The video above explains our rationale and our plans for how we will move forward with corporate worship in the midst of calls for “social distancing.” The video outlines a few important steps to participate in our virtual gathering on the Lord’s Day. These are listed below with links.
We, like people of every era, live in uncertain times. Recent reaction to the COVID-19 virus has been stunning. While we must guard against overreaction, it is important to make appropriate preparation.
First a few things to remember. Our Westminster Shorter Catechism Questions 7 and 11 remind us of two very important points regarding the COVID-19 virus.
Q7: What are the decrees of God?
A7: The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass.
Q11: What are God’s works of providence?
A11: God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.
First, nothing comes to pass except that which God has purposed and ordained for His own glory. Second, God is absolutely sovereign over the world in which we live, including COVID-19 and all our responses to it.
So, how should we respond? Let me encourage you with a few common sense precautions.
- Wash your hands and do so with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In that time, you can recite the Lord’s Prayer, or the Apostles’ Creed, or a passage of scripture you are working to memorize. Or you could simply sing “Happy Birthday” two times. Wash thoroughly and regularly throughout the day.
- Avoid touching your face. Ask someone to keep you accountable.
- Boost your immunity. Eat things that boost immunity. Avoid things that suppress your immunity. Take lots of Vitamin C, either in foods or through supplements. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Foods with high-fructose corn syrup or refined sugars will suppress your immunity. Especially avoid soft drinks.
- Stay hydrated with WATER (not soft-drinks or Coffee – those will only dehydrate). Try to drink 64 ounces of water throughout the day.
- Don’t hibernate, but do be sensible about physical contact with others. Minimize physical interactions. Avoid large crowds. At church please refrain from hugs or hand-shakes for now. Limit eating out as well.
- If you are sick, or have been recently, stay home from church. Your immunity is compromised and you are vulnerable. And you might affect someone else who is vulnerable. Follow the principle of Philippians 2:3 to “consider others more significant than yourself.” We will get the sermons and orders of service posted on social media for your use at home. The command to “not neglect to meet together” in Hebrews 10:25 does not mean “at all costs” to yourself or others.
- Keep updated with accurate information at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
At present the Session is not recommending we suspend our public gatherings for worship. If you are uncertain about whether to come, please contact Pastor Wheeler or one of the elders and let us help you think through your concerns. We will evaluate other weekly or scheduled activities on an individual basis. Please monitor our facebook and twitter feeds for updates. We will also send out emails and texts as appropriate regarding any cancellations. Please make sure that we have your current contact information for email and texts.
Throughout history, the Church’s response to health crises has been to care for the community. Let me suggest the following ways in which we need to be prepared to care for our community.
- Think about the vulnerability of others, those at church, your neighbors, and at-risk people in your spheres of influence. Keep close contact with one another. Establish a pattern of calling, texting, or emailing. Ask how you can help. Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Remember that physical and emotional distress often produces spiritual distress. Take time to ask, “how are you holding up right now?” and “how can I pray for you?” Encourage others to express their fears, concerns, and frustrations, then point them to Christ. Your neighbor’s uncertainty goes beyond Coronavirus. This is an important time to consistently share the gospel. If you are not sure how to get started, talk with Pastor Wheeler or one of the elders.
And for a few final considerations. Remember that the greatest danger in this crisis is not infection from COVID 19, but the fearful response of our society. In view of this here are a few practical tips to keep in mind.
- Top off your tank every time you go out. Gasoline shortages often accompany ramped-up panic. If you have some gas cans, fill them just to be safe.
- Keep plenty of nourishing food on hand. If you need something and can’t get out to get it or can’t find it, or are simply concerned about being out, ask if someone can help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Be careful not to get caught up in the social media vortex of panic that will only grow. As believers in a sovereign God, we are called to bring comfort and assurance, not fear and uncertainty to our neighbors.
- Take more time in prayer and in the reading of God’s Word so that you can remember that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and that He still rules and reigns.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)
Choices Pregnancy Resource Center is making a difference in the lives of families in crisis here in the River Valley. For over 25 years they have been about the work of saving lives — making a difference one life at a time.
On Tuesday, April 11, 2017 the Choices Pregnancy Resource Center will hold their annual Fundraising Gala at First Baptist Church in Russellville, Arkansas. We want to encourage you to attend and to give generously to this important ministry in our community. To register go to the Choices website. We will see you there!
A Memorial Service will be held for Lila Jean Viner at 2:00pm on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at the Pottsville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church with a reception to follow in the Fellowship Hall. Lila Viner went to be with the Lord, January 29, 2017 after a long battle with Alzheimers. We rejoice in her healing, but weep with one another. Please join us on February 25 as we gather to remember her life.
Her obituary is available at Roller-Ballard Funeral Home.
Lila Viner went to be with the Lord on the Lord’s Day, January 29, 2017 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. No longer does she see through a glass darkly, but now she knows as she is known. We rejoice in her healing, but weep with one another. Please be in prayer for her family — her children Paul and Melissa, her brothers Bill and David, and all her extended family.
Her obituary and service details are available through the following link to Roller-Ballard Funeral Home.
Please be in prayer for the family of Donald Reece who died this week. Donald is Laura Cotner’s Uncle. Click here to view an online obituary.
Scripture speaks of the power of prayer and instructs us how to pray.
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:13-16
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.” 1 Timothy 2:1
Let us know how we can pray for you by leaving a reply below or clicking on the comment callout on the right.