Dear Friends of West Lisbon Church,
Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Resurrection Sunday are almost here! “Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her” (John 20:18 ESV). I am remembering you in my prayers as I pray the Lord’s Prayer—seeking our heavenly Father’s presence for us, setting apart his name in our church, inviting his kingdom and will to advance in our lives, and asking for our Father’s provisions—body and soul—during these unique times. May the Holy Spirit fill you, fellowship with you, and keep you joined in fellowship to the Body of Christ while we “shelter-in-place.”
One Pastor asked, “What is the call to action” while being homebound? My thoughts are threefold:
- PRAY - As we’ve finished our series in the Lord’s Prayer, there’s no time like now to pray. Pray for our world leaders, our national and local leaders; pray for our local teachers, public servants and healthcare workers; please pray for our church staff and volunteer leaders too as we work to keep our fellowship going. Pray also for our missionaries; they too are being impacted by COVID-19.
- CONNECT - During social distancing, social connection is all the more important. Send cards and letters; pick up the phone to call or text. Let’s stay connected.
- LOVE - Love is our “native tongue” as followers of Jesus. We were made and redeemed for this. Let’s love well in word and deed.
- REFLECT - Think about this while you’re at home—What are you learning about doing church during this “shelter-in-place” season? Write down your thoughts and share them with me.
Have you had time to reflect on Sunday’s message—Freely Forgive to Freely Pray?
- Forgiveness is the closest thing a Christian has to a super-power. Put your cape on and use it! (Matthew 6:12, 14–15)
- REMEMBER #PutOffandPutOn (Ephesians 4:32)
- REPENT #MercyTriumphs (James 1:12–13)
- RECONCILE #IAmaBridge (2 Cor. 5:18–19)
- RESTORE #StockedtoRestore (Gal. 6:1)
Even though we are much more immobile than usual, there’s still a lot going on in our fellowship! Here are some highlights to keep you updated:
- Call Chains have gone out. On Wednesday, I sent six call chain lists to six households with the goal of staying connected during our in-house time.
- The Children’s Sunday School classes have received at-home Sunday School lessons! Lois Whalen and the S.S. Team have done an amazing job connecting with the children to keep The Gospel Project going.
- Rob, Barb, Kelly, and Kari are creating innovative ways to keep the youth connected through devotions and platforms to encourage discussion and connection.
- Emma Smith is still keeping the church building clean. It is sparkling!
- Tee Meyer has moved her office home, where she continues to act as the communication hub for all things WLC. Check out westlisbon.com where she continues to share updates.
- Pastor Rex has setup a Sermon 2.0 Zoom Meeting for a Digital Sunday School experience. If you are interested in joining the online meeting, you’ll need to create a Zoom account at zoom.us. Here is the joining information:
- Time: Mar 29, 2020 10:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
- Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/215381069?pwd=Yll2V1Y5Smg1NlNyYXFUYkxNeDY0UT09
- Meeting ID: 215 381 069
- Password: 500561
- Tim Gunier continues to provide a great service to all of us through the Sunday Morning Worship Live Stream on our YouTube Channel. You can subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTemNeLYGL8lgNfJB4LzD3g. While I eagerly anticipate worshipping together again in the pews, I thank the Lord for these alternatives to keep our fellowship going.
Many churches and pastors have commented on the changes and the difficulties that they are experiencing during this time. One of the dilemmas local churches are facing is how to keep offerings going. Visit westlisbon.com to give online—look for the “GIVING” button near the top of the webpage. If online giving isn’t your thing, that’s okay too. If you would like to mail in an offering check, our Treasurer, Dwayne Mickelson, has asked that you mail offering checks directly to him for the time being. You can contact Dwayne at (815) 210-4435.
If you are a member of West Lisbon Church and your family is facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 and its impact on employment, I want you to know that the Deacons, Treasurer, and I are working on a “Temporary Benevolence Request Form” to provide a pathway toward temporary financial relief. The apostle John write in his first letter, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16–18). I see this as an essential part of our plan to care for one another during this time. If your family is struggling and in need of relief, please contact me or one of our WLC Deacons (Mark, Gordon, Rich, or Jerry).
I started this letter with a reference to Holy Week and Easter Sunday. It is very possible that we’ll still be under this temporary order through Easter. Time will tell. Therefore, I am working to prepare us for either scenario. Here’s an initial look at what you can expect for Holy Week, April 5th–12th.
Palm Sunday - Live Stream Worship Service @ 9am
Monday - Holy Week Devotion: Because Jesus rose, he sent the Holy Spirit by Pastor Rex Howe
Tuesday - Holy Week Devotion: Because Jesus rose, he is our High Priest by Youth Director Rob Scott
Wednesday - Holy Week Devotion: Because Jesus rose, believers lives are powerfully changed (Philippians 3:10). Looking for a volunteer!
Maundy Thursday - Maundy Thursday Fellowship @ 7pm
Digital Testimony Time: How have you seen God at work during COVID-19?
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 673 437 622
Good Friday - The God of the Cross Video Project - fifty 30-second videos to make a worship video collage.
Saturday - Holy Week Devotion: Because Jesus rose, he is coming again by Pastor Rex Howe
Easter Sunday - Sunrise Parking Lot Service @ 7am - Worship in Our Cars! More to come on this.
Live Stream Worship Service @ 9am.
You’ll notice that Communion is not listed for Palm Sunday nor for Maundy Thursday. 1 Corinthians 11:33 says, “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.” There are some things that we can do while we are apart and some things that are worth waiting for until we gather together again. I’d like to delay partaking of communion together until we meet again in person. So, for now, we will anticipate that day. Thank you for your time in reading this letter. “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26).
Rex J. Howe
West Lisbon Church