Dear church family,
As we begin to figure out the new normal, a couple of things have come up in conversation with folks on the phone. One is a real desire to take advantage of extra time with the Lord, but somehow finding that’s not happening. It’s pretty easy to while away the time binge-watching a favorite program and scrolling through social media. For me it’s time spent keeping up with the news. Not that those things are bad, but they can eat up time better spent in prayer and the Word. In some ways, this situation is like all those folks out there who are discovering that the real reason spring cleaning doesn’t get done has nothing to do with not having enough time at home! The Deceiver is active, and one of his weapons is the idol of idleness. Resist him, and he will flee from you (Js 4:7).
Which leads to another thing, an opposite issue. For some, this is actually turning out to be busier and more stressful – work at home hasn’t meant less work, and on top of that there is school at home, and keeping up with all the household duties, which have increased because everyone is home! We see pictures of others enjoying the time and wonder, “When’s my turn?”
Here is how one of our church family recently asked me to pray: “Please pray that I would stay desperate for Him and reliant on Him and not just ‘handle it myself’. Please pray He would use this testing of my faith to produce in me the perseverance He desires and that it would accomplish in me the work He intends. Please pray that I would not neglect prayer for everyone, not just my own needs of the moments, and that I would find ways to make more time for His Word.” Dear church family, that is my prayer for you. Please pray it for me!
Easter is going to be different than ever before. There is a lot of loss, such as special family time, or a big church celebration service. It’s OK to mourn those losses. But these things don’t change the fact that Christ has conquered sin and death! Just like in other areas of life at this time, as the externals are stripped away, let’s focus on what really matters. Here are some ways we can do that together:
- On Palm Sunday at 10:30a we will celebrate the Lord’s Table during the on-line worship service. We simply ask that you have bread and grape juice ready during the service, so that we can share together. Also, at 9:45a Pastor Cameron will lead a children’s ministry on the Cary Alliance Church Facebook page.
- The Alliance has special prayer times for Maundy Thursday and then on Friday we encourage you to join with the entire Alliance Family for a national-wide Good Friday service. More information here.
- Our Easter service will be on-line next Sunday. There are a couple special elements that hopefully will make this a special time. But do we really need to add anything to the message of the cross and resurrection to make it more special?
- By the way, in trying to view the service on the church website, some folks are having trouble with certain browsers. We’re finding that Chrome and Edge Chromium work best.
Here are three ways that we are trying to serve the community and each other:
- Hand of Hope diaper drive. The pregnancy resource center has a tremendous need for diapers, especially size 3-5. We are going to have a big box outside the church doors next Tuesday – Friday. If you can contribute, please just swing by and drop them off in the box. We’ll take it all in one load on Friday afternoon.
- We will also have a stack of paper grocery bags sitting next to the box. If you are able, please fill one with non-perishable items and drop off at With Love From Jesus or Western Wake Crisis Ministry. More detailed instructions and directions will be provided with the bags.
- We’ve had a number of people reach out, offering to help those in the church family in need. If you are in a high risk group, rather than go out, you can ask a church family member to bring you food, a prescription, or household needs, or to run other errands. Those who need of help and those who would like to provide that help can link up here. (Some have found that they can’t enter their names. You can also call the church office to get help.)
Connecting for Ministry
We’re all still figuring out what it means to be a church family when we’re under stay-at-home orders. Lots of connecting is happening over social media. There are other ways to dig deeper:
- Phone calls: We can’t connect face-to-face, but we can be more personal than sitting at a keyboard. Hear about a need? Don’t simply write “I’ll be praying” – Call up and pray together. Think of someone who might be alone? Reach out and ask how they’re doing. Pastors are calling folks through the week, but we can’t reach everyone as often as we’d like. Let’s be the church family for each other in this way.
- Small groups, women’s groups, men’s groups, leadership groups: Many are finding that Zoom meetings, or the like, are allowing them to maintain connections, study the Word, laugh together, and pray. Not part of a group? Contact Cameron about small groups and men’s Bible studies, or Roger about youth. Working ladies can contact Jennifer Chan. We’re also gauging interest in a new ladies’ Bible study. If you might like to be involved, please contact Kelley Miller.
The Apostle Paul urges us to make every effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace (Eph 4:3). Let’s see if we can actually grow in our love, unity, service and edification during this time of physical separation!
In His Grip,