Amid all the seriousness of the day, enjoy Chuck Knows Church’s latest video, and remember, we are NOT alone!!
Psalm 18:30-32 As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. (NIV)
It has been a tough week. COVID-19 has spread exponentially in our state and many others. More businesses have been closed by the state. As we stay home we realize what things we truly value in this world and the costs associated with them. We realize that we miss interacting with others; that six feet apart feels like miles. Social distancing comes at a cost that can’t be stopped with dollars.
After a particularly stressful day this week, I found myself humming a song I hadn’t thought of in years—probably at least twenty years in truth. Slowly throughout the day, I would remember a few more words that went with the tune. Finally, I open the web browser and typed in a phrase. The words came on the screen before me.
I Go to the Rock
Where do I go when there’s nobody else to turn to?
Who do I talk to when nobody wants to listen?
Who do I lean on when there’s no foundation stable?
I go to the rock
I know he’s able
I go to the rock
I go to the rock for my salvation
I go to the stone that the builders rejected
I run to the mountain and the mountain stands by me
When the Earth all around me is sinking sand
On Christ, the solid rock I stand
When I need a shelter, when I need a friend
I go to the rock
Where do I go, where do I go
When the storms of life are threatening?
Who do I turn to when those winds of sorrow blow?
And is there a refuge in the time of tribulation?
I go to the rock
I know He’s able
I go to the rock
(I’m not sure who wrote it but I remember hearing it on the Gaither show as a child.)
Of course, next, I had to click on the video with Larnell Harris singing on the Gaither show. I must have listened to it three times before the message sank in and took hold of me. God was reminding me that God alone is my rock and I needed to go to that solid, unshakable rock. I needed to pour my heart out and take shelter in the Lord and the Word.
Our world doesn’t feel very stable in the midst of this pandemic. We can stand firm in the shelter of our Lord. Always ready to hear before we are ready to pray. He is our foundation that will not fail us no matter what the world throws at us.
Lord, we thank you for being our rock that we can go to at all times. We thank you for the innovative ways you bring us to you—for a song long forgotten. We thank you for sheltering us from the storms. In the midst of this pandemic, tornados have torn across our state and our country. Politicians bicker about what should be done and by whom. You remain a solid foundation on which we can build our lives. Let us put all our trust in you, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.
Grace & Peace to You!
The following links below are posted under our DEVOTIONS tab on our website, just in case you are looking for a few other options to feed you spiritually:
With the help of technology and the wonderful world of apps, there are many ways to include God at our fingertips – – not that we need a smartphone or computer to talk to God! His line is never busy, and we are always connected….if only we take the time!
Here are some great ways to connect via your computer:
There are also great apps for your phone that can automatically send your daily devotional right to your phone! Some will even read it to you! If you need some suggestions or help, please let us know. God wants us to stay connected to HIM 24/7!
Greetings Hope Family & Friends,
Each day brings new challenges, triumphs, failures, puzzles, … Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).” This scripture takes on new meaning in the world of COVID-19. But I’m also reminded of another verse from Esther 4:14 also. “Perhaps you were made for such a time as this.” God places within us gifts which we aren’t even aware to meet challenging times and events. We have been equipped with strength, hope, abilities that may have never been called into use, but are available for use in challenging times.
Last night I spoke with Shela Blomker and she shared some of the challenges of their trip back to Iowa. They plan to arrive this weekend. As I was praying around 9 p.m. I became aware of a new challenge. Our snowbirds like any other travelers will need to self-isolate for fourteen days. Now some have family in the community who may be able to help them out. But others don’t have that option. As a church family we will need to reach out and be willing to help them. Let them know if you would be able to shop for them and drop things at their door where they will be able to pick them up while still keeping a social distance of six feet. Some may think self-isolation doesn’t apply here, but in all honesty it does if we are to stop the spread of COVID-19. Every time they stop for food or fuel they are exposed to folks traveling from all over. This is how social spread happens. But with willingness to self-isolate and our being willing to reach out and assist them, we stop the spread of this horrible disease. I can’t even begin to imagine the stress levels of traveling home. I can imagine the relief and hope that comes from knowing we are willing to help them through this challenging time.
Lord, we rely on you for strength, courage, and guidance in these trying times. We pray for the safety of those who must travel—our snowbirds, truckers, and the people who keep our needs supplied. We pray, too, for our first responders, our health care workers, postal employees, and others who place their lives in harms way every day to keep us safe. Lord, we are your servants. Use us to reach out in love and in your name to help others. You, O Lord, are our God. We are your people. Amen.
May the light of God shine upon you and give you peace!
Check out other Caring Connections for this week at https://www.iaumc.org/newsdetail/caring-connections-with-bishop-laurie-3-25-2020-13537131
Remember that we are NOT alone… God is with us every step of the way!
FROM BISHOP LAURIE AND THE APPOINTIVE CABINET
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
We write to you to encourage and support you in this time marked by coronavirus warnings, quarantines, social distancing and even the cancelation of March Madness! Our world has undergone major changes in the last few days and weeks. Our governor has declared a state of emergency and prohibited all social gatherings of greater than 10 people including spiritual and religious gatherings and events. The implications of this order are tremendous and far reaching.
Bishop Laurie Haller and her cabinet are taking actions that will help our churches continue to do what they do best: love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. We are gathering and producing resources that will be made available to communities of faith to help in this transition from face to face gatherings to remote and home-based gatherings. We will be consulting experts in the worship arts, streaming, electronic meetings and social media.
Many people are asking, “What can we do? How can we help?” The following list is by no means comprehensive or original. It is a start and hopefully, it will stir your imagination and help you to find ways to support your community of faith in this extremely scary time.
- Take care of yourself. Practice good hygiene, wash your hands often, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and get plenty of rest.
- Practice “social distancing.” As you are able, stay home unless it is truly necessary to leave, if your employment allows you to do so. It appears this may become more feasible for the time being with the governor’s state of emergency declaration.
- Do not horde resources. The news is filled with stories of empty shelves where paper products, cleaning supplies, and food staples should be. Continue to check in with your local food pantries and with your neighbors and follow John’s teaching in Luke 3:11 “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.”
- Reach out to people who are alone, including your single friends. Nursing homes, hospitals, and care facilities are not allowing visitors to protect our most vulnerable. Make a phone call, write a note or send a gift. The reminder that someone cares will help shorten a long day.
- Reach out in support and care to your family, friends, and neighbors who are experiencing new financial insecurity and worry due to layoffs and workplace shutdowns. Make a phone call, write a note, send a gift. We are in this together.
- Many communities are helping to feed children who would normally receive meals at school. There are many feeding programs already in place across the state, if you are not aware of any in your local community, contact your church office and ask how and who you can help.
- Participate in the alternative forms of worship that are being made available to you. These opportunities allow us to remain in community with each other.
- Support your church financially. If you do not have some sort of electronic giving in place, send your church a check. A large percentage of our local church budgets are received during weekly services. With these services cancelled, many of our communities of faith can find themselves in dire straits. Our local churches still have financial obligations that need to be met. If you can make a special gift in excess of your normal pledge, bless you.
- Pray. Pray for the obvious: cures, good health, and recovery of all. Pray for those whose lives are being changed for the worse, pray for those who are experiencing mental fatigue. Pray for your church community and all who minister and are ministered by the church.
- Pray more. Pray for your church staff, your leadership and laity, and your pastor(s). Your pastor and leadership team are working in uncharted territory. Trying to discover new ways of doing ministry and providing resources means your pastors are working four or five times as hard as they reach out, resource and connect your church and your community in new ways. They are planning for things that may never happen, they are planning for things they hope will never happen. Your clergy and lay leadership are two of the most important resources we have and without them, we would be totally lost.
We are praying for all of you and your communities. If we can be of any help, please let us know. We look at this as an opportunity to be better at what we are called to do. May God bless us, guide us and lead us where we need to be.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
United Methodist Women’s Study Event has been POSTPONED. The NW District Officers of the UMW conferred and made the decision to postpone the April 6th Study Event in Aurelia. They are looking to reschedule in October in Aurelia. This postponement is due to the concern and desire to keep members healthy by following the guidelines concerning COVID-19. This announcement comes from Sandy Heerdt, Communication Coordinator of the NW District of Iowa UMW.
Dear members and friends of our Hope church family,
After much prayerful consideration of government and denominational reports, we will suspend all our activities—meetings, worship, Sunday school, Lenten studies, and in-person gatherings—with the hope that we will be able to reopen for Easter Sunday service in Pocahontas. Funerals will only be held at the funeral home for immediate family only and without meals. Most of our business will be conducted by phone, our web page, and Facebook. We are investigating being able to offer a worship experience online each week as well as a possible Bible study online. Please check Facebook and web page for updates. It is important that you take the time to mail your offering to the church as we still have salaries, utilities, and other expenses that must be paid.
Please take an opportunity to pray with your family every day as a way to alleviate anxiety. Consider doing family Bible study to pass some time. The Gospel of John followed by Acts is a good place to start. Remember to call those who are alone and unable to get out during this period of hibernation.
Philippians 4:13 reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” By limiting our social contact with others and remaining home, we each do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. This will be harder for some of us than others but Christ will give us the power to do our part in limiting the spread of the virus.
Grace and Peace,
Facebook: Hope UMC – Pocahontas, Havelock & Plover