Letter Concerning COVID-19

Greetings

I do hope that this email finds you all well and trusting in the God who is sovereign over all things. Most of you would have heard the news yesterday that the government is calling for a total lock down from Wednesday. How should the church deal with this?

1. The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom [what] shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom [what] shall I dread Ps.27:1. Firstly, it is hard in times like this not to feel anxious, but believers should not dwell there. This is a time to reflect on our God who will not leave or forsake us. These times of upheaval can be seen not as hindrances to our otherwise quiet and comfortable lives but as opportunities to be Christ in this different circumstance. May we not let “natural” anxiety become a fear that paralyses, but trust in the one who knows us and loves us anyway. The biblical call to put off and put on applies here, put off anxiety, Phil.4, be anxious for nothing . . .  but put on; but in prayer and supplication, make your requests known to God. In saying this though I do not want to downplay the reality of people worrying about their futures, so could we double our efforts over this next month to be an encouragement to one another.

2. Romans 13:1-7 tells believers to submit to governing authorities. This is a crazy command in the light of the context of who is governing. Claudius governed from 49-54 A.D. and during this time expelled all the Jews from Rome. Nero took over from him and was governing at the time of Paul writing Romans. History says he started the fire in 64 that destroyed Rome. He blamed Christians and most probably had Paul killed, and yet Paul writes, submit to governing authorities. One of the main reasons is because a government is to protect it’s citizens, from evil v.3, they can bear the sword, v.4, both references to protection. In this current situation the government is attempting to protect it’s citizen’s from harm, and the church should submit to this. Add to this Phil.2:3 . . . but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself, which is really all the government are asking us to do, think of others, and it is clear that we are called to submit to their directive.

3. So, in light of this, Naenae for Christ Community Church will be shutting its doors for at least 4 weeks when I’m sure the situation will be assessed again. By shutting the doors we mean, all Sunday morning services, all community group meetings, all other group Bible studies, and any smaller 2-3 or one on one studies together. Total isolation means total isolation

4. What this doesn’t mean. This does not mean we do not help somebody in need. Some might need someone else to pick up groceries or take them to the doctors, we can and should be available to serve those who really need to be isolated and are more vulnerable than us. Please check on neighbours, especially the elderly. But we need to be wise even in this, keep a distance, drop things at doors, wash hands regularly, don’t touch what you don’t need to etc. So please, if you need help, please let us know

5. What we will do over the next 2 days. Tomorrow we will finalise a list of splitting the church up into 4 teams [geographical mainly]. Each team will have a contact person. Sometime during this week you will be called to check up on you and to see if you have any immediate needs. These teams will stay in regular contact with one another and if you have any needs then contact your team leader

6. The leadership will talk about whether we live stream anything or not. In the meantime could I recommend a series you can find on youtube. It is called, The God Who is There by D. A. Carson. It is a preaching series with Carson going through the Bible showing us the God who is there. It might be good as a church to go through this together and talk about it when we call one another.

7. Also could those of you who still use Facebook, click on this link and request to join the NFCCC working together face book page. This is probably where we will do any video encouragements etc.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/148062962409039/

May God continue to use whatever circumstances we find ourselves in to form Christ in us and lead our lives to be pleasing to Him. Please do not hesitate to contact me, anything general please use this email. If it is a bit more personal and private, please use mark@nfccc.nz

Much blessing

Mark Gordon, on behalf of elders & deacons