Thank you for your prayers for wisdom. The elders met again last night and discussed whether to meet as normal on Sunday morning. After much discussion and thinking through what God requires of us, we have decided not to meet at the building on Sunday morning.
- The elders are confident this decision is not a failure to obey the command of Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake assembling together. Our heart, like your heart, is to worship together. We want to be back together as a Body as soon as possible. How we seek to fulfill the command of Hebrews 10:25 and express this desire during this time will be seen below. Churches have often been forced not to meet for a short time during an emergency, and the government is handling it as such. We can't wait to be back together again. And until we can be, we can still "encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).
- The elders do believe that this decision is a way we can obey the command to love our neighbors as ourselves. We want to act wisely to prevent the spread of this coronavirus and COVID-19. Like you, we are especially concerned to prevent the spread to older members of our society or to those who consistently come in contact with older members of our society.
- The elders believe that this decision is a way we can honor the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-17). While it is possible that we could all meet and still be under Governor Newsom's limitation of 250 people, we would be getting very close to that number. We would also be hard-pressed to follow the recommendation of six feet of distance. God has placed the government for our good (Romans 13:4). We believe by not meeting we are faithfully following Peter's command in 1 Peter 2:17 to "Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king."
- By God's grace, the elders are not motivated by fear. And we don't want you to be either. We want you to continue to love one another, love your neighbors, serve one another, practice hospitality and proclaim the reason for the hope that you have. We want you to be wise but not fearful. As those who have the certainty of heaven, we are not afraid of dying. But we are in a lost world, where by the wise and tempered actions of many, those without the Lord may be granted more time in which to repent.
- The elders are also encouraged in their decision by the fact that many like-minded churches have followed the same course.
- For this Sunday, March 15, Lord willing, we will pre-record Scripture reading, prayer and sermon and have it hosted where you can download it. More concrete information including a website address where you can download the sermon will become available as the day progresses.
- For next Sunday, March 22nd, if we can get the technology working consistently, we hope to live stream our worship service at 10:30 a.m. Please pray that the Lord will give wisdom regarding how to stream well. If you have expertise in this area and time to give, please let us know. We are hoping to live stream on March 22 and March 29.
- We want to encourage everyone to meet on Sundays at 10:30 to worship with a small group of other believers from Cornerstone, through singing, listening to the sermon and having a brief time of prayer. Reach out to others in your care group and/or to someone new to the church so you can worship together. Our heart is that everyone will have someone with whom to meet on Sunday morning. But our heart is also that groups don't become so large that health recommendations become too difficult to follow.
- For the sake of clarity, we will not be having Equipping Hour, Children's Ministry or Worship service on March 15-29. If the elders believe more time is prudent, that length will be extended.
- The elders would like to encourage you to continue meeting for Roots and Care Groups during this time. But please remember to be extra cautious. Avoid hand-shaking and hugging. Stay home if you are sick. Plan appropriately for extra distance between people. Be wise if you are caring for someone who is older. If you have portable hand sanitizer, bring it with you. Do what you can to prevent the spread of this virus, whether to you or from you, even if you are fairly certain you have not come in contact with it.
- I will be taking a break from our 2 Peter series. My plan is to preach from Habakkuk 3 on Sunday and Psalm 46 on March 22nd. I believe these passages will encourage you.
- Find saints to meet with on every Sunday morning at 10:30am and join us in worshiping our Savior from your homes.
- Continue to meet during the week in your care groups. The church will be open on Wednesday and Thursday nights if you need to change location to allow for more space. (On Friday night, Roots and a care group are already meeting here, so space is limited.)
- Pray for the hearts of saints around you to trust the Lord and meditate on His Word.
- Pray for God to sustain the medical professionals among us through what may become an exhausting season.
- Encourage one another daily. Those who have been tempted to spiritually isolate may be even more tempted.
- Many people with more time or at home alone will be making choices of what to watch on-line. Be godly and fear the Lord. Remember His presence and His reward.
- Take the opportunity to find new ways to meet your neighbors and serve as you have opportunity. Social distancing may lead to the rediscovery of neighbors. Offer to pick up something for someone when you go to the grocery store.
- Pray for the advance of God's Kingdom. Those who are afraid, sick, and perhaps even dying may look for hope. God's people are the only ones who can give Hope.
- Keep an ear out for when members of our Body begin to have financial needs due to shut-downs. We want to help one another.
- Reach out if we can be of any service to you. If you need anything, physical or spiritual, the Saints will be there for you. My number is 509-993-5019.
Please let me, or any of the other elders know, if you have any questions.
I cannot wait to be gathered with every one of you again.
Isaiah, on behalf of the elders of Cornerstone Bible Church.