Hey North Boulevard Christian Church!
I wanted to take a few minutes today to update you and where we are at with regards to services and leave you some encouragement.
These are fluid and difficult times. With Governor Tate Reeves’ announcement this week of the statewide shelter in place order, along with much prayer and contemplation, we have decided that for the foreseeable future, we will only be hosting our services online. We are asking you to stay home and join us on Facebook each Sunday.
We are asking that you set aside time to have communion with your family. Read a devotion and have prayer on your own, and spend time with God. If you don’t have juice and communion bread, that’s fine. Use what you can. The important thing is focusing on the sacrifice of Christ, not the bread and juice.
Also, we want to encourage you to continue to give to the church if you so choose. You can do that by sending it to our P.O. Box 472 Amory, MS 38821. If that doesn’t work for you, contact me and we’ll make some arrangements.
This week, I will be preaching at 11:00 AM, and we hope that you will all join us on Facebook live if at all possible.
This is a very tough decision, and it is not one that we take lightly. It is not that we feel the government should be telling us what to do as a religious organization. But we feel that it is prudent to encourage all of us to stay home whenever possible.
Here is the other side of it. We live in an age of public opinion and outrage. We’ve been talking at great length about living on mission and sharing Jesus with as many as possible. We don’t want to do anything to hurt our witness or mission either. Seeing and hearing the opinions of many either online or at other workplaces about churches that are continuing to meet has made us realize that we might actually be doing more harm than good by continuing to offer live, in person gatherings.
I’ll be the first to admit I despise that it has come to this. It pains me to not see each and every one of you at least weekly. But it’s time to go this route for the time being. Without going into a lot of detail, this virus has gotten close to home this week. We have always pushed caution, but it’s time to take it a step further. Kelley and I are fine. We have not been experiencing any symptoms or anything like that, but the spread of this virus has potentially hit very close to home in Amory.
Here’s the great thing. We are the church. The church is not a building. The church is the people. And we can worship and fellowship from afar. We live in an age of technology that allows us more connectivity than ever before. While we never want to encourage you to stop meeting together as Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us;
24 And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25 CSB
We don’t have to be physically together to stay connected. Call, video chat, or write letters to one another. Be the church without being gathered. We can get through this together because we know the God we serve is ultimately in control of this whole situation. Maybe He saw that this world, all of us included, needed to take a step back and slow down.
I know this is a scary time. It’s not a time that any of us saw coming, and the fear of the unknown is a real thing. I challenged you last week to look for the good in this situation. Likely, it seems to be getting harder to find the good. But I promise you there is good coming out of this situation. We are getting a chance to slow down and reconnect with God in a deeper way if nothing else.
You may be asking with all the uncertainty, fear, and panic going on, how can you ask us to stay positive. Well, I want to take you to one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite professors from my time in Bible college. I know that it is not exclusive to him, and likely you have heard it before. But it was Dr. Jon Weatherly that I first heard this from in my Introduction to the Gospels class. With Easter being just next week, I think it an appropriate reminder for us today.
We would be discussing something in class that seemed like bad news, whether it be the status of the people, the rage and plotting of the religious leaders, or even the despair of the disciples after Christ’s arrest. Those are all dark times, and it seems that there is nothing good to come out of those situations if you don’t know the rest of the story. Dr. Weatherly would pause, and tell us “It’s Friday…but Sunday is coming!”
Do you get what he is saying? Christ died and was put in a tomb on Friday. Satan and all of Hell thought they had won. The world looked lost. But Sunday came, and Christ defeated death, Satan, and Hell once and for all. A lot can change in three days.
Now, I know that this situation we are in is probably going to last for longer than three days, but I promise you when the disciples were in their state of despair between Friday and Sunday, it felt like an eternity. This may feel like it will never be over. That our world is going to continue to spin out of control.
But you see, Easter is not going to be cancelled. Yes, we may be having to do something different, but nothing is going to cancel the real meaning of Easter; Jesus Christ being raised from the dead! My mom sent me a picture on Facebook the other day that said “Easter cannot be cancelled. 2,000 years ago, all the forces of hell tried that. They failed.” And it contained a picture of an empty tomb.
So, I want to leave you with this thought. This world is in turmoil. And it may get worse before it gets better. It may seem that there is nothing but despair, fear, and panic. But our God has got this under control. He sees the big picture. It’s Friday…BUT SUNDAY IS COMING!”