Due to COVID-19, all congregational meetings have been canceled until further notice. A special afternoon service will be broadcasted live on Sundays at 4 PM via SermonAudio and our new YouTube channel.

 

Dear Ones in Christ,                                                                                                        March 31, 2020

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26). Aaron was instructed to affirm this blessing upon the people of Israel. Indeed, it is a blessing to be prayed upon all of God’s people. May it be your experience as we pass through these dark days.

Like you, Diane and I worshipped in our home last Lord’s Day, blessed by the reminder that we heard from the pulpit; that we need be anxious “for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Yet it was strange to be absent from one another. Our hearts were bound together with yours in the gospel. We were voicing praise and confidence simultaneously in song. We heard the supplications and preaching of Pastor Adam. Yet that delight of being with God’s people, of hearing them sing His praise and “Amen” the prayers of our brethren, was absent.

How blessed we are that even when “assembling” remotely as we are doing, we are assured that Christ is with us; that is all that really matters. But we yearn for the day when we can again gather in the house of worship to blend our praises as one.

The Sunday afternoon broadcasts at 4 PM will continue on SermonAudio and YouTube. As usual, the sidebar on the church website will include a copy of the bulletin.

All meetings at the church building are cancelled until further notice. This includes the Reformation Bible Women meetings on April 6 and May 4, and the Ladies Spring Luncheon scheduled on May 9th. We will plan to reschedule the luncheon when meeting restrictions are lifted.

Some of you may already have received my letter appealing for gifts to the Annual Easter Offering. Two of the four missions projects named in it must be postponed: the Jamaica VBS and the East African pastor training. As soon as we are able to reschedule these, we plan to move forward with plans. Funds from the offering will be scrupulously held until that time, and everything given in the offering will be utilized exactly as specified.

All tithes and offerings may be mailed to the office. And, do remember the Agape Fund, as there will doubtless be special needs that it will address.

Are you feeling boxed in by the “shelter in place” restrictions? Amid these trials, let us not forget that our Savior willingly boxed Himself in to the limitations and infirmities of humanity when all the options and powers of deity were His. He did this that He might save His people from their sin and its consequences. He did this in order to be tested like we are, and thus to know our infirmities.

“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

Christ was made like unto us in order that He might suffer our humiliation. We suffer these humiliations in order that we might be made like Him, and experience His glorification.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-29).

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

By Grace,

Pastor John McKnight

 

Dear Ones in Christ,                                                                                                       March 26, 2020

As David fled from Saul, he sought refuge in a cave. Amid those circumstances he prayed, “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (Psalm 57:1). In the cave, David perceived that it was not the cave, but “the shadow of thy wings” that was his true refuge.

Shut up in our homes, and cut off by “social distancing,” we are all “encaved” to some extent by the world-wide COVID-19 epidemic. But we know that “these calamities [will] be overpast.” We know that God is merciful to every soul that trusts in Him. And, we do trust in Him. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:17).” “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence” (Psalm 91:3).

It is a great encouragement to me to observe the vibrant life of the congregation as we pass through this season “together.” Last Sunday’s response to the live streaming broadcast displays a lively body bound together by faith in Christ. How blessed we are to have one another!

We will plan to meet again at 4 PM on the Lord’s Day via SermonAudio and YouTube. Spread the word to all you know. If you know someone who does not have internet, and would be willing to invite them to your home for the service, please do so. Every Thursday or Friday, a copy of the bulletin is uploaded to our website (see the sidebar) for any who would like to review the order of service in advance. During the COVID-19 epidemic, we are embedding links to the lyrics from our Trinity hymns so you can sing along.

Let us be in continual prayer that this illness will pass quickly, that few will be seriously affected by it, that the congregation will be spared, that we will all be made better for this experience, and that the Word of God might go forth mightily as a result of all that is happening.

Thank you for being there, for your heart-warming fellowship in the gospel, and for your prayers. WE ARE BLESSED!

May divine mercies be multiplied to you.

By grace,

Pastor John McKnight

 

Dear Ones in Christ,                                                                                                        March 23, 2020

I missed you yesterday. I know that you were there via live-streaming video, for a record number of devices were tuned in to our SermonAudio and YouTube broadcasts. A kind communication has come from Memphis, Tennessee, expressing appreciation for the broadcast. People joined us from seven other countries. But the sanctuary was so empty without your presence. May the Lord hasten the day when we can assemble once again. Yesterday I learned more of what it means when we say “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

We anticipate following the same schedule next weekend, lamenting that we probably will not be able to assemble. Before the service starts at 4 PM, please click on the bulletin tab on our website so you can be prepared to sing with us. Hymn texts can be found here.

Yesterday, one of our families called two parties who did not have internet service. Placing phones beside their computer, they were able to transmit the service to two who otherwise would not have had access. Perhaps you know others in similar situations, to whom you can transmit next Sunday’s service.

Please pray for our nation and leaders, and for the members of our congregation, particularly those who have been furloughed from their jobs amid this crisis. Doubtless special needs will arise soon, so I am asking everyone who can to contribute to our Agapé Fund in addition to your usual tithe. This fund exists to help with personal needs within the church family. I anticipate there will be many such needs, and that we need to fortify the fund for this event.

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

By grace,

Pastor John McKnight

 

Beloved Ones in Christ,                                                                                                 March 18, 2020

Due to COVID-19, we will not meet for Sunday school or congregational prayer on Sunday, nor will we meet on Sunday evening. Rather than assembling at 11 AM for worship, we plan to broadcast one message at 4 PM ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON via SermonAudio.com or our new YouTube channel. We are investigating a Youtube broadcast as well, and will let you know if that materializes. It seems best to remain in our homes rather than to assemble.

We encourage everyone to tune in at 4 PM, and to invite any acquaintance to join us for worship via that medium. If you know any regular viewers, tell them that there will not be an 11 AM broadcast, but that we plan to do so at 4 PM. And for any who do not have internet access, please let them know that no meeting is planned for Sunday morning or evening at the church.

It militates against every element of our practice to refrain from assembling on the Lord’s Day. But amid extreme circumstances, that is best. After speaking with two physicians and a respiratory therapist manager at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the prudence of “social distancing” is evident.

If large numbers become infected with this virus simultaneously, our health-care system will be overwhelmed to the point of collapse. Many uninfected patients who need care for other ailments will also be without care. Many will suffer; many will die. But if the spread of this disease is slowed, medical facilities will not be so overburdened, care will be accessible, and many lives will be spared. The virus, if deprived of multiple hosts, may subside.

Scripture instructs us to assemble. It also instructs, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). In the present context, the good we can do to “all men,” as well as to “them who are of the household of faith,” is to cooperate in the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Governor Hogan has stipulated assembly limits of 50 people. President Trump has suggested no more than 10.

Last Sunday, heeding warnings not to assemble, some endeavored to view our service via Sermonaudio.com. Evidently, many nationwide did the same, overwhelming Sermonaudio. Our equipment functioned well, but the massive spike in users caused the network to crash.

That is why we are planning Sunday’s broadcast when Sermonaudio is not at peak use. Please tune in at 4 PM, and invite as many people as you know to worship with us at that hour.

We will let you know from week to week how we will be handling the service schedule. Prayer meetings and all other congregation meetings and events are cancelled until further notice.

Finally, please stay in communication with one another. Call our elderly often to check on their well-being. Pray together via phone, Skype, or any other medium you use. Pray for one another. And pray for our nation, for its spiritual healing, and its protection.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” Psalm 46:1-3

By Grace,

Pastor John McKnight