IMPORTANT INFO FOR OUR SUNDAY GATHERINGS:

During this time, as an alternative to our usual gatherings as a church, we will be joining one another each Lord's Day at 8AM for a "Drive-In Service."

This "Drive-In Service" is located in the parking-lot of Infusion Church: 777 W Felicita Ave, Escondido, CA 92025.

Upon arrival, tune in to 89.3FM on your car radio to hear the preaching, singing, and prayers. The Elders and Deacons of the church will help direct you in finding a parking spot.

A NOTE FROM THE ELDERS

With the abundance of uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and our Nation's response to the virus, the Elders of The Response Church felt it would be helpful, and even necessary, to address the congregation accordingly. Our goal in this address is to assuage fear in the midst of uncertain times, while also providing some helpful precautions for all of us to carefully observe.

THREE THEOLOGICAL TRUTHS:

God is Sovereign & Good

In the midst of fear and suffering, one of the first temptations is to doubt that God is in control. In seasons of fear and suffering, it is important to be reminded of the timeless truth of Scripture.

    1. We cannot add a single hour to our lives. (Matthew 6:27)
    2. God numbers our days. (Psalm 139:16)
    3. In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

Because God has a predetermined plan for every individual, nothing can take that individual off of God’s plan. God has numbered every single one of our breaths, even the last one. Psalm 91:9-10 reminds us of this sweet truth:

9 “Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.”

Psalm 91:9-10 ESV

We can surely rest in our great God who is in control of all things! And even more, who works all things for our good.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV

No matter the outcome of COVID-19, as well as the repercussions due to our Nation's response to the virus, we know that God is good, sovereign, and loves all of his children infinitely.

Life is Fragile

Because of the effects of the fall, our sin tarnished world is full of fragility. Until we see Christ face-to-face, we will never escape the reality that we will need to endure the perils of plague and the potential of death. It is humbling to realize that a microscopic organism can lead to so many deaths. However, it is another level of humility to realize that not one of us is promised another breath, and because of our sin, we all deserve to die (Romans 6:23 ESV). This acknowledgement, of the preciousness of every moment, enables the believer to see beyond the storm.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV

Throughout history, moments of extreme circumstantial pressure have served to focus the saints on the glory to come rather than their present troubles.  This reinvigorated focus has led the children of God to rise above the circumstance and love the people of God and their communities in amazing ways, leading to the growth and expansion of the church.  May we be the church that looks through this “light and momentary affliction” with gaze fixed on our King, and be able to say with conviction and clarity, “for me to live is Christ, but to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21).

As we write this email there are two responses to COVID-19:

    1. There is widespread fear and panic, causing people to go into lock-down mode, clearing the shelf at Costco of Toilet Paper, Hand-Sanitzer, and whatever material refuge will give them the security they desire. There is also an unprecedented suppression of Civil Liberties on the part of the State,. Some of the State's decisions on these matters are reasonable and right, while other decisions represent an unlawful removal of liberty.  Many of both our Nation's leaders and Citizens are panicking.
    2. On the other hand, there are people who are responding to this panic with frivolity, making up half truths to distract themselves from the reality of what is going on. In these cases, it is quite possible that many of these individuals are responding with a much more subtle form of panic: denial.

Our recommendation is to avoid both of these responses. It is clear that we are in a very unique phase of our country’s existence. In terms of Public Health Policy, the massive shut-down of public gatherings is unprecedented. Nevertheless, the children of God have always been marked by one characteristic: confidence. And this confidence is not gained by Christians deliberately choosing to ignore frightening realities. Rather we are anchored by the eternal promise of glory and empowered by the Spirit to be fearless because we have the Lord as our Shepherd.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 ESV

Christians Are Commanded To Prepare

As Christians, we must trust in the sovereign rule and reign of our Lord.  While God is sovereign over the movement and direction of every molecule in the universe, he gives us his sovereign will as a means to direct his plan according to his good pleasure.  His sovereign will does not excuse the Christian from taking precautions in the midst of turmoil.  Proverbs 14:15 is helpful here. “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”  We have a tension here.  God is in absolute control and, at the very same time, calls the prudent to give thought to their steps.

“If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God's sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”

- R.C. Sproul

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