December 27 Worship-Response to lockdowns
Greetings VKHBC Family!
As I'm sure you're all aware of the lockdown coming into effect this weekend, the limitation of 10 people for places of worship would not be manageable for a congregation of our size. So this Sunday (Dec 27) we will not be meeting and I will not be providing a message for you to watch on YouTube.
Your leadership is going to be prayerfully considering the biblical implication that the government mandate to not meeting for the temporary season before us could ultimately be our Lord’s doing and leading (cf. Romans 13:1-2). And if it is his will that we not assemble for a short time it would therefore be wise and faithful to submit to our Lord in faith that we are following his leading. I understand that most churches/leaders think that going ahead with virtual platforms is the next best option, but we are not called to follow the leading of other churches, we are bound and blessed by following the leading of Christ alone. And if we believe (based on his word in Scripture) he is leading us to remain at home and not gather for a short time, we need to seriously consider the implication that attempting to “assemble” as the church for corporate worship by any other extraordinary unbiblical means would be undermining Christ’s leading who we believe got us in this situation in the first place.
So in order to not move forward in haste the board has agreed for this Sunday at least, to regard this Lord’s Day as a kind of ‘fast’ that has been called by our Lord from assembling together, in order that we may all worship and seek his will for his church in the “prayer closets” of our own homes. I want to encourage you to turn off your phones and TVs, gather together with your family @ 11am this Sunday and turn your eyes and hearts in faith toward God in prayer and His word.
If you live alone I encourage you to get together with another household to worship through prayer and the study of Scripture this Sunday (which is in compliance with the coming lockdown regulations). You may recall this is not the first time we’ve done this, and you can find the instructions I gave you in March concerning worship in your homes here (http://vkhbc.com/?page_id=2873), the only difference will be you following my instruction to entrust the study of the Scriptures to the leading of his Holy Spirit as you seek to understand its meaning and application in light of the biblical context.
I want to encourage our entire church to read the next passage in our study through the book of Matthew in chapter 7:7-12 together with James 4, and consider how these passages compliment one another and help us to understand their meaning and application for us today in the circumstances we find ourselves in. If you have questions about the meaning of what you’ve read, pray and ask God to help you understand. If you still don’t understand, reach out to another family, or myself or another leader during the week over the phone or video chat to discuss its meaning and application.
And please pray. Pray for one another, for the isolated, for the vulnerable, for those facing financial insecurity, for the weary, etc. that the grace of Christ may prove sufficient for all who hope in him. Pray for wisdom for your leadership that we would lead his people according to his will and not our own or the decisions of the multitude. Pray for the civil servants whom God has placed over us that he would have mercy upon us all and lead them in accordance with his holy righteousness and justice.
I trust the grace of our Lord prove sufficient in our physical limitations as his word promises (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9), I trust he will bless you as you place your trust in his sovereign hand over these exceptional circumstances in the life of the church (cf. Psalm 55:22), and I trust he be pleased by our offering of faith in his all-sufficient grace to lead and sustain his own by his own life which he offered on the cross to us today through the power of his Spirit and Word (cf. Ephesians 4).
I was planning on taking my last week of vacation this coming week, but with plans to visit with my parents no longer being an option, I hope to come by outside your doorsteps with the girls and briefly greet everyone as time permits. If we don’t make it to your house in the coming week we will see to it in the coming month Lord willing.
As your pastor I want you all to know that I love and care deeply for you all, therefore and more importantly I am all the more privileged and blessed to direct you towards the unbound love and care of the ever present Shepherd who abides in you and among us all, just as we abide and commit ourselves to him by faith.
Merry Christmas everyone! May “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)