IMPORTANT INFO FOR OUR SUNDAY GATHERINGS:
We will not be gathering as a church until we are given the green light from our Governing Authorities.
During this time, as an alternative to physically gathering as a church, we will be joining one another 'in Spirit' by live-streaming each Sunday's Sermon at 10:30AM. In addition to the sermon, we will also be live-streaming our Elders, as they pray for our congregation, the church at large, and our nation.We encourage everyone to gather as families and households to hear the preached word, to pray, and to sing to our great God!
A NOTE FROM THE ELDERS
With the abundance of information and news regarding COVID-19, along with the State and locally issued directives to suspend gatherings of 50 or more, the Elders of The Response Church felt it would be helpful and even necessary to address the congregation accordingly. Our goal is to assuage fear in the midst of uncertain times while also providing some helpful precautions for all of us as a congregation and announce some changes to service time and location for the near future.
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 sickness, suffering, and frankly the shadow of death, it is important to be reminded of the timeless truth of Scripture.
- We cannot add a single hour to our lives. (Matthew 6:27)
- God numbers our days. (Psalm 139:16)
- 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 in any of our lives, we know that God is good, sovereign, and loves all of his children.
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:
- 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. They are panicking.
- On the other hand, there are people who are responding to this panic with frivolity, making up half truths to help them to distract themselves from the reality of what is going on. They are responding with a much more subtle form of panic.
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. It is clear that this is not JUST another flu. Nevertheless, the Children of God have always been marked by one characteristic: confidence. The Christian is not given into panic, fear, or frenzy. 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 world, 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.
As such, we would recommend that you follow the CDC guidelines found on their website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
“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