April 3, 2020

Update #6

Good morning Salem Evangelical Church and Beyond,

We have made it through another week! I have been sharing with people, who are worried and fearful of the unknown, a simple question: “How old are you?” And then I have followed up with a second question: “How many of those years has God taken care of you?” And then I have followed up with a third question: “What is the likelihood He will take care of you for at least one more year?” We must understand the depth of Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:19. (Please look them up and read them as many times a day as you need, to get peace and perspective.)
Romans 13:1 states, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”

People are sharing with me their fervent desire to assemble. I too, want to assemble with you in person. The last two Sundays I have gone to the East Sanctuary by myself and knelt at the altar and cried because I would be preaching to an empty church. A few states are defining “essential” to reference church gatherings. Some are wanting to challenge the rules in place and gather. We are under a national emergency. The President has said to social distance and to do so with no more than 10 in the same area. The governor of Oregon has stated the same thing, with an order of no more than 25 with the rules of social distancing being six feet. I represent Salem Evangelical Church and I will follow the orders given.

WE STILL HAVE open communication with one another, and thanks to the internet, more than at any other time in history!
WE STILL HAVE our faith and it should be growing by leaps and bounds during this season of upheaval!
WE STILL HAVE our Bibles and we should be reading them more than ever!
WE STILL CAN have church together, now in the comfort of our homes!
WE CAN STILL PRAY for one another and the volume of prayer should be greater than ever!
WE STILL HAVE FOOD on the shelves at the stores!

On another subject…
I am still being asked how people can give their tithes and offerings. First, I want to say thanks for your faithfulness to the Lord. Your example of generosity is being talked about in circles far beyond our church. You may give through the U.S. mail to the church address. You may give online by going to our web site and clicking on the “donate online” bar. Or, you can drop off your giving in a new box we have place just outside the office doors. All three ways honor social distancing.

The church staff continues to work hard to provide meaningful contact with our congregation, short of being in person together.

We are providing food and pharmacy deliveries to our senior citizens and to those who are sheltered for other reasons. If you need food or medicine picked up for you, please call the church office.

We serviced our community yesterday with food boxes. 85 families received food boxes, serving a total number of 341 people. And, we followed all the rules of social distancing and then some.

We are brainstorming with business leaders and ministry leaders about how to meet needs going forward should this pandemic be extended into the summer months.

We provide a daily devotional Monday-Friday at 1:00 each afternoon for 15 minutes. Wednesday night at 6:30pm there is a half hour Bible study and then of course, our Sunday morning service live streamed at 9:15am. Please help others tune in to these resources. Share these opportunities within your networks. You can watch them on live stream, Facebook or from our website. Our age level leaders are online each week in various ways sharing with their age level people too.

This Sunday, April 5th, is Palm Sunday. We will be taking communion together in our homes. I will lead you in this during the morning service. If you have not already prepared your communion table with the bread and juice, I invite you to start doing that even today. Share a photograph online and share it with your many contacts what your communion table looks like and invite them to join us this Sunday. Fan the flame of what God is doing in our homes. THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE!

On Resurrection Sunday, Easter, I will be giving a sunrise message at 6:30am on live stream and then at 9:15am, our resurrection celebration service.
I still believe our freedom of religion is fully intact. Think of China and the many years they had to meet secretly underground. Then, when there was light for a season, it was discovered they had grown many fold while underground.

Consider our friends in Bangladesh that we talk about so often. They face the threat of being jailed each time they meet. Many of the pastors I trained in November had been jailed and some, more than once, for naming the name of Jesus.

I will close my weekly briefing with you with a verse from Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

You are always welcome to email, text or call me for questions or concerns. Encouragement is welcomed too!

God bless you who are reading this briefing, wherever you may be in the world!

In Christ,

Pastor Randy R. Butler