Hello Calvary Family:
Here is an update that covers several different topics and issues. So, let’s jump right in and do some catching up.
Seek the Lord for restoration and grace
Some of us are tired and weary from dealing with the ongoing nature of this pandemic; no one knows when it will relent. Recently I had this thought: “I just wish things would get back to normal.” Have you felt that way? It is a natural thought and feeling.
The truth is this: it is challenging to live in the “both/and”; we prefer things to be “either/or.”
Isaiah 60:1-3 is a perfect picture of our reality. As Pastor Steve says, things are getting worse and worse, better and better, faster and faster. It is tempting to think life would be easier to deal with if it were one way or the other. We need to grow in our emotional capacities and in the grace of the Lord to stand in the creative tensions of life. Some people only see things getting worse. Others only see things getting better. In reality both are true at the same time; the wheat and tares come to full maturity at the same time. So, it is “both/and,” not “either/or.”
What do we do with our frustration or weariness with the way things are?
Let’s heed the words of Jesus.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).
Let’s take Jesus up on his invitation to come near. He is the source of rest, refreshment, and renewal.
Let’s go to the Lord for help. Our God is our Good Shepherd who knows how to restore our souls (Psalm 23).
And, let’s continue to reach out to one another, especially to those who are isolated. This word is especially important for the elderly or immune compromised, many of whom are isolated at home or in nursing homes or other care facilities. Mental and emotional health are affected negatively when we experience social isolation. So, if the Lord brings someone to your mind, please pray for them. Then, consider reaching out to them in some way. Your text, voice call, or video chat (FaceTime, Zoom, other) may just be the life-giving source of restoration and care that they need.
Current best practices for praying for people at Ministry Time
In consultation with your staff and others, we have come up with some protocols to pray for people at Ministry Time. We want others to feel cared for, safe, and loved. Starting this Sunday, we will have Ministry Time in our services and will follow these best practices for praying for people during COVID-19:
- Wear masks. In this season, we ask Ministry Team members to wear masks when praying for people.
- Ask permission of the seeker to lay hands on them.
- Place your hands only on clothing, rather than touching skin. That is a change for us who are used to laying hands on someone’s head, arms, face, etc.
- Avoid prolonged contact if possible. And, please avoid getting nose to nose or face to face.
- Obey the Lord, trust him, and listen to him.
- Have faith in God when you pray, use wisdom, and go for it, because people need a touch from the Lord.
- Jesus laid hands on people and didn’t get sick.
- As I have traveled around the world, I have laid hands on sick people and prayed for them; and, the Lord has protected me. Don’t be afraid. Consider what Jesus says: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13 NIV).
- Luke 11 is illustrative. We can trust God to give what he gives and to protect us from what he doesn’t give. We trust God, for he is our shield, defender, and protector. Yes, we use wisdom. And, we step out in faith to partner with the Lord in caring for others.
Update from Encountering God’s Presence Youth Camp
Jane Winne has kept the staff up to date on the amazing things God is doing at youth camp this week. Our youth went full of expectation, and the Lord is meeting our young people and youth workers powerfully.
We celebrate what the Lord has been doing and is doing in our youth and our children. We also bless our youth and children’s workers.
May the Lord use our youth and children to release a fire of renewal, refreshing, and revival among us, our community, and their friends, in the name of Jesus.
Reflecting on the impact Calvary is having locally and globally
I stand in awe of the grace on our lives to make a difference in Greater Houston, in our state, and in our nation. Your hours of volunteering locally and your efforts to care for and reach out to friends and neighbors makes a huge impact.
Additionally, the Lord has given us profound favor and grace to touch nations. As you know, we tithe to missions from our weekly tithes and offerings. And, people sow financial gifts through Calvary Missions to missionaries, ministries, and needs around the world. Through our giving as a church, Calvary Missions has sowed into desperate situations in Myanmar, Nigeria, Liberia, India, and other places. Our financial support is helping ministries and missionaries to feed not only their own, but to feed their neighbors as well.
Our congregation continues to provide pastoral care, coaching, and support for people all over the world. And, our church carries the torch of intercession for ministries near and far.
Thank you, Calvary, for giving, going, and praying.
Calling us to faithfulness in giving
Calvary, I want to remind you to be faithful in your giving in this season. When we are separated by vacation travels or because of COVID-19, we want to remember to bring our whole tithes and offerings into the storehouse.
You can give through the mail, via our website, or in the offering baskets. Some of you have preferred to drop off your checks at the church. That is great. And, we have a secure mailbox; it is called the “Fort Knox.” So, you can be confident that when you mail your check, it will get to the church. By the way, you can always call 281-550-4323 during office hours and give via credit card; one of our support staff will help you gladly.
Our church also wants to help you in any way that we can. If you have a need—physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise– please let someone know, like your small group leader, a staff member, or a friend. Feel free also to call the church office at 281-550-4323, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to help; communicating well makes that possible.
As always, if you have questions or comments about any of the issues in this blog, please communicate with me. You can reach me via email or cell (281-686-5291). For regular updates, please check the Calvary website and blog.
Please join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00am either online or in person, and invite a friend, family member, or neighbor to join us.
Pastor Jeff McGee