I hope that you and your family are staying strong and healthy this week. I suppose that there are two ways of being strong and healthy so I am wondering - how are you doing physically? Also, how are you doing spiritually? I want you to know that the NWC staff is praying for you regularly. In fact, right now I am praying Ephesians 6:10 over you and your household. That you would "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." Amen!
Our state, our nation and our world continues to fight COVID-19 (Corona Virus) everyday through more and better information (what this is) and further instruction (what we need to do). Just last night, Governor Jay Inslee instituted a "STAY HOME - STAY HEALTHY" proclamation for the state of Washington (you can read that proclamation HERE
). I know this will deeply affect many of us in more ways than I realize. I have talked to some who have lost their jobs or many hours as a result of this. Some of our business owners are trying to figure out how they will recover from the loss of revenue when things get better. My heart is with you. I won't reduce what any of us are going through down to some simple comment or ambiguous quote. But I can say this for sure - God is our provider! He has always taken care of us and He will always take care of us. That doesn't mean that we won't be tempted to think or feel otherwise - but when we do, we know what to do. Look what Jesus said in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount;
Matthew 6:25-34 - “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
For some of us, this passage may mean more to us now than any other time in our lives. Jesus clearly says that our Heavenly Father is well aware of where we are, what we are going through and what we need. Are you feeling fearful? Are you carrying anxiety? Are you worried about the future? Jesus acknowledges that this can be true but he directs us to exchange those thoughts and feelings for a focused pursuit of seeking Him and His kingdom. The promise of this passage is very simple; if we put God first, He will take care of our needs. This is all about where we put our trust - especially when we are tempted to do otherwise. Thoughts of doubt, fear, worry and anxiety will certainly come to each one of us but we get to determine if they remain inside of us. Jesus would encourage us to LAY our burdens down at His feet and LEAVE them at His feet. We will need each other to do just that as move forward together. If you need prayer - let us know. If you need help - let us know. Let's hold each other up at this time.
I want to make sure that I communicate clearly about how all of this will affect Northwest Church in the near future. We have read the detailed/specific instructions for STAY HOME - STAY HEALTHY
and there is at least two provisions that allow an interpretation for us to consider the support function as a church. We want to be in full compliance with our government and the efforts of slowing the spread of COVID-19, so several pastors have reached to government officials within these guidelines and they have been told that live-streaming with minimal staff who practice CDC guidelines would be fine. Additionally, we have an essential food pantry that families rely on every week (which we will continue). Based on this I will list some important things below so make sure to read through them and email me if you have any questions;
1. WEEKEND SERVICES
- We will still have our weekend services live-streamed Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 9am & 11:30am. As far as teaching goes, I have a few special messages that I want to share with you, then we have Easter and the book of Jonah the following weekend.
2. IGNITE GATHERING
- We will livestream every Wednesday at 7pm. This Wednesday is special. I would like to share some things on my heart and just like we did during our OFF THE RECORD meeting - I will answer questions and interact with our church personally. If you have questions that you would like me to answer please send them to me or comment through Facebook/Livestream during the meeting and I will do my best to answer all of them. I would like to share with you things that God is showing me during this time as well which I believe will be honest, helpful and encouraging.
3. KIDS AT NWC
- Our Children's department uploads curriculum and object lessons to our website every week in order to aid you in the discipleship of your home. Please take advantage of these resources as we continue to have Church at home. CLICK HERE
to check out what we have this week!
4. YOUTH AT NWC
- Our youth pastors are hosting a livestream every week at 6:09pm and they have some links and other resources for your on our website - CLICK HERE.
5. AWANA AT NWC
- The leaders have been calling all of the kids to continue working on Bible verses as well as emailing video lessons and weekly activities. The ministry continues as we focus on the discipleship of our children. Praise God!
6. GIVING AT NWC
- Talking about money is difficult in the middle of something like this but as a pastor I am committed to talking about every aspect of Scripture and its impact within our community. NWC has always been a generous church and we simply view giving to and through the local church as worship unto the Lord. Everything that we do is funded by all of us and a very large percentage of our giving comes through our weekly services which means that our regular giving has certainly been impacted. While I am not fearful or worried, I think it's important to talk openly and honestly. If you have suffered loss already in the middle of what we are facing then I want to pray and contend with you for God's provision. For the rest of us, I want to encourage the continuation of worship through our giving. If you have never given online you can find instructions to do that below or you can always mail in a check as well. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please feel free to reach out to me personally.
7. CHURCH OFFICE CLOSED
- As a result of our Governors proclamation we are closing the church office for the next few weeks. We will still be available by email or phone but we want to make sure we comply with the STAY HOME - STAY HEALTHY requirements.
8. CHURCH CONNECTION
- This last week we began calling every member and attender of NWC. If you got a call or a message just know that we are seeking to know how you are and how we can pray with you. Thats it. We want to connect. If you haven't received a call - you will. We love you!
AGAIN, please tune in this Wednesday for our Ignite Gathering and send in your questions as we talk about what God is doing and saying in the middle of all of this. Pastoring NWC is one the greatest honors of my life and I am grateful that in this moment of history we are in this together. I believe we will all look back on these days with INCREDIBLE testimonies of what God did in and through us. AMEN?!!!
Much love to you as we REACH UP and REACH OUT together!