We are Essential!
“It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them…But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.”- Acts 12:1, 24
One of the most encouraging and faith-energizing things about the Book of Acts is how the early Church thrived, advanced, and multiplied, no matter the season or struggle. No cultural speedbumps, government systems, or even full-on spiritual attacks could stop the gospel from spreading! How beautiful are the bookmarks to Acts 12 (above) which begins with an attempt to STOP the church, only for it to end with the miraculous GROWTH of it. Over the last few months, I have been saying to anyone who would listen, “This season is still all about the Kingdom of God, the Good News, and the Harvest!”
In this extended pandemic there has been much discussion and opinion on the types of businesses that are deemed “essential.” The Church has been at the center of some of these hotly contested deliberations. The fact is the Church has always been essential with the most important endorsement of all, from its Founder, who happens to be our Savior, as the only hope for this world. In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus tells Peter, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
As we move toward our regathering IN-PERSON a week from Sunday (July 12th at 9:30 am & 11 am), I want to remind us that being essential is not solely based on our GATHERINGS, rather on our GIVING to those within our faith community and the neighborhoods around us. Know that meeting together on Sundays should be treasured in our hearts and heeded as a God command (Hebrews 10:25), but despite not being under the same roof for over three months, we have continued on the same mission of making disciples, reaching people, and blessing our community.
We are excited to regather together on July 12th…we cannot wait to see you, worship, and grow with you. But we are also excited to share some of the “essential” stories that have happened in the meantime:
We have seen two people water baptized!
We have started a weekly Prayer Meeting on Zoom Video Call (Tuesdays at 7:14 pm).
We have seen more people join our online services who have never been to our building.
We discipled dozens through our Spirit App class (Available to view on our website)
We have given thousands of dollars away to multiple families in our fellowship and to two other local churches serving the community.
We will be partnering with a weekly Food Pantry in Thousand Oaks (More details to come)
We have provided amazing points of connection and devotion through Video Fellowship Groups and Daily Devos from our pastoral team on our Facebook Page
In Matthew 5:14, 16 Jesus calls us to be essential, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Jesus remains LORD of His Church and the Light of the Church is shining brighter and more needed now, than ever!