God is up to something...
I continue to see unparalleled faith in these unprecedented times. I believe God is up to something much bigger than we know. Do you see it?
Have you read the poem by Kristi Bothur yet? Really good stuff. (Shout out to Dr. Seuss!)
One of the opportunities we have seized in this season to bring help and hope to people has come through our Online ministry. Our church has never been larger than it is right now, based on the number of people connecting with us through screens of all kinds! Some of you recall, I announced to our church family awhile back (before Covid-19) that we were going to launch additional campuses/sites to help even more people find help and hope. We were thinking our next campus would be a physical/geographical location, but because of the coronavirus issue, we decided to launch our second campus as a digital one! So you may not realize it, but we have been a multi-site church already for the last six weeks, and we will continue to pour resources into this new Online campus during this current reality. Down the road, at a prudent time, we will announce our third campus which will be a brick and mortar one. (I can't wait to share what our advance team has been diligently working on regarding that!)
Continue to stay tuned for news on when we may be able to reopen the campus here in Cleves for in-person services. (Although Whitewater has never been more open and alive as we are right now!) Based on Governor DeWine's direction this week, we think we will be worshiping through our Online campus for at least another month. Our staff have prepared multiple options and scenarios to reopen safely and practically, and we are in ongoing communication with other large churches here in town to coordinate that together.
Dr. David Grubbs is a former elder and teaches the Fellowship Class at Whitewater. He sent out the following devotion to his class that was profoundly good. (He's still teaching!)
In just one night, God ended a quarantine and right-sided an upside-down economy. Here's how He did it...
The ancient Jewish city of Samaria was under quarantine, locked-down, besieged by the Syrian army. As weeks passed unemployment soared, stores ran out of food and people began to starve. Having eaten all of the vegetables, grains, cattle, sheep, and chickens, they then ate the horses and donkeys. Diseases spread and death walked the streets. The Bible tells us (in 2 Kings chapters 6-7) that women even began cooking their children and infants. Prices skyrocketed -- "a pint of dried pea pods sold for $35 and a donkey's head for $600." Suddenly, God's prophet Elisha announced, "By this time tomorrow a bag of millet flour will sell for $2.50, and a bag of barley flour for $5.00." But few believed him.
That same night four starving lepers sat outside the city wall, exiled because of their leprosy. They discussed, "If we stay here we will die of starvation. Let's go into the Syrian camp and beg for food. It doesn't matter if the soldiers kill us; we are already dying." But upon entering the camp they found no soldiers. Everyone had left. Going from tent to tent, they stuffed their mouths with food and their pockets with loot. Then one of them said, "This isn't right. This is a day of good news, and we are keeping it for ourselves." So they returned and shouted the good news over the city wall. And at dawn people streamed out of the city and feasted on the booty in the camp. Prices fell. People lived. The economy returned to normal. God was faithful.
But what had happened? God had sent a NOISE. Yes, just a noise! It sounded like the crunching of many chariot wells and the marching of many booted-feet. Frightened soldiers cried out, "The Hittites are attacking!" and in panic they fled north toward Syria. God needed two simple things to break a quarantine and repair a broken economy: a noise and four rejected, but generous people who were willing to share the "good news." The Bible teaches us, "Nothing is too difficult for the Lord." That's really good news. All God needs now is a few generous people who are willing to make some noise; to SHOUT good news over walls!
Thanks Dr. Grubbs. Sound doctrine and practical application!
How much are you reading the Bible (like Dr. Grubbs) right now? It's so much better than the non-stop voices of multiple news anchors. Here is some fascinating data passed on to me from Shannan Davis on our staff.
The bottom line is Whitewater is not just surviving, but thriving thanks to you and your serving, praying, and giving.
We received a generous check in the mail recently from a wonderful family, which was followed up by an equally encouraging email. Here are a few lines from it...
'We have been watching Church Online, and I also watch some of the 'daily dose' messages. All of you at Whitewater are doing an amazing job! I know most of what you do is unseen, but the end result helps so many people in so many ways. Please express that for us if you have the opportunity.'
This is why Whitewater is so special, and Jesus is working even (and exactly!) right now.
See you at our 2nd campus (Online) this weekend!
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