Worship to Begin This Weekend, June 4th & 7th
It's been a long time. The last time we had public worship together was March 15th. We had a guest preacher. Since that day, we've had to get by with long-distance learning for our children and online/DVD worship for all. Despite the challenges, there have been many blessings that God has given to us through this difficult time. God promises to refine our faith through the tough times in life, but this only happens as we remain in his Word.
It is time to get back in his Word and in worship together. As we say this, we understand that there may be people who are not ready to be in a group setting out of concerns for their health. We will continue to record our worship, post it on YouTube, and make DVD's. If anyone would like a DVD but hasn't before now, just contact us so that we are sure to have a DVD made for you. There is no charge.
Here is how things will work for the time being:
- We will have worship services each week beginning the weekend of June 7th on Thursdays at 7 (the first Thursday worship is June 4th) and Sundays at 8 and 10:30. This will be the schedule every week throughout the summer. We will re-evaluate things as we go along.
- There will be no Communion in the services for the time being. Your servant-leaders decided it may be best to wait through June to see what the effects of the end of the Safer-at-Home order are. Hopefully we will begin Communion again in July. For those who would like to receive Communion, as has been the case throughout this time of pandemic, you can call and make an appointment with Pastor Snyder and he will be happy to either come to your home or commune you in church, whichever you would prefer.
- The health department is encouraging no singing at this time. Music and singing are such an important part of our worship that we have a hard time cutting it out. We have decided that, for now, the 8am service on Sundays will the "safe service." We will not have singing at that service, and we ask that this service be reserved for those who are most concerned for their health and most vulnerable. This would include anyone over the age of 60 and anyone with a condition or compromised immune system that would make them more susceptible to the virus and more at risk for the especially negative symptoms of the virus. We encourage the younger and healthier among us to attend either the Thursday service or the Sunday 10:30 service. We will have singing at those services, although we will encourage you do be considerate of those around you and either wear a mask or keep your singing on the softer side, or both.
- We will not take offering in the normal way but will have baskets available in which to place your offering on the way out. We will not use hymnals or bulletins for the time being, but everything for the service will be on the screens. We will have hand santizer available at various strategic places and we will employ appropriate spacing throughout the sanctuary. Masks will be available for those who don't have one and are encouraged but not required.
Realize that we are not simply acting according to government standards. We have several health care professionals in our congregation who are having to deal with this virus on a daily basis. They have given their thoughts on this too. While the virus generally affects those who are older and have compromised immune systems, we have seen it hit younger people who were otherwise healthy in some difficult ways. We want to show love for our neighbors and be considerate, doing our best to keep the virus from spreading.
We dare never forget, however, that our times and our very lives are in God's hands. We trust him to take care of us and, when he determines it is time, he will take us home to heaven, whether through COVID-19, a car accident, cancer, a lightning strike, or however he sees best. Your servant-leaders have done their best to act in faith and love. God help us to continue to move forward in faith as his family, united by the gospel of Jesus.
Every year on the first Sunday after Pentecost we contemplate the mysterious truth that our God is one, yet he is three Persons. "Persons" is the word that has been historically used to refer to each individual member of the Godhead. The reason it matters that God is Three-in-One is twofold: God has revealed himself in this way, so this is how we should proclaim him; and our salvation is tied into the Triune nature of God. God bless and comfort us with truth of who he is.
If you know someone who would be interested in our services but does not have an internet connection, please let them know that we have DVDs available. They are ready to be picked up each week on Saturday by noon with the next day's worship service on it. They are outside the side door of church, beyond the end of the handicap ramp, in a mailbox mounted on the wall next to the door. Please have them call us at (608) 464-3212 to let us know so that we make enough copies each week. The DVDs are free.
Pentecost 1 - Holy Trinty Worship Service
Daily Devotion - Saturday, June 6, 2020
Each day we post a devotion to help set our hearts on Jesus.
Does it seem like most people are angry?
I suppose it depends on where you look. "Most" is probably an exaggeration, but "many" is probably accurate. I think many people have been angry for various reasons and it's just getting worse. We've addressed this in the recent past, so I don't want to simply rehash things that I've said before, but maybe I can say a few helpful things that build on today's verse.
St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can stand against the schemes of the Devil. For our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:11,12 [emphasis added]). It's easy to get mad at people, and sometimes we may have good reason, but it's also easy to let that anger lead to sinful thoughts, words, or actions. We may take the attacks of others personally, but we need to remember that there are darker and more powerful forces at work.
As Paul encourages us to put on the full armor of God, remember that it begins with protection. Paul doesn't speak about our offensive weapon, "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ep 6:17), until the very end. Today's verse fits in well with Paul's picture. When anger is brewing and bubbling and overflowing around us and in us, rather than default to attack mode, whether verbally or otherwise, our first course of action must be to find refuge in our Savior God. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." He is always there in our need. As he shelters us, focusing us on Jesus and the salvation he won for us, we can let go of any anger that's roiling within us. We can remember that God loves all people and that Satan is the real enemy. And then, after our hearts are at peace again, we can go on the offensive, but only in the way God desires.
We go on the offensive remembering that even unbelievers who hate us are not the enemy. We go on the offensive not with the goal of striking down our neighbor but of sharing God's truth and letting the Holy Spirit use it to slice away. He will spiritually cut our hearers to the heart, not like a warrior but like a surgeon, first bringing about the necessary pain of the awareness of personal sin and then applying the soothing comfort of forgiveness in Jesus.
If things are upsetting you, whatever they may be, go to God in his Word and in prayer. He is your refuge and strength in any and all trouble.
While it can be helpful to have this available during the safer-at-home order, it is something that can be used at any time, or all the time. We are used to the offering being a part of our worship service, but giving online need not take away from thoughtful, heartfelt, faithful giving. In fact, it can be an aid for it.
We have now set up online giving for those who are interested. While many of our members either aren't able to get online or prefer to use their envelopes, we understand that many people today do many transactions online and are very comfortable doing so. It's easy and convenient.
Just so you know what to expect if you use our online giving:
Clicking the link will take you to a third-party website, Faithlife.com. You can donate either with a credit/debit card or by entering your checking account info--your bank routing number and account number. There are minimal processing fees charged to us with each transaction. The fees are taken right out of the gift. Because of greater processing fees with credit/debit cards, it costs less to use your checking account than a debit/credit card. There is also an option for you to cover the processing fees yourself. You simply click a box and, for example, your $25 gift to the church becomes $25.95 in the case of a credit/debit card ($25 to the church and 95 cents in processing fees to Faithlife). Otherwise the church gets $24.05. For using your checking account, the processing fee fro a $25 gift is 56 cents. You don't have to pay the extra for the processing fees. We just want you to understand that the option is available.
If you really like technology and convenience, you can also text "Give" and then the amount you want to give, for example "Give 50" to (608) 424-2445. It will redirect you to our giving webpage to complete the offering, but after you've done it once, you can then give via text without the extra step of going to the giving webpage.
Thank you for your prayers for each other and our called workers and your continued support of our ministry.
Help Available for You
Whether it's a prayer or something else, if you need help of some kind - any kind - and you think that we can help, please call. We're here for each other. We'll do what we can and, if needed, point you in a direction where you can get help that we can't provide. (608) 464-3212.