Who would have ever believed when we began talking and taking precautions in March concerning Covid-19 that we would still be dealing with it in November! Even though we realize it’s not a life threatening virus for the majority, it is still a highly contagious virus that we have no cure for, and don’t know what long term effects it may later have for those who have been diagnosed with it.
I mention this because when weeks turn to months it’s easy to take less precaution and be less concerned but recently the cases have been increasing in our county and we all need a timely reminder to wash our hands, keep a safe distance from others and to wear a mask in populated areas.
We at Life Community want to provide a safe environment to keep people safe, to equip them and honor our Lord. I believe the church is essential. It’s the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, bought with His blood. Many people watch online and I’m grateful for that, and realize for some, this is their only option. That can be a short term solution, but it can also become a terrible habit that drastically affects our spiritual maturity.
Church is the gathering of God’s people. There is the universal church we are born into the moment we receive Christ, therefore people say “we are the church” which is correct. But there is also the local church where we come together being equipped, encouraging one another and worshiping our soon returning Savior. The NT epistles are written to the local church and in 2 Tim 3 we have the qualifications for pastors and deacons. Then in 2 Tim. 3:15, Paul says he’s written these things so we might know how to behave our self in the church, the house of God. Church is not sitting home & watching on-line. It’s too easy to be distracted and we need one another. Even during times of extreme persecution believers gathered because the Bible says to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Hebr. 10:25
True story; I spoke with a pastor from Florida recently who had one of his leaders tell him that he’d not be back until this was all over. Weeks later he saw the man and his family at Disney shoulder to shoulder with strangers. Many today are in crowds, but not in church.
Since the beginning I have found myself in a dilemma. I have a strong conviction concerning gathering as a church and a strong concern about everyone’s safety. We’re living in a time like no other in the history of our nation, and the enemy is determined to divide us. But if the church doesn’t come together, who will?
So I believe we should make every effort to gather together but I also believe we need to take every precaution. Don’t minimize the need for safety. When you come you should social distance from others who are not family or close acquaintances, and wear a mask if possible. We as a staff have committed to wearing a mask. We’ve talked about a mask only service but we’ve decided not to do so at this time. I think it would be impossible to enforce, but if necessary we will do so. We desire to honor you and honor our Lord and we covet your prayers.
For the King and His Kingdom,
Wikipedia, relying on respected Christian sources states “The annual growth rate of evangelicalism in the U.S. is 0.8% according to Operation World and as a nation we rank 30th in the list of countries where evangelical growth is least.” The church must wake up before it’s too late!
Everyone is in agreement. These are unprecedented times. In the history of our nation we’ve never seen a series of events like we are experiencing today. A virus has paralyzed our nation even though the symptoms are far less than often reported and over 99% recover. We’ve legalized same sex marriage, demonized and defunded faithful police men and women who protect us, we’ve allowed violence to erupt in major cities across our nation and many churches are not gathering, or poorly attended if they do.
The church should be alive, vibrant and faithful lifting up Jesus during this time. We should be fervently praying and desperately seeking God yet our pleasure and prosperity has lulled many to sleep. Our society has changed us more than we’ve changed our society. Desperate times require desperate actions. Martyn Lloyd Jones said "In these days of exceptional evil, are you doing something exceptional?”
I’m in whole hearted agreement with Dr. Michael Brown. He said “It’s time to get back to the basics; deep personal devotions, committed corporate prayer and compassionate outreach ministries in our communities. The Great Commission, adorned with good works and empowered by the Spirit, must be our great priority.” He went on to say “We are living in desperate times, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we are not desperate. Our nation is broken, but we are not broken. We need prayers that bleed and hearts that cry. We need God.”
That’s why we set aside August as a time of prayer and fasting. That’s why Pastor Chad and I will be preaching a series this month entitled “Exchanging Survival for Revival.” That is also why we are going to simulcast a nationwide Solemn Assembly at LCC on Saturday, September 26th from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Some look at that time frame and say my Saturday… all day… and that is the end of the conversation. But before you write it off would you look at our nation and ask “Is it worth it?” Would you look at your children and grandchildren and ask “Is it worth it?” Would you look at our Savior and the price He paid for us and ask “Is it worth it?”
This is a time to confess and repent of our sin, both personally and as a nation. It’s a time to cry out to the only one who can save and change us. This should be the priority of every born again believer! Imagine coming to LCC Saturday morning on the 26th and the parking lot full, and the church family gathered with a spirit of expectancy, and the presence of God greeting us as we entered.
Check out the website www.thereturn.org and if you can’t attend all day check out the itinerary and plan to stay as long as you can. Our future may depend on it. If not us…who? If not now…when? If not you…why?
Break us Lord that you might bless others,
These are unprecedented times. As the cry of socialism is escalating and the foundation of our great nation is under attack and crumbling, we as followers of Christ must recognize “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4) And we must respond in fasting and prayer.
When our society forgets its reason for existence, allows vice and corruption to thrive, and no longer cherishes the Christian beliefs and values that allow it to prosper and grow strong, it will be destroyed from within. We have a responsibility in times like these to gather together and cry out to the Father.
That’s why we have set aside the month of August to pray and fast. We’re asking every member of LCC to sign up for at least one day during August -- and preferably one day every week during the month - to fast and pray. If you haven’t yet, please email the church office to sign up for the days you'll commit to fast and pray.
Unfortunately, we as Christians know a lot about feasting but often very little about fasting. Jesus made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that we should fast. He said, “when you fast...” (Mt.6:16,17) Listen to the words of Jesus in Mt. 9:15, “But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, then they will fast.”
Fasting can be seen in the lives of God’s children throughout the Scripture. It is mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament and about 30 times in the New Testament.
How long has it been since you prayed and fasted for your nation, your church or your family? America is crying, crippled, cursing and corrupt. Our nation is spiraling out of control while many of our churches are empty, and our streets are filled with violence and lawlessness. We must fast and pray!
What is fasting? Fasting is abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose. It means crying out to God that He might heighten our hunger for the things of God! Fasting has been called praying without words - the silent cry! Fasting is crying out for God to change our appetite that we might be more concerned about our spiritual life than our physical life, more concerned about our faith than our flesh, and more hungry for God than we are for food.
It is a means of humbling ourselves before God. David said, “I humbled myself with fasting.” (Ps. 35:13) Fasting demonstrates sincerity and desperation. You can pray half-heartedly, but no one can fast very long without being serious! Man is body and spirit. Fasting is the discipline of the body to deepen the devotion of the spirit. It’s more than self-denial or abstinence yet it involves both.
Fasting is the discipline of the body to deepen the devotion of the spirit.
Would you consider setting a time aside to pray and fast? If you are pregnant or if you are required to take life-saving medication, or if you have health problems, don't participate without consulting your physician. If you’re doing it because I said so, don’t. But if you’re concerned about our nation and you’re convicted by the Holy Spirit, then let’s cry out to God in prayer and fasting!
For the King and His Kingdom,
As you know we began four weeks ago gathering together for worship. It has been a safe and exciting time with no problems or health issues. We have been careful and cautious, praying through our decisions and seeking our Lord’s guidance. Decisions during this time aren’t always easy to make and we will always respect the choices of others. As a church we want to honor our Lord, encourage and equip His children and continue to build His Kingdom. But our enemy, Satan always divides and conquers. He wants to isolate us, overwhelm us with fear and continual negativity then pick us off; one person, one family at a time. He creates doubt, attacks our mind and replaces Biblical truth with opinions and lies. Be aware of the enemy and be determined to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker.
There is good news! On July 1st at 6:30 we will resume our Wednesday night classes on campus. I will finish my Christian Life and Service Seminar (CLASS), Pastor Micah will facilitate a class on Racial Reconciliation, Pastor Chad teaching on the book of Daniel, and we hope to offer a few ladies classes. This will allow our children and youth to meet again midweek. Everything will be sanitized before and after and we will continue to practice social distancing and common sense.
On Sunday July 5th we will resume our Life Groups on campus, as well as our youth, children’s worship and nursery. There will be no small group classes for our children yet, but we will have Kidz worship at both hours that will be modified so our 1st-5th graders can stay for both services. Our youth will meet in the worship center during first service and then in the LIFEhouse for their small groups during the second service. Our service times will once again be 9:00AM and 10:30AM. We will shorten our worship time so that we will be able to easily transition our children and adults to their designated places.
You might be asking; “but Pastor, isn’t there a surge in the Covid cases right now?” Yes, but thankfully the survival rate is well over 98% and the majority of those had pre-existing conditions. Yes, the virus is serious, but it is not the death threat we were initially led to believe. I’m concerned about everyone’s health, but I’m also concerned about the isolation, the economy, the riots, the racism, the domestic violence, the never ending news that only fits a certain narrative and the spiritual welfare of our families and our nation. What better time to come together as the church of the living God being safe, but also encouraged and determined to lift up Jesus in the darkness.
Many may have a different opinion and that’s okay; I love and respect you. Whether you’re able to attend or not, it doesn’t mean that you love Jesus any more or any less. It is however, my deep seated conviction that we should be able to choose. I’m grateful for my American citizenship but my heavenly citizenship surpasses everything. God loved me so much that He gave me the ability to choose. We make decisions and our decisions make us. So may we all pray, seek God’s will and honor Him in every decision. You are loved and greatly appreciated.
For the King and His Kingdom,
Your pastor and friend,
Good Morning Church Family,
Great news! We are reopening at LCC on Sunday, May 31st! There will be two services at 9:00 am and 11:00 am so we can meet with reduced seating capacity for safe distancing. There will not be any Life Groups meeting or children’s church as this time. We ask that everyone enters through the front doors where we’ll have greeters with gloves opening the doors for you so we can limit the touching of door handles. We will also provide hand sanitizer and have masks available for those who would like one. We are taking every precaution as we reopen. We will not pass the offering plate, but have boxes in the lobby where you can give. We will not have a “come down invitation”, but we will follow-up with all decisions that are made. We will have a team cleaning and disinfecting throughout the morning. Please remember when we gather together again no hugging or shaking hands at this time. You may feel comfortable doing that but others may not.
We also ask if you’re not feeling well, or been around anyone who has been sick, to please stay home. We will continue our online services for those who are ill or do not feel comfortable in getting out at this time. For the time being our Life Groups will continue to meet online and our children’s ministry programming will continue to be uploaded to our YouTube channel.
We don’t want to have to turn anyone away but because of the limited seating we’re asking that you sign up for the service you plan to attend. To register you and your family please click this rsvp link Sunday, May 31st RSVP which will allow you to select a service, enter your contact information, and let us know how many will be in your group.
Pray and join us online this Sunday, May 24th and online or in-person on Sunday, May 31st as we gather together to celebrate our soon coming King!
PS - You can check out the video here.