Dear Family and Friends of Calvary Open Door Worship Center,
I suppose the best way to describe my feelings as I write these words would be “mixed emotions.” I am feeling the normal sadness, with immense concern for people; while at the same time, there is joy in my heart because we have been given tremendous hope in the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, when he said in the Gospel of John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
I am writing today this with two objectives:
The first is to say that while it makes me sad, it is prudent that we will not meet as a group this coming Sunday morning. When I was a child, each night at my bedside, my mother and father brought each prayer to a close with the words, “Keep us from all harm and danger…” and always ending with, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” Although our church family is not nearly as large as some, we will take all the precautions necessary to protect each of you from any potential harm or danger.
My second objective today is to encourage you.
Quite honestly, if I did not have the Word of God to stand upon, I would be quite discouraged. In fact, looking at the condition of the world, if I had not seen the hand of God moving so many times in my life in the past, I, like many others, would be tempted to doubt the existence of God. But because I have experienced God’s delivering hand in such a real way in the past, I can say with good old Job, who said in the midst of his great suffering, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth” (Job 19:25).
I am also not discouraged because of the words of Jesus when he describes the conditions that the world will experience before his Second Advent, e.g. in Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21. The litmus test of a true prophet is whether the prophet’s words come true or not. While many would choose to see today’s world situation as proof that God does not exist, Jesus’ words coming to realization in our time are proof of his reliability and trustworthiness.
Until this time of trial passes, I would like to encourage you to keep these things in mind:
Read passages such as John 16:33, referenced above; and Matthew 24, especially verse 6, where Jesus says regarding such times in which we are now living, “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass.”
In the time that you normally would be at church in worship or Bible study, please take that same time for personal devotion. While at home, it will be very, very natural to get caught up in distractions that rob you of the benefits of your spiritual relationship. So, on Sunday morning at 11:00 AM and Tuesday evening, at 7:00 PM, may we suggest that you spend time in prayer and personal Bible study? This will require self-discipline and may be challenging at first. But you will be glad you did it!
I end this writing by humbly asking you to keep your church family and our Worship Center in your heart. While we may not be gathering together in one place this coming Sunday for corporate worship, your church family is still a family and our Worship Center will still need tending. So I humbly thank you in advance for your continued fervent prayers and support of our church during this time. Paraphrasing the favorite verse of our dear church mother, Patti, in Matthew 6:33: “If we seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first; all the things we need will be provided.”
May the peace of Christ rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15) and may the Lord grant to each of us the gift of faith in place of fear. I will be writing again in the not too distant future regarding our continuing worship as a family. Please take the best care of yourself and please stay in touch. We need each other more now than ever.
Peace, love, and blessings, my beloved,