We are entering into our 6th week of online streaming due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is hard to believe that we have been apart for so long. While the live streaming has had its own difficulties, the one thing I love most is we know that while we are worshiping apart, we are not worshipping alone! This temporary distance does not shake our commitment to our local church community.
The Church’s mission is to respond redemptively in this unprecedented time. The Church, meaning corporately, “Southside”, has a responsibility to respond in a certain way.
1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
It is tempting to lose hope and allow chaos to reign as we are flooded with various re-opening dates and phases, and arguments over personal opinions on the situation. It is a time when we can allow the enemy and the flesh to cause division and strife.
1 Peter 5:8-10 speaks to this: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
With this in mind, we want to encourage you to continue to respect our governing authorities in action and in heart attitude as you read, listen, and discuss what is going on in our community. Be in prayer for our federal and local authorities. Proverbs 21:1 states, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” We can trust that prayer does indeed work!
Likewise, there is a clear line in Scripture as to when the church is forced to change its response. If the government would move from requesting us to consider the health of others to telling us we can never meet- we will move into a different course of action. Thankfully, this is not the case today.
The current stay at home order lasts until May 8. Our governor has given us a three phase reintegration plan. Houses of worship are included in the second phase with limited capacities. The leadership board is regularly discussing how best to help our people, weighing the options for ministry and making plans for reintegration when the time comes. We ask you to be patient with us, holding us in prayer as we think through strategies for all aspects of ministry. Until such time, we will continue to honor the public gathering recommendations out of love for one another.
During this time, proactively seek ways you can edify the body. Instead of speaking evil of one another, build each other up with words seasoned with salt, as fits the occasion, giving grace to those who hear. Consider using our church app to contact a different person every other day to encourage them in the Lord. Lastly, consider all the ways we can give thanks to the Lord for the challenging time in which we find ourselves. We are thankfully reminded of Psalm 39:4 during this time of health crisis- here the Psalmist says, “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!”
Finally, we realize that this time may be financially, spiritually, and emotionally challenging. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss these challenges. Biblical counsel and prayer is available, and we have benevolence funds, which can address some financial needs as well. We urge you to rely on your church community during times of difficulty, looking to Jesus Christ, our living hope.
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Find the sermon live here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwEFFSKzVmdVFZ1h3mETtxA/live
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