Behind the Decisions – March 17, 2020

Good morning First E-Free! I wanted to give you a few updates about where things currently stand:

  • The leadership and I are working on making an “online service” available for each Sunday. While the specifics are still being hammered out, our plan is to have the sermon available on our website for viewing each Sunday, as well as some links to worship music, and other discipleship resources. I will give a detailed announcement when there is more to share.
  • I know that a number of you are either off from work or otherwise hunkering down at home during this time. Rather than watching the news all the time, why not redeem the time that you have? I have been blessed to be a part of the Simeon Trust for a number of years now, and they have done a wonderful job of teaching me how to read and understand the Scriptures by simply looking closely at God’s Word. I recently received an email from them that they are offering their courses in an online video format for only $9 each. I have personally taken the First Principles course in the past, and I hear very good reviews for the Women’s version of the First Principles course. If you are interested in spending some of your time watching and learning at your own pace (no required assignments or interaction), then I would encourage you to sign up. You can find their courses here: https://simeontrust.org/online-courses/ (I should add: I am in no way compensated by them, just somebody who has gained a lot from my time spent learning under these wonderful folks).
  • I realize that there are a lot of questions about the reasoning behind different businesses and governments taking the measures that they are. Certainly, this is no less true for our church as well. Let me give you a “peek” behind the scenes of our leadership’s decisions to help you better understand why we have suspended services and programs at this time…
    • Our goal as a church has always been to be and make disciples. While we feel that we do that best in person, one of the sad effects of disease is that it forces us to rethink how we can best go about our mission. Given how easily Coronavirus spreads, and how rapidly a person can go from showing no symptoms to needing hospital care, one way that we can love one another well is to take our services and programs online. This is especially true within our congregation, where a number of folks have underlying heart and respiratory issues.
    • The point in suspending services now is to help slow the spread of this disease. If we can slow the spread, then we can hopefully delay the number of people who will need to seek hospital care at the same time. If we can delay the sudden surge of hospitalizations that might otherwise result, our healthcare system will be better able to handle those who do need care.
    • At this point, a number of folks might think that suspending church is overreacting or jumping the gun a bit. I understand that tension. Yet I would also say that reacting now – reacting before we have a confirmed case in our city – is precisely the point. The goal is to get several weeks down the road, hopefully past the peak of the disease, and have life be changed as little as possible. We want to be able to say “you know, that wasn’t too bad at all.” If everything goes right, we might well feel like we have over-corrected – and that’s how we’ll know we’ve been successful. But if, on the other hand, we do nothing now and wait until sickness is rampant in our community before acting, then the lessons we’ve seen from other countries will have been wasted, and we’ll have wished that we would have acted sooner.
  • Lastly, remember to care for yourself at this time. Get good sleep, don’t be a news junkie. Go outside and take a walk around the block. Send an encouraging text or email to somebody else in the congregation – let them know that you are praying for them. If you are a parent, this is also the time to be explaining to your children about how we trust in the Lord, even at times like these. This is also the time to maintain those good spiritual practices of being in prayer and in the Word each day. And if you’ve fallen behind in them, what better time to get back into the habit? Don’t forget that our Bible reading program is available online, including the devotional, in both written and audio formats at: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/