As you may have heard, the state has rolled back indoor gatherings for churches (and gyms, salons, malls, and more) due to rising COVID-19 numbers and hospitalizations. There are likely a wide range of reactions to this news, from relief to anger to increased anxiety, yet through it all our church will continue to focus on Jesus and the work He is doing in us and in the world. When I first heard the news, I instantly went to prayer, remembering the words of the devotion for the morning, Isaiah 37:14-15 (NIV)—”Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord.” No matter what is happening in the world (and things were much worse in Hezekiah’s day), the Lord is still at work in and through His people.
Starting this Sunday (July 19), Covenant Grove will go back to online (only) worship services, which will be livestreamed at 9:00am on Sundays and be available for replay anytime afterwards. The services can be watched on our website or on our YouTube channel. They can be watched on your own, with your family, or with a group. And invite other people to worship Jesus and hear the messages.
As we move back to online only services, we need to move forward in faith. This situation isn’t going away anytime soon, and my goal is to help people develop the resiliency and grit (from God) needed to endure. The pastoral team will be communicating three main priorities:
1. Develop habits
Weekly worship, connecting in groups, and daily time in devotions (Bible + prayer) are vitally important. Our spiritual habits determine our spiritual health. Anger, anxiety, shaming, depression, isolation—these are symptoms of strained emotional, mental, and spiritual health. We can’t control what is beyond us, but we can control our habits, and they make such a big difference.
2. Deal with discouragement
Discouragement is a contagious, deadly disease, and it drains hope from our lives. When our hope levels are low, nothing seems possible. We all get discouraged; it is how we deal with it that changes the future. Our church has been continually focused on infusing God’s hope into weary hearts. We have ministry leaders making calls, groups are meeting for all ages (in person and online), and our pastors are available for those who need extra care. We also have a Benevolence Fund for those who need extra help. We are here to help.
3. Focus on Jesus
Our first focus must be on Jesus—before the pandemic, government, social media, what others are doing, or even entertainment. What we focus on first changes how we see everything else. This changes our outlook, perspective, and attitude. Since day one, our church has focused first on Jesus, and that has made a huge difference. This will continue to be our focus in everything we do and communicate.
If you have any questions or feedback on any of the above, please email the church (firstname.lastname@example.org). Continue to pray for us, continue to grow closer to Christ, and continue to live out your faith everyday. That is how we will emerge from these difficult days stronger than ever!