Dear Church Family,
Well, it is official now—we are closed for meetings at the church until further notice. I am sure many of you have mixed feelings about this, as I do. I understand the concern and the hopes that this will put a stop to the spread of this disease, but I do not like the state forbidding us to meet and making such broad pronouncements. It is sad to see that churches are not considered essential, but the pot industry is too vital to close down.
It is Paul who calls on us to remember our duty as Christians to be good citizens and to obey those who rule over us, and so we submit to the restrictions placed on us for what we hope and pray is the greater good in the present crisis.
To keep up our communion with one another, we launched a children’s channel today on You Tube where your children can watch me read a Bible Story Book to them. I hope it will be useful to you as you seek to fill the hours at home and that the Lord will use it to help me keep up the relationship with them. It is in its infant stages, so bear with us. You can access it by going to our Facebook page or our website where the You Tube channel will be linked. Kids YouTube
Also, beginning this Sunday, there will be a Sunday School lesson for all ages, like our Summer Lessons, that will be streamed live around 9:15 AM. It is a bit earlier to allow time for the transition between it and the morning sermon.
It is a sobering thing to wake up every morning and get a death count. It is not the sort of thing we are used to. We know people are dying all the time, but to get a report of one linked to a specific illness, every day, is something new.
Unlike most of us, Paul had a rather impressive record of near-death experiences. As a man hounded for his faith, he tells you…
2 Corinthians 11:25-27 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
And what does he say about it all? He says…
2 Corinthians 1:9-10 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.
Notice that Paul acknowledges that in himself, as in all men and women, there is a “sentence of death.” It is not a matter of “if,” we will die (until Christ comes, of course), but merely when and how. But Paul says that this sentence is written in us, so that we will not entertain any dreamy expectations of immortality, or re-incarnation, or any vain cryogenic salvation. It is written in us and clearly pronounced upon us so that we should not trust in ourselves (not even in the holy life of an Apostle), but in God, who alone raises the dead and has delivered us from death by the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son Jesus.
Hebrews 9:27-28 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Paul, accordingly, having brought to nothing the pride of the flesh, immediately substitutes in its place a confidence that rests upon God.JOHN CALVIN
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.