Pastor Mel’s Mid Week Update for March 18

Good afternoon, it’s Wed., March 18. We have had a couple of days to come to terms with a new reality. I have a devotion, some updates and a few announcements for you today.

First, the announcements; The SPRC sent a recommendation to the Ad Council and it was approved unanimously by both committees to close the church office until March 30. That is the date the Ad Council will meet to reconsider the church and office closings.

I want to remind you that the reason the church is closed and worship services are suspended is to help our country, community and church battle the spread of this virus. If we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem. I ask you to bear with us as we are all in uncharted territory and we are doing the best we can to navigate through this.

I hope you will stand with your fellow church members who made this decision to help all of us stay ahead of the curve and not fall behind. I apologize again to anyone who was not notified of the closing last Sunday.

To all you committee chairs, please consider postponing your meetings until a later date. The latest from the Federal Government is no gatherings of more than 10 people for 15 days. If you need to talk with me, please call my cell phone.

I want to remind you that the Vision Meeting scheduled for Sat., March 21 has been postponed until a little later in the Spring. The Easter Egg Hunt which was scheduled for March 29 has been cancelled and there is no make up date. The remainder of the Sunday evening Cluster Worship Services have been cancelled as well.

I want to let you know that Weldon Earp has passed away this last Sunday. I have been to visit with Debbie and her wishes are to postpone services until after the Coronavirus limitations have subsided. Weldon will be cremated and go home with Debbie until the time is right for a service. She would love to hear from you. I don’t recommend a lot of visits but phone calls would be a great idea.

I would like to share a mid week devotion to help us stay connected to each other and to remain grounded in our faith.

Let’s read from the book of Acts Chapter 2 versus 42-47

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

May God add a blessing to the reading and hearing of the Word.

If we think about it, the darkness really helps us see the light. Nothing makes us appreciate the light more than some time in pure darkness. This coronavirus is not the darkness of evil, it is just part of life. I do not believe God sent this virus.

There are really good microorganisms in this world, many of which we need to live. There are also some really bad microorganisms in this world that can harm us. Our focus does not end with this strain of virus. There is more to life than darkness and bad microorganisms. Don’t we believe God wins in the end? That has been and should remain our focus.

The coronavirus, however has changed our viewpoint.  It has chased us from our routines, it is preventing us from attending worship together as the Body of Christ. For now, we will need to focus on the scriptures in the small groups of our families or as individuals. This darkness will pass my friends. How can we learn from it?

If we think about the Coronavirus the as darkness what is it teaching us? Well for one, how does it feel to have church taken away? I don’t mean the spiritual church but the physical church. Worshipping at Centenary has been taken away for a brief time, how does it feel? I want you to consider how many Christians live without a physical building everyday. Governments limit the gathering of many Christians, yet somehow Christianity remains alive.

Nothing stops our worship of God within our souls, our hearts and our minds. Yet, this virus has stopped our physical worship as the body. I remind you again this will be temporary. Now that God has shed light on the possibility of church being removed, we need to do something with the feelings we have. This may be a call to action.

Think about how much of society has been removed from us. Schools, restaurants, travel and in other areas of our country movie theaters, voting and other elements of our regular lives have been taken away temporarily. All because of an aggressive virus.

I suggest to you that if the Word of God were spread as aggressively as this virus how much of the world could come out of the darkness? If we continue to withhold our evangelistic efforts, if we continue to never invite others to church, then eventually Centenary will close its doors, not temporarily but for good. This is a good wake up call for all of us.

Have you seen the map of the United States on the news, the map that show the little red circles indicating where the spread of coronavirus is the worst? If you and I were to become as aggressive as this virus in spreading the Word of God imagine those little red circles indicating the amount of believers being added to the Kingdom. We would be helping to write a whole new chapter of Acts.

The virus spreads mostly through individual contact. The Word of God spreads in the same way. Once we are given the free and clear form health officials. I think we need to know we have been given a valuable lesson on the importance of spreading the Love, forgiveness and Grace of God.

The speed of the Good News did not happen by accident in Acts, it happened because people were wiling to get close and share. Then God blessed their efforts. We have shared enough health problems this winter, it is time share something much better.

So, let this downtime fuel us with independent Bible Study, prayer and time alone with God to discern how we are going to respond to this darkness. I pray it is with full and glad hearts ready to follow Jesus back into the light. Be safe and healthy my friends. Until we meet again, God Bless.