Prepare to Reopen!


 

Sunday, May 17 is only a few days away, and we are excited to worship our God with all of you in person! Our staff has been extremely busy with preparations, and now I ask that you would help us with these preparations.

 

First, and most importantly, let us endeavor to keep our unity! Our church has always shared such a wonderful koinonia (fellowship, love, unity), and we want to guard it. The current trials we are enduring have created divisiveness in our culture and the church in America. Many of us have differing views about our current politics, wearing masks, not wearing masks, COVID-19, Stay at Home, Open Now, etc. In preparation for your coming to fellowship this Sunday, prepare your heart and minds that you will keep Christ and His church the most important and essential focus. 

 

There is a beautiful exhortation Paul writes to the Ephesian churches that I believe is more applicable than ever for us. In context, Paul has just finished declaring the power of God to do abundantly more than we ask or think. He continues in the letter with the following, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1–3 NKJV).

 

Believers are to “walk worthy”. The word “worthy” is “axios” literally meaning equal weight as balanced scales. The believer is to have an equal balance between his/her confession and his/her conduct. In modern-day slang, we would say this kind of person is the “the real deal” or “not only talks the talk, but they also walk the walk.” Every Christian’s desire should be “to walk worthy”! 

 

So, how does a genuine believer act? How do we balance our confession and our conduct? Paul gives a wonderful list for us to consider. The genuine believer in the Lord is humble and gentle with others. The genuine believer bears other’s burdens and endures hardships for others. As we make these sacrifices for others, we make them unto Christ. Our lives become a wonderful act of worship that proves our confession true! The more you meditate on this list the more you will see Jesus enduring the cross for us! The genuine believer takes up his cross and follows his savior! 

 

The result of all this sacrifice is unity and peace. Paul writes, “…endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit…” The church in Ephesus is not trying to obtain unity in the Spirit, they already have it! The exhortation is to keep it! When we are born again, we experience unity and peace in the family of God almost immediately. We begin to lose it as we make our comfort the priority over our calling in Christ. The Church of Jesus was never intended to be comfortable; it was meant to be contagious! It is in our discomfort that we see God’s power on display! 

 

King David writes “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psa. 133:1 NKJV) The unity of our fellowship is so good and pleasing to the Lord. Guard our unity against any divisive attitude. In his book, “The Treasury of David” Charles Spurgeon writes, “We can dispense with uniformity if we possess unity: oneness of life, truth, and way; oneness in Christ Jesus; oneness of object and spirit—these we must have, or our assemblies will be synagogues of contention rather than churches of Christ.”

 

Our church services will be different this Sunday. The services will be uncomfortable. They will be shortened to one hour for young families and sanitation time. The bathrooms will have limited use. We will sit in different seats than normal. We will wear masks. BUT, we will joyfully make ourselves uncomfortable for others. 

 

Every time in my life that I have made myself uncomfortable I have experienced the Lord in the most powerful and tremendous ways! Prepare to see God’s power poured out on our fellowship this Sunday!

 

God Bless you all!

Dave Johnson

 

FAQ About Church Reopen

Will you still live stream services?

Yes, we will Livestream all our services on Facebook and Youtube. We understand that some are not ready to attend services in person, and we will keep our streaming services available. 

 

Why do we need to RSVP for church?

You do not need to, but it will be very helpful. We have no idea how many people to expect per service, and we need to prepare for social distancing.

 

Do I need to RSVP every week?

No, just once is fine. 

 

Am I not obedient to God if I do not attend services in person?

Whether you choose to attend in person or not is between you and the Lord, and we support you. We encourage you to pray and check the CDC guidelines.

 

Are we opening church as a protest?

No. We are reopening our church to worship our God and have fellowship with one another. We believe that we can operate Sunday services safer than Costco, Home Depot, Stater Brothers, Walmart, and the like. Our worship has always been essential to us, and it is time to reopen.

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Message from Pastor Dave

Local newspaper headlines have become tally counts of those infected with the corona virus in the last week. On Drudge Report this morning one of the major headlines was “April Canceled”! Weddings have been postponed (sorry Jenna and Jacob) and baby showers canceled. We are all fighting the temptation to not allow our fear to take hold of us as we live our lives day to day. I am sure many of you parents have experienced a new level of stress as you work from home and home school your children. Sadly, many have found themselves jobless and are praying for it all to end in hopes that your their jobs may become available again. The worst part may very well be the isolation and separation from friends and family. This virus has left the majority of society afraid, anxious, isolated, alone, and wondering if anyone has missed them. 

I want to remind you dear church family that you have a rich heritage of worshiping our Lord and serving others through the worst of situations. It is quite miraculous when you consider what the church has survived throughout its history! The church has never been extinguished through persecution, plagues, sieges, wars, or anything else the enemy would try to destroy her with! During the Bubonic plague, despite the pleading of his parishioners, Martin Luther refused to leave Wittenburg so that he could care and minister to the sick! The choice cost him his daughter's life, but his resolve was unwavering. Luther said, “We (Christians) die at our post! The plague does not dissolve our duties: It turns them to crosses, on which we must be prepared to die.” Oh what a wonderful and heroic family tree we have! 

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Himalayan Center For Missions


Greetings from India! I am so excited to give you an update on the Himalayan Center For Missions here in India. The class started a week before we arrived and studied through the Gospel of Luke. Since we have arrived we have studied through the book of Daniel and are now studying Revelation! 

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Missions Christmas List




“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” (Is 9:2 ESV) 

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West Africa Update


“Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.'” (John 4:10ESV) 

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Hope Children’s Home Uganda

The phone conversation started out with, “I heard you have a heart for Ugandan orphans!” I was not sure how to respond. I was receiving the call because our church had just hosted a Ugandan Kids Choir on Mother’s Day 2016. You see, a School of Ministry brother was touring last spring with the Ugandan Kids Choir and was asking for places to perform. It was a blessing to have them come. Children were sponsored, but it was really done as a favor to my friend. I know this may sound dismissive, but I hadn’t really thought much about Ugandan orphans up until we hosted the choir. So when I got that call, the only response I could come up with was, “I don’t not have a heart for Ugandan orphans.” I know it’s a double negative, but I mean really, how else was I supposed to respond knowing that God’s word is very explicit about orphans. James 1:27 states, ”Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…”(ESV). The person on the other end of the line was Fabi Harris. She had heard about the choir from her sister, CCOT’s own Nadia White. Fabi Harris began to explain how she and some friends had started working with an orphanage in Uganda. After hearing about my involvement with the Ugandan Kids Choir, she really wanted to sit down with me and share more about it. 

 

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CCOT Missions Update

This week's Messenger message is brought to you by Pastor Dave Johnson

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."(2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV). What a wonderful privilege we have been given in Christ Jesus to be appointed as ambassadors! God making known to His enemies the wonderful gift of grace through you and me! 

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