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Some things for us to consider as we deal with COVID-19
March 16, 2020, 4:00 PM

Dear Church,

I didn't wake up last week thinking about how our church was going to have to respond to a national and global crisis. I think I was as caught off guard as you were. As I sit down to type out my thoughts, here are a few things that have come to me.

Please pray for church leadership to have wisdom responding to the situation with COVID-19. There are many decisions that need to be made & your prayers are needed. I (Dave), our deacons, and leadership team are in a position that we have never been in. For many this is a time of great fear. God's Word tells us "Do not fear for I am with you . . ." (Isiah 41:10). We must be people who trust God's Word. He tells us "Do not be anxious about anything" (Philippians 4:6). We don't have to feed the panic that exist right now in our community, our state, our nation, and our world. 1 Peter 2:9 reminds us " 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." God loves his church. Christ is the head of the church, and we cannot help but be thankful and hopeful because of that.

I want to challenge you to do four things as we deal with this:

1) Commit to praying for your church family and for the leaders in the church.

Put a timer on your phone. Pray every hour or every three hours for your pastor, deacons, Church leaders, and for the whole church family. God's Word is so clear "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer." 1 Peter 3:12. We need committed prayers. Maybe you have struggled in the past to pray diligently. I struggle with that too. Here is my advice: Pray that God will guide you as you pray (Romans 8:26). Pray for our nations leaders ( 1 Timothy 2:1-2 ). Pray for your pastor, your deacons, and other church leaders. Pray for our church to be protected. Pray for our community to be protected. Pray for doctors and nurses. Pray even for yourself.

2) Reach out and encourage each other.

If you are worried, chances are that others in your church are worried. It is always a great strength to me when a church member calls me and encourages me. Send a facebook message to church members. Isn't it great to live in the digital age we live in? While some are using social media as a means to gripe and promote fear, we can use it for God’s good and communicate messages of hope and affirmation. Send a text message to a friend in the church. We must stay in contact with each other and be a source of constant encouragement to each other. Call a church member who is homebound or who has a compromised immune system. Let this individual know that you will be glad to run to the store for them.

3) Be in God’s Word.

In my life there is not a better place for me to find hope than for me to hear God’s voice in his word. John 10 is a great chapter to be in. It reminds me that Christ is the “good Shepard.” He is in control. Ephesians 1 reminds me that God has predestined all that occurs in his creation. I like to read that chapter. Psalm 103 is a great reminder of the Father’s love. Spend time with your family and by yourself in God’s Word.

Well this is just simple advice. I hope it is encouraging to you. I love you church, and I love serving beside you. Keep praying and keeping your hope in the Lord. We will get through this uncertain time together.

4) Be a good neighbor.

God's word says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). Multipule sources have encouraged individuals to Social Distance. The reality is that you may not personally get COVID-19 (I hope that is the case), and if you do, you may not have serious health issues, but you could be one who transports the virus to another person. Again, there are several cites that talk about Flattening the Curve. You can do your part to limmit the spread of COVID-19. You need to take that seriously. This is part of loving your neighbor as yourself. 

Church, we must take heart. God has not left us without hope. Jesus was so clear,  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34). In the coming days reflect on this verse. Do your part to be a biblical neighbor. God called you and chose you to be in the Buffalo. MO community right now and for this specific time. We have a chance to be Christ to our community. Look for ways to do that and trust him.

Dave