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…Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. Haggai 2:4
When we heard these words that Pastor Dave preached a few weeks ago, we heard that the people of Judah felt weak and had challenges coming up against them, and yet God was calling for them to take steps of faith to carry on the work of rebuilding the temple. I’m guessing most of us have felt weak as we have faced the challenges of this past week, and yet God has been with us. He has met us in our disappointments and all our concerns, and has been strengthening us to carry on in His kingdom work, often supported by the prayers of others!
Thank you Gold Avenue Church family for being faithful and strong in the face of much uncertainty and engaging the work of embodying, proclaiming and advancing God’s Kingdom these last few weeks. You are using your gifts and faithfully serving despite our facility being closed:
- You are checking in on one another by phone, text, FaceTime or messaging.
- You are praying more often and with more fervor for our neighborhood and the world, particularly praying for revival.
- You are brave nurses and other front line services, along with Nick who remains on mission in Africa, carrying on serving others.
- You are reaching out to your neighbors and sharing the hope of Jesus with strangers.
- You are adapting to changed schedules and seeking to love your children and help them adjust to the many unsettling changes with school and social distancing (which can be so hard!)
- A number of you are using your gifts of music, writing, and prophecy to encourage others by means of FaceBook posts.
- Some have contacted us offering helpful resources to the church.
- The discipleship team is creatively thinking of new ways to connect.
- The Gold Rush team is preparing to resume youth group via Zoom.
- The admin elders are prayerfully discerning the current situation while also considering how to love our church and neighborhood well with our facility in the future, as they consider a new ministry proposal.
- The deacons continue to monitor and serve the needs of our church and community, even as they think ahead about needs that may be coming.
- The care elders are doing a fantastic job of checking in with people and also praying faithfully for our congregation.
- Our volunteer worship leaders are continuing to plan meaningful worship services using the new At Home Worship Liturgy, even blessing a church in the UK this past week!
There are many more stories that I could share, but I want to take a minute and ask you to thank the Lord along with me for the gift of our 3 urban missionaries: Mark, Stephanie and Pastor Jaleesa. They have put in several weeks of very long hours, using their gifts, skills and backgrounds, to help put technology and strategies in place, with help from Justin Blake, that will help our church remain a strongly connected community now, and will serve us so well long into the future. Their joyful servant leadership is a great model for us all, and so please consider how you might bless them with a word of thanks, a contribution to their fundraising efforts, and/or most certainly praying for them regularly.
In Haggai, the Lord repeatedly says “give careful thought to your ways.“ As I met online with a group of pastors this week from all around the country, we were encouraged to reflect on history. At times of great trouble and even past quarantine, God has brought forth amazing gifts-books, songs, prayers and stories of sacrificial love that have advanced God’s kingdom and served as inspiration for Christians through history (the disciples, Paul, Luther, the early church caring for the sick during the plague, Bonhoeffer, CS Lewis, Corrie tenBoom, etc…).
Church family and friends, I believe the Lord will gift you and will use us together in mighty ways if we will earnestly seek Him. This could be the church’s finest hour, if we will humble ourselves, pray, turn from any wicked ways and seek God’s face. As together we devote ourselves completely to the Lord, I believe we will see the gospel of Jesus Christ transform our lives, our neighborhood and the world. To God be the glory, now and forever, Amen!
With prayerful anticipation,