Dreaming in Crisis
Last night I had a dream. In the dream, I was walking through the church to get to the platform. As I walked up a staircase that I thought would go out to the stage I looked out over the church and realized I was at the back of the auditorium and there was no easy way to get to the stage.
When I woke from the dream I had the thought that this is the situation we are facing. Someone rearranged everything and now we are dealing with it. I would imagine that many people have woken up in recent days to the reality that things have changed.
This looks different for everyone. For business owners, it looks like uncertain financial losses. For parents, it looks like learning the new school online systems and dealing with bored kids while trying to meet the needs of their work. For churches, it looks like utilizing online strategies of keeping people connected to God, the church and others when everything inside of us goes against this type of plan. For many, it looks like canceled vacations, gatherings, sporting events and things they enjoy.
Fear, disappointment, and discouragement have set in on some. Panic, hoarding, and criticism have been the new norm for people who have lost hope. But I have good news for all of us:
There is hope in the midst of this present distress we are experiencing!
God is working it all for good.
Romans 8:28 says that God is working all things together for our good. Take some time to stop and look for the good. Little things in a time of crisis can make a huge difference. Good things like increased prayer, family connections, generosity, encouragement and community support are being shown already. What is God doing that is good through your personal situation? Stop and dwell on that for a moment and then thank Him for it. If you don’t see it yet pray and ask Him what good He is working in your situation. He will make it clear to you. In the meantime keep your attention on Him.
We’re all in this together.
As we saw in the list of good things God is doing, one of them is building closer communities. Families, friends, neighborhoods and churches have banded together to encourage, share resources, meet needs and pray. People are sending texts, posting online, visiting or sending notes and resources to others in need. I haven’t seen such unity as I have seen in the past few weeks than I have seen in years. When we realize that life is short and we share the same goals, the same battles and the same faith then it is natural that we will be closer and more united. Sometimes just knowing someone is in the same situation as you are can be a comfort. Who can you reach out to in the next days or weeks? Is there someone self-quarantined who needs a personal shopper or a phone call? Why not make a plan to send a note to someone you love?
We will get through this.
One of the greatest quotes that I have stood on in difficult or turbulent times is, “This too shall pass…” While we don’t find that quote directly in the scriptures we do see that the present troubles we face cannot be compared with the glory that God will produce in us. It won’t always be like this. That is why we smile in the face of adversity because we know that God is producing things in us that will bring Him glory. On the other side of this, when the trouble has passed, we will be better Christians with greater Christlike character. Anyone who has lived through tough times will tell you just to hold on because as quickly as things come they will also go. Has God brought you through a difficult time? How did you deal with that situation then and how would you have dealt with it now, having the knowledge you do on the other side of it? How does that apply to this season of your life?
My dream for the future…
I enjoy a good night’s sleep but even more, I love to daydream and imagine what the future could be like. When I close my eyes and picture what it will be like in the near future I see a lot. I see crowds of smiling people filling churches, schools, sporting events, streets, and businesses. I see hugs and hearty pats on the back while people relate their experiences and tell of the good that God did through this time. I see us going back to neighborhood gatherings on porches, backyard barbecues, and closer communities in person with consistent communication online through the networks and relationships that have been built. I see generosity and volunteer work as the new norm. I see walls that once separated us coming down and people walking across to connect with those who had no hope.
Wow, can you see it? Do you have your own dreams too? Let’s pray for it and believe that with God all things are possible. Let’s work now to build for the future. God is working it all for good!
Pastor Dan Roth
Acts 5:42 “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
Hello Rock Family,
Yesterday San Bernardino County sent an order out that states that “In an effort to protect the public from further spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, the County’s Acting Health Officer today ordered the cancellation of gatherings of any number of people within the county starting tomorrow through at least April 6.” This means that we are changing the gatherings from here at The Rock Church to your home until they lift the order. We are excited to see the wonderful opportunity for the church to be brought back to basics from it’s beginnings like the scripture from Acts 5:42 shows above.
Your home becomes a holy place when you gather together to worship, hear from the Word of the Lord, bring your tithes and offerings to God, pray and commune together. Even single people should find one other person to have church with because Jesus said where two or more are gathered He is there in the midst of them. What a promise from God! The church has never been a building, it has always been believers who house the presence of God.
Below you will find some easy ways to enhance your home church experience while you live-stream the service. Our hope is that you get the most out of your time with God and that it goes further into your life than the time spent on the live stream. Together we will make it through these tough times. There is no need to fear. Take your thoughts and concerns to God and He will settle and establish you in His love and grace.
I will miss you all dearly but look forward to the day we can rejoice together again, gathered in person, shouting the praises of our King Jesus.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Dan Roth
Easy ways to enhance your home church experience:
- Pick a church service time and communicate it to your family or the individuals who will be watching with you.
- Make sure you have a viewing device that you know how to operate to get to the live stream.
- Sing along and encourage others to participate in worship and praise.
- Shout, clap, say amen and take notes in participation with the message.
- Have a separate device for giving when the offering is being received or set up your gift/reoccurring gifts prior to church service.
- If you have young children with you, have coloring pages or toys available in case their attention span runs out.
- After church service concludes discuss the message and pray together.
As we said in our post yesterday we will be communicating more as we update and change our procedures in order to do our part to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
First, just a quick refresh of what we have already done:
1. Implement stricter and more frequent cleaning regimen.
2. Add additional hand sanitization stations and signage in all restrooms about proper hand washing.
3. Change our practices of handshakes before, during and after church services.
4. Sent out e-mail and social media communication to our members to raise awareness and set standards for cleanliness, expectations of members who are sick to stay home and encouraging faith and practical measures of social distancing and hand washing.
5. Make the same types of announcements live during church services.
6. Canceling or postponing non-essential meetings.
7. Monitoring the CDC, San Bernardino County Health and other websites to ensure we are up to date with current announcements.
Second, with the current mandate from our governor to limit gatherings to 250 people our current plan for this weekend is to decentralize our live church service gatherings and host smaller gatherings in separate rooms of 250 people or less. That means that if you come to church you may be in the Sanctuary, Youth Auditorium, Chapel or the Love Rock Cafe. We want to also encourage those of you who have the ability to attend via live stream. You could also host a house party and invite friends to watch with you online. We want to encourage you to participate in worship, engaging the teaching and giving as you would weekly but through the online platforms.
We hope these actions show how we are doing our part to help in containing the spread of the virus, be pleasing to God and follow his mandate to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together while still being subject to the governing authorities as it says in the Bible. Please check back on our webpage and social media outlets to get up to date information.
Thank you for your faith and prayers. We are praying for you all as well as we know this affects all of us. God will bring about His good will through all of this and together we will rejoice when we see the glory that is given Him through these events. Grace be with you all.
We are reaching out to speak to you concerning the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We realize this situation is evolving, and many announcements and changes are being made rapidly. There are important issues we need to communicate to you as your pastors. Even though we are writing you this announcement today, we may update or change our policies tomorrow or in the near future. Please follow us on our social media platforms and check our website regularly for current updates.
First and foremost we want to communicate God’s will and Word concerning this new disease threat. We believe this virus is evil and God’s will is to deliver, heal and restore. The Lord clearly states throughout the Bible that we can trust in God for healing and protection from disease. (See Matthew 8:17 and all of Psalm 91.) Remember that God is our redeemer, healer, provider, protector, and promise keeper so we need not fear as His people. His role is to save; our role is to believe and walk in faith.
Our governor has stated that all non-essential gatherings over 250 people should be postponed or cancelled. We see church as an essential part of a believer’s life and clear commands from the Lord to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We will continue to gather for our church services but will consider other large gatherings to be postponed or cancelled in the future as we see the need to do our part to help contain the spread of this virus. If you do not feel comfortable in a large gathering at this time we understand and urge you to live stream and resume in-person attendance as soon as possible.
Second, one of our top priorities, as a church, is to keep you and your family safe. We want you to know that we are doing all we can to keep our church (including all children’s classrooms and other meeting rooms) sanitized, clean and beautiful. We ask you to follow the important health directives coming from the CDC, which are to thoroughly wash your hands (20-30 seconds) often and especially when using the restroom and to avoid touching your face. We have placed 18 additional hand sanitizing stations around the church common areas and are posting hand washing instructions in all bathrooms.
As we gather please be considerate of others. Our normal practices of shaking hands at the doors before and after church services will be changed to a smile and wave. We recognize that people have personal convictions and concerns in this matter so we are also allowing members to spread out in the sanctuary to feel comfortable sitting in church without close proximity to others.
If you or a family member is not feeling well, stay home. The wonderful thing about the day and age we live in is that if you cannot make it to church, we bring church to you through the live stream. You don’t have to miss out on worshipping and connecting with God and hearing a faith-building word of encouragement. Please also participate in giving online while you are away if you haven’t already. When everyone is healthy for a period of time then resume attendance in person.