July 2020

A university student was seen with a large “K” printed on his T-shirt. When someone asked him what the “K” stood for, he said, “Confused.” “But,” the questioner replied, “you don’t spell ‘confused’ with a ‘K.’” The student answered, “You don’t know how confused I am.” We probably all feel like we’re wearing a “K” during these difficult days.

 

We are working our way through the strangest times in which we have ever lived! When we shut down “regular church” on March 31st due to COVID-19 and started live-streaming our worship services and posting other ministry videos, we all hoped that the crisis would be over quickly.    As we began to plan a comeback, we initiated PHASE TWO as “Drive-in Services” from May 31st through June 14th.   

 

Finally, on Father’s Day, June 21st, we got back inside our church facilities in a PHASE THREE “Soft Re-opening.”  The CLASSIC SERVICE is at 9:00a in both the Sanctuary and the gym, with Greg and his team leading music in the sanctuary and the Thrive young adult worship team in the gym. The CONTEMPORARY SERVICE is at 11:00a in both the Sanctuary and the gym, with the different worship teams in each location. My sermon and prayer is live-streamed into the gym at 9:00 and 11:00. Reservations for seating are needed for all services and can be made through our website or by calling the church office. Social distancing requirements will also continue to be observed.

 

Now, here’s some more good news! PHASE FOUR, the final phase of our comeback, in which we will resume on location all of the services, studies and activities that were a part of our church life before COVID-19, is scheduled to begin on Sunday, August 2nd. The public schools in Lamar County are presently planning to open on July 31st. On August 2nd, we are planning on having a full Sunday morning schedule of services plus Sunday School for all ages. Of course, these plans are subject to change if there is a significant spike in the number of Corona Virus cases in our area.

 

The COVID-19 shut down has changed life-long Sunday morning habits for most of us. Some churches will have a hard time getting their congregations to come back to church! If you have grown comfortable in your Sunday morning pajamas, let me share with you Hebrews 10:24-25 which says, “let us consider how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking our meeting together as some have gotten in the  habit of doing, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day of Christ’s return approaching.”

 

We look forward to our MISSION TRIP to Cowley, Wyoming, scheduled for July 18th – 24th with Pastor Johannes Slabbert and Water of Life Church. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL is also scheduled to happen virtually that same week of July 19th-23rd. Parents are asked to stop by our Christian Family Life Center under the west-side portico on Sunday, July 19th, from 3:00 to 5:00 P.M. to pick up their child’s “tool box” for the week. Please make sure to register online each child in your family so that we will have enough tool boxes for all of our participants.

 

Thank you for continuing to give most generously to both our budget and to our Generations Following Student/Young Adult Building Campaign. We have now passed the $1,050,000 mark needed to break ground in our fund-raising campaign! Presently, we have received over $1,070,000!

July will be a month of PHASE THREE SERVICES! You can look forward to a return “toward” normality on August 2nd!

 

I Love You, Garth
 

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June 2020

These have been trying days for us all. We have experienced something that no one in a century has with COVID-19. Now, coming back from such a massive shutdown will need to take place slowly.

 

That shutdown started for us in late March. Without knowing what the future held, we entered PHASE ONE of live-stream services on March 29th. We have worked hard at improving on the live-stream process, while at the same time seeking to keep up with our people through various forms of social media aimed at different ministry groups from children to senior adults. We will continue to keep you informed through various postings to social media throughout this crisis.

 

Last Sunday, May 31st, we entered PHASE TWO of our comeback plan. Phase Two has given us the opportunity to come back to church in greater numbers. Since “Drive-In Services” can house family members in one vehicle and since those vehicles shelter those whose health is more fragile, we will pursue Drive-In Services for the Sundays of May 31st through June 14th.   They involve a lot of equipment set-up, and the parking/security team guides parking as vehicles enter and exit. The FM transmission did not work as well as we had hoped, but by the 11:00 Contemporary Service our amplification system had been adjusted and worked well.   Rain, of course, will shut us down as we cannot afford to get the electronic equipment wet, but we are posting the Sunday service online at 11:00 A.M. that we are presently recording on Thursday evenings.

 

PHASE THREE will be a “Soft Re-opening”  of our on-campus facilities that will begin on Father’s Day, June 21st. Because we will be indoors, social distancing measures will be both more demanding and more important. We will need more space available so we will follow the following Sunday morning schedule: The CLASSIC SERVICE will be at 9:00 A.M. in both the Sanctuary and the gym, with different bands/leadership at each location.  The CONTEMPORARY SERVICE will be at 11:00 in both the Sanctuary and the gym, with different bands in each location. The sermon will be live-streamed into the gym at 9:00 and 11:00.   Reservations for seating will be needed for all services and can be made through our website or by calling the church office.    

 

Our final phase, PHASE FOUR, will occur at a date not yet determined.  In that phase, we will resume on location all of the services, studies and activities that were a part of our church life before the COVID-19 Pandemic.   

 

Our MISSION TRIP to Cowley, Wyoming, scheduled for July 18th – 24th, is a “go” according to Water of Life Church Pastor Johannes Slabbert. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL is also scheduled to happen virtually that same week of July 19th-23rd. Please pray for both of these evangelistic events.

 

You will also find in this month’s Witness information about our giving during this crisis. You continue to give most generously to both our budget and to our Generations Following Student/Young Adult Building Campaign. Though we are behind in our budget giving as would be expected, we are actually not more than about two weeks behind. In addition, we are very close to the $1,050,000 mark needed to break ground in our fund-raising campaign! That’s wonderful giving in the midst of a world-wide crisis!   

 

June is going to be an ANOTHER DIFFERENT month! We’ll begin it in “Drive-In” services and end it with a “Soft Reopening” of our church!

I Love You, Garth

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May 2020 Witness

In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. As he made his rounds, he could either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years. Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station.

 

When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, “Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.” He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s amazement, the engine roared to life.

 

For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work. And so it is in our lives. A loose connection to God will keep us from being filled with the power of His Spirit. Keep your connection to God tight during these difficult days and you will find that a supernatural power is yours!

 

One of the good things that has come out of the Corona Virus pandemic is the improvement of our video and on-line ministries. In seeking to keep our church family united during these days of sheltering at home and social distancing, we have developed a ministry called TO GATHER TOGETHER. That has been the theme under which we have been worshipping virtually with live-streamed services since Sunday, March 22nd. It is also the theme of our weekly postings giving you information and devotionals from various staff members.

 

Our MISSION TRIP to Cowley, Wyoming, scheduled for July 18th – 24th, is a “go” provided that the airlines are flying at that time. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL is also scheduled to happen that same week of July 19th-23rd.   

 

Besides our live-streamed worship and Sunday School, we will also be live-streaming our annual NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER SERVICE on Thursday, May 7th, at 11:00 A.M. A number of pastors in our Lamar Christian Ministerial Association will be meeting in our worship center to share that patriotic service with you that day. The theme is “Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth” from Habakkuk 2:14 which says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.”

 

You will also find in this month’s Witness information about our giving during this crisis. I am so proud of you for your most generous giving both to our burdget and to our Generations Following Student/Young Adult Building Campaign. Though we are behind in our budget giving, we are actually only about two weeks behind. That’s very good in the midst of a world-wide crisis!   In addition, we have recently crossed the million dollar mark in our fund-raising campaign!

 

Of course, everyone’s question is: “When will our church reopen for public services again?”   With Corona Virus details changing every hour, perhaps it is easier to say when we will not reopen. We will not reopen before the Public Health State of Emergency expires on May 13, 2020. Please continue to listen to our various social media postings for updates concerning our reopening for public services.

 

May is going to be an ANOTHER DIFFERENT month! So, STATY SAFE and WORSHIP with us VIRTUALLY!! 

 

I Love You, Garth
 

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