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April 22, 2019

Leadership Notes

As I was coming in to work this morning {April 21}, snowflakes started falling. 2020 is a weird year.

I heard a story on the radio about the last Blockbuster on earth. It's in Bend, Oregon. They are providing touchless service for renting DVDs. I don't know what's more surprising…pandemic lockdown or that there's still a Blockbuster renting DVDs. Does anybody still rent DVDs?

Lori and I are watching a delightful series from Ireland - "Moone Boy" - on HULU. She always picks the best programs. It is warm and funny, with engaging characters and storylines. It takes place in the late 1980s. In one scene, the family is watching a news report on President Reagan's speech at the Berlin Wall in West Germany. It includes the iconic line, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" People will always yearn to be free.

Speaking of yearning, it's going to be great when we can worship together again. And do all sorts of other things when life returns to normal. Even us introverts need our measured amounts of social interaction!

Saw a sign outside a restaurant/social gathering place:






Can't argue with that. The pent-up desire to get this economy restarted is palpable. By the grace of God, it will happen. Meanwhile, a lot is still up in the air. We don't know what will happen with VBS this year, although any resources already purchased will carry over into next summer if we have to cancel. Our plan for reopening is dependent on guidance from state and federal officials. We are also regularly updated by the EPC on these issues. For example, our denomination offered invaluable advice on applying for the Paycheck Protection Plan through the Small Business Administration. We were approved, thanks to the hard work of elders Joe Schim, Nate Smith, and Greg Lewis, along with Office Manager Lorrie Parker and accounting advisor Sandy Lewis. We should receive these funds within the next week or so. Because of your continued generosity, these funds are not an absolute necessity, but they will be helpful should the economic downturn stretch into summer. As Jesus taught through several parables, it's always good to be prepared for what the future may hold.

Anyway, Covenant Church is negotiating through these challenging times reasonably and responsibly. As soon as we are ready to slowly open back up, our communication will be clear and forthright. We will honor God throughout this process.

Did you hear about that pastor {he sounds more like a cult-leader right now} from Louisiana who is challenging people to sign their stimulus checks over to the church to support its ministries? Unbelievable. Sometimes certain circumstances have a way of exposing people's true nature. As Paul said, in 2 Corinthians, we do not give through guilt or arm-twisting, but we give joyfully, because God loves a cheerful giver. God has wonderfully equipped us for times like these.

As I think about your resiliency during difficult times {and you embody what we affirm every Sunday…God is Good All the Time, Because All the Time God is Good}, I'm reminded of another passage from 2 Corinthians. It's from chapter 4, verses 7-12:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing

power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not

crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not

forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the

death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our

bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus'

sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal

flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Times are difficult right now. Families are hurting. People are sick and dying. Some businesses will never reopen. So many material things have been lost. It breaks our hearts. But as the Bible reminds us, we are citizens of a different kingdom. God is glorified in our lives…in how we love each other and our community. Jesus Christ is our Sovereign Lord and Savior. In life and in death, we belong to him. That is the Good News that nothing in this world can defeat. Be of good cheer!

Much Love and Admiration for Who You Are and Whose You Are,


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