Dear beloved saints,
As you know, we are living in unprecedented times. I am thankful that in these troubling times, we have Christ, who never changes, who is with us, who is for us, and who has promised never to desert us. The psalmist reminds us:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; . . . ‘Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold” (Psalm 46:1-2, 10-11).
Our confidence and hope are in our God.
As you are probably aware, our governor has told the whole state to stay at home.
- This means we will not be meeting corporately for at least the next three Sundays and possibly longer.
- We will continue our Sunday morning service on live-stream which you can view from our website.This is a great opportunity to encourage friends and family to watch.
- The stay at home order also means all mid-week ministries will not be meeting in person. And we have also had to cancel some upcoming events in April.
With all the changes going on, I was greatly encouraged as the elders met last night, for their great desire is to shepherd you well through these troubled times so that Christ is formed in you. We have thought of some creative ways to help shepherd you, including:
- One of our goals is to provide a pastor’s video like this every week, where you will hear some updates and words of encouragement from one of our pastors.
- On Sunday’s, during our live-stream, besides the singing and preaching, we will also have a segment where one of our pastors gives updates and a brief exhortation.
- Many of our Home Fellowship Groups are getting creative and using platforms like Zoom to have live meetings together. If you are not connected to one of our small groups, this would be the time to do that. See our website for more information.
- Our children and youth ministries are planning different ways to minister to you, so stay tuned as you will get updates from them.
- Our staff pastors are thinking of other creative ways to minister to you.
We know many of you may have needs and others desire to help minister to those in need. We are trying to coordinate most of this through our small groups. So please connect with your Home Fellowship group leader. Also, the elders are always available; our numbers are in the church directory.
As you know, our church is supported by the giving of all you faithful members. For us to go forward and to continue to provide for our ministries and our missionaries, we need you to continue to support the church that you love so much. You should have received an email that describes how you can continue to give during this time.
I want to remind you of the words of the apostle Paul, who wrote,
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving things for all things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph 5:15-20).
Paul commands you to be wise and to make the most of your time. When this time is over, don’t look back with regrets. Be wise; plan how to be used by God. Set goals for yourself and for your children, like:
- Spending time daily in prayer and daily reading the Bible.
- Set a goal to read a good book that will encourage your soul or listen to some good sermons. (You can find sermons and free book downloads on our website).
- Plan to call or text a number of people each day, to encourage others in the body.
- Pray that God would use you to share the hope and love of Christ to others as you are out shopping. People are living in fear; we have the hope of the gospel.
Our confidence is in Christ. Jesus is still reigning; he is still building his church and no virus or shelter in place can stop him. We are confident our Lord is advancing his kingdom during these times. Pray that the Lord would use you and our church to do this.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Pastor Phil Foley