Note from Tim 2020-05-20

Let me provide you with another update for your information and prayers… Our phase-in team met via Zoom again last night to develop a list of recommendations for how we can get back to safely worshiping together in the same place again. And then our consistory will gather via Zoom tomorrow evening to discuss/approve these guidelines. The when and how of our worship gatherings depend on the constantly evolving state/local guidelines and so it’s not yet reasonable for us to project what our first gathering date might be and what it will look like. We will keep you informed as soon as we are able to take a good next step.
 
On this coming Sunday, I will preach on an important topic relating to reopening and all of the struggles and differences that are increasingly evident during these times. At a time when our community/nation would greatly benefit from rallying together, there is division, polarization, and differences around politics, an election, reopening, jobs, the economy, and much more. There is further struggle in the church when some view government authority differently, some are cautious, and others are ready to just meet and get back to the old normal. We will see how 1 Corinthians 8, the gospel, and God’s Word guide us toward “grace for the differences.” I encourage you not to miss this one.
 
I am also developing a vision implementation team that will work to develop strategies for making progress toward our vision in our radically changed and changing context. And so, for example, Brian Ellis, Mike Fisk, and I had been working to develop a discipleship pathway that incorporates Organic Outreach and leadership development. We need to think about how we can best equip and organize so that we are making disciples who are making disciples and making an impact on our community. Note the two blog articles below as they relate to these topics.
 
 
Last Sunday, I mentioned in my sermon that two of our members had taken a turn for the worse. Dave Vander Wiere’s battle with cancer has intensified as the cancer is spreading so that organs are being impacted and the pain is more difficult to manage. By God’s grace and strength, he and Linda seem to be overall holding up. But they certainly need and appreciate our prayers.
 
And then Jean Boyd received news last week that the cancer has spread into some of her bones. She is scheduled for a treatment again tomorrow. Jean has also wonderfully demonstrated an encouraging strength, joy, and confidence in our Savior and we are grateful. But the challenges are significant for her, Bill, and family. Please remember them as well and I’m sure that cards/notes of encouragement would be a great bonus for these two families.
 
It is becoming increasingly clear that this Covid-19 season will go on for some time and so the need has never been greater for Christian community, connection, mutual burden-bearing, and all the New Testament “one-anothers.” So let me encourage you again to fire up the Life Group if it is dormant or become a member of a Life Group if you are not yet. We are just starting one new group and would be glad to organize more. Call, text, or email Mike Fisk and he will be glad to help you.
 
God is at work through these days and we can always look forward with hope because of our relationship with him through Jesus. Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer, giving, care for one another, and encouragement for me.
 
Pastor Tim