PASTOR GARY'S BLOG

March 28, 2020

Psalm 91: An Introduction To a Significant and Timely Psalm

Once again, it's Saturday night and I just finished uploading our regular "Sunday" message to this website.

Psalm 91 has given help and hope to God's people generation after generation! Of all the Psalms, perhaps none seem -- in some ways -- to fit so closely to the current COVID-19 crisis. Read the Psalm and some of the words seem to jump off the page!

And yet, some of the Psalmist's words cause us to pause, think, and ask, "Really? Does God protect His people like this TODAY? In situations like OURS?

Under SERMONS on this website I am beginning a two-part series on this amazing Psalm. I hope to help answer the questions above.

In the message as titled above I hope to stimulate your thinking and lay the foundation for a proper application of the Psalm to circumstances that we face as Christians today.

I hope you'll listen in with your family and then take time to read over the Psalm again, carefully. Discuss how it applies to us. And pray! For one another, for those who have lost loved ones or who are fighting for life and health right now. Pray for those who are struggling financially in this crisis. And pray that God would use these days to bring spiritual renewal among His own people, and spiritual awakening among the lost around us.

May God bless as we consider how we can choose PEACE instead of PANIC in dark days!

Pastor Gary



PASTOR GARY’S BLOG

March 22, 2020

WORK FROM HOME 

Saturday night. Well actually, Sunday morning. One a.m. to be exact. With enough thoughts swirling around to prevent sleep – many concerning our church family – it seemed a good time to put a few of those thoughts in writing.

In the midst of our self-enforced “quarantine” yesterday it turned “semi-quarantine” as I made a quick trip to Sandstone to pick up my wife’s docking station and keyboard. A quick stop to pick up a cheap monitor at Cybert PC completed a quest that would help her “work from home.”

The current crisis has closed many doors, including those in some of our government offices. How will this impact overall “services”? With an increasing number now working from home the outcome remains to be seen. 

One thought running through my mind in these wee hours of the morning pertains to the question of “continuing services” when it comes to the life of a local fellowship of believers. I mean, so much of what we do as believers has to do with actually being TOGETHER! Face to face! Being APART means new ways of thinking about things. New ways of doing things. It’s true in the secular workplace. It’s true in our fellowship of believers as well.

We’ve recently been in a study of the spiritual gifts given BY the Holy Spirit TO Christ’s church for use BY His people FOR His people and FOR His glory. So the question becomes: What impact does the current crisis have on the ability of our people to use their spiritual gifts in a way that “causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16)? The current crisis certainly gives us an opportunity to “explore” new means of serving our God by serving one another both inside and outside the body of Christ.

One opportunity for me today was to figure out how to use our church website to get the word out about scheduling changes impacting not only our fellowship but also our community. With a bit of playing around and trial and error I was able to add a new addition to our site. Perhaps you've already seen it here at memorialdrivebiblefellowship.com.

In the process I noted a number of things that are available on our website that we’ve not yet made use of. In a few minutes I’ll mention one that’s been around for awhile and a couple of others that we’ve not yet made use of. For now I remind you of the purpose of ALL of the spiritual gifts: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (I Peter 4:10)

With the idea of “serving one another as stewards of the many-faceted grace of God” firmly in mind, a couple of questions come to mind. One, How can we do this – serve one another -- in the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis? A second, What does this have to do with our website?

The answer to the first is: There are many ways! I hope we can brainstorm a bit and broaden our idea of "one another" ministry in difficult times. In answer to the second: There are quite a lot of things that we can do to continue and even grow our “service” to one another through our website. Perhaps as I “get up to speed” on this you can be revving up as well!

Let’s try several things. First, go to memorialdrivebiblefellowship.com. In the top-right you’ll find the heading SERMONS. This has been around quite awhile but perhaps you’ve never checked it out! Clicking there will take you to messages brought at MBDF over the last year or two. (Only the most recent have currently been transferred from our previous website.) Maybe you’ve missed a message already presented. Use this time to “catch-up” or to remind yourself of a previous message that was particularly helpful. Helping YOU grow spiritually will help you help OTHERS grow spiritually as well!

But how about something new and more directly applicable to “serving one another”? Move all the way to the right and you’ll find the heading BLOGS. (For those less internet savvy, a BLOG is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web typically consisting of diary-style entries. They’re usually listed from earliest to most recent.) If you hover over BLOGS you’ll see Pastor Gary’s BLOG. If you’re reading this, you’re there! Through my BLOG I hope I can share thoughts from time to time that can encourage or challenge you. This is one way that I can “serve” you! 

But YOU can serve one another as well. Maybe you have the spiritual gift of teaching, or perhaps of exhortation. Sharing a BLOG on our website is a great way to use your gift in the building up of our own local fellowship and others that may “tune in” to our website! (Of course, we will need to approve your BLOG before putting it on our website.) This will give you an opportunity to use your gift and Work from Home! Share your thoughts on faith and the Christian life and, Voila!, you’re using your spiritual gift to serve others and glorify God! But maybe you don’t have the gift of teaching or exhortation. Maybe you just want to catch the latest BLOG for your own encouragement or challenge. BLOGS the SPOT!

But here’s another idea as well. You can have access to a whole new part of our MDBF website. By simply sharing your email address with Judee with a note indicating that you would like an invitation to join our MDBF FAITHLIFE FAMILY! What then? Well, you can check out the Daily Readings, for example. The current ones are called 10 Days On Worry.

Sharing in the additional area of our website will also allow you to upload Prayer Requests to the fellowship! We’ll begin to see prayer requests from other friend as members of the fellowship! They’ll show up and on these special pages for you to pray, to check off, and even to add answers to! Connected! On a whole new level! And building one another up as we sp“serve” by Working At Home!

Just a note here: Material in this special MDBF Faithlife Family area is open only to those from within our family and friends who request and receive an "invite." Nothing in the Faithlife Family section is open to the general public. Without an invite to join this area, you can, along with the public, continue to access our church website with its sermons, blogs, announcements, and so on.

So what if you have one of the spiritual gifts we studied last week: SERVICE, MERCY, or HELPS. Checking out prayer requests can open up new avenues to share these gifts with others. For example, in these days of crisis someone might be lacking something that you or others have. Your gift of HELPS can be used to make a pickup and delivery! Maybe someone needs a prescription picked up … you get the idea!

Once you receive an invitation and are allowed access, you can not only share PRAYER REQUESTS, you can also add a POST in which you share a comment, a special Bible verse, or ask a question. Or you might want to post a current need. Suddenly, avenues are opened for us to make use of our varied “Spirit-entrusted, Spirit-empowered” gifts!

Well. COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in the works for sure! Things are different now. At least for awhile. But this doesn’t mean we can’t still BE CHURCH! Our website can be apart of that, and a part of exercising our own gifts in spite of – even in view of – the current crisis. 

So check out our website and check out my BLOG! There’ll be more to come on how you can publish an announcement, or set up a special GROUP or begin a DISCUSSION on something you’d like to connect back and forth with others about. It’s all part of serving one another! Even while WORKING FROM HOME!

For now, I simply hope you’ve found your way to this BLOG entry! Just my thoughts. What're yours?