Dear Church Family,
With all the news of the increasing spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want you to know that we are taking the situation very seriously at FBC and Grace City Church. We have been monitoring the situation every day and we have consulted with experts on the subject. We are making decisions about what we need to do right now, what we need to do next, and what we will need to do later as this develops.
Right now, in response to today’s order from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, we will be moving our Sunday services through end of March to online only. Our virtual services will begin live at 10:30 am and be similar to our usual Sunday gathering. We encourage you to watch from home by visiting Gracecitysd.com/livestream. Please note that the church campus will be closed for all Sunday activities. Also, Friday’s Real Talk for Women is postponed until April 3rd, and Saturday’s FBC bylaws meeting has been postponed as well. More details will follow in the next couple of days.
As we consider these things, right now, we want to also remember who we are in Christ and our role in His Kingdom. First, Jesus tells us not to worry. In Matthew 6:25-34, He reminds us:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
This is a great reminder, and yet we know it’s still hard not to worry, especially in times like this. But, Jesus’s words should help us remember our mission in life doesn’t change because we get sick, and God's love and concern for us doesn’t change either. Jesus tells us that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We should take great comfort in those words! So, don’t worry about any of these things; believe what Jesus says and trust Him with your future.
Secondly, right now we are called to be wise. Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Not worrying doesn’t mean we should be flippant or cavalier about things, instead, we should trust the Lord and not worry, and we should then seek to do what is wise.
What is the wise thing to do? For starters, follow the best practices as outlined by the CDC, which include washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (if soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer); avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and avoid close contact with people who are sick. We are also encouraged to limit close, physical contact with others (including shaking hands). You can read guidelines set by many health organizations and our county government; we’ve put some links to them below. The people at the highest risk are the elderly and people who have other health conditions already. If that’s you, be wise and be extra careful.
Also, it is wise to listen to good counsel.Proverbs 11:14 - “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” There are great scientists and professionals who are sharing what they know and give good advice. Be aware that there are also pundits and politicians sharing things that may or may not be good information, information that may have more to do with ratings or with politics than anything else. So pay special attention to the instructions our civic leaders are giving us and be discerning and wise. If you aren’t sure, ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 tells us “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” It is wise to ask God for wisdom.
So, don’t worry, be wise, and then, be helpful. In Psalm 46:1, we are reminded that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” As believers, we are called to respond in love and to care for others. This is one way God helps people, He calls in His Church to the rescue!
There may be great needs for many people in the weeks to come, for the elderly, for stranded students, and others who are limited for various reasons because of quarantine or work and school shutdowns. There are significant challenges in offering practical help because of the nature of this virus, so wisdom is needed, but call your neighbors, call those you know are at the highest risk, check-in with them and ask if they need help. Use this time to be Kingdom minded and consider others and their needs. As a church, there is so much we have to offer by being wise, present and helpful, including the knowledge of our God who is our ever-present help in trouble.
We want everyone to be aware that many will be isolated and will be dealing with loneliness during this time. We are looking at creative and safe ways to stay connected. If you need help or prayer, please let us know and use our prayer emails, Prayer@fbcsd.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can text or leave a voice mail at 858.746.9950.
More information will come soon from us, but we wanted to first remind you of these great things. So don’t worry, be wise, and be ready to help. We’re here with you too, and praying that God uses this unique time to bless our ministry to each other and to our city.
For more information about this healthcare challenge, we’ve provided some helpful links below.
FBC and Grace City Staff