This Sunday [March 15] I will speak about how we as believers can rightly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In times like these, we are reminded of our human frailty and vulnerability. But rather than throw us into a panic, the Christian is reminded of where we find our true security while at the same time, extending ourselves to others in love and service.
PRUDENCE, NOT PANIC
In doing our part to prevent the spread of the virus, the following changes at our Sunday gatherings will be implemented until further notice:
• No food will be provided at the service. Coffee and water are still available.
• The offering bags will not be passed. Please drop off your giving in the black box on the Connection Table at the back, or you may give online.
• Instead of shaking hands or hugging, let’s give a wave or a shaka. 🤙
• If you’re sick, please stay home.
IS IT SAFE TO STILL MEET?
Because of our smaller size we feel the risk is minimal. However, we are in a dynamic situation so things could change. We are especially monitoring the DOE’s decisions regarding school closures, which may affect us.
I look forward to gathering with you this Sunday.
I’m traveling on the mainland this week, but with the increase in surgical-mask wearers, I thought I was in Asia rather than the US. There weren’t a ton of masks, but enough to remind that the spread of COVID-19 is quite serious.
Of course, there are a lot of speculations, theories, and unknowns about this virus, which can cause us to feel uncertain, and even fearful.
It’s often said that the church needs to teach people how to worship. I interpret this to mean that we need to teach people a way to show worship. Depending on your church tradition, you can show worship by standing, sitting, clapping, eyes opened or closed, dancing, staying still, loud singing, reflective singing, hands and arms raised, folded, clasped, shaking, etc. However, let’s understand that you can’t teach people to worship because we are born worshippers; we will worship something. Our hearts are wired to proclaim that something or that someone has our ultimate affection, and without it we will die. The problem with worship isn’t how we worship, it’s what we worship. Paul says in Romans that we sinful humans “exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…”
Certainly, the Bible does instruct God’s people to clap, sing, play instruments, and make a joyful noise in our worship to God. But this isn’t really teaching how to worship, it’s describing the actions associated with a worshipful heart. When our hearts leap with affection and wonder and awe, we naturally express this with clapping, singing, etc. Ever been to a football game?
So the aim isn’t to teach people how to worship, the aim is to point ourselves and others to a new object of worship, who is Jesus. Paul prays in Ephesians 1 that the eyes of our heart be opened so we can see the beauty of God’s work in Jesus to rescue the rebellious by forgiving sin and imputing righteousness. God’s rescue clears the way for us to receive the ultimate, most satisfying gift – God himself. The way the church points to this good news of Christ is through the songs we sing, the sermons we preach, and the sacraments we observe.
As this good news washes over us again and again, our heart’s affection begins to change. After a while, we begin to see the emptiness of the things we worshipped, we see that rust and moth will eventually have their way with our “idols” which will end up in either a landfill, or a grave. Ultimately, our worship isn’t learned, it’s transformed.
I’m not talking about your mode of transportation, I’m talking about your method of preparation. Do you go to our Sunday gathering prepared? Maybe you have never considered how to prepare for our gathering beyond your attire and getting the kids out the door.
Here are some ways you can prepare for our weekly Sunday gathering:
When I was in the 10th grade I was in a play called Thurber’s Carnival. I had only one line, and in spite of rehearsing that one line over and over again, I still barely managed to say it. If you asked me today I wouldn’t be able to tell you my line in spite of rehearsing for several months. In the same way, I forget the gospel. Of course I don’t forget the basic truth of the gospel that Jesus died for my sin, but I do forget the gospel in many, many other ways.
Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is a reflection of the intimacy God desires with his people. Intimacy with God is shown by the fact that He lives in us (Rom. 8:10; Gal. 2:20; John 17:23). Therefore, the physical intimacy of a husband being inside his wife is a physical picture of the spiritual reality for believers.
Some may wonder where in the bible can one find this connection between sexual intimacy and spiritual intimacy. While the bible does not explicitly state this, we can see it implicitly.
WARNING! Hyper-grace makes Christians lazy. Hyper-grace leads to Christians-gone-wild living. Hyper-grace gives Christians license to sin.
What is hyper-grace? Hyper-grace is too much grace. Hyper-grace is excessive grace. Grace is good, but too much grace is a problem. Grace needs to be balanced; all in moderation.