Weekend In-Person Assembly Interrupted

Good afternoon Grace Family,

Last Sunday we experienced a kind Providence from our loving Father – allowing us to worship together in one service for the first time since March. It was a great joy to hear your voices in praise and to be faithfully fed by Nathan from God’s Word – Psalm 1: The Truth About Happiness. God has promised in His Word to ‘inhabit the praises of His people’ … His presence truly attended our time together.

This week, in His wisdom and for His purposes, He has sent us a hard Providence. The rise in Covid cases has led the Federal, State and local health officials to speak with one voice: “We need your help!” There is exciting news of vaccines literally on the doorstep of distribution. At the same time, there is the reality of the fall/winter season and its anticipated effect on this airborne disease. Our own Governor and State officials have asked that churches would discontinue in-person gatherings for at least 3 weeks. If churches choose to meet, they have asked that they follow the same safety guidelines established for theaters (no more than 25 people in the room – masks at all times).

For us at Grace, the elders have agreed that we should follow the preferred recommendation and thus we will not have in-person assembly this weekend (11.22) or the next two (11.29/12.6). Health officials across all social and political ideologies agree: everyone doing their part will have a positive effect on the current spread and be a powerful weapon against the threats this virus continues to carry.

Please let us know if you have any peculiar needs now, during the Thanksgiving holiday, or beyond. We will be privileged to serve you in any way.

This is a sacrifice – albeit small – and one believers should be glad to make, as an expression of shared concern for the public health. Our Lord was asked by the rich young Ruler: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17-27) Jesus’ answer inevitably pointed this wealthy man to the sacrifice he must be willing to make: a surrender of his possessions at our Lord’s command. That willingness would be an evident expression of his belief that God owns it all, and is free to require it all of us. This, of course, doesn’t just extend to our possessions, but to our persons. We are His – to do with as He wills. This is what true faith looks like. This is the faith the Ruler lacked.

The watching disciples were then taught a lesson: eternal life, salvation, is not hard – it is impossible. It is a work that only God can accomplish. The reality of His saving grace at work in us can be measured by our willingness to surrender to Him all that He requires: all of who we are.

We looked at this text this morning in our Men’s Fellowship and I asked this question: “If this is a test of genuine faith, how are we doing? Our Lord has every right to require everything – yet we seem so reluctant to sacrifice anything; even a little thing. May God grant us mercy and a spirit of surrender to His call on our lives.”

“Jesus said, ‘With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.’”

For His glory alone,
Steve Wilson