Sisters and Brothers,
During this strange and trying time, please stay in touch with one another, check on those who may need assistance, touch as many lives as you can (electronically) and use the occasion of people sitting at home as the chance to share why you are not fearful even when the world says we should be panicking. Share not only the love of Christ, but YOUR SURE AND CERTAIN HOPE in Jesus!
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 1 Peter 3:13-16 (NLT2)
UPDATE ITEMS (Please read carefully.)
1. Remember, we are worshiping virtually for at least the next two Sundays (March 22 and March 29). Go to our YouTube Channel to experience our entire worship services! (Access through our website or search “Old Bethel” within YouTube.com) Participate! Sing, respond, pray in your home as you would in the sanctuary. God is with YOU!
2. Your church staff is working VERY hard for you and The Kingdom through this extremely challenging time. And it occurred to me that if one of us becomes ill with coronavirus, likely we all will. So, effectively immediately, I have instituted a new temporary policy that greatly modifies how the staff interacts with each other AND congregation members. For now, if you want an appointment with or want to speak with a staff member, please call. I am asking all appointments, as possible, be electronic—phone, Skype, FaceTime, etc. And if you must see a staff member personally, please STOP at the reception desk and ask for the staff member to come out to the lobby. So, unless you are retrieving your mail from the workroom or front office, please do not go past the reception desk. You know how friendly the staff members are and so you realize how difficult this is for us all. But if your entire staff becomes infected, we will have a much larger problem staying connected and doing what God calls us to do in this time of crisis.
3. If you know of anyone who is healthy and is already going stir-crazy, suggest to them they work at the food pantry. The number of families being served, as you would expect, is increasing. We’ve established a very good system of keeping most of the pantry workers completely separate from the clients, while distributing food. Contact Ann Mead or Jan Dean, or the office if you or someone you know can help as the ministry expands to meet an increased need.
4. Be on the look-out for an on-line Bible study starting VERY soon. We hope to have it up this next week if we can work out the logistics.
5. While most churches are cancelling Easter egg hunts and plans, we are morphing our EGGstravaganza into a DRIVE-THROUGH! Community Life Minister Arin and the staff have designed a way for us to still share the powerful story of Jesus Christ while giving eggs filled with candy and the Gospel! I have a feeling we are going to be swamped! So…here’s how you can help. Pray. And also, we still need 2,000 of small individually wrapped candy that will fit into a plastic egg. If you can help, please drop off the candy at church as soon as you are able. Egg stuffing begins next week. Thank you!
6. Do not fear. Pray, pray, pray. Love each other. Check on others. Ask for help if you need it. Stay in love with Jesus. Bless others in His name. Receive His blessing into your living.
Together In Christ,
Pastor Rusty <><