Wednesday, May 06, 2020

"Give Me Patience, Lord, Right Now!" & LEFC Ministry Updates

Dear Church Family,

I have often caught myself praying something like this:

“Dear Lord, please give me patience. And I need it right away!”

I don’t know about you, but I need to grow in patience, and our current situation is a great opportunity to do just that. I keep wanting things to move faster. I have a touch of cabin fever, and I, like many Americans, want things to return to normal, like yesterday! I’m excited that our county is scheduled to go from RED to YELLOW this Friday in the “Process for Reopening Pennsylvania.” I hope that happens, and I hope it stays that way, Lord-willing. I can’t hardly wait for Friday!

But “yellow” does not mean fast. It means slow. Yellow means “Proceed with caution.” Yellow probably means a lot more opportunity to practice patience.

Ruth Murray sent me a birthday card this week, and it was just what I needed. The front of this card quotes Romans 12:12, which says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I need all 3 of those, but I’m really feeling the need for patience.

The book of Colossions says that patience is something you put on like a coat. Paul writes, “[A]s God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Put it on. It isn’t just natural. You have to do it. You have to choose it as a chosen, holy, and dearly loved person. You have to put it on. How are you doing at “putting on” patience? How are you doing at waiting?

The Bible says that love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4), that patience is in the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23), and that patience is something to be prayed for (Col 1:12). But I think sometimes we have to wait patiently for the answer. Thankfully, the Bible also says that God is patient with us.

Please continue to pray for our leaders as we continue to think through what ministry may look like in the coming days. Thank you for being patient with us as we pray and consider creative options.

One new thing that I am planning to do as we enter into the Yellow Phase is to visit some of you at safe and appropriate distances. On Friday, the Stay-At-Home order should be lifted, so that means that I will not have to stay at home or in my church office. So instead of just calling you, I could maybe come to your place and perhaps sit safely in your driveway or on your porch at a safe 6 foot distance for a visit. I’d be glad to wear a face-covering to enhance safety, as well. Whatever the CDC guidelines may be. But I am planning to get out more, proceeding with caution, and I would love to see many of you in person and pray with you in person! Let me know if you are open to a safe pastoral visit like that.

For this coming weekend, we are preparing another Guide to Worship at Home which will go out in an email later this week, and I’ll be posting another video message on the book of Philippians.

If you haven’t already, you might want to catch up on the first three messages in that series with a focus on joy:

1. I Always Pray With Joy [March 22, 2020]
2. Because Of This I Rejoice [April 26, 2020]
3. I Will Continue to Rejoice [May 3, 2020]

We are also planning on Sunday to have another church family fellowship meeting on Zoom. This time, we’re not going to have an outside guest. We’re going to focus our time on giving thanks for our mothers as this Sunday is Mothers’ Day.

Can I ask you to think of one thing you might share with us that your Mother taught you? A spiritual truth, a life lesson, something she taught you that you could share with the rest of us Sunday on Zoom.

The details for connecting on Zoom are in your email and will also go out in the worship guide this weekend.

Being on Zoom is NOT the same thing as being together. It’s not as good, and it’s just not the same thing. But it is still good to see each other and interact with each other as the church.

On the inside of my birthday card, Ruth Murray wrote, “Sorry we can’t celebrate at church; but we can as church, right?!”

That’s exactly right! Because the church is not a building. The church is the people. There are no church buildings in the Bible. The church is the people!

And while we wait patiently to begin gathering again in large groups in our terrific building, nothing is holding us up from being the people of God.

- Pastor Matt