Grace and Peace to you, Abundant Life Family!
Seasons come and seasons go, constantly changing, bring with them change, growth, and opportunity. Sometimes we initiate a new season, sometimes others prod us into a new season, but in every season, God has a purpose and a plan.
All churches in California have a new season presented to us with the current mandate to cease meeting indoors due to the COVID pandemic. We will comply with these guidelines, because we are the church, not the building. In all honesty, I was looking for a time for us all to get together in one service just because we need to see each other. We already had a date and methodology determined and were excited about it! So, we are just moving everything up a few weeks and will continue to meet outdoors with no number restrictions for the foreseeable future.
So, here is the overall picture: We will prerecord the Sunday message and worship and present it online at 10AM on our usual platforms. The Church will gather outside in the southwest area of the paved parking lot in chairs physically distanced. We will follow all the protocols that we have previously established for safety and hygiene. The sun will be at everyone’s back, and although there will be some natural shade and a few canopies, you might want to wear a hat. Service will be around an hour, and we will have handouts for the children. If you think you want to sit in your car, not big truck, get there early and we can back you into a place where you can see and hear. These will be very limited in number.
I look forward to seeing all of you in one big, loud, praising and worshipping service on Sunday! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Pastor Kevin or myself.
Blessings to you all as we watch God do something AMAZING!
Link to Original Post on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alfchollister/posts/10158854612049973
I have purposefully waited to communicate a response and not a reaction to the recent violent, unjust, death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.
God hates prejudice (pre-judging, being predisposed) of any kind - racial, generational, gender, or social and economic class, because it diminishes His creation. We need to see us as God sees us: Children of Creator God the Father, and members of the same race - the human race, and valued in our Father's eyes.
We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to what our Father God condemns - including injustice. We cannot resign our response to "that is just the way it is". God is always responsive to the cry of the oppressed and marginalized. Old Covenant prophets cried aloud for righteousness and justice to rule over oppression and marginalization of people groups.
We in the New Covenant, made whole by Jesus, can do no less. We cannot expect those who have not experienced the love and freedom of a life in Christ to lead the way to reconciliation and healing of the lingering, and in some ways, deepening divide of people groups. This is the role and responsibility of God's people, Christ's Church.
Prayer is always the starting point of any movement of God's intervention to bring change. Crying out to God is the biblical pattern. However, we must also recognize that the Church has been called to put feet to their prayers through how we publicly and privately order our minds, speak our words of challenge to the devaluing of human life of any age, color or ethnicity, and intervening in this cultural chaos.
Jesus called us to be peacemakers and prophets. Speaking and acting on another's behalf is the true ministry of intercession. George Floyd's tragic death seems to magnify the the devaluing of human life that Christ died for, and we all need to revisit and reexamine our own values, beliefs, and responses. And where we come up short - repent.
May the Church rise up to lead the way to healing and wholeness in our communities through truth communicated well, actions that bring reconciliation, and faith that trusts in the God who will heal the land as we cry out.
I know this is a long post, and it is only half of what I am feeling. May we not miss this moment to intercede in the truest sense of the word and watch God do a miracle of healing through His grace and mercy.
Link to Original Post on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alfchollister/posts/10158689920004973
Greetings ALFC family!
I wanted to take a minute to share my thoughts regarding the changing season of the Church and the declaration by President Trump on Friday.
It is now Foursquare's official position to allow each church body to decide when to open their doors, recognizing that there is an ongoing legal dispute between federal and state authorities. Each church will take responsibility for their decisions and actions while this dispute exists. However, we can open having been released to do so by our spiritual covering and authority.
With that understanding, we need to consider how and when to move back into the building safely with thoughtfulness and consideration for all our family.
The CDC safety guidelines, and any local guidelines added, will be considered and followed. Extra cleaning procedures, hand sanitizing stations, physical distancing, and masks worn where possible, will be our application of current recommendations from the state for every other "essential" business or organization.
We have reduced the seating capacity and arrangement in the sanctuary, which necessitates our continuing with two services to seat everyone.
There will be no traditional children's ministries or nursery ministry during this season of transition while battling the COVID 19 virus.
We are encouraging our most vulnerable to remain at home and watch our new live stream of the morning service until it is recommended otherwise.
Starting Sunday, June 7th, we will meet in the sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00AM. We will rejoice together, have communion together, and welcome our new pastors, Kevin and Rachel Ratliff! You won't want to miss!
Thanks for exhibiting the grace, love, faithfulness, generosity, and endurance during these days.
With much love,