March 25, 2020

Dear CrossWay Family,

We are now in our third week of what obviously have become greatly adjusted circumstances for us all.  Yesterday our Governor issued his “Safer at Home” order in which we were called to “all do our part to cease non-essential travel, business, and social interactions.”  I want to encourage you, both as an act of honoring our governing authorities and of caring for others, to cooperate fully with our Governor’s order.

Let me share with you a little update regarding church functions and life as well as a brief pastoral word.

An Information Update

Life in the church office is changing a bit more in light of the Governor’s order.  The office will be open only on a limited schedule.  There are essential things that need to be done on site and typically we will try to do those on Tuesday morning.   We will continue to have our staff meetings on Tuesday mornings although most of the pastors will participate remotely.  The administrative staff will rotate being here but for the most part they will work from home.  All pastors and administrative staff will be working their normally scheduled hours through this time, either from home or at the office.  Pastors working from home will have their office phones forwarded to their personal phones and their emails will be notified of any voicemail.  Administrative assistants will have an app on their computer at home that allows them to answer the office phone live and transfer those calls to other office extensions.

All this to say that the “office” will remain open.  If there is some emergency we want to encourage you to contact a pastor or elder directly.  We want you to know that it is our desire to be as readily available to you as the situation allows.

I also want to make you aware, if you are not already, of a new page that is up and running on the website.  It is simply labeled Engage and it provides an opportunity for you to communicate a need you might have as well as your ability to help meet some need.  Don’t let this page keep you from just reaching out directly when you are aware of a need.  That is already happening in some very encouraging ways and we want that to keep happening.  But do be quick to use that page if there are things you need.

A Pastoral Word

Let me share with you now just a brief, and what I hope is a helpful, pastoral word.  There are several things that are circling in my mind and heart these days as I think about you and our present circumstance but I want to zero in on something I raised in my letter to you last week.  I encouraged you last week to be careful not to coast spiritually during these days but, instead, to engage, and the first way I encouraged you to be intentional about engaging was in your own relationship with God.  Remember, I encouraged you to “read your Bible quietly, prayerfully, daily.  Spend time in prayer, perhaps in a newly focused way.”  I don’t want those to be just words on a page.  I want us to purposefully step into these things.

Let me just expand on this a bit.  This current situation we are facing affects each of us in a different way.  However, some things are the same for us all.  We need God.  We need others.  But mostly, we need God.  That is true all the time but times like this tend to sharpen our awareness of our need.  In light of this, a good and right response is to very consciously look to him.  My very best understanding of how to do that is through prayerfully meditating on his Word.

God hasn’t changed.  He is the same God as he was before the coronavirus emerged on the scene and he will be the same God after this epidemic is over.  That makes me really want to be connected to him!  I want to be closely connected to the God of Psalm 90—“Lord you have been our dwelling place in all generations . . . from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.”

So how do we do that?  How do we connect to and have real communion with this God?  Simply by letting him talk to us by prayerfully meditating on his Word.

Let me just share a little example.  I’m reading these days the last chapters of Exodus and also systematically through the Psalms.  On Monday, as part of my devotional time, I read Psalm 86.  It’s a beautiful and deeply meaningful psalm and as I read it again I noticed, again, the repeated phrase “your steadfast love” (vv. 5, 13, 15).  So I just spent a little time focusing in there, thinking about those words, meditating on them.  And I saw, in each case, that something could be true in my life because of the steadfast love of the Lord.  I saw that I could have gladness of soul (and who isn’t interested in that these days?) “for” the Lord is “abounding in steadfast love”.  I saw that I could have gratitude in my heart (v. 12) “for great is the Lord’s steadfast love toward me.”  And I saw that I could have protection over my life (v.14-15) because “the Lord is abounding in steadfast love.”  Now, those can either be just words on a page or highly relevant and precious truth.
The observation of, and then meditation on, those truths led me to pray.  “God give me this gladness of soul.  God give me this gratitude in my heart.  And, yes, God watch over my life and protect it from harm.”  And what I prayed for myself I also prayed for my family, and for you.  “God give the people of CrossWay this gladness of soul.  Give us this gratitude in our hearts.  Give us this protection over our lives.”  I want you to notice that the way all this came about was through a very simple practice—focusing on and thinking about what you read and then allowing that to lead you into prayer.  I experienced what I did not because I’m brilliant.  It’s because God’s Word is brilliant and the Holy Spirit really is a Helper who leads us into truth.

We are right now exposed to such anxiety-producing news on all sides.  We need to find refuge in the Lord and his steadfast love for us and we need to do that freshly every day.  I believe the best way to do that is through prayerful meditation on his Word.  I know that will look different for each of us but this is a really good time to set some rhythms in place that will result in a feasting on God’s word and a deep abiding in Christ during these unusual weeks, and beyond.

In the weeks and months ahead our lives could well change in ways we cannot imagine right now.  But it is also true that our faith may grow during this time in ways we could not have imagined.  If that happens I believe your time in God’s Word will have had much to do with it.

Thanks for hearing my heart.  I greatly miss being with you.  Look for a video posted on the website sometime Saturday evening.  Let me encourage you again to gather as a household and receive God’s Word and worship together around 10:00 on Sunday morning.
O Crossway, put your hope in God, for we shall again praise him, our salvation and our God.

With much affection.

Pastor Mike (for all the Pastors and Elders of CrossWay)

Posted in