Pastoral letter July 10, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

We continue to ride the roller coaster of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Here in Houston, we haven’t heard much to encourage us that we are seeing the end of this anytime soon.  With this uncertainty comes much anxiety and tension.

One verse that may be helpful to meditate on in the midst of the current uncertainty is John 16:33. In this verse, Jesus says: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Whatever your personal or family situation is, none of it is a surprise to our Lord.  Uncertainty, hardship, and the anxiety, frustration, and depression that often stem from these circumstances are part of living in a fallen world.  Personal peace is not going to be obtained by asserting control in response to the tensions that we feel at the expense of our relationships.  Jesus gives us the true peace that we need.  He gives us peace with God, which he purchased for us at the cross.  Our peace is in him, who has overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Peace is knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  So whatever trials that you may be going through, God’s gifts of grace and peace that he gives through our Lord Jesus Christ accompany you.  While you may not feel a sense of relief or relaxation, you can know objectively that these are the gifts of God.  Receive them, trust him, and rely on his promise.

THANK YOU FOR RESPONDING TO OUR NEED FOR LIVESTREAM VOLUNTEERS

Several of you volunteered to help with our livestream after I put out the need last week.  We really appreciate your willingness to step in and help!  As COVID-19 cases surge in Houston the live stream is becoming a spiritual lifeline to many.  So, we appreciate your efforts to keep this going.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION

My book recommendation this week is a book called Faith, Hope, and Love:  The Christ-Centered Way to Grow in Grace, by Mark Jones.  Dr. Jones is a PCA pastor in Vancouver, British Columbia, and has written a number of books combining a robust exposition of Biblical and confessional doctrine with experiential Christianity.  Both Augustine and Thomas Aquinas described faith, hope, and love as the “theological virtues.”  Older writers developed catechisms around these themes.  Perhaps the most notable is the Heidelberg Catechism, which follows the ancient pattern of faith being explained by the Apostles Creed; hope, through the Lord’s Prayer, and love through the Ten Commandments.  Another way to state this is that we are taught how to believe, how to pray, and how to live.

What this book does is that it develops these theological virtues in the form of 58 questions and answers.  The questions and answers are brief, which makes this book ideal for personal or family worship, or an entry-level book into the heart of Biblical living.

WORSHIP INSTRUCTIONS

In light of the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the statewide order from the Governor requiring masks indoors where the public gathers, this session asks you to follow the instructions below for worship attendance on this Lord’s Day.

If you choose to attend in person worship, we would ask that you wear masks throughout the entire duration of worship. In addition, we request that for the benefit of others, that you practice social distancing, handwashing, and hand sanitizing diligently.

We also request that you exercise extreme caution in determining whether or not to attend worship in person. If you or any person in your family has heightened risk to contract COVID-19 and become seriously infected, we urge you to stay home and avail yourselves of live stream worship.

Thank you so much for your willingness to comply with these requests, and your willingness to put the interests of others ahead of your own as we seek to be able to continue to worship together in person.

CHURCH SERVICES

Once again, as long as social distancing is recommended, if you decide to stay home for reasons of conscience or from an abundance of caution, we honor, respect, and support your decision. We continue to offer livestream service at 11 AM and 5 PM here.  If you find that there are still starts and stops and gaps in the livestream service, you may access the recorded service, which is available shortly after the conclusion of the livestream.  This should eliminate those difficulties.  If neither of these works well, our audio sermons are available at Sermon Audio.

ZOOM SUNDAY SCHOOL

Pastor Julian Zugg will continue to teach the adult Sunday School class on the Holy Spirit on Zoom.  Watch your email for the Zoom links to Adult Sunday School, which runs from 9:40-10:30 and the Zoom chat after Evening Worship, which begins around 6:15.

Your officers are praying for you, and are privileged to minister to you in any way that you may find helpful.   And remember, if you are ever in need of spiritual counsel or prayer, please ask me, Pastor Lou, or one of the elders. This is what we are here for.  We are happy to serve you in this way!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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