Updates From Our Pastors

August 7th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Afternoon Faith Church,
 
Hope you are having a great week so far!  I wanted to bring to you a few announcements & reminders.  
 
1.  Check out this video segment with Alasdair Groves on the Christian response to our tense times (click here to watch).  Alasdair is the Executive Director of CCEF, which is a biblical counseling organization.  In this 8 min video, he offers wise words on how Christians can offer love & stay unified in the midst of differing opinions and convictions.  Hope you are encouraged by it!
 
2.  You are invited to a special Pastor Forum on Civil Disobedience on Sunday 8/16, 6:30-7:30p in the sanctuary.  To prepare for this forum, please read the article “When Should Churches Disobey Civil Authorities?” that our pastors wrote (click here to read).  We look forward to engaging with your questions & comments!
 
3.  Starting next week (for 8/16 services), we will ONLY require registration for children in the nursery & preschool.  This means that adults and kids will no longer need to register for the two services.  When you get the chance, please thank our leaders who work hard each week to organize childcare, Sunday School, and our Sunday Services so that we can be spiritually edified.  These folks include Cari Maynard, Brian Smith, Drew French, and Kari DiStefano.  We are grateful for your extra efforts amidst the virus!
 
Let me leave you with a beautiful passage that I have been pondering this week: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.  For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:20-22).  What an incredible hope we who are in Christ have!  I look forward to seeing you Sunday, where we will further revel in this hope.
 
Warmly,
 
Godwin
 

July 31st – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Howdy Church Family,
 
Hope you’ve had a good week!  I’m reaching out to provide two important resources and make one special appeal.
 
TWO RESOURCES
 
1. Please read the attached article When Should The Church Disobey Civil Authorities? A Response from the Faith Church Pastors (or click here to read).  In the wake of Governor Dewine’s mask requirement for churches, we have received questions about why we are complying.  This is our response.  On Sunday, August 16th (6:30-7:30p), we will hold a Pastor Forum to address the topic of civil disobedience, mask usage, etc.  At the forum we will offer a brief teaching and then dedicate most of the time to your questions.
 
2.  Check out this video interview I did with Kevin DeYoung on how Christians should respond in these tumultuous times (click here to watch).  2020 has provided a strange new context in which the Church can either cling to Christ & one another, or pull apart amidst a flurry of opinions. Will we respond courageously and humbly to these difficult circumstances?  Will we love one another, even though we may not agree with one another?  In this 10 min video, Kevin calls us to humility, to love, and to the gospel.  I found it very helpful.  Kevin is a pastor, author, and the Council Chair of the Gospel Coalition.  You can read more about him by clicking here.
 
THE APPEAL
 
I want to make a special appeal to come to church this Sunday, because we will look at a crucial passage for Faith Church.  1 Corinthians 15:1-11 addresses why the gospel is of “first importance”.  Brothers and sisters, right now too many things are vying for our attention and attempting to steal our joy in Christ.  We are tempted to give other things that place of first importance, whether that’s our political affiliations, our convictions around COVID-19, or a host of other inclinations.  Yet there is nothing that should capture our affection and demand our allegiance more than the gospel.  Unity comes from building our church on the gospel.  Join us Sunday, as we sing, teach, and celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ as that of first importance.   
 
Enjoy your weekend, friends!
 
Warmly,
 
Godwin
 

July 10th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Good Afternoon Church Family,
 
As you may be aware, our governor recently issued a new order for our county that includes a requirement for wearing masks.  For more information, please click here for an article that outlines how this new order applies to religious entities in 7 counties (including Clermont).
 
What does this mean for Faith Church?  Every activity in our building, including Sunday morning services, will now require you to wear a mask.  Please note that this decision was made by the Elders after discussion & prayer.  
 
In his excellent article, Brett McCracken offers 4 reasons to wear your mask, even if you hate it.  He says: “For Christians, it’s important to rise above the political partisanship and think through what our faith would call us to with regard to wearing or not wearing masks. What if our view on masks were shaped more by our Christian identity than our American political identity? As much as I dislike wearing masks, sympathize with some skepticism about them, and cringe at attempts to shame people into wearing them, my Christian faith leads me to wear one when I’m in indoor public places. When I look at Scripture I don’t see a mandate about masks, of course, but I see an invitation—to do at least four things…” 
 
1. To Love Your Neighbor (Matt. 22:39)
2. To Respect Authorities (Rom. 13:1–7)
3. To Honor the Weak in Our Midst (Rom. 14)
4. To Use Freedom for the Sake of the Gospel (1 Cor. 9:19–23)  
 
Please read his whole article and prayerfully reflect on those scriptures (click here to read).  We recognize there are many opinions in our church family, related to mask usage & COVID-19.  We also know that you love our church family.  For the sake of unity, we would ask that you follow God’s leading through your Elders.  We would ask that you consider how showing gospel love by setting aside your rights for others, is more important than the infringement of personal or constitutional rights.  We would ask that you follow in the steps of Jesus, who set aside his divine rights for the good of others (including those misinformed).    
 
What will this upcoming Sunday 7/12 look like for Faith Church?  
  • Our Sunday services will be 9a & 10:45a.  Please register for the services by clicking here.
  • We will offer Nursery care (0-K) during 9a & 10:45a hours, and Children’s Sunday School (1st-6th) during the 9a hour.  Note: Children age 10 and under are exempt from wearing masks.  
  • We will offer Student & Adult Sunday School during the 9a hour.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or one of our elders.  
 
Warmly,
 
Godwin (On behalf of the Elders)

June 30th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Afternoon Church Family,
 
Friends, how are you holding up?  In these early summer days, let me encourage you to find time to rest, relax, and spend time with those who will build you up in the faith.  In these latter days of COVID-19 and other cultural tensions, we are especially prone to burn out or find our love burning out for others . So plead with the Lord for extra grace – that can be first extended to yourself, but then to others in your world.  Remember, the Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Ps 34:18).  Remember too that the Spirit delights to produce the fruit of love in you (Gal. 5:22-23).  
 
WEEK 3 FOCUS – BIBLICAL JUSTICE & GOSPEL MISSION
 
I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat…  Joel 3:2a
But the Lord is a refuge to his people… Joel 3:16b
 
Those two verses are so extreme, aren’t they?  One reminds us of God’s intense judgment that is coming to this earth in our future.  The other reminds us that there is an out!  His name is Jesus.  Tears come to my eyes as I remember this very simple, but profound truth:  Jesus is our refuge from the coming storm.  So in our final week of prayer & fasting, please consider…
 
1. Week 3’s focus is praying for biblical justice & gospel mission.  If you didn’t get the chance, please listen to this past Sunday’s sermon on Joel 3:1-21 (click here to listen).  
 
2.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) will be our final day for personal prayer & fasting.  Choose one thing to fast from (two meals, Social Media etc.) and use the extra time to pray!  What could you pray for?  Here are some ideas…
  • Pray for justice in your life or in our city
  • Pray for Faith Church to be successful as we try to “make disciples” (Matt. 28:18-20)
  • Continue to pray for the restoration of your locust years, personal spiritual breakthroughs, and revival for Faith Church.
  • Continue to lament evil and repent of personal sin.
PHASE 2 REMINDERS
 
Finally, remember that Phase 2 of our reopening starts on July 12th.  What will the changes look like?  
  • Worship services at 9a and 10:45a- (this is a change from the previous email)
  • No seating chart with assigned seating.  Please sit 3 seats apart and every-other-row.
  • Mask usage is recommended, but not required.  
  • Please register for the services you plan to attend, including children.
  • 9a hour:  One Adult Sunday School class; Jr. High & High School classes; Nursery & Preschool (0-K); Children’s Sunday School (1-6th)
  • 10:45a hour: Only Nursery & Preschool classes (0-K)

Here is the link to register for this Sunday’s services- July 5th Registration

Have a great week brothers and sisters!
 
Warmly,
 
Godwin
 

June 26th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Afternoon Faith Church Family!
 
I’d like to bring you some good news – that Faith Church will be entering “Phase 2” of reopening.  I’m also excited to share about our new library initiative.  Please carefully read both below…
 
PHASE 2 OF REOPENING
 
Starting July 12th, we will no longer do a seating chart with assigned seating.  Instead, we will ask you to sit 3 seats apart and to continue sitting every-other-row.  Mask usage continues to be recommended, but not required.  Please continue to register for the services you plan to attend!  
 
Also on July 12th, we will offer Sunday School as follows:
  • 9a hour:  One Adult Sunday School class; Jr High & High School classes; Nursery and Preschool (0-K); Children’s Sunday School (1-6th)
  • 11a hour:  Only Nursery and Preschool Classes (0-K)
  • Registration for the Nursery & Preschool classes will be required
Check out the newsletter and website for more information and to register for the Adult SS class. Here is the link for easy access.   We hope this will allow more of you to attend in-person.  Thank you for your patience as we (Elders & Staff) prayerfully consider how to wisely open up our building.   
    
LIBRARY VISION & RELOCATION
 
We are excited to announce that our library will be relocated and given new vision this summer.  Our core staff team and elders have decided to move the library to Room 24 (Mary Lee’s old office, near the nursery wing). 
 
Why are we doing this?  We have 3 inter-related reasons.  
  • We’d like to convert the present library into a new classroom.  The demand for more classroom space has increased over the last few years.    
  • We’d like to infuse the new library with fresh vision & energy, drawing attention to it often and promoting it in our worship services.  We have begun reviewing & refining our collection.  We’d like this new library to be a resource library for our church family, offering mainly Christian books & biblical resources.        
  • We’d like for the new library to be utilized frequently.  This might seem obvious, but it’s important to state.  The reality is that the current library is greatly under-utilized.  We hope relocating, refining the collection, and getting new books will re-energize our use of the library.   
What are we going to do with the books that are not needed?  Good question!  We’re going to give them away, starting with YOU!  Starting this Sunday, you can go to the library & take home any books or DVD’s.  Any books/DVD’s you see in the library presently are open for you to grab!  You can do this on Sunday morning (6/28, 7/5, 7/12), or come in during the week (please make arrangements with Angel, areichard@faithchurch.net).    
 
Finally, I want to extend a big “thank you” to Alice Bayman for her significant & faithful efforts for almost 20 years as the leader of the library.  We so appreciate her leadership!  If you see her, please extend to her a “thank you” as well.
 
Warmly,
 
Godwin (On behalf of the Elders & Core Staff)
 

June 24th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Afternoon Faith Church Family,
 
Hope you had a tremendous Father’s Day weekend!  My family enjoyed a low key time, with a few gifts, cards, and dinner out.  What I appreciated most was unhurried time with those I love the most.  
 
WEEK 2 FOCUS – RESTORATION & AWAKENING
 
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust have eaten… Joel 2:25
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all people… Joel 2:28
 
This is week 2 of our prayer & fasting season.  Some encouragement for us along these lines…
 
1. Week 2’s focus is praying for restoration & spiritual awakening.  If you didn’t get the chance, please listen to this past Sunday’s sermon on Joel 2:18-32, where we discussed this twin-theme (click here to listen).  I would also commend to you this article by Jon Bloom called “Praying for a Breakthrough” (click here to read).  Like last week, your CG will spend time considering & praying through these themes.
 
2.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) will be our second day for personal prayer & fasting.  Like last week, choose one thing to fast from (two meals, Social Media etc.) and use the extra time to pray!  What could you pray for?  I’d suggest focusing on the prayer emphases we’ve discussed.  Continue to practice lament & bring your sins before God in repentance.  This week especially consider how you can pray for the restoration of your locust years.  Consider where you might need a spiritual breakthrough.  Pray also for revival for Faith Church; pray “your kingdom come” prayers over our church family and city.  
 
3.  Mark your calendars for our All-Church Prayer Gathering on Sunday June 28th, 6-7:30p in the sanctuary.  The pastors are looking forward to leading you in this event.  We look forward to offering praise, repenting of sin, lamenting evil, and interceding for our church, city, and nation.  Please set aside time to join us!
 
4. Here is the link for this week’s Sunday registration.  Just a reminder that registration closes Friday at noon.  Livestream will also be available for the 11:00 am service.
 
Love you all,
 
Godwin

June 16th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Good Evening Faith Church,
 
What a tremendous joy it’s been to gather with you these past two Sundays!  For those who have checked in via livestream, we love you too and can’t wait to see you in person.  
 
WEEK 1 FOCUS – LAMENTING & REPENTING
 
Announce a sacred fast; proclaim a solemn assembly!  Gather the elders and all the residents of the land at the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.  Joel 1:14
 
I’m so excited to dive into this 3 week season of prayer & fasting with you.  While we are living in unprecedented times, they are not unhopeful times – because we have the Lord.  Let’s seek the face of God together and ask Him to reveal Himself afresh to us.  Let’s pray for spiritual awakening and personal breakthroughs, inside & outside the church!
 

1. Week 1’s prayer focus is learning to lament & repent.  If you didn’t get the chance, I’d encourage you to listen to this past Sunday’s sermon on Joel 1:1-2:17, where we discussed this theme extensively (click here to listen).  To learn more about lamenting in particular, check out this article by Mark Vroegop called “Dare to Hope in God: How to Lament Well” (click here to read).  Your CG will spend time learning & practicing lament as well.

 
2.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) will be our first day for personal prayer & fasting.  What does this mean?  Choose one thing to fast from (two meals, Facebook etc.) and use the extra time to pray! Lament the evils, suffering, and sins that you are experiencing.  Take time to consider your sins and repent, with eager expectation that God will not only forgive but help you grow.  Intercede for others in the church who are struggling.  If you’d like to learn more about fasting, consider this article by David Mathis called “Fasting for Beginners” (click here to read).
 
3.  Mark your calendars for our All-Church Prayer Gathering on Sunday June 28th, 6-7:30p in the sanctuary.  The pastors are looking forward to leading you in this event.  We look forward to offering praise, repenting of sin, lamenting evil, and interceding for our church, city, and nation.  Please set aside time to join us!
 
For those who are new to prayer or uncertain about prayer, let me leave you with some encouragement from J.C. Ryle:  “Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor.  Jesus can understand you.”  How freeing is that?!  And out of this incredible freedom, let’s lean into the Lord together and look forward to a deeper fellowship with God in the days ahead.  
 
One last thing, please remember to register for Sunday’s services (here) by Friday at noon- 
 
Love you all,
 
Godwin
 

June 11th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Good Evening Faith Church,
 
The Elders & Pastors are pleased to announce and lead forth in a significant time of prayer and fasting for Faith Church (June 14th – July 4th).  Below you’ll find more information about this season.   
 

WHY ARE WE DOING THIS? 

There’s never a bad time to pray & fast as a church!  The last time Faith Church undertook this was January of 2019, about 18 months ago.  But there are two significant reasons… 

First, we are living in unprecedented times.  We are still in the midst of this global pandemic and now we’re trying to make sense of the racial tensions in our country.  Now is the time to pray and fast as a church!  Our aim is to pray for all who are impacted by these matters.  Fasting, as you may know, is an intensification of prayer.  It is an expression of broken-heartedness over sin, danger, and evil.  The spiritual value of fasting is in the humility, dependence, longing, discipline, and prayer that our hearts move towards when we do it.    

Second, we are about to embark on a 3 week journey in the book of Joel.  It doesn’t take the prophet long in chapter 1 to call Israel to pray, fast, and lament over their troubles & sins.  So a wonderful way for Faith Church to respond to God’s preached word will be to come together for prayer & fasting.  

WHAT WILL WE DO? 

On each Sunday (June 14, 21, 28), we will provide a special prayer emphasis for the week.  For each week, we will have two initiatives:  a personal challenge for Wednesday; and a prayer opportunity with your CG.  We will also have a church-wide, in-person prayer gathering at the end of the month.  See below for details… 

1.  We will set aside 3 Wednesdays (6/17, 6/24, 7/1) to pray & fast individually.  You may choose to fast from food, social media, or something else.  Instead of eating or looking at social media, set aside that time to pray.    

2.  We will have extended times of prayer with our Community Group each week.  We will have special CG guides that will help us grow in a component of prayer.  If you haven’t joined a CG, now would be a great time!  Please connect with Pastor Ryan Broadhurst (rbroadhurst@faithchurch.net).

3.  We will hold a church-wide prayer gathering on Sunday June 28th (6-7:30p).  Please mark your calendars for this important event!  Your pastors are looking forward to leading you in a focused time of prayer for our church, our city, and our nation.  

We are excited and eager to commune with our Lord in a vital manner during this season.  We trust that the Lord will do a deep and significant work in our church – the work of spiritual renewal.  We trust that God will use our “your kingdom come” prayers to bring healing, biblical justice, and salvation to those who are restless, hurting, and looking for answers in our city & nation.   

Three other announcements:

  • Kim Slade’s visitation will be here, at church, at 10a, followed by the funeral at 11a, this Saturday, 6/13.  We continue to grieve and celebrate her life.  Please keep Bob & her family in your prayers.
  • If you haven’t yet, please register for the service you will be attending this Sunday.  Please click here to do that!
  • To access Sunday 6/14 livestream services, please click on the following links.  9a: https://youtu.be/zquCBX-G9G4  11a: https://youtu.be/dt-eZutjs9E 

Warmly, 

Godwin (On behalf of the Elders & Pastors)

June 5th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Afternoon Faith Church,
 
It has been 12 weeks since we have last gathered as a church family!  What a strange season, eh?  We have acutely felt the spiritual deficit of missing those 12 Sundays (Heb. 10:19-25).  Thankfully, to quote Bob Dylan, the times are a-changin.  And I can’t tell you how excited the Elders & Staff are for this Sunday!  While this will be a slow process, we are eager to begin gathering to edify one another and exalt Christ. 
 
A few weeks ago I was struck by 1 Samuel 3:21.  This verse comes on the heels of Samuel being called to proclaim God’s Word, after a dry season where God’s people had not heard from the Lord.  It says: “The Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, because there He revealed Himself to Samuel by His Word.”  What an extraordinary little verse!  Do you see how it communicates a strong link between God’s Word publicly delivered to his people (then by Samuel, today by our preachers), and God’s presence enjoyed by his people?  This is why Sunday morning gatherings are crucial!  So I urge you, if you are able, please come to church and experience God’s presence through His Word and Spirit.     
 
Below are a few matters I wanted to bring to your attention.  Please take some time to read.
 
1.  As I just alluded to, we acknowledge that some of you have good reasons for not immediately returning to our worship services.  For example, some of you are sick or are taking care of elderly relatives.  Some of you have young children and would prefer to worship together at home via livestream, rather than divide the family.  If that’s you, know that your leaders understand and are praying for your endurance.  We will miss you and look forward to welcoming you back soon. I’d urge you to consider returning to Faith services in-person as soon as you are able.
 
9a livestream link: https://youtu.be/blV9u82JJfk
11a livestream link: https://youtu.be/rScJ0ixclaY 
 
2.  We want to reiterate that wearing masks is recommended, but not required.  According to CDC guidelines for situations like ours, wearing masks can reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.  However, some of you may choose not to wear a mask.  When you walk into Faith Church on Sunday morning, you will see brothers & sisters who are wearing masks and brothers & sisters who are not.  That’s ok!  We come together united around Jesus, not united around our mask-usage 🙂  So I’d urge you to bring a spirit of unity & love (1 Cor. 13:4-7) amongst the diversity of opinions on Sunday.
 
3.  We’d ask that you review the attached document (also linked here), which outlines details of our reopening plan.  We will not be offering coffee or donuts in the morning, so plan accordingly (e.g. you can bring your own coffee with a closed lid).  Also, the choir room with livestream will be available if during the service you find your little ones a bit rambunctious.
 
Please don’t hesitate to contact myself or another pastor if you have any questions or concerns.  Hope to see you soon!
 
Warmly,  
 
Godwin (On behalf of the Elders & Staff)
 

June 2nd – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Good Evening Church Family,
 
This is my first week back after paternity leave! I’ve enjoyed the rest, family engagement, and especially time with Lucy Joy (our newest addition).  If you didn’t hear, she was born on 5/14 at 2:44p.  We have quickly fallen in love.  We want to thank you for the outpouring of love – whether that’s cards or meals or texts.  We count it a privilege to share in the joy of our new little one with you all, because you truly are family.  
 
My mind and heart have been swimming lately – trying to contain and process a host of thoughts & emotions.  On one hand, I am thrilled with the new life that our church family has experienced.  Jeni is not the only Faith Church mama who has recently welcomed a new baby.  We rejoice with you too, Theresa Tetrault and Lisa Wilson, and others who are expecting!  My heart is also anticipating our reopening this upcoming Sunday 6/7.  I can’t wait to see many of you and to worship Jesus with you.  If you haven’t already, please register for the service you will attend by clicking here.  
 
And yet!  Not all of us will be back on Sunday, for a variety of reasons.  Not all of us have received the good news of life, as some have received the bad news of death with Sandy Howard’s recent passing.  Some of us have received the bad news of cancer, hospice care, and miscarriage.  And all of us have received the bad news of police brutality and racial tensions.  Our hearts together groan and cry out to God: how long O Lord? (Ps 13:1-2; Rom 8:18-25).
 
Andrew Peterson helps us to groan and hope in Christ…
 
Do you feel the world is broken?  Do you feel the shadows deepen?  But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through?  Do you wish that you could see it all made new?  We do.
 
Is all creation groaning?  Is a new creation coming? Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? Is it good that we remind ourselves of this?  It is.  
 
Does the Father truly love us? Does the Spirit move among us? And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves? Does our God intend to dwell again with us?  He does.
 
Only Christ can make sense of all of this.  Our ultimate hope as Christians is in King Jesus & the Kingdom he will one day consummate on earth. And still we Christians, as ambassadors of Jesus’ kingdom, can prize & practice the ethics of that kingdom today.How will you and I do that? How will we pray for, promote, and practice biblical justice? How will we listen to and lovingly respond to our Black brothers & sisters, neighbors & friends? 
 
These aren’t easy questions to answer. But we can try. We must not be silent about the ways of Jesus and the good news of our reconciling gospel (Eph. 2:11-22). 
 
Love you all. Hope to see many of you on Sunday! 
 
Warmly,       
 
Godwin

May 28th – A Message From Pastor Bryan


Hello Faith Church Family, 

When we survey the landscape of Biblical characters, few loom as large as King David.  Described as a man after God’s own heart, David exemplifies humility, courage, strength, wisdom, and devotion to God.  We see him fight giants win battles, inspire his men and lead a nation.  We hear his heart cry out to God in the Psalms, and see his passion for the name of the LORD.   And we also see a broken sinner who suffers the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of his choices and actions. 

 In 2 Kings 19, King David returns to Jerusalem after the failed rebellion of his son Absalom.  But David’s return did not mean that everything was the same as it once had been.  Things had changed significantly, and some permanently. His son was dead, his heart was torn, his kingdom uneasy about his leadership.  Things would improve, and many things may look as they once had, but Absalom’s rebellion had a long-lasting effect. 

As we begin the process of re-engaging as a church family, we face a similar reality.  COVID-19 has had a significant, and in some ways, permanent effect on our church family.  We have lost people, our hearts have been torn, and our country is divided on lots of issues related to our post-COVID practices.  While we may be eager for things to “get back to normal,” we must recognize that there is a new normal. 

Yes, it will feel odd as we reserve spots for the worship service, see people in masks, and maintain social distance from people we would love to embrace.  It may take some time to ramp back up classes for children, students and adults.  Some may need to delay re-engagement for a number of reasons.  Things will continue to change over time, but it may never look exactly as it once did. 

I know this sounds negative, but I think it actually gives us opportunities to grow in our understanding of what the church is all about.  We were forced to step away from the structures we have relied on for a long time.  But we have found new ways to interact, new tools to engage, and new priorities and values.  As we come back together as the gathered church, let’s not rush to make everything the same as it once was.  Let’s use this opportunity to see how we can make it better!  

Would you please join us in praying that God would do a mighty work in our church as we re-open our doors for corporate worship?  That all the effects of COVID-19 would be subjected to the sovereignty of God, and He would use them to accomplish His purposes in our midst?  And that God would open our minds and hearts for new ideas, new practices, new ways of experiencing Communion, Community and Mission? Our God is always faithful to His people, and we are excited to see what he has in store for His church both globally and locally in the wake of this pandemic.  

We would continue to encourage you to join us for our regular weekly gatherings via Zoom, and take advantage of the other online resources that we have created for you.

In Christ,

Bryan Bell (on behalf of the staff and elders of Faith Church)

 

On Growing in Your Love for the Lost

May 26th – A Message From Pastor Dick


Hello Faith Church Family,

I have been reflecting on Psalm 90.  This is the one psalm that was written by Moses “the man of God.”  It describes God’s eternality and man’s finiteness.  “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Ps. 90:2).  Mankind, however, is like grass that “sprouts in the morning and by evening it withers and dries up” (Ps 90: 6).  In fact, Moses says that “our lives last seventy years, or if we are strong, eighty years.  Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed they pass quickly and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10).  

Psalm 90 is a good perspective to have in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This Psalm is a prayer of Moses in the midst of the struggles he and his people experienced in the 40 years of hardship in the wilderness.  It can be our prayer as well as we go through the struggles of our lives.  

Moses asks the Lord to “teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts” (Psalm 90:12).  If we number our days and live them wisely, we may experience “the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish for us the work of our hands-establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17).  

That is, by seeing the eternality of God and the brevity of our own lives, we prayerfully number our days and live them wisely, so our days will count for eternity.  In these days of Covid-19, may God give us the wisdom we need to make the most of our days and live for His eternal purposes! 

As we mourn the loss of our beloved Sandy Howard, we are grateful that she sought to honor the Lord by the way she lived her life.  She sought to number her days and live them wisely.  May we follow her example!  

Until we can meet again in person, I encourage you to join our regular weekly gatherings via Zoom, and take advantage of the other online resources that we have created for you.

I’m looking forward to seeing my church family again soon!  I hope you are too.  
 
Warmly Yours in Christ,
 
Dick Lehman
 

May 21st – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Evening Faith Church,

On behalf of our Elders & Staff, I am very happy to announce that Faith Church will resume public services starting June 7th, 2020 (9a and 11a).  We have spent much time in prayer, conversation, consultation, and research to come to this decision.  We are so eager to welcome the church family back into the sanctuary for worship and fellowship.  It will be a wonderful reunion!  We also acknowledge that this reunion may be delayed for some of you, as you are immuno-compromised, caring for an elderly family member etc.  Even as we meet on 6/7, we will miss you!  Thankfully, both services will be livestreamed online.

Please carefully read the attached document, which offers detailed information and rationale related to our reopening.  This important document includes specifics around the worship service, what to do with kids etc.  Please reach out to an elder/pastor if you have any questions or comments.    

YEARNING FOR THE FAMILY

Hebrews 10:23-25 says: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” 

This passage reminds us of what we are designed to experience as Christians:  a church family that gathers regularly to hold to our hope together, spur each other towards love & good deeds, and encourage one another in light of the 2nd coming of Christ.  This passage also reminds us of what we’ve missed these past several weeks.  Yes, we have encouraged each other in our CGs and other digital contexts.  But we haven’t done this all together as Hebrews 10:24-25 describes! 

I hope that God has used these weeks apart to cultivate in you a strong affection for our church family.  Longing to be together is in fact a biblical impulse.  It’s a sign that we are united to Christ and through him, joined to each other (Eph. 4:16).  It’s a sign that we truly have the Spirit who produces in us fruit for each other (Gal. 5:22-23).  It’s a sign that we are family, with bonds far deeper & more significant than even the strongest of bloodlines (Eph. 2:19-22). 

This longing is also a foretaste of what we truly yearn for – the great reunion at the end of time as the church through the ages gathers before the throne of God, to offer unceasing & unhindered praise to the Lamb of God who was slain (Rev. 5:6-14; 19:1-10).  Can you imagine it?  J.C. Ryle says it well: “The day is coming when there shall be a congregation that shall never break up, and a Sabbath that shall never end, a song of praise that shall never cease, and an assembly that shall never be dispersed.” 

With all of this in mind, I cannot tell you how grateful I am that God is making it possible for us to re-gather soon.  I have missed you all so much. I have missed our conversations.  I have missed hugging your necks.  I have missed singing the gospel with you.  I have missed preaching God’s Word to you in person.  And I can’t wait to introduce you to Lucy Joy!  Soon and very soon… 

Warmly,

Godwin (on behalf of the Elders & Staff) 

 

On Growing in Your Love for Other Christians

May 19th – A Message From Pastor Dick


Hello Faith Church Family,

Let me express how much I miss seeing all of you (during these days of COVID-19) since we haven’t been able to meet as a church family.  I trust that the Lord is keeping you safe and healthy during this time.  I trust also that the Lord will bring us back together soon!  

During times like this, it’s good to be reminded of “The Goal of God’s Love.”  The Apostle John says in 1 John 4:12

 “No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us.” 

The phrase “made complete” has the connotation of a goal or result.  That is, it’s the goal of God’s love to so enable us to be in a deep, abiding relationship with Himself and to love one another as Jesus commanded us.  

As we move forward in developing a “new normal” while the country opens up again, may we deepen our love relationship with God and one another.  I have often thought of Ephesians 5:16 “making the most of the opportunity, for the days are evil.”  Have you “made the most of the opportunity” during this time?  May we love others well with “the love that comes from God” (1 John 4:7). 

Until we are able to gather in person,  I would encourage you to join us for our regular weekly gatherings via Zoom, and take advantage of the other online resources that we have created for you.

I’m looking forward to seeing my church family again in the weeks ahead.  I hope you are too.  
 
Warmly Yours in Christ, 
 

Dick Lehman (on behalf of the staff and elders of Faith Church)

May 14th – A Message From Pastor Bryan


Hey Faith Church Family,

Over the next several weeks we will see many doors re-opening in our community; retail stores, restaurants, hair salons, daycares, and of course, churches.  Through those doors will come many people with many different ideas about how things are being handled regarding masks, timing, social distancing, cleaning etc.  That will be true of us at Faith Church as well.  

So what do we do when our people have different opinions of how things ought to be done?  I think we can take a (surprising) clue from the apostle Paul, in a story found in Acts 15:36-41.  In this passage, Paul is having a discussion with Barnabas, as they are making plans for a second missionary journey together.  Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them again, even though he abandoned their group the first time.  Paul insisted he should not be included.  Verse 39 says “They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.”  

I’m sure there is room for discussion defending both Paul and Barnabas, but the point I would like us to see is this: Paul and Barnabas disagreed over how thing should be done, and that became a hindrance to their partnership in the gospel.  This is a rare passage of Scripture where we can say “Let’s NOT do what Paul did!”  (Told you it was a surprising clue!)  They stopped working together because they disagreed over how that work should be done.

I fear it could be easy for this same attitude to show up at Faith Church as we begin the gradual process of re-engagement. Here are some encouragements I suggest would be beneficial for us to keep in mind:

  1. Let’s not let different opinions and practices prevent us from experiencing true gospel partnership and the unity of the Spirit.

  2. Let’s not pass judgment on others who make different choices than we do.

  3. Let’s not withhold grace and freedom from people who feel more or less comfortable than we do.

  4. Let’s not let these issues distract us our mission that God has given us, to make more and better disciples here and around the world.  

As we look to the future, you may feel confident or cautious, or somewhere in between.  As we begin to re-open some of our services and programs, you may choose to participate in person, you may choose to participate at home.  We want everyone to make their own decisions while experiencing the grace and freedom that come from a gospel-oriented community of faith.  

We look forward to the day when we can all gather together again, free from the restrictions we have lived under for the past several months.  But we understand that getting to that point will take time, and people will arrive at their own pace.   Let’s love each other well along the way, which will make our celebration when that day comes all the more joyous.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to join us for our regular weekly gatherings via Zoom, and take advantage of the other online resources that we have created for you.

Your pastors and elders are praying for you, and looking forward to being able to be with you all again!  

In Christ, 

Bryan Bell (on behalf of the staff and elders of Faith Church)

 

On Growing in Your Communion with God

May 12th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Good Morning!
 
I must say that I have a little extra bounce in my step today.  Why, you ask?  No, Jeni has not had the baby yet.  And no, Michigan Football hasn’t done anything significant in the last 24 hours.  But I am in the office with the church staff!!!  Today we will have our first in-person staff meeting in 7 weeks.  We learn to celebrate certain things, when they’ve been taken away for a period of time.  Praise God for his tangible goodness (Psalm 136:1).
 
CANCELLATIONS
 
As we look towards summer, we (the staff) are faced with some difficult decisions.  We had some wonderful things planned for our church family, but want to respect the governing authorities and the protective measures they’ve installed (for our own benefit, as well as the broader community’s benefit).  So far we’ve had a wait-and-see approach.  But because of timing, we need to make decisions.  Wanting to be wise, loving and considerate of all people, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the following events:

  • Vacation Bible School, scheduled for June 22-25
  • Junior High Camp, scheduled for June 27-July 1
  • High School Challenge Conference, scheduled for July 12-17
  • All-Church Retreat, scheduled for August 6-8

We are very sad over this!  We were so looking forward to the fellowship, fun, and gospel ministry these events would have offered.  As you know, the Lord has used VBS, Jr. High Camp, and the Challenge conference to bear much fruit over the years.  We also had great hopes that the All-Church retreat would have bound us together in love and unity.  But all of our plans are made with the “if the Lord wills” caveat.  The Lord has willed something quite different for this spring and summer!  We will trust him in that, and explore other options for this summer.  Stay tuned! 
 

OPPORTUNITIES

 Very soon public social gathering spots will reopen.  I believe this is an exciting opportunity and we should take advantage.  What might that look like for you?  As is wise and comfortable for you, consider these ideas… 

  • Take advantage of the freedom to meet in-person by ministering to those who are especially hurting right now.  Yes, that is all of us in some ways.  But some in our church family (or perhaps your neighborhood) are having an especially difficult time coping with loneliness, anxiety, and the lack of physical touch.  Is there someone who you can take out to lunch?  Can you invite a friend to take a walk with you?  How about starting a 6 week summer bible study at a nearby park?
  • Restart your 1-1 ministry.  I would imagine that some of you have 1-1 discipling or accountability or prayer relationships with brothers and sisters at Faith.  Now is a good time to restart those in-person.  And since they’re restarting, think about how to strengthen those relationships.  Is there a new book of the Bible you can study together, or new Christian book that you can read together?  Share lessons God is teaching you in this pandemic season.  If you’ve never had a 1-1 discipling relationship, maybe now is a good time to start!  Pick up Mark Dever’s “Discipling” (or I give you one of my extra copies).  Or you can just get started by meeting over lunch, or when the kids are napping.  Read a biblical passage, talk it over, think about applications, and then pray for each other.  Imagine the fruit that may come if you did that for 1 year with another committed brother or sister!  
  • Get creative with your Community Group.  I’ve heard of one CG continuing to meet as a big group over Zoom, while meeting as men and women separately in person.  How might the loosening restrictions allow your CG to deepen their connection and fellowship in this season?  Talk to your CG leader about this.  And if you haven’t joined a CG, now is a good time!  Contact Pastor Ryan B (rbroadhurst@faithchurch.net).
GUIDELINES
 
Below you will find some important guidelines for entering the church building.  Following these instructions can help limit exposure as we are still in the early stages of reopening the building.    
  • Please take your temperature before you come and record it in the office wing lobby entrance.
  • Wear a mask when interacting with others.
  • Call/email Angel (areichard@faithchurch.net) ahead to reserve a room.
  • Clean any space when you’re done meeting (cleaning supplies are found in each room)
  • If you have a need in the building (e.g. picking up mail, making copies), please call/email Angel ahead of time so she can make arrangements.  
We appreciate your cooperation, church family!  As the weeks progress, we will loosen up these and other regulations.  Remember that following these guidelines is an expression of your love for Christ (by obeying the governing authorities) and your love for our church family & broader community (by limiting exposure).  We continue to love and miss you!
 
Warmly,
 
Godwin (on behalf of the staff)
 

May 8th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Good Evening Faith Church,

I wanted to bring to your attention some baby steps we are taking towards reopening the church. We are making these new recommendations, based on Governor DeWine’s recent recommendations. While a stay-at-home order is generally still in effect, we recognize the clear movement to open up our state. For example, offices & retail open on 5/12, restaurants and salons on 5/15, and even indoor seating for restaurants on 5/21. While religious entities like ours aren’t technically beholden to governmental guidelines, we want to at least follow the spirit of Gov. DeWine’s reopening agenda.

Yes, we are taking a cautious route! Some churches in Ohio are planning on opening mid-May. Our heart is to both serve our church family well and care for our broader community, as directed by governmental leaders. We believe the following steps express this heart well.

THE GIST

We would like to open up the possibility of smaller groups meeting together, in-person (Community Groups, Bible Studies, Prayer Groups etc.). We continue to encourage following CDC and governmental guidelines, which include maintaining the 10 person limit, practicing social distancing, and wearing masks. You may very well choose NOT to meet in-person and continue to engage digitally (e.g. Zoom).

A FEW SPECIFICS

We will leave the decision of meeting in-person or continuing to meet digitally up to the leaders & participants of each group. If you are a leader, please be highly sensitive to the thoughts of those you are leading! Please meet in such a way that no one in your group is left out. For example, if your Community group has over 15 participants you may want your main, weekly meetings to continue over Zoom. But you could consider having the men & women meet in-person, separately.

We would strongly urge that children not be included in any in-person gatherings, for now. They not only have a unique ability to carry viruses, they have a hard time abiding by any 6 foot rule! Also, if you are sick, immuno-compromised, or over 65, we would ask you to consider staying at home for a few more weeks.

What are some options for meeting in person? You can certainly open up your home. On May 21st indoor seating at restaurants will be available for groups less than 10. The church will also open up two rooms (Room 41/Conference room and the Counseling library) for smaller groups to gather. If you’d like to use one of these rooms, please contact Angel in the office (areichard@faithchurch.net). Another option is to grab your lawn chairs and meet in a park, a backyard, or our church parking lot. With the weather warming up, this could be an enjoyable option.

Another part of this phase: our church office will reopen on Tuesday May 12. If you have a need or would like to meet with a pastor, please call or email the office ahead of time to set up an appointment. We are here to meet your needs, but want to limit the number of people in other parts of the building, for now.

SUNDAY MORNING SERVICES?

You may be wondering: when will we gather again to worship? I assure you the staff, elders, the Risk management team, and others are working hard to put together a plan for reopening. Look for an email with regards to this next phase in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to myself or one of the other pastors. We miss you, but are excited about seeing more of you in person!

Let me leave you with two verses that have recently encouraged me. “I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps 121:1-2).

Warmly,

Godwin (on behalf of our Elders & Staff)
 

May 5th – Messages From Pastor Godwin & Pastor Drew


Afternoon Faith Church,

Thank you for your prayers for church leadership, as we are still in the midst of praying and planning Faith’s reopening! Look for emails in the coming days & weeks with details.

Charles Smith has written recently: “Prediction – one of the most challenging aspects of the #COVID19 recovery will be disagreements over acceptable post-COVID social norms between friends and family. Hurt feelings will abound if we’re not careful. Extend lots of grace. Everyone is different.” What a true assessment and great reminder for us, eh? You’ve likely noticed that those around you approach the COVID-19 situation in different ways. Some are very cautious, some are more optimistic & confident, and many of us are somewhere in between! As Costi Hinn has said, “the temptation is to look at these different groups and let your opinion dominate your perspective.”

As Faith Church leaders make plans, I can guarantee that we will not please everyone! I hope you chuckled when you read that, because I had a smile when I wrote it. It’s true, isn’t it? There may be some at Faith who wanted us to get back together two weeks ago, while others are okay if we reopen in July.

How would God have us think about this? 3 thoughts & 2 important articles…

1. God would have us thoughtfully submit to governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-5). Indeed, the church is beholden to a higher, divine authority. And yet we are still called to submit to the governing authorities, under certain conditions: the government should have a reasonable argument & they aren’t singling out religious groups. We believe these two conditions are being met at this stage, so we will continue to follow the guidance of our governmental leaders. When is it ok to practice civil disobedience? I’d urge you to read this great article by Jonathan Leeman which answers that question (click here).

2. God would have us thoughtfully follow our church elders (Hebrews 13:7, 17). As you know, your elders & pastors are not perfect men! However, the Lord has entrusted us with the leadership & care of Faith Church. We are open to your feedback and have been listening! We have key staff, the admin team, the Risk Management team, and the Elders all weighing in. As the plans roll out, we ask for your joyful support, trusting that your church leaders have prayerfully & carefully thought through this matter. Whatever the plan, know that it is an expression of love for you first and also care for the broader community.

3. God would have us thoughtfully love one another (Eph. 4:2; 1 Pet. 4:8). Costi Hinn again writes: “What will it matter if we re-assimilate only to end up ‘socially distant’ again not because of a virus, but because of our inability to love others who approach COVID-19 differently than we do?” In the weeks ahead, you may get into conversations with brothers or sisters at Faith who disagree with you. That’s ok! We want to create space for healthy disagreement, especially where the Bible is silent. Regardless of differing opinions, God has called us to love each other! So please prepare your hearts for loving those (including leaders) you may disagree with. Look to extend grace and not withhold grace. For more on this, I suggest you read this helpful article by Costi Hinn (click here).

2 quick items…

  • Join us Wednesday night, 8-9p, for our next lesson in “Theology with the Pastors.” We will discuss the in’s and out’s of baptism, including how it displays the gospel and preserves the health of local churches. Click on the following Zoom link to join: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom).
  • Don’t forget to join us next week for “Prayer with the Pastors” – Tuesdays from 12-1p. Click on this Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom). We look forward to praying with you each week!

Warmly,

Godwin

Teaching the Whole Counsel of God

April 30th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Evening Faith Church,
 
Our family had some light & silly moments this week, which included tickle fights, make-up-a-story contests, and the dorkiest, spontaneous dance party you can imagine.  Thankfully all video recordings have been deleted.  We also recently found out that some friends are pregnant with their first child – a girl!  Tears of joy, friends.  I’ve been living in the glow of these moments.  
 
Then, just a few hours ago, I began to pursue news outlets and my Facebook feed.  And I was quickly reminded that these are dark times.  Many are depressed, hurting, lonely, anxious, and confused.  In the political arena, our country is so painfully divided and so quick to explode.  (Sigh – you think Canada would have me?)  The juxtaposition of glow & darkness is quite disorienting, isn’t it?  I’m reminded that for all the good, we still live in a fallen world.  And for all the pain, there is still hope.  
 
Because of Jesus.
 
I don’t say that glibly.  I don’t say that without compassion for the broken.  I do say that full of hope.  He has done everything necessary for victory over this present darkness (Col. 2:9-15).  We can be confident that this victory will get worked out over time (Col. 1:15-23).  We can trust him for that!  And we can lean into his grace as we wait on him.  The Psalmist reminds us:  “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Ps. 27:14).  So we celebrate the good; we battle the darkness; and we wait on our God.  
 
Check out this new video I made for your encouragement in my backyard (click here).  This one is about communing with God, killing sin, and resting in Jesus. I pray you will be strengthened by this!    
 
Here’s a friendly reminder to join your pastors next week for “Prayer with the Pastors” (Tuesdays, 12-1p).  Click on this Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom).  We look forward to praying with you.  
 
It is truly a joy to be your pastor!  I miss you all so much and can’t wait to see you. 
 
Warmly,
 
Godwin

On Communing with God, Killing Sin, and Resting in Jesus

April 28th – Messages From Pastor Godwin & Pastor Bryan


Good Evening Faith Church Family,

By now you’ve hopefully heard that Governor DeWine is beginning to slowly & carefully “open up” our state in May. You can read about the details by clicking here. This is good news! Of course, we (Elders & Staff) are still wrestling with how these plans correspond to Faith Church’s slow & careful reopening. As you would imagine, our plans will involve phases. Please continue to pray for wisdom and insight! Look for further communication with a detailed plan in the coming weeks.

I also wanted to pass along a helpful article on dealing with grief during this COVID-19 season. Many of us have been grieving various aspects of life that we were looking forward to – from one-off events like weddings & graduations, to weekly commitments that have become part of our regular routine like church & date nights. This sense of loss may continue in the coming weeks & months as well. If you’re like me, then you’re tempted to ignore these feelings and plod on. Just toughen up and get things done, right?! Well, Joe Carter (from the Gospel Coalition) challenges that notion. He reminds us that the Bible does not ignore or minimize grief. He gently encourages us to face those feelings with God and others. I especially appreciated the section about helping our kids deal with loss. I hope it edifies you, as it has edified me…

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/handle-grief-and-loss-coronavirus-crisis/

Here are a few announcements…

1. If you didn’t get the chance, I’d encourage you to watch Sunday’s video with a message on Colossians 2:4-15 (click here). At that website, you’ll also find links for giving, prayer requests, and a children’s lesson by Pastor Drew. Check it out!

2. Join us Wednesday night, 8-9p, for our next lesson in “Theology with the Pastors.” We will consider how expository preaching and other expository ministries are vital for church life. To access & print the class notes for this session, please click this link. For the class, click on the following Zoom link to join: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom).

3. Check out the next installment in the Family Worship video series (click here). In this week’s Family Worship series, Pastor Bryan shares 4 things parents can give their kids to keep them engaged in Family Worship.

Have a great week, brothers and sisters!

Warmly,

Godwin

Keeping Your Kids Engaged

April 23rd – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Evening Church Family,

Have you heard of Martin Lloyd-Jones? He was a mid-20th century Welsh preacher and medical doctor, and had an extraordinary ministry in the heart of London for decades. He was buddies with John Stott and J.I. Packer. What makes him stick out to me was not only his passionate expository preaching, but his burning zeal to see spiritual revival in his church, Westminster Chapel. As someone who longs for spiritual awakening in our church, I have found Lloyd-Jones a great encouragement. You can learn more about him by clicking here.

In Lloyd-Jones’ excellent book, Spiritual Depression, he reflects on the nature of faith and fear while considering the story of Jesus calming the storm (Luke 8:22-25). In that sermon, he says the following short phrase that I’ve been pondering for a few days:

Faith is a refusal to panic.

Even besides this blasted pandemic, it’s not hard to imagine other reasons for paralyzing fear or overwhelming anxiety. The temptation to panic, in small or big ways, is very real. This is why faith is paramount. But faith in what? Yes, “Jesus” is the right answer to that question. But what does that actually mean?

In an effort to strengthen your faith in Christ over fear, I want to present you with John Piper’s latest book Coronavirus and Christ. In this short book, Piper invites readers “to stand on the solid Rock, who is Jesus Christ, in whom our souls can be sustained by the sovereign God who ordains, governs, and reigns over all things to accomplish his wise and good purposes for those who trust in him.” Piper asks and answers the important question “What is God doing through the coronavirus?”

To get this book, click here. The digital version and audiobook versions (read by John Piper) are FREE! The hardcopy version costs $8.99. I’d urge you to devour this book, in an effort to fuel your faith in Christ and sap the power of fear in your heart.

I’d like to also invite you to two events…

1. Join us for “Prayer with the Pastors” on Tuesdays from 12-1p. Click on this Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom). We look forward to praying with you next week!

2. Next Wednesday evening we will continue our “Theology with the Pastors” class (Wednesdays, 8-9p). Pastor Ryan kicked us off yesterday with a great lesson on the nature of the church. Next week we will think about how expository preaching and other expository ministries uniquely bring health & vitality to a local church. Join us by clicking on the following Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom).

Love you all,

Godwin

April 21st – Messages From Pastor Godwin & Pastor Bryan


Morning Church Family,

Pray at all times in the Spirit, with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Eph. 6:18

This morning I want to ask you for prayer. As you’ve likely heard, our governmental leaders are working towards slowly opening up this country – with a 3-phased approach (click here for more info). While this prospect is exciting, we (Elders & Staff) are working to create a multi-faceted plan for slowly and cautiously opening up our church. So please pray for wisdom! We will communicate our plans to you as soon as we can. We appreciate your patience.

Please continue to pray for all our students (elementary, middle, high, and college students), as they are continuing to persevere in their studies from home. Our Governor recently brought us the news that public schools will not reopen this school year. Pray especially for High School Seniors, who are completing their final year with a good tinge of disappointment. I can’t imagine not attending prom, skipping spring break, missing the scheduled graduation, and not connecting with my friends for the last time. Pray for their hearts!

How else might you intercede for the saints at Faith Church (Eph 6:18)? A few ideas…

  • Groups of people you can pray for: our missionaries; the depressed & discouraged; those struggling with physical ailments & chronic illness; those struggling financially or looking for a job; the most vulnerable to COVID-19 & immuno-compromised.
  • If you have a membership directory, commit to praying through 1 page/day.
  • Give a CG friend a call with the purpose of praying for them.
    Write out a prayer for someone who is hurting right now, and send it to them.
  • Join us today (and every Tuesday) for “Prayer with the Pastors” from 12-1p. Click on this Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom).


On a personal note, Jeni is due with our 4th on May 14th. The anticipation in our family is ramping up big-time . Pray for a safe delivery. We are excited to share our new little girl with you soon!

Three other items…

1. If you didn’t get the chance, please watch the Sunday AM video (click here). This video includes songs, scripture readings, a pastoral prayer, and message from Colossians 1:24-2:3. These videos continue to be a labor of love, as we your pastors are trying to shepherd & instruct you through this strange medium. We are trusting in God’s Word and Spirit to do real spiritual work among us!

2. Tomorrow night we kick-off our first “Theology with the Pastors” class (Wednesdays, 8-9p). This will be a live Zoom class with a focus on a theology of the church. We will cover topics such as the universal vs. local church, expository preaching, the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, Leadership, and Membership. We look forward to engaging with you! To join us , click on the following Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom).

3. Check out the next installment in the Family worship series with Pastor Bryan (click here). In this video, Pastor Bryan talks about the goal of family worship, and how it fits into the process of discipling our children. You don’t want to miss this! I certainly have found these videos stimulating and helpful for what we’re trying to do with our rascals.

Have a great week!

Warmly,

Godwin

The Goal of Family Worship

April 16th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Good Morning Faith Church,

This week I’ve been pondering two verses from Ephesians: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live – not as unwise people but as wise – making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-16). If you’re feeling burdened just by reading those verses, remember two things. God died on a Cross to purchase forgiveness for you, since you cannot perfectly obey these verses (phew!). And He was raised to new life to give you the resurrection power to obey these verses (let’s go!). Thus, receive this as encouragement to live out your resurrection life, not as another obligation to begrudgingly fulfill.

So what do these verses ask of us? Christians should harness all their mental resources towards living wisely & making the most of the time (i.e. redeeming or buying back time). In other words, be shrewd in your commitments and investments. Why? Because the days are evil. We live in a devastatingly fallen world. Our particular season of pandemic reminds us of this reality. There is an urgency about our present days. I can feel it; I know you can too. So what will we do?

Brothers and sisters, prayerfully consider how you might live in ways that are shrewd, wise, and strategic. Imagine you could look back on these 6-9 months and recognize 2-3 small adjustments you made that put your life on a new God-glorifying path. What might those adjustments be?

  • Is there a new approach or commitment to Bible reading that will deepen your communion with God?
  • Is there a particular sin that God wants you to kill (Rom. 8:13) rather than manage?
  • Could there be someone at Faith Church, now maybe an acquaintance, that could use your friendship and intentional care?
  • Might there be a small practice you could adopt, that will have a gospel impact on your neighbors or co-workers?

Keep it simple. But be thoughtful! Here are three other ways to make the most of your time…

1. Check out this video I made with Bekka French (Drew’s wife), who is a biblical counselor, on the topic of battling anger (click here). What a pertinent topic for us, as we’re all cooped up together in our homes, trying not to step on literal and metaphorical toes! I found Bekka’s scripture-shaped encouragement so helpful. You will too.

2. I’m pleased to invite you to “Theology with the Pastors,” starting next Wednesday 4/22 night. This live Zoom class will be Wednesdays 8-9p and taught by the Faith Church pastors. We will spend 6 weeks exploring A Theology of the Church. In this season where we so miss being together as a church family, we hope you can join us as we take some time to think on what makes the local church so vital & beautiful in the life of a Christian. To join us , click on the following Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom).

3. Don’t forget to join us for “Prayer with the Pastors” on Tuesdays from 12-1p. Click on this Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom). We look forward to praying with you next week!

Love you all,

Godwin

Battling Anger During a Pandemic

April 14th – Messages From Pastor Godwin & Pastor Drew & Pastor Bryan


Good Morning Church Family,

I hope you had a blessed Easter Sunday with family and friends! My family began the day by watching our church’s Easter video, followed by some enjoyable conversation and prayer with our Community Group. We then took down some yummy ham, potatoes, and green beans, followed by – you guessed it – a Star Wars movie! It’s an Easter tradition (nope). I was also surprised and humbled to receive so many birthday messages and videos (through Facebook, email, text, mail) – some silly, others more serious. Thank you!!! You are a most delightful church to pastor.

For all of us, our Easter was especially marked with the sweet remembrance of our Risen Lord Jesus, and what His resurrection life means for each of us (1 Cor. 15, Col. 1:18). It was also marked by a tinge of sadness, as we missed being together. We will see each other again soon – though not soon enough.

Some announcements and reminders…

1. If you missed it, check out the Easter video – with songs, scripture readings, a pastoral prayer, and message on Colossians 1:15-23 (click here). In the Colossians passage, we learned that our hope should be fixed on Christ, because He alone is supreme over creation, the church, and our lives. You also don’t want to miss the special musical project that Pastor Ryan and his team put together. I won’t spoil the surprise, but will say that it was quite moving.

2. Join us for “Prayer with the Pastors” on Tuesdays (today!), 12-1p. Click on this Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom). We look forward to praying with you today and in the coming weeks.

3. Watch the next video installment in the Family Worship series that highlights key resources on the topic (click here). In this video, Pastors Bryan and Drew share their favorite resources that can equip you further in family worship.

4. Don’t forget to take a photo from your time as a household watching the Sunday morning video and send it to us! We have something fun planned. To submit your pictures, click here. As I mentioned before, feel free to be creative, goofy, or whatever!

What else is going on this week? Well, your pastors along with a few other church leaders, will be participating online in the Together for the Gospel conference. While we will continue to work, we will take some time to be refreshed by the Word – taught by Mark Dever, John Piper, Kevin DeYoung, David Platt and other familiars. Pray that the Lord would encourage us this week!


Warmly,

Godwin

Family Worship Resources

For a full list of resources, click the title.

April 9th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Afternoon Faith Church,

Today is Maundy Thursday. Ever wonder what “Maundy” means? I did for years. Well “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for “command” and refers to the commandment that Jesus gave his disciples on the night before His death. Jesus spoke these words a few moments after washing his disciples feet: “a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (Jn. 13:34). Ok Jesus – but it’s a bit strange you would call this a new commandment! After all, the Old Testament instructed Israel to love their neighbors and you yourself summarized the law as love for God and others. So what exactly is “new” about love? (I like having theological conversations with Jesus in my head)

What makes this command new is that because of Jesus’ passion, there is a new exemplar for love. Jesus creates a new mold for love. What is new about his love? It serves in radically self-effacing ways (Jn. 13:2-17). It is tender & affectionate towards those who don’t deserve it (Jn. 13:33). And it loves even to death (Jn. 13:1). Think about it further: Jesus had nothing to gain from us, by loving us. There was nothing in you or me that drew us to him. While we were yet sinners, he loved us. This world has never seen anything like it. You will never experience anything like it.

At the Last Supper with the betrayer at hand, in the garden with bloody sweat, while facing crooked Jewish leaders, before Pontius Pilate & crowds of mockers, as he was whipped just shy of death, when the Cross was laid across His bloodied back, when the nails were driven into his wrists, as he breathed his last lonely breath, and when he was finally forsaken by God…He loved us.

Maundy Thursday is about recognizing this revolutionary love – and then embracing the call to give this love to others in the power of the Holy Spirit. I want to point out 3 Maundy-shaped opportunities for this week and weekend…

1. Join us for our live Good Friday Event on Zoom at 8 pm. We will continue to reflect upon Jesus’ cruciform love by reading the passion narrative and hearing a short scriptural reflection. To join us, click on the following link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom).

2. Please watch this video interview I made with Biblical Counselor Brian Braxton on battling fear & anxiety (click here). Nothing like a global pandemic to stoke up the embers of fear & anxiety in our hearts, eh? If you’re looking to gain a more steady heart or want to help others do the same, I’d urge you to watch this video.

3. Invite one person who doesn’t know Jesus to watch the Easter video on Sunday! God has seen fit in this global crisis to bring about a startling humility to every person who does not know Christ. You and I have been praying for some of them, perhaps for years. Could this be the season where the Spirit opens their eyes to the beauty and sufficiency of Jesus Christ? Friends, there is no better way to love your neighbor right now than to give them a chance to hear the good news. Prayerfully consider inviting just one person to watch our Easter morning video – from the comfort of their own home! You can direct them to this link (the video will be ready Sunday morning): https://www.faithchurch.net/teaching/easter-sunday-2020/

Much love,

Godwin

Pastor Godwin and Brian Braxton on Anxiety

April 6th – Messages From Pastor Godwin & Pastor Drew


Good Evening Church Family,

We have begun Holy Week! Our entire Christian faith would have no credibility without the events that transpired 2000 years ago during this week. In view of Holy Week, I would encourage you to use Russ Ramsey’s article, called “Easter Week in Real Time” as a tool for prayerful reflection (click here to access the article). A few other announcements & opportunities…

1. Join us for our first weekly “Prayer with the Pastors” on Tuesday 12-1p, on Zoom. This will be a live opportunity to pray with and for each other. To join us, click on the following link: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom). You don’t want to miss it!

2. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to watch Pastor Dick’s sermon on prayer from Colossians 1:9-14 (click here). Martin Luther once said “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Isn’t that the truth, even though sometimes our lives don’t reflect it? If you are eager to grow in your prayer life, watch Pastor Dick’s sermon.

3. Check out this new video in the Family Worship series on “Heart-Level Applications” by Pastor Drew (click here). These videos will equip you with the perspectives and tools to better engage your family with God’s Word and gospel. In this video, Pastor Drew helps us consider the heart in our family worship times. Enjoy!

4. Please plan to join us via Zoom on Good Friday at 8p. We have a special time planned for you, including scripture readings and a message on the passion narrative. Click on this link to join us on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/9150175017 (password: faithzoom). A few more instructions to come later this week!

5. Wondering how to foster biblical community right now? Here’s an idea that was inspired by one of our young people (Gabriella McGinnis). Sign into InFellowship online. Then reach out to the person above you and below you in the directory. For what purpose? To connect and pray! Ask them what these past weeks have looked like. Offer your own prayer requests and ask for theirs. This is a small way to make connections in a season when we are all isolated. (If you’d like directions for creating an InFellowship account, click here for step-by-step instructions).

Dear friends, I don’t know the unique joys and burdens you have right now. I pray you are experiencing more joy than anything else. Regardless, keep holding onto Christ (Ps. 63:8)! And remember, He is holding onto you, no matter what (Jn. 10:22-29).

Warmly,

Godwin

Getting to the Heart in Family Worship

April 2nd – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Afternoon Church Family,

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! Below you’ll find a little encouragement and a little fun…

1. First, some encouragement: check out this second video I made for you this morning (click here). In this one, I reflect on the crucial need for us to be mercy-giving people in this season of pandemic. I draw from Jesus’ words: be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). Hope you are edified by it!

2. Second, some fun: take a photo from your time as a household watching the Sunday morning video and send it to us! We have something fun planned. To submit your pictures, click here. Feel free to be creative, goofy, or whatever!

How about a bit more encouragement? I know we can all use it. Here’s a quote from Horatius Bonar about Christian endurance:

The road is rugged, and the sun is hot. How can we be but weary? [But consider God’s grace to you]. Here is grace for the weariness – grace which lifts us up and invigorates us; grace which keeps us from fainting by the way; grace which supplies us with manna from heaven, and with water from the smitten rock. We receive of this grace, and are revived. Our weariness of heart and limb departs. We need no other refreshment. This is enough. Whatever the way be – rough, gloomy, pleasant – we press forward, knowing that the same grace that has already carried thousands through, will do the same for us.

Praying for you, church family – that you will joyfully endure with Christ and offer mercy to all you encounter.

Warmly,

Godwin

Encouragement From Pastor Godwin

March 31st – Messages From Pastor Godwin & Pastor Bryan


Hello Church Family,

How are you? Hanging in there? I know our elders & pastors are enjoying connecting with you over the phone and Zoom. We continue to pray for you. Please reach out to us if you have a need, or could use prayer, or would just like to chat. We are here for you.

I wanted to draw your attention to a couple items…

1. Check out the second installment in our family worship series (click here). In this video Pastor Bryan offers 5 steps to getting family worship started in your home. For those that don’t know how to think about it or what to do, this is a good starting place. For those that have started but seem to be losing traction, this can be good encouragement to keep you going.

2. If you didn’t get a chance on Sunday, please watch the video with songs, prayer, and teaching on the Unstoppable Gospel from Colossians 1:1-8 (click here). I wanted to thank our pastors (Bryan Bell, Dick Lehman, Drew French, and Ryan Broadhurst) and our Communications Associate (Ashley Friedland) for working hard behind the scenes to put these Sunday morning and weekly videos together. Send them a note of thanks if you get a chance!

Our president and governor have recently given us new information, extending the isolation period. We as a church will continue to abide by governmental regulations, in an attempt to protect the vulnerable. Remember friends, this season is temporary! Focus your attention on the things that are eternal (Phil. 4:8): our great God; His gospel & Word; the family of God; and our secure future together in heaven. Let these things strengthen you and give you hope in the days ahead.

Warmly,

Godwin

5 Steps To Family Worship

March 26th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Howdy Church Family,

Hope you’re having a great week so far! I wanted to draw your attention quickly to 3 items…

First, check out this 5 min encouragement video I made for you in my backyard (click here). In it I reflect on the first question from the Heidelberg Catechism, “what is your only hope/comfort in life and death?” – a relevant question for these times! I hope these videos put some spiritual wind in your sails.

Second, I want to ask you to prepare your minds and hearts for our new series in Colossians, which starts Sunday 3/29. How can you prepare? Read the letter a few times through in one sitting, jotting down big ideas and head-scratching questions. Ask God to open up hearts and give your pastors wisdom as we teach through it. Also, watch the “Bible Project” video on Colossians (click here), which provides an excellent summary of the letter’s context & themes.

Third, our entire church family is receiving 60-day FREE access to the Dwell app for our devices. What is the Dwell app? It’s a unique app that specializes in reading scripture to you! It offers Bible listening plans, various playlists (e.g. Peaceful Psalms, On Temptation), and will customize to fit your approach. I have found this to be a wonderful tool for communing with God, whether that is in the early mornings, during an afternoon walk, or while I’m doing chores. If you’re interested, follow these steps…

1. Create a Dwell account and join our church group by clicking this link: https://dwellapp.io/signup/with/4dzfAJ
2. Download the app for iPhone or Android.
3. Sign in with “I already have an account.”

Here’s a link to a FAQ about the app: https://help.dwellapp.io

I hope you are getting outside to enjoy this wonderful weather! It does a body good. Spurgeon once said that “a mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind’s face, would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best.”

Warmly,

Godwin

Encouragement From Pastor Godwin

March 24th – Messages From Pastor Godwin & Pastor Drew & Pastor Bryan


Good Afternoon Church Family,

This past Sunday we reflected on Philippians 1:9-11 on “abounding, precise, persevering, and dependent love.” As we are filled to the brim with God’s love, we overflow into the lives of others. What a privilege we have, in this time of uncertainty and difficulty, to love people in new ways! If you didn’t watch the teaching from Sunday, you can click here to access the video. As you’ve reflected on this teaching, perhaps you’ve wondered where you can aim your love. Let me give you 7 ideas…

1. Love your family in this season by practicing family worship! How do you love your family members during a quarantine? Pastors Bryan and Drew have a great idea for what you can do with your spouse and children. Family worship is a crucial spiritual discipline that we want to lean into as a church in the coming months (see Deut. 6:6-7). Click here (or scroll to the end of this message) to watch this great video which introduces the concept of family worship and helps you get started. And if you aren’t married or don’t have children, you can still practice this discipline with your spouse or extended family.

2. Start with your Community Group (CG). Our CGs are our first line of defense for meeting spiritual and physical needs. Carefully consider how you might serve those in your group (Heb. 10:24). Write a note of encouragement. Drop off a gift card. Deliver some groceries. Set up a Zoom call with friends who are lonely or anxious. If your CG doesn’t have many needs, talk to your CG leader or Elder about mobilizing your group to meet the needs of others at Faith Church or in the broader community. If you’re not in a CG, contact Pastor Ryan B (rbroadhurst@faithchurch.net) and he will help you get connected.

3. Pray for our church family. Prayer is real spiritual work and accomplishes God’s purposes in our lives (Ps. 5:3; 1 Jn. 5:4) . Therefore one of the greatest acts of love you can offer is your specific, consistent, Bible-shaped prayers for those in need at Faith Church. Set aside time each day to offer extended prayers with your spouse or children or roommates. Choose a psalm and pray that over your Community Group members. Call a friend with the intent of praying for her over the phone. Pray also for the Elders & Deacons of Faith Church, as we attempt to lead faithfully and meet needs.

4. If you’d like to fill different needs for our congregation, click here to share how you can help. In the form, you can share what kinds of needs you are able to meet (e.g. running errands, providing extra food or supplies, technological help etc.). This is also the webpage to share needs, so feel free to pass this link to others who need help!

5. Find creative ways to connect with and serve your neighbors, co-workers, and classmates. Remember, they are experiencing the same struggles that you are – but many of them don’t have the hope of Christ that you do! What might you do to encourage them? Consider dropping off a DoorDash gift card with a note. Be a little bold and ask them how you can pray for them. Take walks in your neighborhood and pray for conversation opportunities. In the wake of every crisis, God opens up a new mission field (see Acts 7-8). So look for ways to share the hope of Christ!

6. Give a financial gift to the Samaritan fund. The Benevolence team is standing ready to help those in our church body who are encountering financial difficulties under the current economic conditions. Your gift can be given online through InFellowship, or you can mail a check to Faith Church with “Samaritan Fund” in the memo line. If you find yourself or your family in need of financial assistance, please click here to share your need and someone will get back to you.

7. Donate to our Food Pantry. Just inside the entry doors at the office entrance, we have placed a Target grocery cart. Please place your donations in the cart. If the doors are locked, please press the door phone to be buzzed in. If you are in need of items from the Food Pantry, prepackaged bags of items will be available for pickup outside the Life Center Lobby doors anytime on the third Thursday of the month. Church attenders may contact the office at any time if they have more frequent needs.

Remember friends: “we love because He first loved us” (I Jn. 4:19).

Warmly,

Godwin

Family Worship

March 19th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Dear Church Family,

We (Elders & Staff) want to give you an update after we have spent extensive time this week praying and planning in light of the ever-changing situation.  Recently, our federal government has announced that no gatherings of 10 or more should assemble.  We want to continue to protect the vulnerable from the dangers of this virus by cooperating with the authorities (Rom 13:1-5).  The Elders have now agreed to the following:

  • All church services and activities will be cancelled indefinitely.  
  • We would encourage all Community Groups (CGs) NOT to meet as a whole group in person, but rather to consider other options for your CG to maintain community (e.g. smaller clusters under the CDC threshold of 10, video calls etc.)

OUR PLAN FOR FELLOWSHIP AND CARE

 We certainly feel the weight of these decisions.  Christians are not meant to live in isolation; we are meant to constantly rub shoulders with each other for encouragement and support.  So what does fellowship, care, and “not neglecting meeting together” (Heb. 10:24-25) look like for Faith Church?     

  1. Continue to watch the Sunday morning teaching & liturgy videos we will provide, in your home and possibly with a few others.  There’s never a time where we don’t need to hear the gospel through scripture reading, song, and the preached word.  But now in the midst of the uncertainties and as we live more isolated lives – we desperately need to be reminded of the gospel!  I’d urge you to set aside time on Sunday morning to engage in this manner.  This is one of the primary ways we (the pastors) will minister to you in the weeks ahead.      
  2. While it would be unwise for your whole CG to meet together, be creative in how you can meet and fellowship in the coming weeks.  For example, utilize digital technology such as Zoom or Google Hangout video conferencing to connect weekly for prayer requests and sermon discussion.  Perhaps women and men can meet separately, so that our wonderful petri-dish-kids can stay at home.  By way of reminder, please continue to take proper precautions (e.g. stay at home) if you are sick or “at-risk.”  The CDC indicates that people most at risk are 65 years old or older, those who have a chronic condition (heart, lung, kidney, diabetic), or any other immuno-suppressive illness or disease (long term steroids, chemo-therapy drugs etc.).  With this in mind, we encourage you to continue to love each other deeply (Jn 13:34) – now in unique and creative ways!
  3. Expect a phone call from your Elder or CG leader in the next 7-10 days.  We the Elders are committed to “shepherding the flock that is among us” (1 Pet 5:2).  So we will be in direct contact with every member and regular attender connected to a CG, trying to gauge spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.  We hope that CGs will rally around individuals and families who have needs.  We have a tremendous Deacon team who will also work to provide for the tangible needs of our church family.
  4. Please continue to give financially to Faith Church.  A very practical way you can continue to connect to Faith Church and support others is by regularly giving (2 Cor 9:7).  Your funds will not only go to regular facility bills, salaries etc. but also to supporting the benevolence fund and local outreach opportunities.  In this difficult season, we want to continue to meet the physical needs of our church family, along with bless those in our broader community.  We encourage you to give online or mail a check to the church.   
  5. Please check out our revamped homepage here, with the following 6 “buttons” that may be especially helpful:  Updates from the Pastors; Online teachings; Needs; Prayer requests; Giving; Helpful Resources.   All email & video communication (like this one) will be under the “updates from the pastors” button.  If you’re looking for the Sunday morning teaching and liturgy videos, click on “online teachings.”  If you have a particular need, or you are able to help others who have need, click on the “needs” button.  For prayer, use the “prayer” button and our church family will mobilize to pray for you.  To give online, use the “give” button and follow the instructions on that page.  Finally, for a list of practical resources (e.g. How-To Guide for Zoom video calls), click on the “Helpful Resources” button. 

A BRIEF WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Let me be transparent with you for a moment, church family.  When I think about not seeing you all and being isolated indefinitely, it brings tears to my eyes. I am really broken up over this, though I know it is the right thing to do. As I was reflecting on this, the Lord brought something refreshing to mind: our Lord Jesus has experienced what we are experiencing.  Think about the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-56).  He is no stranger to physical isolation or emotional distancing.  And there was even a time, between the Cross and the Empty tomb, when He was isolated from His Heavenly Father (Mk. 13:33-39).  In some small way, we have camaraderie with Jesus our Elder brother, and can look to Him for understanding and support.

From near and far, we love you!  We are praying for you.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of us for help, encouragement, or prayer.  

Warmly,

Godwin (on behalf of the Elders & Staff)

March 16th – Messages From Pastor Godwin & Pastor Drew


Dear Faith Church Family,

As we have already complied with our government leaders through this difficult time, we will continue to through these new restrictions. CDC has announced that no gatherings of 50 or more should assemble for 8 weeks. Let’s continue to cooperate so we can protect the vulnerable from the dangers of this virus.

Here’s my pledge to you. We (Elders & Staff) will work in every way possible to minister to you. We will be setting up ways through technology to encourage you in your faith and remind you of the gospel. We will continue to provide teaching & liturgy videos for Sunday worship. In the weeks ahead, we will create online forums for prayer, fellowship, and bible study – working in concert with CGs. Stay tuned for more details.

In the meantime, let’s use this time to show love to those in our church family, to pray for one another, to build each other up in the faith, and to share Christ with our neighbors. If you haven’t had the chance, please watch the video of our 3/15 worship service – which includes songs, scripture, prayer, and teaching. You can assess the video by clicking here.

Today and tomorrow, I will be meeting with staff, pastors, and elders to pray & plan for the very best ways to minister to our church family. We will be communicating every change to you soon. Love you all!

Warmly,

Godwin (On behalf of the Elders & Staff)

Shepherding Your Kids Through CoVID-19

March 13th – A Message From Pastor Godwin


Dear Church Family,

Thank you for your patience as we (the Elders & Staff) sort out what we believe is a wise course of action for our church, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Below you will find our decision, our reasons, and a word of encouragement.  First, a summary of what the Governor has communicated…

  • Gatherings over 100 should be cancelled or postponed.
  • All public schools K-12 are closed for 3 weeks.
  • Gatherings in which people will be in close contact should be discouraged, as “social distancing” will decrease the infection rate.

OUR DECISION

We have decided to cancel all church services & activities for 3 weeks (3/15 – 4/3).  This includes Intimate Marriage Workshop, PEP, Path, and Wisdom’s Way.  The only exceptions will be essential leadership meetings (e.g. Staff) and Community Groups.  At this time, our church offices will remain open.  In the weeks ahead, we pledge to communicate regularly through email and our website.

We recognize that this is difficult to process and perhaps disorienting.  We Christians are not meant to be disconnected in this manner (Heb 10:19-25).  In view of this, we strongly urge Community Groups (CGs) to meet regularly during this season.  In fact, we would ask CGs to gather on Sunday mornings (March 15, 22, 29).  We are working to provide teaching & music videos that CGs can utilize on those Sunday mornings (check our website).  CGs may choose to meet during their other regularly scheduled times as well.  If you are uncomfortable meeting with your CG for whatever reason, please don’t let our urging override your discomfort.  Be wise and we will respect your decision.        

OUR REASONS

  1. We want to care for you (1 Pet 5:1-5). That may initially sound backwards, as the primary way Faith Church cares for our members is through our worship services & activities.  But we also recognize that holding large gatherings will increase the chance of our people being infected.  We are not panicking, but we want to be prudent. 
  1. We want to submit to the governing authorities (Rom 13:1-5). Submitting to the governing authorities is an expression of trusting God in these troubling times.  We trust God is working through the common grace given to healthcare professionals, scientists, and governmental leaders involved.  At each stage, we will evaluate their recommendations.
  2. We want to love our neighbors (Matt. 22:39). What does it look like to love the broader community of Milford, Loveland etc.?  Is there anything we can do to limit the spread of COVID-19?  Yes!  Social distancing is a practical way to love.  Even if you are not sick, avoiding large gatherings is a means of loving your neighbor who may face greater risk (e.g. those 60 & over).  Limiting the contact your kids may have with others is another way.  We love our at-risk neighbors by treating any danger they face as though it is a direct danger to us all.

One thing I want to make clear is that fear or a lack of trust in God is NOT motivating our decisions.  We have spent many hours discussing, praying, reading articles, consulting with healthcare professionals, and consulting with other churches before coming to this decision.  I believe trusting God is precisely what is motivating this prudent course of action.

OUR ENCOURAGEMENT TO YOU

These are strange & troubling times, aren’t they?  I walked through Target last night and could see several faces marked with fear & anxiety.  Almost every casual conversation I overheard was about COVID-19.  My heart was heavy for them.  How should we respond to our own fear & anxiety?

  1. Be wise & cautious (Prov 1:7). It might be easy to believe that a show of caution is really a lack of trust in God.  But remember, God never calls His people to be foolish.  He calls us to consider the circumstances and to act wisely (see Proverbs).  Practically, this means wash your hands frequently, limit larger social gatherings, follow the government’s other recommendations, and remain open to new instructions as they come.  God is caring for you and your family through these measures.    
  1. Don’t give in to fear (Mk 4:35-41). Fear is a normal reaction to the unknown.  Many of us have elderly parents or grandparents who fit within the “60 and over” category.  Perhaps COVID-19 will take the life of someone we know.  That would be very hard.  But there are other greater, more magnificent truths that should calm our shaky hearts. 
    • First, God is not surprised by any of this (Ps 115:3; Isaiah 6:1-4). He is still sitting calmly on His throne.  Unlike us, He is not wringing his hands or pacing around.  In His view, all is still well.  This does not mean His heart is callous; it means He has yet to say “oops.”  Somehow even COVID-19 will work together for the good of the global church (Rom 8:28).  So you can trust Him!    
    • Second, God is our very present help in our time of need (Ps 46). His love for Faith Church and you remains strong.  In the days and weeks ahead, you will see His care & provision for you in unique ways.  He hasn’t forgotten you; He is about to show Himself to you anew.  He will help you, as you abide in Christ (Jn 15:1-5).        
    • Third, we are eternally safe in Christ (Rom 8). While our bodies could be destroyed by cancer, or old age, or COVID-19, we Christians know that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Rom 8:31-39).  We have this unshakeable security, locked up in Christ (Rom 8:29-30).  He will hold us fast, no matter what.  Cling to this great hope!
  2. Look for ways to care for each other first, then the broader community (Gal 6:10). Please meet with your CGs!  If you aren’t in a CG, this might be a good opportunity to join (click here for info on CGs).  If someone you’re engaged with is tempted with fear, share words of gospel hope.  If someone has a physical need, such as child care due to parents working, consider helping.  Also, how can you meet the unique needs of your neighbors, classmates, and co-workers? Might God be setting up opportunities for you to share the gospel (Col. 4:2-6)? 
  3. Continue to give faithfully to Faith Church (2 Cor 8-9). We need to finish our fiscal year (end of March) strong.  More than half of Faith Church’s giving is done by physical checks and cash.  So please continue to give faithfully, by mailing in checks, dropping off your offering at the office, or choosing to give online by clicking here.  We appreciate this!  
  1. Be prayerful & joyful (1 Thess 5:16-18). There is never a time when it is not good to pray & choose joy.  But seasons like this remind us all the more why we desperately need Christ.  So pray without ceasing.  Rejoice in God’s unswerving character.  Remind yourself of God’s specific faithfulness to you over the years.  And as we learn these disciplines in the midst of trouble, may He take us to a new level of communion with our Lord (Jn 15:1-5). 

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me (godwin@faithchurch.net), or one of the other pastors or elders.  We love you.  We will miss you during these next few weeks.  The distance will make our reunion all the more sweet. 

Warmly,

Godwin (on behalf of the Faith Church Elders & Staff)

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