lake explained why he did not get sick—he carried the cure in his body and spirit to heal disease through the power of the Spirit through Jesus. In another amazing testimony, John G. Lake asked doctors to bring him a man with inflammation in the bone. He asked them to take their instruments and attach it to his leg while he prayed for healing. Then he asked them what they saw taking place on their instruments. They replied that every cell was responding positively! John G. Lake replied, “That is God’s divine science!”

The same power that Lake tapped into is available to every believer. The Lord has equipped us and gave us power to defeat the enemy, including the spirit of fear and any disease.

Here are our weapons against fear and disease …

  1. The Word of God

Believe what God’s word says more than what the news reports say. Confess the Word with your mouth every day. The word promises that “no plague shall come near our home” (Psalm 91:10).

  1. The Blood of Jesus

Revelation 12:11 tells us we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb. And Romans 5:9 says, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (NKJV). 

  1. Pray in Faith

The enemy wants us to focus so much on the problem and bind us in fear to stop our prayers. Our prayers for ourselves and others are powerful.

James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (NLT).

Pray for our communities, our countries, and the countries around the world. Pray for our President and other leaders to have wisdom.

Today choose to conquer the pandemic of fear and the virus by confessing the Word of God, applying the blood of Jesus, and praying in faith.

Click here to download the Psalm 91 prayer.


The prayer of protection from Psalm 91 plus more than 30 Scripture-based prayers are included in Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven.

In Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven: Petitions for Prisoners and Prison Families I share my unexpected prison family journey testimony. I also point out how the Lord redeemed the worst-of-the-worst offenders found in the pages of the Bible and explain an effective prayer strategy I learned from this experience.

I pray my transparency and vulnerability points to the source of HOPE for those who lost hope in the midst of despair.

Available on Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and other online book retailers.

OR, Click here to learn on how to order this book.

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