Harvest, Sunday School, and more updates from Pastor Nate

Good day ACC Family!

Pastor Nate here with an update on all things church related. We are in strange times in the midst of COVID, but we know that God is in control and he is our Rock and Fortress. We will trust him in the midst of all these things, and we will get thru this together!

HARVEST

I hope you can join us at church in person or online on August 30. On that Sunday, we will be kicking off our HARVEST Campaign. You may have noticed this graphic in church or sign on our property. In the coming month, we are going to be talking, thinking and praying about the future of Auburn Christian Church and setting our minds on the Harvest. In Luke 10:2, Jesus reminds all believers that “The Harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” His request is a call to prayer that has guided the church for centuries. We are to be praying for workers to carry the good news of Jesus, and we are to be praying for the harvest of people coming to faith in Christ for generations to come.

So, I have been meeting with many individuals and families to share this vision for our church that has been on the hearts and minds of many in our church for years. I’m finishing up my meetings in the next week. If you’d still like to schedule a meeting with me, please drop an email to Janell at: janell@auburnchristian.org. She has access to my schedule and will get you set up. Please stay tuned for more details in the coming days, both on our website and our Facebook page. I hope you can join us for these important messages, starting August 30. And in all of these coming days, please be praying for the Harvest to come!

A Youth Pastor?

We shared this a couple months ago with the whole church, but you may have missed it. We are currently seeking to hire a part-time youth pastor! We are looking to hire someone that will also fill the role of male campus pastor for Christian Student Fellowship at Peru State College. So it will be one person filling two part-time jobs! It is a great fit for where we are at and what we are able to do in terms of our staffing currently. Would you please join me in praying for the right person for this position, so that we can have this role filled by the end of the year? Let’s pray together as a church toward these ends! If you’d like to read the job description for the combined roles, click here.

Shuffling Some Property

In times past, many of you know that for the last 10+ years, our church has owned a bus. We have used it for youth events and other trips. It has served us well. However, our leaders determined recently that the costs of maintaining the bus outweigh our needs and uses for the bus. So our elders decided to sell it. The good news is that we found a buyer in Christian Student Fellowship, and they purchased our church bus. They hope to use the bus to transport students back and forth for the meetings of their UNL campus ministry this fall. We are thankful that God provided a way that our church could bless another ministry with our bus. In the future, as we take trips (and our youth group will still take trips), we will look to use rentals to our advantage.

In the meantime, we are also looking to sell the garage that the bus was parked in, that sits in our East parking lot. There is currently a silent auction going on for this building. Here are the details that our elders put together, in case you are interested in making a bid: “The Auburn Christian Church will be accepting seal bid for the metal garage in the gravel parking lot east of the church located at 1100 15th street Auburn, Ne. The garage is 14’ 2” W x 36’ 1” L. It has 12’ side wall and is 14’ at peak of the roof. It has one garage door. Door opening is 9’ 11” W x 10’ H. Bids will be accepted until 8/31/2020. Winning bid will be notified 9/1/2020. Winning bid will have until 9/30/2020 to remove garage from church property. If not removed by 9/30/2020 bid will be forfeited, and offer will go to next highest bid. Please submit bids to Auburn Christian Church Atten: Garage Bid. 1100 15th street Auburn, NE 68305 with Bid and contact information.”

And Sunday School starts …???

These last few months have been difficult to navigate. Between meeting online, meeting outdoors and now meeting indoors, the people of our church have been great at rolling with all the punches that COVID has thrown at us. Many have been asking when we are going to start back to Sunday School. We were hoping to do this soon. But …

In light of the current rise in cases in our part of the state, and in light of the changing status of COVID listed by our health department and school, the leaders of our church still feel it is in the best interest of health not to start Sunday School yet. Not having Sunday School helps us to fully social distance, avoiding much foot traffic crossover and shared space, as well as fully sanitize our worship space between services. We still continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments in the coming weeks and months accordingly.

And Finally … A Word on Facemasks

As I’ve stated, these are challenging times to navigate. It has not always been easy to figure out how to meet or when to meet as a church. One of the most difficult things that we wrestled with as a leadership was “When can we meet back indoors?” The reason we spent so long meeting outdoors was because we knew the risks of singing indoors, and we wanted to have adequate equipment to clean and sanitize between services due to the elevated risk. In case you aren’t aware, singing indoors is one of the ways that the virus can spread thru the air, which is why at points churches having been listed as higher risk (here’s one of many articles that speaks to the science behind this … there are many more articles out there that speak to these risks). So we have been cautious in a few ways: we have kept singing times short, we have maintained social distance, we keep doors open for a time at beginning and end of service for better ventilation, and we sanitize well between the services.

I, like you, love being with our church and praising God. Singing is integral to that. We want to keep doing it. However, we do know that cases are on the rise and we are seeking to control the spread as much as we can. Here’s how I want to encourage you: please wear a facemask. We are not making it mandatory, but we are STRONGLY ENCOURAGING you. We want to keep meeting indoors, and to keep doing so regularly. The masks that we wear will help catch those particles that we breathe out when we sing. You will see me now in the coming weeks, when I lead singing, wearing a facemask. Our elders will be wearing a mask when they share. I’m dwelling very strongly on preaching in a facemask, because I want to be an example in this. And we want to encourage people to wear them for the whole service, only removing them when we take communion together. Thanks for considering this, both to help slow the spread and to help keep us meeting in person.

Finally …

A reminder from the word, for all these challenging times: “Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Stand Strong and Look Ahead,
Pastor Nate



COVID-19 Update for May 31 Reopening!

Another week, another service announcement, and changes to our reopening plan! But that is OK. Our church leaders are doing their very best to tackle every issue possible in getting back to services, and doing so in the safest way we can manage!

So here are some basic details you will need to know ahead of that day:

 

·       If you are ill or showing symptoms, please stay home! You will still be able to watch the live stream!

 

·       We will be having our in-person services starting on May 31. We will go back to having services at our regular times: 8:30 & 10:45 AM. All services will be held outside on the lawn west of the church. Both services will be the same. These services will be weather pending. If we have wet/bad weather, we will not have the outdoor, in-person service.

 

·       These services will have chairs you can use, or you can bring your own lawn chairs for seating.  We will place our chairs together in family units, socially distanced from one another, but together. Face masks are also recommended. Communion will be served prepackaged. The church restrooms will be open for use if needed.

 

·       To our at-risk attenders: we encourage you to seriously evaluate your risk in attending. We will continue to offer an online service each Sunday at 9 AM. For those who want to attend but be more distant/protected, we will leave the parking lot on the west side of the church open for those who want to watch and listen to the service from their car. As well, if you choose to worship from home but would like to take communion, we will offer drive-thru communion from 1-2 PM on Sunday afternoons on the east side of the church building.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to email or call the church office. We are here to serve!



Exodus Apologetics Resources

By Nate Powell
 
During my April 26 sermon, The Guiding Miracle, I mentioned several resources regarding the Historic Exodus and I wanted to quickly note them and post the appropriate links here.
 
The book I mentioned was regarding the exodus route and location was “The Exodus Case” by Dr. Lennart Möller. This book is full of photos, charts and helpful side studies on the timetables and logistics of the Exodus. It also contains information that is difficult to come by, because of the inaccessibility or sensitive nature of the evidence found in modern Muslim nations. Click here to visit the website for this book.
 
On the other source and reading material connected to Joseph and the Pyramid Tomb at Avaris, I’d commend the documentary, Exodus: Patterns of Evidence. It deals with multiple topics related to the dating and historicity of the Exodus. You can watch it for free on RightNow Media, which is a service you can sign up for free by clicking here.
 
Along with that, You can read a scholarly write-up with more detail on the Tomb’s contents written by Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron by clicking here. You can also read a shorter writeup on the Pyramid Tomb on the Truthwatchers website.
 
In all things, I hope your faith will be strengthened by reading or watching these resources. God’s Word is sure, and we can trust it!


Nebraska Christian College: A Eulogy

by Nate Powell
 
As was noted a few weeks ago, Nebraska Christian College announced that they would be closing their doors at the end of the current Spring semester of 2020. We received word of this via calls from their trustees and staff, thru letters, and on their website. You can read more directly from Hope International University President Paul Alexander by clicking here.

As well, in light of the closing, Christian Standard wrote a very good review of the history and recent events that led up to the closure. You can read that article at this link.

This is not news we take lightly. In fact, it pains me greatly that we can’t share about this in a more personal way. The vast majority of my interactions with others on this topic have been on the phone or in Zoom meetings. There are some of you who are alumni, some of your who have given very generous support, some of you who have sent and prayed for students who studied for ministry and other occupations thru NCC’s educational opportunities that they provided. Honestly, it does hurt on a variety of levels, and there are some of you I would simply like to give a warm handshake or hug, to remind you that we will support each other in this, and it will all be OK.

The History of the Auburn Christian Church and Nebraska Christian College’s partnership goes back the full 75 years of the school’s history. NCC was born from the cooperative spirit between a few ministers, Roy Coup, Robert Hanson, Harold Milliken, and Auburn’s own pastor Guy B. Dunning, who served as the first president of NCC. The annual Dunning Lectures have been a longstanding tradition on the NCC campus. Their campus in Norfolk knew 3 locations, before the schools move to Papillion in 2006. Toward the campuses at Norfolk & Papillion, this church was very generous to the work of the college. As well, we remember that 40 years, ACC benefitted from the ministry and partnership of NCC Alums Frank Zimmerman and his wife Margie. Since Frank served here as our pastor, all of the years since 1962, almost all of the pastors or youth pastors who have served our church have been NCC alumni.

For me as well, NCC has been a long running partner in the history of my life. My home church, Skidmore Christian Church, had sent more than 40 students to NCC over the years, and had raised up many pastors and teachers. Upon being called into ministry around 1989, I benefitted from the summer mission trips that NCC led, called Crosswinds. I took two trips with professor Dan Cravatt, which solidified my desire to serve and grow the church. I also spent a summer after graduation alongside NCC alum Tim Guerino, serving the inner city of Syracuse, New York.

I arrived to study on the NCC campus in 1992, in the midst of a boom in admissions. I studied under some of the best professors: Dr. Bill Weber, Dr. Richard Brown, Chuck McCoy to name a few. I met Jodi in the fall of 1993 at NCC, and we were married a year later. Jodi and I graduated from there in 1996.

When I struggled in my faith, NCC Alumni like Corey Miller, Bob Milliken & Rich Milliken were there to pick me up. When I needed partners in my ministry, NCC Alumni like Andy Turner, Tim Boyd & Justin Raulston were there to support me. When I sent students into ministry, NCC Alumni like Austin Ettleman, Joey Norton & Kris Kirby were produced as fruitful servants for future ministry. When I needed a best friend, NCC Alumni Kelly Turney was there for me. There are more people than I can mention here, each of whom mean the world to me and have a connection to NCC. I would not have the beautiful family I have or the pastoral role I currently serve in without NCC.

I was thankful for four years to have the opportunity to sit as a Trustee. In those years, I received much perspective on the difficulty of Christian higher education in this century. Certainly, even when the trustees voted to merge with Hope International University in 2016, we understood that there were many challenges that NCC would have to face in order to remain viable. Sadly, our alma mater could not compete with the many other challenges that colleges of her size and stature would face in these days. Also sadly, I fear that she is not the last of schools that may close in the current economic climate.

But, we should not let this lead us to despair. It is not that pastoral training will not take place, it is simply taking place in different ways. There are still good schools that are training pastors in our movement. I’m very pleased that one of our own, Preston Vaughn, is headed to Ozark Christian College this fall to study youth ministry. (Make sure you are praying for him and our other graduating seniors!) As well, churches are doing better and better at hosting training programs and residencies that guide called individuals toward ministry.

So, while I know that we are sad, I think the place where we need to land as a church is a place of thanksgiving. Thankful for 75 years of ministry partnership. 75 Years of 1000+ pastors and ministry professionals that have served churches. 75 years of NCC’s support for ACC, and of ACC’s investment in NCC. And because we have trained disciples who have borne fruit, it is not an investment without a payoff. As the Apostle Paul spoke tenderly of the Ephesian church, so we note our affection for our NCC brothers and sisters: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” (Ephesians 1:16-19)

Let’s continue praying for the school as she winds down. Let’s pray for the faculty and staff that are seeking jobs. Let’s pray for the students who are making educational decisions for their futures and ministries.

Thank God for Nebraska Christian College.

 



Why Not Worship From Home All the Time?

By Pastor Nate Powell

Well, we did survive the first “all-Online” church service in our church’s history this past Sunday, and I’m sure there were a variety of fronts on which you enjoyed it if you participated in. You could still take the dog out during the service if needed. You could watch from your PJ’s and slippers on your couch. No arguments on the way to the car. No trying to keep the kids quiet. You could tune in and out on your own terms. You could take an actual nap during the sermon and/or the songs, and no dirty looks from anyone! These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online church. So why not just do this every Sunday? I’m sure all the introverts would approve!

But actually, it is a serious question: if we can do church online, why do we need church in person?

I would like to start by pointing us to just a few scriptures, and asking: can we fulfill these scriptures if we are not together in person?

Hebrews 10:25: “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Can we fulfill this scripture if we are not actually meeting together, especially for the purpose of encouraging one another? Personally, I will always take a note over an email. A phone call over a text message. An actual hug over a hug emoji. As we get closer to the same space with each other, we can give truer expressions of our care and encouragement to each other. Online meetups will never take the place of that.

Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Can we, like the early church live in the truth of this scripture without being together? I can share the apostles’ teaching with you, but true fellowship will be hard to find without being in the same room. How can we break bread and share in communion together when we are not taking from the bread and cup together? And although I prayed on Sunday during our online service, I had no way of knowing if you were praying with me or playing with your dog.

Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This is so much of what happens in our small groups, when we can look each other in the eye, speak honestly, and hold one another accountable. This scripture is specifically speaking to guiding one another from sinning. This has to happen in personal meeting and contact.

Romans 12:13: “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Hospitality doesn’t happen over the internet, it happens in person and in our homes. It will be hard to know the needs of the saints if we are not meeting with the saints.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. So much of what we are called to do as Christians must be in-person, personal, physical and tangible.

So here are a couple of encouragements. I know there are some these days who rely on online services and sermons as their sole source of church connection. If that is you, there are so many things you are missing out on, one of which is growing to love your neighbor and fellow disciple, which is what we are called to do in the scripture on multiple occasions (1 John 3:11, John 13:34, Ephesians 4:2-3).

My other encouragement is this: Let’s all use this time that we don’t meet in person to fuel a hunger for the day we do meet in person. Whether its two weeks or two months, won’t it be a great Sunday when we meet together again for Worship? I believe it will be a small taste of heaven that day. And I can’t wait to be in the same room with you all again. No technology or internet service will ever replace it.



Why Should We Stay Home?

By Pastor Nate Powell

I’ve always been one of those dudes that hates NOT having church. When it comes to snow, I’m ready to go scoop. Ice? I’m gonna walk super slow. Tornado warning? The church has a basement, so we are covered.

Yet here we are. Two Sundays into the Coronavirus outbreak. We had one Sunday where we nearly didn’t touch each other at all, except for some elbow bumps. We had another Sunday where we had what was likely the first Sunday we’ve never had a service with people in this building since the existence of this building (which was built in 1912). We did our first online service, which was, by all measures, very successful. Many worshipped with us (We had 1200 Facebook engagements) and God was glorified in our time together.

Nonetheless, it was not with the lightest of hearts that our elders made this decision. It was not easy to say we won’t meet together. And it looks like it may be a few more weeks before we are done with this.

I haven’t been asked this question directly yet, because I think most have been on board from the get-go with regard to this whole virus thing came up. But I’m not so sure questions like these don’t exist: Why should we stay home? Isn’t this a free country? Shouldn’t the church stand up to the government’s edicts on things like this?

I would say to those who ask these questions: if it were any other situation, I would agree with you. If Christianity were made illegal, public worship made illegal by an atheist state government, I will stand up to that tyrannical government every day of the week. But this situation is not that situation.

This is a public health crisis. It is a virus. And it’s worst attacks are against some of those who are most dear to us: our retirees, our senior citizens, our grandparents. By all statistics, the death tolls could be very high. So here are three small truths that I believe can help us understand and come to grips with why we’re not meeting right now.

  • My older and elderly friends mean the world to me: Some of the dearest people in the world to me are elderly. They are my parents and my wife’s parents. They are my friends in the community. They are my church members, my Christian brothers and sisters. They are dear servants of the Lord. They are the people who provide much of the prayer support that I need. To lose them prematurely would be a tremendous blow, not just to me, but to the church. I know that if we continued to have church, they are the people who would still come, despite the great risk to their own life and health.
  • Staying Home is Loving my Neighbor: So because I love my older friends, I stay home or limited to my office. I’ve made a few trips other places, but on a very limited basis. Going places and seeing many people would be a way to pass illness, and so I limit myself, so I can be ready and present when truly needed. By you not passing anything to me, and me passing anything to you, we are all taking care of each other.
  • The church is people, not a building: Finally, I remind you that we as a church are not identified by a place, but as the people of God. Remember Peter’s words in 1 Peter 2:5: “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Wherever we meet, whether in this worship space of our church building, or in the homes where we reside, we are the church. Certainly, meeting online should not replace meeting together in person, but for now it will be an adequate substitute.

So let’s continue to serve the Lord: I in my home, and you in yours. We will get through this together.



The COVID Plan at ACC // Stage 3

Well, friends, it’s another day and another week, and we have more news on COVID-19 that has threatened our regular ways and patterns of life (at least for the next few weeks). Just as it has affected us at many levels, or work, school and social activities, so it is affecting our church family and meetings as well. We will be publicizing this in several ways in the coming days, but you can also help spread the word of how we are addressing the current quarantine by sharing this post:

  • Church Services: For the next two weeks, we will hold no Sunday services in person at ACC. That will mean there will also be no Sunday School on these Sundays. We will make further decisions on when we will be able to worship together again at the end of the month. As an alternative, we encourage families to worship and pray together in their homes, and we will be offering a Sunday Morning Service streamed online thru our church’s Facebook page. Pastor Nate is also planning to do a daily encouragement and prayer time he is calling “Daily Joy”. It will be around 10 minutes each day, and will also be on the Facebook page.
  • Small Groups: We are encouraging all Small Groups and Bible studies not to meet for (at least) the next two weeks. This includes our youth groups on Wednesdays. We are encouraging our small group leaders to use Zoom meetings online to meet up with their groups. We’ve already shared that resource with several of our small group leaders, but if you’d like to use it, please drop an email or call the office and let us know. We will be glad to help you set this up so that your small groups can continue to meet.
  • Pastoral Stuff: Along with the elders here, we want the church to know that we are available to meet, call or pray with individuals as needed. It is a difficult time, as we are not allowed on the hospitals or in the nursing homes. In response, we are upping our game with regard to making phone calls and contacting people, especially our elderly and sick. If you want someone to bring you communion or pray with you, please don’t hesitate to reach out by calling the church number or via email: hello@auburnchristian.org.
  • Giving: As you know, many of us give to aid the work and ministry of the church here at ACC. Just as we will not stop working on these ministry opportunities before us, so we will continue to need gifts and tithes. This is a good opportunity to promote the fact that you can give online with tithes and offerings. Here is the link to see how to do that: auburnchristian.org/give. It is very easy to do, and you can schedule your giving there. On the topic of giving right now, we do want to be sensitive and give this encouragement: If you are missing significant work hours and pay due to the coronavirus outbreak, please do not feel a compulsion or pressure to give. We want you to feed and care for your family, first and foremost. Those who continue to work and pull income will give and meet the needs of the church here, and we know God will help us all endure in this storm.
  • Benevolence: As we look at the needs around us, it is good to act as we can to help others. If you are aware of someone who has a need, please contact so that we can see if we can help in their situation.
  • The Church Office: Pastor Nate will be in the office most days during this outage. Janell will be serving from home as the secretary. There will not be “set” office hours, as the details of everything on quarantine seem to be changing daily. If you are wondering if we will be in the office, please just call ahead and Pastor Nate will be glad to meet with you individually. And again, as you are sick or vulnerable to Coronavirus, please stay home.

In all things this week, let’s remember Psalm 46:1-2: “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid …” Let’s run to the refuge this week, and demonstrate in all of our interactions, whether in person or online, that the Lord is God. We trust in HIM.



COVID-19 Update (Take 2)

A few days have gone by, and we’ve seen many more events unfold that remind us of the serious nature of the COVID-19 virus. So because of that continued precaution that many others are taking, we have tweaked our weekend plan a bit more. This is for the good of those who attend and to minimize risk. In short order, here are the preparations we are making for this weekend’s worship:

  • Elbow Bumps only for greeting. No handshakes or fistbumps.
  • Communion will be served from stations in a way that will minimize contact and risk for all involved. No passing of trays.
  • Offering will be handled thru placing offerings in the box at the back of the sanctuary or thru online giving (to learn how to give online, click here).
  • Outside doors will be manned by volunteers to minimize multiple people handling doors. Many inside doors will be propped open.
  • Donuts and coffee will not be served at this time. Please grab some coffee or breakfast before you come.
  • If you are ill, please stay home. If you are at risk (60 & older, with secondary health concerns), please strongly consider staying home. If you want to follow the sermons online, make sure you follow Auburn Christian Church on Facebook, or visit our website (auburnchristian.org).
  • Keep praying & washing your hands!
Pastor Nate


On Going Viral

by Nate Powell
 
This post has been updated since it was first published. To read the most current information and practices toward prevention, click here!
 
To go viral or not go viral? That is the question.

Everyone is talking about viruses, but not the computer kind. COVID-19 has been a topic of conversation everywhere, and everyone is talking about how to respond, especially as we interact with one another in public spaces. Churches are not immune to this, and we must each know how to respond and react considering such news.

Here are a few ways we can each be reacting, and some things we can do practically to help care for each other

Don’t Panic

First, we need to note that scientifically speaking, the statistics are bearing out that the fatality rate of this virus is slightly more deadly than the flu that we commonly deal with during flu season. So those at greater risk are those over 60 or with other secondary health concerns.

But beyond the science, people still become irrational about such virus issues, mainly because we are people who worry about the future and worry about worst case scenarios. As people who have faith in Christ, we know that it is better to the fear the Lord than to fear death, and that we can be fully confident that God is in control, even in this uncertainty. With God in control, we need not fear the future. I said this yesterday at the end of each service, and I will say it here again: We are the people of faith, not of fear. We must call everyone to be prepared for what is to come, to call Jesus Savior and Lord and be saved.

Greet Appropriately

Handshakes have been a part of church life for a long time, but they are also one of the leading and easiest ways to pass germs and illness. The last couple weeks, we’ve been encouraging fist bumps or elbow taps when you want to greet someone. Smiles and waves will always work, as well! We will continue to encourage these types of greetings in the context of our Sunday morning gatherings.

Serve Communion Safely

One of the easiest ways that germs can get spread during a church service is during the passing of communion. One thing we will be doing to minimize this in the coming weeks is to use two cups for our communion. One will have juice and will be stacked on top of the other cup, which will contain the bread wafer. We will continue to serve in this manner, and have you leave your cups in the cup holders, where our deacons can come around with gloves and collect them following the service.

Clean and Sanitize

We are going to up our cleaning game each week, with additional wipe downs of door handles and any other common surfaces of shared contact. Our nursery staff, who normally sanitizes anyway, will redouble their efforts to make sure our church nursery is spotless and in tip-top sanitary shape. Wipes and Lysol will be the friends of our janitors and volunteers in the coming weeks and months.

Give Online

Many of you already know this, but carrying cash is not a germ-free experience. Many people already take advantage of our online giving option, which you can even schedule weekly or monthly, so that you don’t have to handle cash or worry about taking the time to write a check. Click here to explore that option of online giving.

Ill or At Risk? Stay Home.

Normally, we don’t give out free passes for church skipping, but we are definitely making some exceptions during a season of sickness. If you happen to be sick and showing symptoms of illness, this is the note I’m writing you to not put others’ health at risk. If you’re sick, you have the pastor’s permission to stay at home.

On the other side of that same issue, I also want to encourage some members of our older or at-risk attenders. This virus does put your health more at risk. As we may see more spread of it, I would also encourage you to weigh the risks, and consider whether it would be pertinent to join us. If you’re elderly or at-risk during this season, you also have my blessing to do what is best for your health.

In both cases, make note: the elders (which includes me) are willing to bring communion to shut-ins or those who can’t be part of our worship services on Sunday. We are also willing to help any members get set up so that they can be part of our worship services online and hear the sermon, either by the Facebook live stream or by listening to the sermon audio on the church website. Please contact the office if we can get you on that list for communion or help you set up online watching/listening.

All the way around, we will be on the look out and careful when it comes to illness. Let’s remember to be in prayer for all of our health care professionals, and others who are making decisions to try to stem the tide of this illness in our nation and around the world.



Exodus: Which Mountain?

There are occasions that I would love to chase more rabbits than we have time to address in our weekly sermon or service. This week’s rabbit of the week relates to the historicity and location of the mountain of the Lord, known both as Sinai and Horeb in the Exodus text. It is a significant point of meeting throughout the book, but it is not merely some metaphor or representation. I believe that there is real evidence for a true mountain of the Lord.

There are two likely sites for the Mountain. One is called Jabal Musa, and it has been referenced from around 400 AD forward as the mountain site of the burning bush event. This mountain is located in the south-central mountains of the Sinai peninsula, located in present day Egypt. The other is called Jabal Al Lawz, and shares many of the same initial features with Musa. The Jabal Al Lawz location is in modern day Saudi Arabia, located east of the Gulf of Aqaba (which is one of the two gulf arms of the Red Sea).

While both of these locations bear traditions among the locals as to being the mountain of God, the Jabal Al Lawz site really stands out as the probable site of the Burning Bush & the law. Dr. Lennhart Moller’s excellent book, The Exodus Case: New Discoveries of the Historical Exodus, make this compelling case for the Saudi site over the Egyptian site. To summarize, Lennhart makes a textual analysis of the evidence, as seen in the chart of the left.

If you get Lennhart’s book, you will be impressed by his thoroughness in making a compelling case for the archaeological and geographic evidence of the Exodus. As well, another compelling article from the Wyatt Museum argues for the same case (click here to read it).

I wish we had more time to address some of these side issues in studying Exodus. Regardless, I hope you’ll read and study, and that God’s message of freedom from sin for his people will continue to resonate with you, feed our church family, and call us to follow our Great God together.