Elders update 2020-03-30

Dear Church Family,

Our privileges as a church are many, encompassing both earthly blessings and heavenly riches. To elaborate on them all would be an undertaking of note. For now, consider – with gratitude – how great are the present technological & societal benefits during this crisis. Had we lived at almost any other time in all the many years that encompass church history, we would not have this ease of communication between us. We would not have recorded church services, internet access, social media to stay in touch with family & church alike, regular updates on the global situation, medical experts working on vaccines, refrigeration, electricity, drinkable water running from multiple taps around our homes, pharmacies, a steady supply of food & toiletries, and a host of other creature-comforts to make isolation more bearable.

Yet God in His goodness has granted them (or at least most of them) to each of us. Our prayers ought to be filled with thanksgiving; and that’s even before we remember the far greater riches & promises afforded us in Christ – those things that do not fade and are not lost to rust or thief. Whatever the number of people crowding (or absent) from your home now…there is Another still, who is with us. His ear is open, His eyes do see, His compassions – they fail not. As He has been, He forever will be.

Wednesday HFG Pilgrim’s Progress – This Wednesday evening, the next instalment in our Pilgrim’s Progress series will be available online. We will be covering the section on “Bypass Meadow, Doubting Castle, the Giant Despair”. It is one of the most exciting parts of the book and, by the Lord’s providence, a timely reminder for any who are anxious in these testing times. We encourage adults & children alike to take part. If you have not read it yet, you could certainly find a free version of “Pilgrim’s Progress” online. However, even without reading it, you would follow the story as the approach we are taking is to narrate & comment, with questions in-between.

Sunday Service / Easter Weekend – The first service recorded from Martin’s home has come and gone, and we’ll apply a some timing & technical lessons learnt from the process to next Sunday. There will also be pre-recorded Easter services, for 10th and 12th March respectively (more details forthcoming).

Tuesday Prayer (Sola 5) – All fifty-two Sola 5 churches have been asked to focus our praying around the present COVID-19 situation. While we may pray at liberty, we have been asked to focus especially on a given day. Goodwood Baptist Church, alongside Reformed Faith Mission and others, has been allocated Tuesdays. Please would you be in prayer throughout tomorrow (and next Tuesday) for these matters; and then at 7pm in the evenings, join the whole church as we pause from the usual routine to pray together in our respective homes.

  1. Pray that we will each embrace a biblical understanding of human mortality and our dependence on God.
  2. Pray for God to graciously arrest the spread of the virus.
  3. Pray for the medical professionals putting their lives at risk for their neighbours.
  4. Pray for experts working on a vaccine.
  5. Pray for healing for those affected and protection for those not affected.
  6. Pray for the elderly, pregnant, immunodepressed, etc. who are particularly vulnerable to the virus and the disease it causes
  7. Pray for government officials in various countries as they make decisions for the safety of their people.
  8. Pray for churches and church leaders who must shepherd and minister the gospel faithfully to God’s people at this time.
  9. Pray for smaller churches who will likely feel the pinch of various restrictions in perhaps a greater way than larger churches.
  10. Pray for churches and church members, many of whom are providentially hindered from gathering, to continue, by whatever means possible, to encourage one another and stir one another to love and good works.
  11. Pray that Christians will learn during this time, more than ever, to trust in God, who upholds all things by the word of his power.

The request from Sola 5 put it well – “As Christians, we recognise that, while we have a responsibility to love neighbour and submit to government, ultimately God is in control of all of this. “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lamentation 3:37–38). Therefore, while it is absolutely right to practice social distancing, isolate ourselves as required, wash hands, etc. we cannot ultimately rely on human wisdom to slow or arrest the spread of the virus. We are Christians, and Christians are people of prayer.”

May the truth of God’s Word guide your thoughts, will & affections into the true experience of His presence.

With warm greetings and love,

Martin, Andrew, Winton, Shane