Thoughts From Our Pastor

Services

Sunday -9:15 AM Bible Study / 10:30 AM Worship Service / 6:30 PM Evening Service --- Wednesday - 6:15 Bible Study & PBYF

May Newsletter

We have heard a lot about and have practiced “sheltering in place” lately as we deal with this coronavirus pandemic. Even though restrictions and some discomforts have been the consequences of the call to stay at home, we know it is for our safety as well as the well being of others. What is so amazing is that “sheltering in place” has probably been one of the greatest blessings we’ve received in a long time. Families have grown closer together. Parents are spending more time with their children and husbands are making progress at catching up on their “honey do” lists. Actually, we’re doing life the way we ought to have been doing it all the time. But we couldn’t figure that out on our own, so God sent a virus to help us. Now the virus is one horrific enemy and has caused much heartbreak, suffering and death. Yet, God is not surprised and neither should we be. We’ve had this coming for a long time! Although none of us want anyone to die or to be sick, this virus may turn out to be the greatest blessing in our lifetime. God does test us but with each testing He always sends a blessing. Blessings come when we recognize God as the most important being in our lives and realize how fragile our lives really are and therefore how depend- ent we are on Him. God wants His people to love Him, trust Him and depend on Him. And sometimes, it takes a pandemic to get them there.

Our government leaders imposed a shelter in place order because limiting human activity and associations in crowds or large gatherings will help combat the virus’ spreading since it is a human to human contagion. Sheltering in place not only protects the individual home, but also helps others. So sacrifice is really a building block of a shelter. Other important braces for a shelter are submission, self examination and certainly security. Those four “s’s” will fit our spiritual lives as well.

A shelter is defined as a cover or protection. Think of the roof of your house as a shelter that protects you from the elements of nature like rain, cold, and wind. Our roofs protect us from bad weather and or danger. A shelter can be a noun or a verb. The verb form protects and shields us from danger while the noun form is the place of protection and shielding. Some examples of shelters are: air-raid shelters, animal shelters, emergency shelters, fallout shelters and homeless shelters. You can provide shelter for someone by providing them with a place to stay or live. A shelter is one of the basic human needs along with food, water and clothing. So, a shelter is a structure that protects you from the elements and gives you a place to live.

One problem we have when it comes to shelters is that we don’t appreciate them until there is a problem. When is the last time you thanked God for the roof over your house? Probably during Hurricane Matthew! The only time our roofs get much attention is when they leak or when leaves fill the valleys.

Jesus is truly our shelter in the time of a storm. Not only is Jesus our only Savior, He also is our protection and place of refuge when things get rough. Sometimes it seems as though each day we’re confronted with one terrible tragedy after another. A constant stream of bad news and trouble in the world can make us feel exhausted and hopeless. No matter where we go, we are always in danger of coming under attack. Physical and spiritual warfare are real and both can be life threatening and peace pinching. Really, the only place we can find complete and lasting refuge is with the Lord. Regardless of what’s going on around us, we can find shelter in Him at all times.

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1

God does not guarantee us a life free from virus and trouble, but He does promise to be a refuge in the middle of it all. Yes, with our Lord, we have a “shelter in grace!” There is no trouble, no disease, no power of Sa- tan that is too much for God to handle. Remember, our Lord Jesus Christ died to pay our sin debt, rose to conquer our greatest enemy - death, and right now is interceding for us in Heaven. Anything of value requires a good shelter. God’s people are the apple of the Almighty’s eye and when God says nothing can separate them from His love and no one nor any thing can pluck them from His hands, he really means it!

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” John 10:28,29

The same God that holds the universe up with one hand takes hold of our hand and shelters us in His grace. Since we are sheltered in God’s grace we can be confident that we’re going to make it through all of this and whatever else we have to get through. No matter what comes, His sheltering grace will be our sufficient security. At our lowest point, God lifts us with hope. When we are at the weakest and last straw, His strong arm will give us strength. If our hearts are hurting and our eyes are full of tears, God will hold us close with consoling comfort. And in our darkness, He will open the windows of light and love. In times like these, it’s good to know that we have this wonderful “shelter in grace.” Here are three“shelter in grace” guidelines to help us live more abundantly, more than conquerors and content with such things and circumstances as we are facing.

First, stay close to God.

God knows what we are going through, so the last thing we should do is try to run from it all. We must face our challenges head on. David killed the giant with a little stone, so surely we can

face our giants as we stand on The Rock. Jesus is a rock in a weary land the song says. And the scripture says that He shelters us as a great rock casts a comforting shade in the parched and dry desert.

“And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2

Adam and Eve were in the place God put them in the garden of Eden. When they sinned though, they hit the road and hid in the woods. They tried to make a shelter out of fig leaves but the leaves shriveled up and exposed their sins. We often leave God too when we sin. And often, when our conscience starts leaking in the guilt, we try to patch and paste our lives with superficial pleasures and prominent places. There is a great difference between being sheltered in grace and being sheltered in paste. The paste will flake off; it will melt when the heat’s on. Grace though, will always be there because it’s from God. We can be sure that His grace will be sufficient for any trial or trail. God knows we are weak and sneaky too. So He designed a shelter in grace even though we didn’t ask for it, nor thought we needed it. He killed an animal and used its skin to protect Adam and Eve. He also killed His only begotten Son and used His blood to protect us from death. Next time you commit a sin, don’t get discouraged and quit serving God, rather, stay in your place. Confessing to God right where we are assures that we will bloom where we are planted. Horticultural experts and nurserymen advise using “tree shelters”to place over newly planted seedlings to protect them from animals and herbicides. These plastic shelters actually enhance the growth of the little plants by enhancing the sunlight rays’ warmth and intensity. If you buy a containerized tree or shrub, you plant it in your yard and you leave it plant- ed there. You make a place for it, and you place the plant in this place. It would be pure folly to go back every few months and move the plant to another location. The reason is that the plants must put down roots in order to be productive, live, and bear fruit. In a like manner, God has made a place for us and He plants us in the place He has made and intends for us to stay put. (Unless of course, He decides to move us.) He shelters us in His grace so that the sovereign, yet soothing, Holy Spirit may produce fruits within us believers which in turn brings glory to the Master Gardener, Jesus Christ.

The current sheltering in place our country is going through has strengthened the church because families have been strengthened. For most people, before the sheltering in place order was in place, we were going to so many places. We didn’t know where, when, or even why we were going to the places we were going. One young business executive said most of his week was filled with meetings to decide when the next meeting would be. God is more pleased with our being and staying in the place of a shelter in grace than He is our busyness, performances, worship services, and missions. Remember, Jesus commended Mary for being in the right place, sheltered in grace, though Martha was busy making sure things were in the right place. Also, God whittled down Gideon’s army just so He could show the Midianites and Gideon that His shelter in grace was most effective when everyone was in their place.

“And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.” Judges 7:21

Second, stay calm and prayerful.

One thing this COVID 19 has taught us is that we have a great need for God! Our unseen enemies are the worst kind and there are plenty of invisible foes that would like to take us out. But God is always ahead of us and the devil and He always pitches a shelter in grace just when we need it most.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3

We must never lose sight of our need of the grace and assistance of God. Never for even one moment think you can do life or anything else worth- while on your own. When we keep our mind; our focus on Him, we find calmness in our souls. God’s word says that when our minds are upon Him we will have a realistic, meaningful peace. Calmness and prayerfulness always go hand in hand. When we pray, we are acknowledging that God is sovereign. We cry out to Him because we believe He and only He can help us. There is no way we can pray in the spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ submissively to God’s will and not be calm. Even though God may not answer our prayer the way we think He should, we feel better just talking to God about it all. Actually, a shelter in grace and a prayer room are on the same page. I think the serenity prayer must have been written from a shelter in grace.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change: courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Just think about the earthly life of Jesus our Lord. Outwardly, His life was one of the most troubled lives that was ever lived: There seemed to be a storm brewing on every one of His horizons, yet His inner life was like a calm sea of glass. It is true, everywhere Jesus went He did something good and everywhere He went, there was calmness. That’s because He was a shelter in grace. Sometimes God calms the storms, and sometimes He lets the storms rage and he calms us.

Don’t panic because of this pandemic. There is a shelter in grace! God never sends you into a situation alone. He goes before you and stands beside you. He walks behind you too. Whatever you’re going through right now, be confident and calm as you pray to the most powerful being in the universe who loves you beyond comprehension. We should be afraid of being afraid because we might grieve the Holy Spirit by our foolish distrust. It may be tough times with darkness all around us, but do not fear, the God of love and grace does not change.

Finally, stay committed to Christ

If you get lost in the woods during a rainstorm, the first thing you should do is seek shelter, or a protected place to stay. Whether it’s an invisible virus, a guilty conscience, or just plain worry that causes the storm, we have a place to go, a safe haven. The God of all grace provides us a place and we must stay in grace. That means we remain committed to Christ no matter the price.

A shelter in the storm is wonderful, but it should also be wonderful when the sky is clear. I have noticed more outward signs of Christian commitment during the shelter in place ordinance we’re going through than ever before in my life. You won’t have to look far to see a cross in someone’s front yard. And a good many of the crosses are lighted which magnifies the light of the world, Jesus, drives the darkness away and is a personal, stay in grace, Lord. Christians have probably read more Bible, heard more preaching, prayed harder and loved others more during the pandemic than we have in our prosperity. We have a tendency though to forget God when things get better. Surely we will continue to show our appreciation to God for a shelter in grace when corona is removed.

God is clear about commitment as His greatest command calls His people to love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength. Maybe God has sent this pandemic to test our love for Him. Another thing God is clear about is that he hates lukewarmness. Halfhearted commitment is not commitment, it’s arrogance. Some people were following Jesus because they liked the miracles He performed and the bread He made. When the pandemic of sin called for crucifixion they turned and ran the other way. Jesus noticed that and reminded His disciples of a shelter in grace and where they stood in the storm.

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.John 6:67, 68

A shelter in grace is more than a place, it’s a force of love and it draws us to Christ. That’s why we are saved by grace, through faith. We owe Jesus Christ our all, because He gave His all for us. He did not have to provide a shelter in grace, but He has. And no matter the circumstances, we should be committed to Him. Simon Peter is right, there is nowhere else to go. So, as we go on with the shelter in place, we realize there are some things we can do without. There are places we don’t have to go to, and there are people we don’t have to see. God, in a way, is forcing us to fast and rejoice in His shelter in grace knowing that it’s all we need and want.

There is a hymn entitled “A Shelter in the Time of Storm” which presents Jesus Christ as a Rock in a weary land and a shelter in the time of storm. One of the verses captures the principle of commitment.

“The raging storms may round us beat,
A shelter in the time of storm
We’ll never leave our safe retreat,
A shelter in the time of storm.”

One thing is for sure, Christ will never leave us. Even though we can’t see this corona virus, we know it’s real. We know it’s here because we see the results; sickness and death. We can’t see Jesus either, but we know and the world will know He is real because of the results of being committed to His cause. I believe Christ is counting on us or else He would not have allowed this pandemic to happen. Don’t’ you think we can count on him since He is our shelter in grace?

Brother Randy

April Newsletter

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12

Sunday, March 22, 2020 was a most unusual, even unprecedented Lord’s day for me and I’m sure it was for you as well. I guess I’ve always had a tinge of fear way in the back of my mind that no one wanted to hear me preach and that any given Sunday just might be the one no one showed up for worship. Then my redeemed self would remind me that God’s people don’t come to church to hear a preacher, they come to worship God. Still, it was weird seeing the parking lot empty at 10:15 AM on Sunday morning! Stepping up on the platform to stand behind the podium to attempt my first live stream sermon, I knew that Jesus would have to hold my hand else I would surely fall. It is true when we are down to nothing, God is up to something! Now, I have not, nor have you, been able to see Jesus physically, to wash His precious feet, or touch His nail- scarred hands; yet, by Him we see everything else! Although it felt awkward at first, and I’m sure my camera shyness contributed to my scattered thoughts, I knew it was no time to be wimpy and cave into my feelings. Grace is so amazing! Not only are we saved by grace, we are to grow in grace and we go because of grace. But did you know that we also “glow” in grace? When I began speaking Sunday from the pulpit, I saw you there. There was a “glow” so to speak. You see, I remembered where most of you sit and so I was not preaching to empty pews, I was preaching to Corona Christians.

A corona is defined as a circle of light or a halo around a celestial body. Mr. Webster says a corona is a part of the body resembling or likened to a crown. Christians are the body of Christ no matter where they are. What’s most important is Christ being there, because if Christ is present, so will be His body. Remember the solar eclipse that happened on August 21, 2017? Things got pretty dark, even though it was midday. Through protective lenses we could see the glow of the sun spraying out and spilling over the moon’s darkened disk. That glow was the sun’s corona and it is normally visible only during a total solar eclipse, when it is seen as an irregularly shaped, pearly glow surrounding the moon.

A Corona Christian is a redeemed child of God that shines in dark circumstances because the light in their heart is greater than the darkness in the world. A Christian has influence and enthusiasm no matter the problem that arises. I saw that glow and felt that influence and enthusiasm that Sunday because that’s how powerful your influence and love for the Lord is. You see, your influence, your passion for Jesus was there even though you were not — I saw the glow. I saw the crown of light even though we are in a war with a horrific virus that has eclipsed our public worship gatherings. Eclipses and viruses can bring temporary darkness, but cannot put out the Light Of The World. Enthusiasm means “God with us” and when God is within us, light glows around us. These times really ought to verify and humble us as we realize what God has done to us. Surely God has done, is doing, and will do much for us, but it’s what He has done to us that crowns it all.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:13,14

Notice Jesus doesn’t say if we do such and such we will be salt and light. Rather he says we are salt and light. That’s because He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world. A Corona Christian glows in the dark and that means God is glorified and others see the light and are encouraged. Let’s take a look at three comforting corona scripture passages that ought to crown the darkness of the world with the glow of God’s grace.

A Corona Christian has a blessed life and knows it.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction: who crowneth thee with loving- kindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;
so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalm 103:1-5

Verse four is an especially crowning verse because David acknowledges the great benefits and mercies of God regarding life circumstances. A Co- rona Christian understands that everything comes from God, right from His hand and this blessed life is completely undeserved as many are the times when the Lord protects us from destruction and gives us good things which we hardly notice. God does much more that is unseen than He does seen. That’s why He tells us to walk by faith and not by sight. A Corona Christian can live off redemptive reserves when
our emotional and experimental shelves are empty.

I know you will agree that God has already blessed us more than we deserve. He has surely crowned our life with His loving kindness and mercy. There is a wonderful story about a poverty stricken old man who bowed his head for prayer of thanksgiving over a meager piece of bread and said, “All this and Jesus too!” Now that is a Corona Christian glowing in the dark with the light of Jesus flooding the eclipse of emptiness with flashes of grace. God does tell us to open our mouths wide and He will fill them with good things. Have you ever wondered why it is that when our pockets are empty our hearts are full and when our pockets are full we forget God? One thing this pandemic is bringing to light is our helplessness. It is the first time in my life I have seen empty shelves in grocery stores. My how we have taken so much for granted. Life has been so cushy for most of us that we are spoiled and need a reminder of how desperately we need God’s presence and help.

Grace is amazing! Because often when times are tough and our hearts are heavy, it is the very time a Corona Christian will feel and sense just how wonderful a God we serve. For example, this morning during my prayer walk, my mind was flooded with how often and how much God has blessed me and my family. I hope my words are not going to overload my heart here, but I actually said to myself that I had already received far more than I deserve and that if I never received another blessing, I would be content. The truth is, if the COVID -19 virus killed us all, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we would go to Heaven and live with God forever. If perhaps God spares us and gives us a little more time on earth it is for one reason, to glorify Him. And He will grant us power to do that even though our trials may be severe. Job, in the Old Testament, had to deal with more than pandemics and viruses, yet God gave him a crown of gold.

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

A Corona Christian is a bold example and reacts to calamities with comforting calmness.

“And when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

I Peter 5:4, 6, 7

There is fear in the eyes of many today as the COVID-19 virus outbreak worsens, and the infected and the death toll numbers rise. And, not only are there health fears, but there is also much worry of job losses and even livelihoods as we witness stores, restaurants and many manufacturers shutting down. Some may even ask, “Where is God in all of this?” The answer is, He is in the same place he was when His Son was crucified on the cross for us — His throne! A Corona Christian knows that God is sovereign and over all, and that He who spared not His only Son certainly will not desert those His Son died for.

Remember, God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ is the perfect example of the right way to react to calamities. Even though He prayed for that cup of suffering to pass Him by, He submitted to His father even asking that His will be done over His. Then, when it was apparent that His Father’s will was for Him to suffer, He calmly put it all in God’s hands.

“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

Luke 23:46

Although there seems to be an eerie darkness and gloomy atmosphere in the world today, there is a succinct glow among many Christians. These Corona Christians have submitted to God’s design and are multiplying hallelujahs. Several have told me that God is speaking clearly to draw near to Him. Truly, perilous times cause a believer to look up to hills from whence comes our help. It’s very important for us to understand that what we do, how we react to these troubled times, affects others around us. Most likely, if you and I are driving around and notice a per- son standing beside the road looking up, we will look up as well. People will look at what you are looking at. So since it matters what
we’re looking at, we better be looking at Jesus. Remember,
Peter displayed his Corona Christianity when he boldly got out of the boat during the storm to go to Jesus. What happened when he took his eyes off the Lord? He started sinking until the Lord took his hand and adjusted his vision in the right direction.

During my forestry life, I often got disoriented in the woods, even lost. And there were times I was in the right place but thought I was on the wrong tract. Then, right ahead I saw it, gleaming, even glowing, a bright fat lightered witness tree. Just in case you are wondering, fat lighter is a real resinous, fragrant wood which is normally an aged longleaf or slash pine tree but now may be only a stump. Nevertheless, it is beautiful, especially when you’re lost. You see, what I needed in those woods, and what Christians need to see during this pandemic is a boundary line. A witness tree typically has one or two slashes, or cut marks deep into the wood of the tree. These marks will not fade away and continually manifest property ownership and direction. The woods can be pretty thick and briary at times, and so can this world. We need to get our bearings straight and realize whose land we’re really on. The Lord Jesus Christ is a perfect witness tree as He carries to this day the marks of the horrific crucifixion. See His marks and know that he died for you, that we are on His land and that there is a boundary limiting both our ways and the COVID-19 virus.

A Corona Christian has a bright future.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” II Timothy 4:8

God always gives us something to look forward to. For sure, the corona virus devastation has loosened our grip on this earth and it’s goods. As the world’s stocks go down in value, the value of Jesus Christ goes up! It should not take such a shaking from God to make us realize just how won- derful and valuable a Savior we have. God will not share His glory nor His value with another person, place, or thing. And, if He has to close the bars, ban the ballgames, or close church doors, he will do it.

“I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8

The Apostle Paul was a Corona Christian because even though he was imprisoned and knew he was about to die, he thought of his bright future with God. He had kept the faith, he had fought a good fight, he had finished his course, yet his future was bright. And it wasn’t because of what he had done or not done, it was because of what Christ had done for and to him. You see, the Apostle’s crown of righteousness was not his righteousness, but the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just think, that same righteousness is ours also because we are looking forward to Jesus coming again. It sure looks like the times are getting right for our Lord’s return. I believe the birth pangs bringing in the day of the Lord is being felt today as contractions of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Yet, because of Christ, God’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we are trekking through this land of sin and sorrow to Heaven’s bright shore. Not even a world wide viral virus can eclipse the Saviour’s love, for there is glow breaking through the storm. Here are the lyrics of a song Alison Krauss wrote entitled, “Heaven’s Bright Shore.” (For an even greater glow, google this song on YouTube and listen for yourself). It did remind me though of how much I miss singing hymns in church.

Heaven’s Bright Shore
Out on the hills of Glory land
So happy and free at God’s right hand

They tell of a place of marvelous grace

On Heaven’s bright shore.
Pilgrims on earth someday will go
To live in that home forever more

Trusting in Him who died for sin,
And rose from the grave.

I really miss seeing and being with you all in church worship and fellow- ship. Thank you for being Corona Christians. It has helped me be a Co- rona preacher. May God be with us until we meet again.

Brother Randy

March 16, 2020

Greetings Church Members and Friends,

Surely the canceling of assembly worship at SPBC last Sunday and the pending continuation of service cancellations is unprecedented. Nevertheless, we must all keep our minds on the Lord in spite of this disturbance and fear.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

I, like you, have mixed emotions regarding the decision by our board of deacons to cancel worship services at SPBC. Sadness, anger, resistance, fear, submission; seemed to ebb and flow throughout my heart and mind last Sunday even though I was out of town and planned not to be at SPBC services anyway. I know it was a tough decision for our deacons to make. We are so blessed at SPBC to have a board of deacons who are not only spirit filled men, but also experienced businessmen and professionals who are acquainted with making decisions every day that will affect their lives and the lives of others. As you know, our board includes pharmacists, law enforcement officers, farmers, business owners, teachers and public service professionals. These men bring to the table lots of expertise and wisdom from a variety of life on earth arenas. However, the most noteworthy trait of all regarding these servants of God is that they bring it with a heart for glorifying God and caring for His people, the church.

There may be times when we can’t go to church, but there is never a time we shouldn’t be the church.

Here are a few ways to BE the church when we can’t BE AT the church.

Be in the Word. Use this wilderness experience to magnify the Word of God. That’s what Jesus did in Matthew chapter four. So, let’s read our Bibles. Psalm 91 is a good place to go when a virus is raging. This is a good time to renew or start family devotionals or a small group study.

Be Praying. Prayer should remind us that God is sovereign and that He is with us and knows all about the situation. The prayer of the faithful children of God makes all the difference. God can do something about this virus, and we should ask Him to, and ask believing that He can. It’s also a good opportunity to pray for one another. A good way to do that is to take our church yearbook and call out each name as prayer is offered each day for that person.

Be in Unity. Just like a storm or a power outage affects our families, not being able to go to church should actually bring us closer together. This is an opportunity to be closer to our families, friends and neighbors. Even though Jesus distanced himself physically when he ascended to the Father in Heaven, He promised the Holy Spirit’s presence as a comfort and guide. All believers were in Christ at His death and His resurrection. Since He and the Spirit are one, neither God nor our brothers and sisters in Christ are far away. Being physically apart can and ought to move the heart to grow fonder for each other.

Be Submissive. We should always be submissive to God’s will, but in times of national emergency, we must also submit to government authorities, health care professionals and church leaders. This is not a time to have it our way, but a time to be the church and prefer others before ourselves. The church has always thrived under persecution and that’s because she has always submitted to God’s working out His plan of grace for His glory during the darkest of times. Remember Romans 8:28 applies to the Coronavirus outbreak too: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

Be a Servant. The best way to energize a complacent, discouraged heart is to do what God has called us to do – BE the church. That means we are not only to love and serve our Lord but also to love and serve each other. This is an opportunity for us to find innovative ways to help others through this crisis. If we can’t sit in the pews we must find ways we can serve others in their homes. Actually, social distancing can be a way we show our love and concern for one another.

Be Secure. The Bible tells us that the redeemed of the Lord should say so. Since actions speak louder than words, being saved should mean that we are secure. The Lord Jesus Christ saved us before the foundation of the world and since the Holy Spirit’s notification of our eternal destination by the new birth, not a voice, or a vice, nor a virus can take us out of His hands. The church will always be because it is a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as long as Christ lives the church will also live.

“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalm 91:10-11.

As children of God, we are the sheep of His hand and the people of His pasture. It is good to know that the Lord is our Shepherd and that He does prepare a table in the wilderness. Every pastor has a desire to feed God’s sheep. During these times, I want to do that as faithfully as the Lord will enable me and you will allow me to do. Social media and livestreaming sermons or devotionals may be the best way to do that in the coming weeks. We are blessed to be a part of a wonderful local church, and times like these reveal just how much we can take public worship for granted. True communion with God does involve some seclusion, and maybe the Lord wants us to be still and know that He is God and this is His way of strengthening our faith. Let’s make a special effort to stay in touch during these times of not touching. Please don’t hesitate to call, email or text me if I can be of any comfort or help to you during these most unsettling times.

In Christian Faith,

Brother Randy

Elder Randy Waters, Pastor - Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church - Statesboro, GA

A Message From Our Pastor

God's love is so amazing and when we sincerely think of what He has done for us and to us, it humbles and energizes us at the same time. The greatest platform on which to witness and share this great love of God is the local church. We sing a hymn entitled, "The Church's One Foundation", and the first line of the hymn says it all. "The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord." Jesus Christ gave His blood for the church and that means you are precious to Him and are His!

Thank you for choosing to follow Jesus at SPBC. You are inspiring to me and I learn from and appreciate each one of you. Thank you too for praying for me and my family. That really means a lot to me and often in my weakest moments I feel the strength of your prayers.

Hopefully your participation in worship at SPBC will strengthen your faith and cause you to walk closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. As we go through the year, the times and the seasons, the ups and the downs, the good times and the bad, may we be in fellowship with God and one another and be committed to the church until we are parted by death.

Brother Randy