In the light of the ongoing and rapidly increasingly Coronavirus situation I thought I would start a daily blog here on our website as a place to share updates, thoughts, scriptures and prayers etc. concerning what feels like a New Reality for us as a church and a nation. Many people are following the government’s guidance to self isolate themselves if they are showing symptoms or if they are vulnerable. We have also been advised to be especially diligent in social distancing, practicing good hygiene and avoiding mass gatherings of people. As we have been seeing – sporting events, movie releases, and religious groups are all following suit.

I wanted you to know that we have called a Leadership Team Meeting this week to discuss the implications of the yesterday’s government briefing for us as a church, and will update you on whatever plans we formulate as soon as possible. Please do pray for us and with us as we seek to discern God’s wisdom and will in all of this.

Today though I have mainly spent the day speaking to many of the elderly people within our congregation and have been really uplifted and encouraged by the strength of their faith in the light of needing to self-isolate. Their perspective is shaped by a lifetime of God’s proven faithfulness, and speaks volumes to me about the power of hope at a time of crisis such as this. One person I spoke to said that whatever changes needed to take place, the church would undoubtedly survive because even: “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” 

My purpose in phoning today was to try to reassure people of our prayers and support, but as I did so – I was constantly encouraged by the love, appreciation, and prayer support that was being offered back to me in return!

In sending the disciples out in ministry, Jesus gives the church this mandate: “Freely you have received, now freely give!” (MATTHEW 10.8) We often think of the receiving and giving as two separate events/actions – but actually in ministering to others (giving) you so often receive blessing simultaneously. That’s exactly what everyone I’ve been speaking to has done for me today. Through you, God gives me courage, and most of all – hope. You are an awesome church to pastor, and I love you all so much!

At this time, when many are stock piling medication and supplies – I am praying for us as the church to rise up in radical generosity and grace and “freely give” of the goodness of God to a world that desperately needs to see another way: the way of the Kingdom – the hope of glory in our hearts.

If you are self-isolating, or know those who are, please do keep in touch so we can pray for and support all those who are feeling the most vulnerable at this time. Above all – let us keep our eyes on Jesus – the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Hope of our Salvation and the Healer of the Broken Hearted.

Loads of love in Him!

Jon.