Midweek Message 01/13/2021

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #41

 

Hello!  Welcome to Midweek Message #41. I hope you are doing well, staying safe and healthy. Thanks for taking the time to read this week’s message.

 

Well, the first big announcement is that we will be back to two in-person services this week.  After a three-week hiatus, the elders have decided to bring people back together this week. After the staff and our spouses (and some family members) tested positive for ‘rona, and then it seemed like about 30-40% of the church family also tested positive (even those who had chosen to stay home and not take a chance of being exposed), it was decided the safest course was to go virtual. For three weeks it was Jo, Ryan and me on Sunday morning.  Why us? Well, we had all tested positive (and Jo and I do live together) 🙂 so we said, “The show must go on.” So on Sunday morning Jo did the Power Point and Ryan ran the live stream. And me? I just sat there and looked handsome. Ha. You can gag now. Except for the one week where Xfinity interrupted our service for almost 15 minutes, everything went well.  Now…since all of us are back to work and we took an assessment of the church family, we decided to cautiously offer in-person services. I reiterate the criteria:

  • If you feel lousy, please stay home and join us on-line.
  • If you feel hesitant, we understand. Again, stay home and join us online.
  • We will take the usual precautions here at the church building. Take advantage of the hand sanitizing stations, the individual communion servings, and be aware of those who might want their distance.
  • We ask that you help us by wiping down your seat, door handles, etc. with a wipe provided to help sanitize the area for the next person.

 

As we have said in the past, this will be evaluated on a week-by-week basis.  We are aware of the “Red” status of Owen County, but I am especially appreciative of Governor Holcomb’s desire not to police churches. Frankly, I believe we should be “adult” enough to do that ourselves.  “Red” says no gathering over 25.  That brings up a point: why still have two services since you don’t know how many will come back and the numbers may be slim? That is exactly why two services. While Gov. Holcomb has not mandated churches, we do not want to take advantage of our “freedom” and abuse it. We may barely reach that number the first service but since the children’s program will be operating, we don’t want to take a chance of overloading that second service.  So please, if you have any questions, direct them to the staff or one of the elders (Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, and David Robertson). We will do our best to answer any questions you have.

 

I hope you took the time to read the short note which is written in the email carrying this MM.  My use of a possible “off-base name” for the virus had the potential for misunderstanding and a hindrance to the spread of the Gospel. I had two men who cared about me and the Gospel say something to me. I was mortified that what I wrote could have been so offensive it would turn someone away from hearing the Gospel.  That is a prelude to what I want to mention here.  I say this with all the love I can muster. I am not on social media of any kind, except my blogs which are not widely read as far as I know. (You read them I know!!)  Anyway, even though I am not on FB or Twitter or any of the other media sites, I hear. I have ears that listen. And what I am hearing is distressing me. Social media is not a place to air your dirty laundry and spew out vitriol and hate speech and political opinions so rabid that it would make Jesus blush. In fact, I would suspect He would say, “Stop! Do those words project me? Do those words show my heart?” Social media is like texting in some ways. I do text a lot but I also realize I have to be careful how and what I text since the possibility for misunderstanding is magnified. Comments on social media are the same. Dialogue is good; inflammatory rhetoric is not. Our country is divided enough as it is without followers of Christ adding to it. Sadly, unless checked, it can also filter into the church. So instead of seeing a brother or sister in Christ, you see an adversary. Here are some simple rules for commenting online and even in person:

  1. Does it glorify Jesus? Would people know I belong to Him by what I have just posted?
  2. Is it kind? Recently it was brought to my attention how judgmental someone was toward another when commenting about wearing/not wearing a mask. I’m wondering since when were we given the right to judge another person and say “they got sick because they don’t wear a mask all the time”? Case in point: Tami wore a mask all the time-school, in public, even at church- but she still got it. You don’t know the circumstances surrounding anyone getting ‘rona so be careful of being judgmental. It borders on self-righteousness.

 

My space is up so I’ll sign off for this week. Thanks for reading. Remember I love you and look forward to seeing you in person (someday).

 

Pastor Bill

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