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.
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! • 1JOHN 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.