Canceled or postponed events:
We are taking everything one week at a time. All church-related activities are canceled for this week (onsite and offsite). In order to stay as updated as possible on changes, updates, and alternative ways of gathering, be sure you're on our church email list. Click here.
March 14, 2020
What a strange week this has been! It reminds me that I have so much less control than I often think I do. I’m sure you heard yesterday that our Governor has canceled school through April 24th and has limited gatherings to 250 people. We average just over 200 people at our Sunday service. This leaves us with the question: what should Harvest do? I’ve been speaking with some people from our church body the past 24 hours who are doctors or work in public health. I am grateful for how God gifts the body of Christ. After praying and taking into consideration what I have heard from medical professionals, I have decided to cancel our service this weekend (and the American Gospel documentary showing Sunday night).
You might wonder “Is that necessary?” I’m not sure if we can know if it is necessary. It is an effort to love and serve our community (Harvest and beyond) by trying to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19. We can serve people who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 by canceling our service this weekend.
For this week we will not gather. I would encourage you to take the time that would normally be spent at Harvest on Sunday to set your heart and mind on the Lord through His Word. If you live with your family or roommates, I would suggest you read Luke 10:25-37 together and discuss what it might look like to love your neighbor in our present circumstances. Spend some time praying together for people who are suffering and those who are anxious, and pray that Jesus would use His people to glorify Himself.
The elders and staff will be praying and making decisions about upcoming church activities. We will work diligently to have some type of online church service for March 22nd. This is not ideal and an online service can never replace God’s people gathering together in person; however, I am grateful that the technology exists given these circumstances. My hope is that by Wednesday we will have a plan in place. We will send out an email to everyone on our email list. If you know of anyone not on our list that should be please pass this on to them.
Let me share a few thoughts from Scripture:
Trust in the Lord:
In Psalm 56:3-4, David wrote “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.” I understand that you may be afraid, and I encourage you to put your trust in the Lord. As we have been working our way through 1st and 2nd Samuel, we have seen over and over again David’s trust in the Lord. I read through the Psalms a couple of weeks ago and it is incredible to see David’s trust in the Lord when he is in terrifying circumstances (read this week: Psalms 34, 56 & 57).
Love Your Neighbor:
In Mark 12:31 after Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is (which is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength) he says “The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We need to be praying for open eyes to recognize opportunities in the coming weeks to love our “neighbors.” You will have neighbors who will be in need of something that the Lord has given you. It might be helping with their kids who are home for 6 weeks, a listening ear, prayer, or food (even toilet paper: I know some of you were at Costco!!). Hopefully God will open up conversations to share about the love that we have because of Christ’s love for us.
We need to pray:
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
James 5:16b-17 “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.”
We get to pray to the living God who hears us and responds. There will be much to pray for in our community and beyond. We certainly should pray when we feel anxious. We also need to pray for others. Pray for parents as they help their kids process all that is going on to point them to Jesus. We have many amazing men and women at Harvest who work in the medical field. Pray for them and the stress they are dealing with every day. Pray for the decisions they are making throughout the day. Pray that the Lord would use them in their positions at work.
Lastly, please check-in with the people from Harvest that you are connected to. Call, text, email. Don’t wait for someone to reach out to you: make the first move. If you know of any needs in our body, please let us know. If you come across a need in our community that we might be able to help with, bring it to our attention.