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.”
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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).
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?
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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!
- 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)?
- 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!
- 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 (email@example.com), 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.
Godwin (on behalf of the Faith Church Elders & Staff)