March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020

Dear Friends,

We may be scattered and quarantined, but that’s not keeping many of us from continuing to gather.
 
Small groups are still getting together.
  
Our youth group hung out together on line on Sunday.
  
This morning, eleven families gathered on their devices for a Gospel Zone class with the kids.
 

The kids loved seeing each other!  Everyone sang, played games, learned Exodus 15:2 (with motions, of course) and Mr. Matt taught from Leviticus about God having rules for sacrifices and offerings.  “God is holy and requires a sacrifice” was the key phrase this morning.  And they learned the good news that Jesus satisfies God’s righteous demands fully and once and for all!!
 
Wednesday morning on-line Gospel Zone get-togethers for kids will continue for the time being.  You and your kids are welcome to join – 9:45-11:00 AM.  If you need info or help on how to join in, email Jen Gurney at jengiles1@yahoo.com
 
Tomorrow night between 8:30 and 9:00, many RCC women will be logging on for a time to pray together.  It will look something like this:
   
Everyone is invited.  Most of you have probably received info on how to connect.  If you haven’t, send Jen an email and she’ll fix you up.  Again, her email address is jengiles1@yahoo.com.
   
I am grateful for our ability as a church to gather while we’re scattered and quarantined.  I’m also aware that some might be lulled in a pattern that would prove to be unhelpful.  Watching a worship service on line is a lifeline in a hard time.  We can adapt for a season.  But we should be careful not to see the lifeline as the new way to do church. 
 
Here’s why.
 There is something about gathering and being physically present with each other that matters.  It makes a difference.  We experience God’s word differently when we’re sitting in a congregation.  We sing differently.  We pray, not as individuals, but as a body, joined together.  It is God Himself who commands His children to gather together for worship.  He is with us in a different way when we gather than He is when we are alone.
 
Sports fans know this.  That’s why they spend a lot of money to be at a game that they could easily watch at home sitting in a recliner with cheaper snacks.  You experience a sporting event differently when you’re there than you do when you watch from home.
 
A church service is not a show put on for an audience.  It’s a participatory event.  We are all involved in the corporate worship of God as we gather.  Watching on line is just not the same.
 
For now, it’s what we have.  And we’re grateful to have it.  Grateful for those who make it happen for us each week.  And for those who donated the funds that make the on-line service possible.
 
But my heart – and I trust your heart as well – is longing for the day when we will be standing together, side by side, speaking to one another in songs, hymns and spiritual songs.  Connecting with one another. 
 
A final note this week.
 On Tuesday, Mary Ann and I slathered on the hand sanitizer and ventured out to shop for a weeks worth (or more) of groceries.  As we were checking out, I thanked both the young woman who was scanning our items and the woman bagging our groceries for risking themselves for us.  I asked them both for their first names.  I said “we want to pray for you both.”  So as they scanned, I prayed a 10 second prayer, out loud.  “Lord, protect these young women I pray.  Keep them safe.  Bless them for blessing us.  In Jesus name.  Amen.”     
 
Our cashier was wearing a mask, so I couldn’t see if she was smiling or not.  But after I prayed, she asked if we were still having services.  I told her we were meeting on line and wrote down our web address on a piece of paper.  I asked her if she had a local church she attended.  She said “we all get together with my Grandmother.  Doesn’t matter what you tell her, she’s always pointing you back to Jesus.  She has a Bible verse for everything!”
 
I told her I hoped she’d check us out.  And I told her her grandmother sounded like a remarkable woman.  “Pay attention to what she’s telling you,” I said.  “Yeah, I need to,” she told me. 
 
It was simple.  Comfortable.  Natural.  Once I prayed for her, this young woman was anxious to talk. 
 
I know we’re not out as much as we were a few weeks ago.  And that’s a good thing. But when you are out, don’t forget to thank those who are serving us.  And don’t forget to offer to pray for them.  Do it right there.  You never know the door your prayer might open.  
 
This Sunday, we’ll gather on-line again.  And while we continue doing our part to help flatten the curve, we’ll continue to see what the Bible to teach us about how we live in times like this.  This week, we think together about the line between concern and worry – and why Jesus tells us not to be worriers. 
 
For followers of Jesus, plan to have a cracker and juice or wine available for the Lord’s Supper.
 
And finally, thanks to those of you who have mailed in a donation or have gone on line in the last two weeks to support the ongoing work of our church.  If you haven’t given this month, let me encourage you again to either give on line on our website (www.Redeemerlr.churchcenter.com/giving).  Or you can mail your giving to:
Redeemer Community Church
P.O. Box 26677
Little Rock, AR 72221

Please don’t send checks to our street address – there’s no mailbox there!
 
 See you Sunday!
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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