This page is a list of all the different notices and updates we’ve posted in response the ever-fluid coronavirus situation. The latest updates are at the top, oldest at the bottom.
Friday, June 25 • 2020
Pastoral Post #8
RE: General Information
June 25, 2020
As we continue to evaluate and reopen more services and activities, I want to communicate what is coming and, in general, the steps we are taking to keep our church family safe. If you wish to remain further informed, I encourage you to stay in-touch, checking our website regularly and worshipping. If you have any questions or concerns I invite you to call me directly. Yes, I am serious! (Someone recently said they didn’t want to bother me, that I’m too busy. I asked if they would trust a shepherd who was bothered by spending time with his sheep.)
We are currently holding two services in the sanctuary: Praise @ 9:30 (still being broadcast live) and NXT @ 11. We will be resuming our traditional “Heritage Service” at 8am on July 12th.
Here are the steps we have taken to modify our normal activities and reduce risk:
- FRIENDSHIP PADS – omitted for now
- GREETING/SHAKING OF HANDS – omitted for now
- OFFERING PLATE – instead of passing plates we have offering stations in the back of the sanctuary and in the narthex, and we are encouraging more of our members and friends to do online giving. Check out our page on Electronic Giving to learn how to get started, or contact the office for assistance.
- COMMUNION – presently, communion is being administered in a “walk thru” style in front of the pews to allow for more physical distancing, and members are handling the elements personally. Also, for those who are at higher risk and are not yet physically attending worship in the sanctuary, the elders and I will continue to offer individual/family (“drive-up”) communion after services on special Sundays. This has allowed for a more sterile environment while still connecting to our Lord’s gift. Please check the calendar on our website, and if you have any special requests, like needing to remain in your vehicle, we can usually accommodate. Communion is now being held on the second and fourth Sundays for all services.
- MASKS – we encourage those at high risk to wear a suitable mask, should you decide to attend church in person.
- YOUR ROLE – if you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed, or if your personal health conditions make you more vulnerable to any contagions, we ask that you please worship from home via Boxcast OR on Facebook.
Although we cannot predict the future, we can rest assured that the God, “who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all,” is with us. He is faithful! Through the brokenness of this world, he has sustained his people through war, famine, exile and – yes – even pandemics. And God will continue to be gracious and faithful to us in this current crisis.
Our hope is built on the perfect love of Jesus Christ, and we have been called to share that love with the world. In light of this, I ask that you extend a family-like care to those in your congregation and in your community. Keep in your prayers all who have been affected by the virus – directly or indirectly. During this season of “social distancing,” make a special effort to care for those who would be uplifted by a phone call, a text message, a card, or an email.
In that same light – and in the midst of this all – I would remind you, of two very important tenets of our sustaining faith: Fear is not for the faithful! You and I have been encouraged to FEAR LESS! And fearing less means loving more! “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” • 1 John 4:18
Thursday, April 9 • 2020
Pastoral Post #6
RE: Pastor Kostizen, Update
April 09, 2020 @ 9:20PM
Calling An Audible
Allow me to – as they say in football – call an audible on the field, and to invite you to adjust your prayers for Pastor Kostizen.
I know many of you would have preferred more frequent and up-to-the-minute information on Pastor K’s situation, however, due in great part to the nature of the present hospital lockdowns, communication has not always been timely, and it seemed that the circumstances and even diagnoses changed on an almost hourly basis.
What we know now is this: After multiple tests, the doctors are certain he does NOT presently have the nouvelle coronavirus. He does have pneumonia in his left lobe and an infected gallbladder. That said, he is improving and preparing to have his gallbladder removed tomorrow (Friday, April 10). After speaking with him, I know he covets ALL your prayers around the surgery. So please pray with me for the surgeons, the doctors, the nurses, and the supporting staff, as well as for a successful surgery and a quick/full recovery. I would also invite you to lift up Carolyn and the Kostizen family in your prayers. Unfortunately, too many of you know, intimately, how difficult it is to wait and watch, and now that is compounded for the many families who cannot visit or be near their loved ones in the hospitals.
This reminds me also that we – God’s people – among the many more petitions we have, need to ask God that he grant us the wisdom and spirit to reach into all the hurt and separation being experienced in these weeks and share the hope that grows despite these circumstances!
REMEMBER: Christ is STILL risen!!!
1 JOHN 4:18
Tuesday, April 7 • 2020
Pastoral Post #5
RE: Pastor Kostizen
April 07, 2020 @ 4:30PM
Earlier today I received word that our own Pastor Kostizen was admitted into the hospital late last night. He was tested for the nouvelle coronavirus, and as of right now – as I write this – the family is still waiting on the results. The symptoms advanced rapidly, and the chest/abdominal scans apparently indicate that he will likely test positive for COVID-19.
Whatever the final diagnosis may be, I invite you to pray with me for Pastor K and his family, especially considering all the medical “stuff” he has gone through in the past number of years. Many of you already know the heartache and frustration of having someone in the hospital under these present circumstances, and most of us are praying for other family members and friends that have been touched and affected by this all. If you would allow me, however, to make this my personal plea to you, I would be jealous for your devotion on behalf of the guy who pastored your present pastor.
Even if you are newer to the Messiah Family of Faith, you should know that the things you love about your church… well, a lot of them find their roots deep in Pastor K’s ministry and spirit. In fact, the technology we have utilized lately to bring worship and the study of God’s Word directly into your homes during the stay-at-home orders really is an effect of his earlier pioneering in the ministry. For that I am extremely grateful, and I think it’s important for you to be aware, so you can give God thanks for all that’s been done for us.
And while I have your attention, let me share my gratitude for all of you! You’ve stayed tuned-in, prayerful, hopeful, and extremely encouraging! Just another reason why I love my Messiah Family!
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:3-6).
1 JOHN 4:18
Monday, April 6 • 2020
Pastoral Post #4
RE: Communion, Maundy Thursday
April 06, 2020 @ 12:00PM
Not the Last Lord’s Supper
The “new normal” will fast become an old cliché. As people attempt to reassemble their lives, I remind the faithful that Jesus never called you out in order to fit-back-in to this world. And yet, our lives as followers of Christ have been disrupted; our mission has been undermined! The last thing our Savior wanted was for us to practice social distancing. Our theology — what we believe from God’s Word — is incarnational and communal. We are the Body of Christ! And we need to rebound from this forced disjointing of our fellowship.
One of the deepest expressions of our unity is found in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. In a physical, yet mysterious, way our Savior in-fills us with his real presence, bringing us into communion with the divine, his death and resurrection. At the same time, Jesus gives this meal to us together, so we are also brought into communion with the rest of the saints in Christ.
Unfortunately, the present sequestering has compelled us into a spiritual fast. Although we have been able to temporarily bridge the gap in worship and the “gathering together” around the Word through our live-streaming services, many of you have expressed your hunger to return to our Lord’s Table, especially now that Holy Week is upon us!
Let me first say, I’m encouraged by your desire! This will end, and we will celebrate …together! Even concerning Easter, I wish to remind you that Christians celebrate the Resurrection EVERY Sunday! So we won’t miss the party. He is STILL risen! And we will gather together around the bread and wine, the Body and the Blood, and we will celebrate God’s goodness!
Until then, I would like to offer you a way to “cheat-the-fast.” As has already been the case, each member or family may schedule a private time of communion at Messiah that will not break any of the present restrictions of this health emergency. Simply call the church office at (810) 686-0740 to schedule. Beyond that, and in recognition of Maundy Thursday and the institution of our Lord’s Supper, the Elders and I will be working at the church campus this Thursday to provide a service of walk-thru Communion for any of our members who wish to receive our Savior’s body and blood.
Here’s what you need to know:
WHEN • This Thursday, April 9, any time within the following hours:
10:00AM – NOON
2:00PM – 6:30PM
*Remember, the worship livestream begins at 7:00PM.
WHERE •Show up in the south parking lot at Messiah.
HOW • Just stay in your vehicle. (Or, if the weather allows you to walk, remain outside.) When it is your turn, one of the Elders will personally invite you in through the main doors on the south entrance, and we will direct you from there. Afterward, you will exit out the gym doors, directly to the south parking lot. Then you can be on your way.
Whatever you choose, I invite you to pray with me that God bring healing, discovery, restoration, enlightenment, encouragement and – especially for his Church – an urgency to live out his purposes together. For all of creation waits in eager anticipation for the children of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19).
1 JOHN 4:18
Tuesday, March 24 • 2020
Pastoral Post #3
RE: Michigan Executive Order 2020-21
March 23, 2020 @ 10:00PM
Life has been sidelined! Education, athletics, finances, milestone events, weddings, even funerals, and more have been postponed and paralyzed! Meanwhile fear moves ordinary people to stand in line to enter the grocery stores with apprehension and worry. Now further sequestering is forcing greater isolation and what seems to be just the beginning of a very long season of a very different kind of drought.
Conditions and responses change daily – sometimes hourly – as everyone seems to be looking for the answers that will take us past “the curve,” beyond just the predictions, to get us back to normal.
As you search, may I remind you of a more pressing executive order: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This directive was issued from the one who defeated death and who permanently holds all authority in heaven and on earth, Jesus Christ our Lord! He is in control!
He is Risen! God is good! We are his! And nothing can separate us (or quarantine us!) from the love of God that is found in Jesus Christ, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither virus nor infection, nor anything else in all creation! (Read Romans 8.)
Since you, members and friends of Messiah, find your lives in Jesus, you are his Body! You are the Ambassadors of Reconciliation that are called together to be something evermore needed in this world: You are His Church!
As such, I want to offer some direction on how you and I – together! – can serve to be the best witness possible, to ensure that the most essential work on this planet is not impeded, that is, the work of making MORE and BETTER disciples for Jesus Christ!!!
This is a rallying cry!
WORSHIP My mentor loved to remind people that a fish out of water “doth stinketh.” As water is to a fish, so worship is to the redeemed. Some, no doubt will use this as an opportunity to vacation from church, to become spiritually casual and make faith non-essential. But those who “abide in him” are already feeling like fish out of water. We want to be together, because when we are, Jesus is with us! (Read Matthew 18:20.) Set a reminder for Sundays at 9:30AM (EST) and connect to Messiah’s livestream service on our website at messiahclio.org or on FacebookLive. And pray for strong bandwidth!!! We are not the only congregation that experienced connectivity issues this Sunday. The word is spreading that Christians are flooding the internet on Sunday mornings. (“I wonder why?”)
Don’t forget, you can also livestream EQUIP on Wednesdays beginning at 7:00PM (EST).
GIVE Social distancing should kill the virus, not the Church. Our Christian congregations were among the first to feel the effects of the attending economic crisis. It is very possible that after we all get past the COVID-19 Crisis we may find that a number of local churches throughout the United States were compelled to close and disband due simply to insolvency. But it’s not the virus that will decide; it’s Christians! Do not take a vacation from supporting ministry of Jesus. Please mail in your tithes and offerings. Better yet, sign up online for electronic giving! You can do this on Messiah’s website messiahclio.org. Choose to make it a monthly gift! Another option is to set this up automatic withdrawals directly through your own personal bank account, or you could send an immediate gift right now by texting MESSIAHCLIO to 45777.
Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Read Matthew 6:19-34.) So invest in the one place that is dedicated to the eternal purposes, your church!
Consider also creative and extraordinary ways of helping Messiah, as well as our neighbors, through this difficult time. I remember years ago when the federal government gave us all a tax rebate. The congregation I served in Wisconsin chose to “Turn Taxes Into Treasures,” and many members gave their rebates to Christ’s mission. If you receive one of the anticipated federal assistance checks, and you feel God has put you in a position to get along without it, consider giving it to one of our ministries like the Samaritan Fund, as more who find themselves in need will look to the Church for help.
STAY INFORMED Best practices includes us all not only knowing the the latest information, but searching out the truth. Content analysis is critical. But let me stress again, there is a priority!!! “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
Use this time to reprioritize your life and family. See the silver lining of how this is forcing us to recognize what’s most important. Take your Bible out and use it. Restore, repair or introduce times of family prayer and study of the Word. If you need help in starting, remember that you can “cheat” by tuning into the EQUIP livestream with your family. And don’t forget to ask God to make you a better disciple for Jesus Christ.
Also, tune-in regularly to messiahclio.org to stay connected to your Faith Family. And make sure the church office has an updated text-able number and email, along with your permission, so we can begin sending out short and timely updates.
INFORM OTHERS Many members have already shared with me how their friends and neighbors have been more receptive to “online invites” to worship and just the sharing of personal testimonies. This is where Christians shine, historically! In the middle of crises, when most people look inward and fall to confusion and fear, the followers of Jesus look to our neighbors to share confidence and hope.
Infect everyone you can with the love of Jesus!!!
ABOUT COMMUNION This hurts my heart most! The Word of God is powerful and effective, strong enough to reach hearts over phone lines, radio frequencies and livestreams, but the real presence of Jesus’ very flesh and blood given for us is designed to be our Faith-Family Meal. PRAY!!! Pray with me that this season of isolation ends soon! For a spiritual famine is far more damning than any run on the grocery stores. In the meantime, if you feel compelled, call the office at 810-686-0740 and we will do our best to schedule a time of private communion with you, your immediate family, and me (Pastor Cloeter).
As I’ve been hearing from the medical professionals, “We need to stay shoulder-to-shoulder while six feet apart.” The Body of Christ is disjointed by this forced separation, but we are not crippled. There will be an end to this crisis, and when it comes, let’s look back – together! – and know that we followed the most important executive orders of all, that through it all we were good and faithful servants of Jesus Christ!
GOD BLESS! AND FEAR LESS! • 1 JOHN 4:18
Thursday, March 19 • 2020
“My house will be called a house of prayer.”
Jesus once cleansed the Temple of something far worse than a virus, spiritual contamination. He made a place for people – once again – to meet their God, to be transformed by a power uninfected by this corrupt world.
For the sake of our neighbors, our nation and our world, the family of faith at Messiah will be suspending our corporate gatherings until April 5, 2020 at 5:00PM, in consideration of the wishes of our civic leaders.
The mission of the Gospel and the desires of Jesus Christ, however, will not be impeded! Neither has our faith or witness been suspended!
During these temporary adjustments, our sanctuary will remain open during the weekly office hours and regularly sanitized for any who wish to pray.
If you wish to receive the Sacrament of our Lord’s Supper, we will make certain that is available to you as well! Just call the office at 810-686-0740 and make an appointment. Families are encouraged to commune together. However, we ask your patience as we limit groups to 10 or fewer.
And don’t miss out on future updates! Contact the office to give us your text-able phone number and an email address, along with your permission to send Messiah related news. Reach out to us either by calling 810-686-0740 or emailing us at email@example.com.
God bless, and fear less! • 1 JOHN 4:18
Tuesday, March 17 • 2020
Dear Friends & Members of Messiah:
With heavy yet prayerful hearts we have chosen to suspend our times of corporate worship and education until April 5 at 5:00PM.
Until then we will still gather together and worship online via our live-streaming webcast on Sunday Mornings at 9:30AM and on Wednesday Evenings for Equip at 7:00PM. (If you miss the livestream, you can always go back to the recorded services.) All this can be accessed directly for FREE.
If you would like to stay informed on the latest updates and changes, please contact our office to make certain we have both a text-able phone number, an email address, and your permission to send Messiah related news. You can do this either by calling 810-686-0740 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now more than ever the Church needs to be the Body of Christ! So stay connected!!! Now more than ever the world needs who Christ has called us to be! So help your church to achieve our ministry goals, no matter what the challenge!!!
Now more than ever we need to FEAR LESS!!!
1 John 4:18 • “Perfect love drives out all fear.