"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

UPDATE FOR TONIGHT AND TOMORROW 3-21 & 3-22

Dear Springs of Grace Church Family,

Grace and peace. Sundays are my favorite day of the week. I love almost everything about Sundays. I love picking up and bringing to church people I don’t see many other times during the week. I love walking into the church early and singing along with the worship team as they practice. I love walking through the rooms and tidying up as I pray for what the Lord might do there that day. I love seeing and greeting the saints as they arrive. I feel the Lord’s presence in the lives of those who love Him. The church is the body of Christ – so to be with the church is a wonderful expression and experience of being with the Lord I love. Collectively, as a church, we bear the perfections of Jesus. No one of us looks that much like Him, but in His sovereign wisdom and plan, He is making a church, a people, who demonstrate Him to our world. I love Springs being an expression of that.

I love seeing people arrive that I have prayed for the night before. I love being surprised as God brings others. I love corporate Scripture reading and I really love singing with the church family! I love watching others worship and grabbing on to some of what they are feeling and seeing of Jesus in worship. And I love preaching God’s Word with the hope that He might, by His Spirit, take the feeble efforts and build up His people more into the perfections of Christ and prepare people for heaven. I love preaching with the hope that God might draw some who are dead and without hope into the blessed hope of knowing Jesus. I love sharing communion with you and what it pictures of why we are a church – what the Lord has done for us and in us to make us one with Him and one with each other. O how I love communion! I love the song of response and the time to ponder and think about what God has said. I love the joyful greetings and expressions of love as I watch our body seek to stir one another up to love and good deeds. I love watching the attempts of building friendships and the efforts to bear one another’s burdens – to weep with those who are weeping and to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. I love being with people who feel like heaven is home and church is family and God is real and great.

Those are things I experience most on Sundays. I love Sunday night prayer and the intimacy of those times (and did I skip that I love Sunday afternoon naps! 😊 )

So, it is very difficult for me to change what we are doing on Sundays. We are trying to love best by not meeting together on Sundays for a while. I hope and trust it will be a brief pause. We will NOT settle for electronic church for the long haul. It falls too far short.

BUT it does seem right to me (and in counsel with others in leadership in the body) to take these steps in order to honor our governmental leadership as citizens of earth as well as heaven and as an expression of our love for those who are most vulnerable.

When the Apostle Paul teaches about the church in Ephesians 4 and then gives the expression of how the church is to live out its mission as the body of Christ – he sums up that section like this in chapter 5:1 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

WE WILL ONLY LIVE STREAM OUR WORSHIP SERVICE TOMORROW AT 10:45 AM. Don’t be late!!!! Please go to www.springsofgrace.church and click on the link. There are better preachers out there and tons of options for live streaming worship services – but in what ways we can – I want us to worship together. So, PLEASE DON’T JUST WATCH – PARTICIPATE WITH US AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Stand when we stand, pray when we pray, join us in the responsive reading and Scripture memory and then after the service – consider how you might contact someone to stir them up more towards love and good deeds. Some of you might consider hosting a discussion online about the message through one of the social media platforms. We can video talk through zoom or other mediums and I would love to participate with you in that.

We plan to have an option for kids’ bible study at least next Sunday morning and we plan on a special kids’ time this Wednesday evening (details to come). We are working also on ways to communicate better with all of you. Feel free to jump in and help us.

Would you please join us tonight for prayer around your dinner time? As you prepare to eat dinner (before or after), let’s take some time to pray for those impacted by the Corona Virus.
Please pray for those in China, Italy, Spain, Iran, and Germany who have been most impacted
Pray for those who are mourning the loss of loved ones (currently 12,836 as of this writing according to the World Health Organization (WHO)
Pray for those who are currently sick from the virus
Pray for the spread of the virus to stop
Pray for the medical personnel who are treating those who are sick
Pray for the medical personnel in our church (Dr. Brandon Ganzer, Dr. Grace Yoon, Dr. Johanna McKaskill, Dr. Nathan Smith, Dr. Tim Condie, Dr. Sergii Alekseiev , Dr. Shaun Peters, Dr. Hae-Jean Peters, Dr. Greg Lewis (in the Philippines) and nurses – Carol Benson, Lottie Blankenship, Faith Ruffenach, Nate Boone, Noemi Wells, as well as other medical personnel or people in our church who may have increased challenges and opportunities during this pandemic)
Pray for our missionaries – Nick and Renee’ Gathers in the Middle East ( experiencing many challenges in their international community), Carrie Moss and Sveta Gusieva in Ukraine, Dorothea Schultz in Thailand, Greg and Lois Lewis and family in Philippines (Philippines is under lockdown)
Pray for our government leaders as they make very difficult decisions
Pray for Christians (and particularly us at Springs of Grace) to model “do not be afraid” and “love your neighbor”
Pray for those who have greater fears of isolation
Pray for those who have greater risks from this virus
Pray for those who have lost their jobs
Pray for one another in our church family (consider calling five people in the church and getting prayer requests directly from them)
Pray for our live stream worship service tomorrow – that God might use it to bless and love, encourage and help
Pray for the gospel witness from God’s people to go forth in the midst of a heightened awareness of the brevity of this life
Pray for our church staff and leaders as we try to find creative, God-honoring and helpful ways to serve our church and neighbors
I miss you and look forward to our time tomorrow and a soon face to face reunion.
Pastor Joe

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