DATE: March 29, 2020

TO: Pueblo Light and Life Community of Faith

FROM: Rev. Mark W Douglas

Pastor

RE: Continued Suspension of Church Gatherings until April 30

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Let me say at the beginning please follow the recommendations of the CDC, the State of Colorado, Pueblo Health Officials, The River Conference and the Free Methodist Church USA regarding COVID-19 Virus (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus).

To keep in step with the government, we are continuing to suspend all church gatherings until April 30, based upon the newly released announcement of the President. 

As I have shared previously, we have established a care network within the life of the church.  The network leader (Cindy, John, Marilyn) will be in touch weekly, with you, to see how you are doing.  They will also funnel any specific needs back to me as Pastor and we will do our best to meet those needs (still not toilet paper).  If an emergency arises or a need arises, please reach out to me at the church phone (719-281-5771) or my personal cell phone. 

 The network is this:


Pastor Mark (Judy)
Cindy (Dave) – Leader John (Deb) – Leader Marilyn – Leader
Jackie P Bill S Virginia F
Marion B Doris / Larry R Pearle G
Lydia B Dot S Jim M
Sue R Sharon / Dan S Donna S
Lauri P
Clairelyn P


Teresa N

I will also continue to send WORSHP THOUGHTS each week to be used in your time of worship.  I will snail mail (to those who do not have technology), use Flocknote to text & email, and put on the website.

Rev. Dr. William J Barber II tweeted out – Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, in quarantine, in “stay in place.”  Could it be that quarantine is not to be feared by people who live by faith?  If this is how Jesus approached his 6 weeks in isolation, maybe this is how we should approach ours.  Feed & grow our own spirit. (20200329)

Seeing this quote, I headed to Scripture and pondered on the narrative of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. While we are not being tested like Jesus, we are non-the-less being tested.  Matthew said that at the end of the 40 days of fasting is when the Devil came to test him.  What was the purpose of fasting – to allow Jesus to be focused on the will of His father.  As we continue to “stay in place” let us use this time to be prepared for what is next – following Jesus completely.  Use these “40 days” to feed and grow your spirit.

If one thing that these first 14 or so days of “the wilderness” has taught us, it is that we are the priesthood of believers.  We individually and collective enter into the presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  Allow the Holy Spirit to grow your spirit by spending time in the Scriptures.  We too, will walk out of the wilderness into a new dawn after “stay at home”.

Matthew 4:1-11 The MESSAGE

1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”

4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”

5–6 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”

7 Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”

8–9 For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”

10 Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”

11 The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.

Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005).

Luke 4:1-13 The MESSAGE

1–2 Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.

3 The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”

4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”

5–7 For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”

8 Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”

9–11 For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”

12 “Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

13 That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.

Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005).

Mark 1:12-13 The MESSAGE

12–13 At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.

Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005).

Leeland – Way Maker (Official Live Video)

DATE: March 17, 2020

TO: Pueblo Light and Life Community of Faith

FROM: Rev. Mark W Douglas

Pastor

RE: Suspending Church Gatherings until April 18

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Let me say at the beginning please follow the recommendations of the CDC, the State of Colorado, and the Pueblo Health Officials regarding COVID-19 Virus (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus).

To keep in step with the government, we are suspending all church gatherings until April 18 – that may be extended depending on what the CDC, State of Colorado, and Pueblo health officials indicate as we get closer to April 18.

In an attempt to stay connected, we have established a care network within the life of the church.  The network leader (Cindy, John, Marilyn) will be in touch weekly, with you, to see how you are doing.  They will also funnel any specific needs back to me as Pastor and we will do our best to meet those needs (although toilet paper may be an issue – trying to be funny).  If an emergency arises or a need arises, please reach out to me at the church phone (719-281-5771) or my personal cell phone. 

If you have a specific prayer, need please reach out to me and I can contact Marilyn to make sure those who are on the text chain or phone chain can be notified.

The network is this:


Pastor Mark (Judy)
Cindy (Dave) – Leader John (Deb) – Leader Marilyn – Leader
Jackie P Bill S Virginia F
Marion B Doris / Larry R Pearle G
Lydia B Dot S Jim M
Sue R Sharon / Dan S Donna S
Lauri P
Clairelyn P
Teresa N

I will also be putting together a one page “pastoral letter” each week to be used in your time of worship.  I will mail and put on the website.  That will begin next week.

I am also asking that you mail your tithes and offering check to the church address.  We are navigating uncharted waters right now.  The normal ministry expenses are still needing to be paid.  I spoke with one of our sister church pastors today.  They are anticipating laying off their staff (not pastor).  They also have a mortgage to pay.  We are fortunate, we do not have a mortgage.  But we still have insurance, electric, gas, water in addition to pastoral compensation.

I am asking you to pray for the Richardson’s.  Peggy was a valued mother, grandmother, and member of our community of faith.

You continue to be in my and Judy’s prayers.

__________________________________________

DATE: March 13, 2020

TO: Pueblo Light and Life Community of Faith

FROM: Rev. Mark W Douglas, Pastor

RE: Suspending Church Gatherings from now until March 13 – March 28

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:

We live in a time of anxiety around the issue of the Covid-19 Virus (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus).   We, as followers of Jesus, should not be anxious or filled with anxiety.

Hebrews 11:1–3 (The Message)

1The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. 

2The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. 

3By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.

My friends from Fatihwalking (www.faithwalking.us) share the following:

HOW TO BE DIFFERENT DURING TIMES OF HIGH ANXIETY:

  • Wok to maintain an inner calmness and be less anxious
  • Refuse to react to everything you heard and to everyone you see.
  • Gather clear and reliable information so that you know the facts.
  • Get clear about your own beliefs and convictions.
  • Be proactive and establish a plan for yourself.
  • Stay connected as much as possible.

Information at hand:

  • Pueblo County has a confirmed case of Covid-19
  • The State of Colorado has 72 confirmed cases of Covid-19
  • Colorado State University – Pueblo has suspended all face to face classes for the remainder of the semester.
  • Pueblo Community College has suspended all face to face classes for the remainder of the semester.
  • Numerous City and County government activities have suspended activities. (https://county.pueblo.org/public-health/pueblo-department-public-health-and-environment)
  • The Bishops of he Free Methodist Church has issued a response (https://fmcusa.org/covid19)
  • The demographic most at risk is 60 years of age or older.
  • The Pavillion (where Peggy is being provided care) has stopped allowing visitors.
  • The President of the United States declared a national emergency around Covid-19.

Based on all the information and data:

We will be SUSPENDING church gatherings (Worship, Prayer Team, etc) from March 13 to March 28.  As we approach March 28, we will reevaluate the situation.  During this time we will clean the church according the the recommendations fo the CDC and others.

What you can do:

  • Do not become anxious (see above).
  • Be in prayer.
  • Spend time reading your Bible.
  • Trust the Lord for provision.
  • If you become ill, reach out to each other and we can offer assistance.
  • Live life as normal, but with caution. 
  • Mail your tithes and offerings as normal – the church is in the process of paying our annual Insurance bill, $4,500 – as well as normal ministry expenses.

PRAYER:

Dear Lord:

In the this time of anxiety around Covid-19 we trust You.  You are the Creator and giver of life.  We pray for those who have contracted the virus.  We pray for healing and comfort.  For others, we pray for a “peace that passes all understanding”.  Help us to not be anxious.  Help us to care for those who are sick as appropriate.  Help us not to live in fear.  By not living in fear, we will not hoard supplies, instead we will provide for the needs of others by living life as normal (with appropriate caution).  AMEN.