Based on the recommendations of government and health authorities we have decided to close the church for regular services again this week. You can still join us for Sabbath School and church through live stream. Check our YouTube channel for children’s pre-recorded Sabbath school classes plus, your regular Sabbath school teacher may be hosting some sort of electronic group meeting. We will host one live adult Sabbath School class with Tom Deutsch at 10:00 a.m. and church service at 11:00 a.m. The link for our youtube channel will be listed below. If you have a smart TV you can simply go to YouTube and search for Chapel Oaks Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In spite of the complexity let’s remember that God is still on His throne, He hasn’t forgotten us. We may suffer hardship, some of us will unfortunately probably get sick but as we consider hardships God’s people have faced through the centuries we need to remember that God’s people were not alone even when they were isolated from others. Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age." --Matthew 28:20 "I will never leave you nor forsake you."--Hebrews 13:5. Let’s hang on to these promises to stabilize our own hearts and the hearts of others as we face the stress of isolation, economic uncertainty and the disruption of our normal routines.
This is an opportunity to practice the lifestyle Jesus endorsed. UP, IN and OUT.
With so many sporting events and other activities cancelled we can find time to focus on our UP relationship with God. We can pray and study more. We should have more time to connect with other believers (IN) --maybe not in person but we can call each other to encourage each other. We should especially seek to keep in touch with the most vulnerable. Those who are isolated with no family members might really appreciate a call from you. There may be members who need groceries, medicine or other items delivered to them. Please help keep up with people in your circle of influence. Be alert as to how you may help others, if you become aware of a need that we as a church can help with please contact a pastor or elder as soon as possible. We already have volunteers wanting to help. Maybe you have a need. Please let us know. Do you need a printed Sabbath school quarterly? Tithe envelopes? Something else?
Even outreach (OUT) may somehow be enhanced with this crisis. Remember how Paul eventually saw his own suffering as an advancement to the gospel? “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” Philippians 1:12. The uncertainties of the times coupled with more time at home may be instrumental in someone you know being more open to the gospel. Let’s try to be alert to that as well.
There are some risks when we help others, but asn’t it a noble thing for Christians through the ages to risk their lives for others such as during the Antonine Plague between 160-180 AD. As Rodney Stark wrote in "The Rise of Christianity," Christians stayed in the afflicted cities when pagan leaders, including physicians, fled. This promoted the spread of Christianity. By their actions in the face of possible death, Christians showed their neighbors that "Jesus is worth dying for." “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”--Matthew 25:40