Church News

I Love the World Right Now

        (This blog was written by our dear brother, Rob Hoagland)

  The world is crazy right now, and I believe it should go without saying that as a relatively well-adjusted human being, I wish that the world wasn’t suffering from a global pandemic. This said, I’m really loving the world right now, there is so much good in it. Of course I see the bad as well, I am a cynic after all, people are being greedy and selfish, but most of that is being self-corrected.

          Stillness- this is possibly the most easy to notice. One can’t go out into the world without noticing that traffic has lessened, and that people are not rushing about. The cause for this is obvious, but I don’t feel it’s wrong of me to appreciate the calm.

          People have tried to take advantage of the panic, by hoarding supplies and selling them for inflated prices, but when they did, sites like Amazon and Ebay, have blocked and banned said sellers. This has eliminated incentive to do this, and has even forced many of those who were trying to take advantage, to donate their hoarded goods. I am thankful for this.

          Many companies have taken it upon themselves to make things easier for their customers or employees (and yes some of this might be to try and gain favor, or stay in business in trying times, but still people’s lives are positively affected). We have seen companies send employees home with pay. Companies are changing policies to keep customers and employees safe, offering curbside services and the like. Crafting companies, and art companies have been offering decent discounts so people have more reasons to stay home. Along these lines, streaming services have pushed up release dates, when they would have previously been milking DVD sales for a few months before release. Electric companies have stated they won’t cut off power or charge back interest, and at least my bank has said they will help people have access to monies, even if they have none coming in. All of these have been done without regulations, or coercion being leveled.

          On the other side of the business scale, many people have really pushed to support small business during, and after the pandemic, as they will be hit harder than larger corporations. I’ve also seen people offer jobs to those not working, I’ve personally been affected by this. I like that business and even churches have had to rethink how they do things, and that many of the changes could be worth keeping long after we get through this, but would have never been considered without such a drastic prompt.

          As stockpiles of medical supplies dwindle, a few companies have stopped production of what they normally make, to fill the increasing demand for masks. There is even an ever-growing fringe movement of at home creators, and seamstresses to make hundreds of masks to donate, and craft stores have been donating supplies so that they can do so.

While these are dark times, and none of us know what the morrow may bring, I personally can’t help but see that there is still a lot of good in the world, and much to be thankful for.

Forge

This really goes without saying, but what a crazy week we have had! If you would have asked anyone just two weeks ago what their plans for the week were, not a single person would have said: “Well, I think I will spend my time locked indoors, unsuccessfully try to purchase toilet paper, and wonder how much, or how little a global pandemic would affect me.” All this said, it’s crazy how quickly we adapt, and most of us have found our groove, and a new “normal.”

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Too Much Opportunity

Have you ever heard of “compassion fatigue?” It really is a thing. During times of crisis or disaster, the cries for help become so constant that emotionally a person becomes overloaded and shuts down. After a certain point, you just can’t process it anymore. It’s not that you don’t care, it’s that you CAN’T care anymore- it’s a self-protective shut-down.

Well, I’m a long way from that, but I AM suffering from “advice fatigue” on ways to deal with CoVid 19- both as an individual and as a minister for a church. My email box is flooded with things we really MUST do to take care of the brethren. Forget trying to DO all these things- I can’t even finish reading all of them. Good suggestions, many of them, and I want to be open to learn and expand our ministry options. But at the same time, you just can’t do it all.

Who are we listening to? Good question, that. I want to take in data, look at own unique situation, needs and opportunities, assess our resources, but then pray, and ask for the guidance that can only come from God himself. During this time of loud screaming needs and advice, it is the “still small voice” that spoke to Elijah that I want to hear today. And that takes study, stillness and solitude- made easier by social distancing, actually. It is not until we have accomplished these that we can really understand and move on Paul’s advice to the churches of Galatia-

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal. 6:9-10)

Becoming the Dove

(This post was written by our dear sister Kelly Marcum. Enjoy!)

Are you struggling with the ways of the world right now? Are you feeling lost, hopeless, worried or anxious? Did you think your faith was strong enough before the virus interrupted life as we know it? 

Well, some days my answer to all of these questions is yes, of course, but then there are other days where the happenings of the world feel a little heavier than others. 

I always turn to the one item that seems to give me peace of mind, a sign that there is still hope to be had in a world where the waters are rising, God’s gift to us, the Dove. 

The dove is a symbol that represents peace of the deepest kind. The dove is to sooth and quiet our worries or trouble thoughts and give each of us the ability to be renewed with an overwhelming calming mind. But the dove can and does symbolize much more. It also is a symbol of innocence and harmlessness (Matthew 10:16). 

During these times, we are to grow our faith and become stronger in the word. We are to be the dove for others. It is not what can be done for us, but what can we do for those who can not do for themselves. As Christians we are to be a servant but we sometimes forget that during the difficult times.  We are to be God’s light and help others. 

Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine for others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Bring back the hope that Jesus gives us everyday. Let us Shine our light that we have been blessed with for others to feel and see the hope of tomorrow. Let’s become the dove.

 

Monday Musings

I’m at the office, actually, just finished watching Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Band sing “Atheists Ain’t Got No Songs” on Facebook by way of YouTube. Am I easily distracted? Oh yes! But I was up all night, tossing and turning, trying to think about what would be inspiring and thoughtful for my very first web site blog post. “Oh please, Holy Spirit, inspire me!!!”

Metro and the Park service are discouraging folks from going to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. But if you drive by the church building today on 29, even in the rain, you can see 3 mature cherry trees in full bloom, every bit as beautiful as what they have in D.C. You can turn on Nordix and pull into the parking lot. No crowds, plenty of social distance. In fact, you can walk right up to the trees and see the amazing flowers, you can see them flutter in the breeze. Look at all the traffic you didn’t have to fight, the crowds you didn’t have to avoid, to see God’s beautiful creation, up close and personal.

There are amazing things to see, if you know where to look. We turn to television or comedy clubs, but our 5 year old comedians at home do the best routines. In our back yards, however small, miracles of renewal and transformation are taking place, right before our eyes. God showers down His blessings, even during the pandemic. It’s all right there, but you have to know where to look (Anywhere and everywhere, but with open eyes that want to see!).

                     Psalm 34:8-9

   Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

   Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,

for those who fear him have no lack!

How weird is that? Taste and see? Taste, and by tasting you WILL see… see what? That the Lord is good. It kind of goes with our theme for this year, doesn’t it? Look, taste, drink deep. Experience life, look for the beauty, and you will SEE that the Lord is good. So get out there and look and taste already!

A World Wide Prayer

CHRISTIANS TO UNITE AGAINST COVID-19
A world day of prayer is called on Sunday 22 March at 12 noon local
time.
All Christians are asked to pray at home from 12 noon to 1pm, covering
the globe in 24 hours. Pray for:
1. The stop of the spread of the virus
2. The recovery of those already infected
3. Peace for the families who lost loved ones
4. Restoration of the economies of the world
5. Wisdom for the governments who have to manage the outbreak.
Never before has there been a reason to call ALL Christians around the
world to a global day of prayer against a threat that affects the entire
world.
Please let everyone know.
Let’s blanket the world in prayer.

Adjusting to a New Normal

In this, our first ever virtual church service, Bob shares with us some thoughts about drawing strength from God’s word in these strange and confusing times. Please click the image below to hear Bob’s sermon.

Some encouraging thoughts that have been shared by our members:

C = Celebrate God’s Goodness
A = Ask God for Help
L = Leave your concerns with God
M = Meditate on Good Things

A Prayer by Max Lucado from Philippians 4:4-7

Dear Lord,

We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, “What a horrible dream. How could this have happened?”

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Minister Bob Goes Virtual

As we have been advised by the authorities, and maybe a little common sense too, services at the Warrenton Church of Christ will be going ahead in a slightly different form than we might be used to. Yes folks, while we may not be meeting face to face in the building for a little while, you will still be able to enjoy Bob’s weekly messages in video format on this very web site – and we hope Facebook, and the usual audio Podcast versions as well.

Stay tuned for further details. If you need help or have any questions, please email the Wcoc Office.

Report from the Philippines

Dear brethren in Christ,

Christian greetings from Tagbongabong congregation, Lumbocan congregation & Baan congregation! We hope you are all well and enjoy the blessings from the Lord.

As the year 2019 is about to end, looking back to the days from January up to this month of October, we would like to give you a report of our mission work here. In the first place,we are very thankful to our loving God that despite of several ordeals we have encountered in our ministry, He always encourage us through his written word to continue to fight the good fight of faith (Jude 3). And also God admonishes to his people through apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3, it says, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified even as it is with you. And that we may delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful who shall establish you, and keep you from evil.” Thank you, brethren, for all the prayers that you have offered to the Lord so that our mission work may prosper. And thank you also for your undying support for the Lord’s work.

I. BAPTISM 

God blessed us with 14 converts.

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# 4 baptisms from Tagbongabong congregation

# 1 baptism from Lumbocan congregation

# 9 baptisms from Bohol (combined fromTagbilaran congregation & Ubay congregation)

II. SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

# Last March, I spoke at the congregation of Baba, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. The theme was “Resist the Hatred.”  I tackled how to avoid the hatred from our hearts. The brethren there are more strengthen and I encouraged them to continue to serve the Lord as long as they live.

# On April, I was in Bohol.

The congregation of Tagbilaran city, Bohol invited me to speak their family camp. The theme was “The Unity of the Brethren.” (Psalms 133:1) During that Camp, 3 souls were baptized after they heard the word of God preached by me. Thank God for his powerful word.

III. MEDICAL MISSION

On May, I went back to Bohol together with my family to help the medical mission. This activity was sponsored by Tagbilaran congregation. The purposed of the medical mission was to help the poor people who cannot afford to buy the medicine and also this was one way to find the prospects. After the medical mission, some people who attended the said occasion were interested to know more about the church of Christ. Immediately, we conducted a bible study to them and thank God after a thorough study, they didn’t hesitate to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior through baptism. 6 souls were added to the Lord’s Church.

IV. OUTREACH

On August, I went to Libertad congregation with Norme. This is an infant congregation; it was started last year. Their chapel has not yet finished and I will ask you brethren to help this small congregation.

V. EVANGELISM

We continue to evangelize the Gospel of Christ until the end of time. (Matthew 28:18-20) And thank you for the trust and confidence you have bestowed upon us by supporting our mission work we are undertaking. We love you brethren and I desired to see you and to meet you personally if God permits me to visit your great country someday. May our working together and a wonderful relationship will continue from here to eternity. To God be the glory!

This is all our report.

In Christian love,

Roy S. Catamora