Hebrews 11:1-19 & Matthew 14:22-36
This is the Steven Curtis Chapman song mentioned in the sermon
This is the Steven Curtis Chapman song mentioned in the sermon
FBCCS Brothers and Sisters,
I pray you are doing well, trusting God and “imaging” Him under these different circumstances. I have tried to remember to tell you each Sunday we have gathered TOGETHER for worship how special I find it to be a part of this FBC body with you. Sometimes I also tell you that if I could do nothing else but share the bread and the cup TOGETHER that would be enough to align my living for another week.
Now, I wish I could send you some digital oyster crackers, sometimes even salted, and Welches grape juice (and, rarely accidentally tart pomegranate juice) in a cracked, little plastic Christian “shot glass.” If we have to worship apart for very long maybe we will figure out a way to share the joy and blessing of the Lord’s Table TOGETHER on Zoom or some other digital meeting platform. But, not this Sunday.
However, if you have looked at the http://www.fbccs.org site, “The Tale of Two Churches” is gone—at least for the time being. In its place you’ll find some attractive and active boxes from which to choose representing how we as the body are the “hands” (feet, heart, mouth, etc.) of Jesus to one another and to the world God loves.
This redesigned website is not made to attract folks to “come to church” at FBC’s building. It is not intentionally evangelistic. It is made to help us all (“No one falls through the cracks, please!”) stay connected until we are TOGETHER once again. The site, is just a start. More content is on the way. There are probably still a few mistakes and broken links so we’ll call it the “FBCCS Corona beta” site. Please help us “test” it. We don’t need you to do this so we’ll know what words we misspelled. We want you to do it so we know you are there and we are TOGETHER as one body by the Spirit of God even when we are not TOGETHER in one location. This is the true supernatural nature of biblical “koinonia.”
Folks have worked hard and fast on the site to provide lessons for the kids and middle schoolers. Many FBC classes have set up ways to meet digitally in which you can take part. There are helps for worshipping in small, but wise groups, as a family or just with you alone in the presence of God. For Sunday, there might even be a sermon from me or from someone else in one form or another.
There will be previous lessons and practice exercises for the Tyrannus “Inductive Bible Study” class that we just got started. There are ways to connect with every group, meeting Sunday and otherwise, we could think of in our body and get information. We can add more if you know of some that we should.
There are ways to make prayer requests and join the prayer team. You can tell us of needs you have or needs you know others have and you can let us know ways you feel called to help others as servants of the Lord in these strange days.
There will be occasional posts by “bloggers” in our body called “thoughts” that we hope will break through with faith, hope and love for these next days. There is a link to an up-to-date archive of all FBC sermons since the first one that was preached in the Garden of Eden. There are updates on the parts of our body that God has called to different mission “harvests” around the world.
Eventually, when there is nothing else to do, we will get around to posting something for “Yutes.” They pretty much do their own social media stuff so they are plenty occupied (and we won’t get it right anyway).
There are ways to continue supporting the mission we are on as a body financially. Of course the snail mail address is there for checks. We also have included instructions on giving “semi-digitally” through your bank’s bill paying system.
If you want “updates” on FBC as a body and our response to what is going on in our world today, there is a section just for that. “All-church” emails and messages, like this one, will be posted there. There are email addresses and forms embedded all over the site that will connect you with people and information. Please use them. Use them even if are just lonely or antsy because we can’t be TOGETHER in the same geographical location these days.
Please be praying for wisdom for our nation’s leaders and humility that recognizes they can’t do what needs to be done apart from God’s intervention. Please pray for the leaders of FBC, as we pray for you, that we will all know when is the right time to crawl out of our caves and eat and drink crackers and juice TOGETHER again.
This FBCCS Corona beta site may only be necessary for a few weeks, Lord willing! If not, God knows exactly what he is doing and he is working his redemptive plan one way or another. Pray that we will be wise enough and courageous enough to join his plan rather than making our own. May the NAME be lifted up as we trust and serve him!
Please visit the updated site. Please tell others who need to connect about it. It is of course http://www.fbccs.org. It will take some time to add all the content so, please be patient about that. We will be counting on your clicks—actually counting your clicks and expecting oh, maybe, “10,000 ways” something a little like the popular song says.
Everlasting LIFE…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone!
We can’t GO to church…We ARE the church!
The church does not exist for its own sake but for the sake of the world God loves!
With love in Christ and TOGETHER in Him,
FBCCS Brothers and Sisters
This is the longer update on the update I told you I would send.
We elders met Tuesday. We had a remote connection available and those who met face-to-face sat six feet apart at a very long and wide table. It was strange but productive. As usual, the best part was praying together for our body and our world that God would be glorified.
You probably hear at least some of the information and requests coming from government officials and virologists trying their best to understand the Covid-19 outbreak. They want to help protect people if they can. They especially want to avoid infecting those the virus seems to strike the hardest—we who are not as healthy or older in general. Their plans called “social distancing” are sometimes confusing to me. However, it seems limiting as much contact as possible, especially in groups, is the point. This is true even for younger, healthier folks because of the potential to pass on the virus in their wake.
We are called to be “loving our neighbor.” The Apostle Paul tells us to expand that loving even to unbelieving neighbors as much as is possible. Therefore it seems biblical and wise to us to hear what the officials and virologists are saying and suggesting in order to love the weakest among us—both inside and outside the body.
They are now suggesting avoidance of groups for some weeks out and even through April. As sad as it felt, we decided not to re-open the FBC facilities for worship and other activities through the month of April. One elder reminded us, “That is, unless God does a miracle and changes all of this in an instant.” We agreed we would readily adjust if that were the case!
So, again, all meetings and activities in the FBCCS facilities are cancelled through and including, Sunday, April 26. We will gladly update you and change this if the miracle happens. We will also update you before this date if we decide it is best to extend the closure. I remind you that there will sometimes be 2nd-mile servants, staff and elders working appropriately in the building. Please don’t put them “between a rock and a hard place” by asking them to let you in to meet there.
The good news is that, as we expected, you FBC folks know how and do indeed worship and minister to each other and the world God loves without being “bossed” by any human authority or limited to any “normal” church structures (including facilities). Thank you for demonstrating that these last weeks and last Sunday. The reports of so many of you proactively helping others in the name of Jesus and so many small groups gathering wisely to worship really didn’t surprise us.
Our little “pirate church” is somewhat odd. This means our response to the fear spread by this virus won’t be exactly the same as other churches. We firmly believe in, and want to support when possible, the wise operation of the informal caring and worship that you guys initiated. Please be wise and think about how your serving and gathering impacts others and the testimony of Jesus to the world he loves. We believe you will!
We also realize that even in a small group like ours, some folks can “fall between the cracks” in times like we are experiencing. As elders, we are thinking about and, by God’s power, working at this part of the picture. Some of the things happening are:
Lord willing, the fbccs.org website will very soon be updated to a simple site where you may find help to stay connected with one another as you are connected by the Spirit—if you want that help. I (Raleigh) had wanted to use “Corona” beer as a new website theme and “limon” slices as the “buttons” but collective elder-wisdom correctly said, “It’s way “too soon!” My point was not to make us laugh, but to remind us not to be afraid. We will get this important point across in other ways.
If it goes as planned, you will soon find growing selections on the site for helps with worship no matter the very small size of your worship group and even without your own “worship team.” You will find up- to-date sermons and lessonsas well as a link to the FBC sermon archive. You will find a button that will allow us to stay on mission by taking requests for help and giving a place to sign-up to be a servant. Another button, will be focus on our ministry with kids. Another, will let you request prayer or ask to be added to the prayer team that keeps requests private. And, finally you will see a button helping you know ways to continue to support the broad FBCCS mission financially.
Meanwhile, please feel free to contact the FBCCS office by email or phone if you have needs, know of someone in danger of slipping through the cracks, or would like someone to pray.
As the days pass, pray for one another and serve one another (and the world God loves) in Jesus name. May God be glorified! May THE NAME be lifted up in all the earth!
Everlasting LIFE…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone
In the “koinonia” of Christ,
Raleigh (for the elders)