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Church Family,

What a week this has been for all of us....  Wednesday we received the news that all gatherings over 250 people are prohibited which was probably shocking for all of us.  While this news obviously affects us as a church it also affects everyone else as well.  The NBA and NHL postponed their season until further notice.  The Seattle Mariners posted that they will be looking for other sites to play their games.  Concerts have been cancelled.  Wedding venues have cancelled weddings and receptions.  The list goes on and on.  Additionally, just yesterday Governor Inslee issued a proclamation to close all schools (both public and private) until April 24th.  As I continue to talk with people about this, no matter what age they are, they tell me that they have never seen anything like it in their lifetime and the same is true for me.

In the midst of all of this I am very mindful of you.  I am thinking about our health care professionals who are on the front lines.  I can imagine that you are overwhelmed and overworked as you seek to help the people of our communities who are suffering physically and emotionally.  Let me express my gratitude for you and all that you are doing to serve people.  The Lord sees you and I am praying that God will strengthen your bodies and encourage your hearts today.  I am thinking about those of you who have lost jobs or some of your hours because of cancellations or business closures.  I am praying that God will provide everything you need in this season.  Also, I am thinking about business owners who may be experiencing loss and you are faced with hard decisions for the future.  I am praying that God will provide for you and help you navigate this season with wisdom.  

There are many components to all that we are facing.  COVID-19 (Corona Virus) is only one of the difficulties that we are experiencing.  The ramifications of a society shutting down (even for a month or so) are far reaching and beyond what we may know.  I realize that our community is divided over the decisions that our government has made in order for us to deal with this virus.  I am not a health professional nor do I fully understand all of the complex issues that go into something like this.  What I do know is that I am a pastor and my job is to help us navigate our current reality with care, wisdom and prayer.  I care about you and I care about how you feel, what you are thinking and how this affects you and your family.  

All of our lives have changed to some degree - at least for a season if not for even longer.  One thing is for sure - we are in this together.  I have been fasting and praying everyday with great expectation that God will move in and through us powerfully even if we don't know how.  There are two things going on right now.  What we are experiencing in the natural is one thing.  What God is doing spiritually is another.  What we see, focus on, speak to and pray about is so important at this time.  We can use our voice to disapprove of the seriousness of the virus and the decisions made OR we can accept what is happening and press into how God will use all of this for His glory. 

As I have been praying the last few days I was reminded of several things.  First, as we are going through our Bible reading plan we have been in the book of Leviticus.  The Israelites were delivered from slavery to Egypt and now they are receiving laws and instructions in the wilderness as they prepare for the promised land.  I find it interesting that God gives specific laws on how to deal with infection which includes inspection, quarantining people and how to sanitize your home (Leviticus 13-15).  I don't think that I ever thought of this in the same way that I am now (food for thought).  Also, knowing that COVID-19 affects our elderly community the most, I was reminded of James 1:27 which says: "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."  I have been a bit shocked to hear so many people talk about the virus saying; "it only affects those who over a certain age.."   Sometimes the message in our world can imply or outright proclaim that the older you are the less value you have.  That is a lie.  God speaks value over every age and stage of life - from the unborn to the elderly.  We must speak in a way that conveys value and repent where we haven't done so.  We must visit, call and pray for our elderly community (Scripture in James reference was widows) in this time of distress.  If you are reading this and there is any way that we can serve you during this time, please email or call us because we as the body of Christ are family and we need each other.

WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH NORTHWEST CHURCH?  Well, let me just say, it has been a bit of a roller coaster as to what we should do.  We decided to gather a group of health professionals (doctors, nurses, etc) from our church to advise us on the best practices through this season.  After talking with them it has become abundantly clear that in order to join our greater community in a good faith effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 we must make some hard decisions.  Here is what we have decided;

WEEKLY GATHERINGS AND ACTIVITIES - We have decided to shut down the majority of our weekly gatherings, classes and activities for the month of March.  This would include youth group, Awanas  Women's Bible Study, etc.  Please contact the leader of your class or ministry to see if there is any exception to this.  

WEEKEND SERVICES - We are suspending all ONSITE weekend services for the month of March.  Beyond March we are unsure but it seems like it could go a little longer.  

Please hear my heart - I am just as sad as anyone else about this but it is necessary to comply with what is going on.  As a result of this decision we are putting together several things that can enable all of us to facilitate CHURCH AT HOME;


1.  WEEKEND SERVICES ONLINE - We may not be meeting in person but we can gather together at the same time to worship, pray and study God's Word.  I am sharing a special message this weekend that the Lord put on my heart and we will continue with all planned messages as the weeks unfold.  Join us through Livestream or our Facebook Page on Saturday at 5pm or Sunday at 9am and 11:30am - you will see specific instructions about how to do that below.

2.  WEEKLY IGNITE GATHERINGS ONLINE - That's right.  We are gathering online every week on Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30pm.  I am pressing into God with you even though we can't meet in person.  I have been contemplating walking through my newest book called PROPHESY or teaching for several weeks about prayer.  We start this Wednesday!

3.  KIDS CHURCH AT HOME - Our Children's ministry will be sending out age appropriate curriculum to every parent that is active in our planning center system.  You can take these lessons and share them with your kids as you facilitate church at home.  

4.  CONNECTING AS A CHURCH - Our staff will be calling all of our church in order to connect.  I know you are praying with us and we want to know how we can be praying with you.  This is a great time for us to focus on and pray for our neighborhoods and we would love to come alongside you to see the Gospel advance in every place that God has planted us.  Also, we want to hear from you.  Let's stay connected through email and phone as we rally together during this time.

This season will come and go but how we respond to what we are facing can be a defining moment - not only for us but the people around us.  The people of God are resilient and we can grow and thrive under even the most difficult circumstances because it's who we are!  I love you and I am grateful to be in community with you as we navigate all of this together.  If you have any questions just let me know.

God bless you!


 
Pastor Ben Dixon 
ben.dixon@nwcfoursquare.org 
nwcfoursquare.org   
 
STAYING CONNECTED AS A CHURCH FAMILY 
 
Even though we are not meeting on site this weekend, we are still coming together as a church family to worship, hear the word, and encourage each other! There are a few ways you can tune in. If you’ve never joined us live, here are some helpful instructions:

Livestream
1. Use this link to watch on Livestream
2. The current live streaming video will be the first listed
You may also access Livestream through our website home page or mobile app

Facebook Live
1. Use this link to find our Facebook page >> Northwest Church 
2. Click on Live Videos in the left-hand side menu
3. The current live streaming video will be the first listed

COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATES
As we respond to the COVID-19 situation here in our community, we want to make sure you know the ways you can stay in the communication loop! Since our regular schedule of events and activities is now subject to change at any time, please take a moment to find the best way for you to stay informed.

Mobile App & Website
You can access a lot of resources right from your phone or computer through our app or website. Watch Livestream, read the bulletin, fill out a connect card, post on the prayer wall, and much more! Search “Northwest Foursquare Church” in any of the app stores to download.

Social Media
Follow NWC on Facebook and Instagram. We post schedule changes, live videos, worship sets, the bulletin, and other announcements daily. By sharing content from NWC’s social media pages, you can help spread encouragement and the hope of the Gospel!

If you have any questions or need help getting connected, contact Rachel at rachel.nagy@nwcfoursquare.org. 
 
 
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