The News You Can Use
WELCOME VISITORS! We welcome those who are new to Grace Church’s email group, along with anyone who may be joining us this week for our Facebook livestream mini-service and message by Pastor Dave. We look forward to a time when we are able to gather again in person. But meanwhile, thanks for joining our online community through email and Facebook. Visit our web site at www.gracereformedchurch.com to stay connected, watch prior sermons online, and for more information and updates. And, feel free to send your prayer requests in reply to this email, or send Pastor Dave a confidential message at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to meeting you!
STAYING CONNECTED: During this time of separation as a church family and being prohibited from worshiping and meeting together for a time, we are reminded that the church isn’t something we “go to.” Rather, the church is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week loving, caring community of Christians who remain connected to one another through thick and thin. In fact, it is often in times of trial that the Church of Jesus Christ and his disciples grow most. May we rise to the challenge before us as we commit to remain connected not only to Jesus, but to one another during this trying time. Write an email, send a text, make a phone call, connect on Facebook, leave a meal on someone’s front step. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social disconnection. Let’s do whatever it takes to support each other and connect in new ways during this trying time!
GRACE CHURCH ON YOU TUBE! Grace Church now has a You Tube channel to which we can post videos! In fact, last week’s service has already been uploaded for all the world to see. Simply go to our web site (www.gracereformedchurch.com) and put your mouse over the Resources tab on the right side of the top banner. A drop-down menu will appear. Click on “2020 Sermons” and the page will open with a listing of dates and sermon titles in chronological order. Next to last week’s message, “When Worried and Afraid,” you will find not only the audio version, but also links to watch our mini-service and message on Facebook (for those who have an account), or You Tube for anyone. Just click on the one you want to watch and enjoy. Audio versions are available for most all sermons dating back to 2013. You can access these at the bottom of the page. But from now on, we hope to also make a video recording of the message available in two formats. This way, you don’t have to be on Facebook to be blessed. We’d prefer to be together in person, especially on Sundays. But thanks to technology, at least we can connect via the internet and still receive a weekly message from God’s Word. I trust these messages will be a comfort to you during this time of social distancing. Feel free to pass the Word on to others!
CHILDREN & YOUTH MINSTRIES: Even as Fish Net and The ROCK are prohibited from being together for a while, our ministry goes forth in a new way. Your leaders encourage you to do at least three things: 1) Connect with each other through social media or phone as you are able in order to encourage one another, 2) Pray for each other and your leaders, and 3) Read your Bible daily, perhaps beginning with the Psalms if you like. Thankfully, Fish Net and The ROCK have a life larger than Wednesday gatherings; and by staying in touch, our groups will also remain strong and focused. Here is a resource that parents and youth may want to consider together along with the related online videos: AXIS is an organization that provides online Christian resources for youth and parents, including a free Conversation Guide on anxiety at https://axis.org/free-anxiety-ck. Feel free to check it out. By the grace of God and a little persistence and trust in Jesus, I believe we will all come through this time stronger and better than before. We look forward to gathering again when we are able!
MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES: Times of trial for the world translate into times of ministry for the church. The upheaval in society leaves many nervous, anxious, afraid, and perhaps more open to considering Jesus and his church than ever before. However, it’s anything but business as usual. We are now called to adapt to this rapidly changing world, finding new ways to connect and minister to others and each other. Please check-out our Facebook page or You Tube channel to stay connected and view messages online; and feel free to encourage others to do the same. May God lead us as we scramble to keep-up, innovate, and create new ways of reaching people with the peace and hope of Jesus Christ!
EACH ONE REACH ONE: During this time of uncertainty in our nation and world, please pray for opportunities to encourage others and share the hope of Jesus with those whom you have dedicated to the Lord to reach this year. Times of crisis can create times an openness to God for those who don’t yet believe. May we all demonstrate the love of God to others in word and deed during this time when we everyone needs peace, hope, and light in our lives. Above all, let’s keep praying for those who we’ve made a special commitment to reaching this year.
CARE SHEPHERDS MINISTRY: We may be prohibited from making in-person visits, but Care Shepherds are encouraged to reach out to those in need through a card, email, text, or telephone call as you are able. It’s important that we all stay connected during this time of social separation, and especially to those in need or already feeling isolated. Thanks for your faithfulness in doing what you can to share and show the love of Jesus to others.
EASTER’S COMING! Grace Church will celebrate Easter, the greatest and most inspiring event in all of human history, whether we are able to gather together or not! Our Easter drama may have been cancelled; we may not have an Easter Egg Hunt, or morning brunch that day, but Jesus Christ is still risen from the tomb and no virus is going to stop us from celebrating this amazing truth. Perhaps we’ll be able to gather and perhaps we won’t. Either way, it’ll still be a special day for all of us. Stay tuned for more details to be determined moving forward. Your ideas?
THE GIVING OF TITHES & OFFERINGS: As we are prevented from gathering in person for worship on Sundays, please be mindful that the ministry and mission of Grace Church continues, and so do our financial needs. Your weekly/monthly gifts to the church are still needed during this time in order to cover our regular operating expenses, meet our obligations, and maintain our pastor’s salary. Several options for giving present themselves: You may choose to simply mail your gifts to the church (Grace Reformed Church, 520 Maxwell Street, Waterloo, IA 50701) and write “Attention Recording Treasurer” on the sealed envelope. You could drop off your gift to the church office during the week. Or, you might consider using “Bill Pay” through your own financial institution. Our Recording Treasurers will still be meeting regularly to count, record, and deposit your offerings. We are also hoping to create an online option through our web site in the future. Thanks for your faithfulness in giving to God and His Church. Please know you can never out-give God, and God will certainly bless your generosity and cheerful giving!
NEWSLETTER SUSPENDED: Our April edition of the “Grace Notes” newsletter will be suspended due to this time of social distancing and not gathering for public worship. Important news and updates will be sent out through our prayer chain and weekly announcements. A list of April’s birthdays and anniversaries will also be sent soon.
OPEN DOORS: Pastor Dave will continue to keep regular office hours during this unusual time for us. If you would like to stop by the church to visit or talk to him, please feel free. Or, simply call him as you wish. If you or someone you know wants to set-up a counseling appointment, please call to set a time. Feel free also to stop in to check your mail slot, pick-up an April devotional, spend quiet time with God in our sanctuary, or for any other church business or needs you may have. Be assured, the church facility will remain open throughout the week as usual during this time of changes and social distancing.
NEXT SUNDAY: Join us and Pastor Dave for another 10:00 AM Sunday morning livestream broadcast of a mini-service and message through our Facebook page, as we celebrate Palm Sunday. Please join us then and invite your family and friends to join us on Facebook!
THIS WEEK’S CALENDAR:
Monday through Saturday: Connecting with others any way we can!
Monday through Saturday: Praying for one-another, our missionaries, and Pastor Dave
Monday through Saturday: Being a positive witness to others with the love and hope of Jesus!
Sunday, 10:00 AM: Livestream Message on Facebook from Pastor Dave!