A Time to Mourn – from Pastor Sam on 4/8/2020

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.
A time to weep…a time to mourn…”
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”
Zechariah 12:10

Dear New Life in Christ Church Family,

We often yearn for more time, and yet ironically we now find ourselves with more time than we could have imagined. Not everyone, of course – some in health care and other critical areas are stretched quite thin. But others are simply suffering under self-quarantine. Some are suffering from lost hours from a job that once filled their time. Some suffer from having lost jobs. Some are suffering from separation from loved ones. All of us are experiencing life in a way we didn’t ask for or could have predicted. It’s time to lament.

lament (v) to bewail; to mourn for; to bemoan; to deplore. (Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary)

Yes, we need to hope in the Lord, especially in times like these. But the Lord invites us to begin with lament. Scripture is replete with examples, notably Psalm 13. This psalm divides neatly into 3 parts, 2 verses each, demonstrating a progression from lament, to appeal and then to hope. While not immediately apparent, lament does demonstrate trust. If I did not trust the Lord God, I would not bother to bring my cares and concerns to Him. Psalm 14 tells us, “The fool says in his heart, “No God!” and yet Psalm 13 shows how the blessed one laments and says, “How long, O Lord?”

And so we ask, “How long, O Lord…?” How long must communities endure this epidemic? How long shall we be quarantined from loved ones? How long will we suffer with loneliness? How long shall I fear the loss of my job, or be without a job? How long must I worry over paying bills?

But more than this, we are also called to lament over a world that would crucify the very One who came to save them. We should lament over how our own sins nailed our Savior to that cross. And then can marvel over how, as Michael Card observes, if nails weren’t used to hold His feet and hands to that cross, that “His love would have held him there.” Wonder and stand amazed over the sovereign plan of God that is fitting all of these pieces and more into such a resplendent plan of salvation!

Redeem the time you have been given and seek the Lord. “Time is a gift of love and grace; without time there’d be no time to change.” (Charlie Peacock) For how long? We don’t know. But we know for us as believers, if it’s Friday, then rest assured that Sunday is coming!

Take time with your family or on your own to sing the hymns we will use this Sunday: Christ the Lord is Risen Today and Christ Arose! (Low in the Grave He Lay). This is something you can do every day through the week, maybe as part of dinner devotions or a morning quiet time.

Lastly, if you have specific needs, please let us know (nlicc@nlicc.org || 540-786-4848) so that we can pray for you and offer practical help. Our elders are available as are our deacons (https://goo.gl/forms/wZ8miuU2BptSmOtG3). The Deacon Sharing Fund is available for times like these. Please be aware of your neighbors needs, especially the elderly and vulnerable. And for those who are able, take the opportunity to give as unto the Lord (https://www.nlicc.org/giving/).

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Sam

P.S. We have several special events (Virtual Seder; Good Friday Drive-Up Prayer; Easter Sunrise Concert of Prayer) planned to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

VIRTUAL SEDER – A Seder is the festive ceremonial meal held on the first night of Passover. The Passover that Jesus celebrated with His disciples would have been a primitive version of this meal. This Wednesday evening is the start of Passover. Life in Messiah International (the mission of Jim and Karen Melnick, members and missionaries of New Life in Christ church) is hosting a ‘virtual seder’ on Wednesday at 7 pm. This will not be on Zoom but will be on Facebook and YouTube.

You can join the virtual Seder by following either of these links:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LifeInMessiah
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmICWp_mpP0mSY2EqyjOUyA
If you would like to learn more about the Seder meal, you can find that information here: https://lifeinmessiah.org/virtual-passover-seder

GOOD FRIDAY “DRIVE UP” PRAYER – The pastors and elders will be available for drive up prayer on Good Friday from 3 to 5 pm. The church building will be closed (including restrooms), and you will need to stay in your car to practice social distancing, but we want to be available to all who would like prayer during that time. Feel free to invite others.

SUNRISE CONCERT OF PRAYER SERVICE – Pastor Sam will host a “sunrise” Prayer Service on Easter Sunday at 6 am. We will follow a simple prayer guide and use Zoom to join together in a time of prayer. Feel free to join when you are able and leave when you must.

Join the Concert of Prayer Zoom Meeting with this link on Sunday, April 12 at 6 am:

https://zoom.us/j/170357443

Call for Password

Upcoming Events via Livestream (www.nlicc.org/watchlive)

Next Sunday (4/12/20)

  • 6:00 am Sunrise Concert of Prayer – Pastor Sam hosting (via Zoom; invite included above)
  • 9:00 am Adult Sunday School Class – The Apostles Creed taught by Bob Rumbaugh (via livestream)
  • 10:00 am Worship Service – Pastor Sean preaching (via livestream)
  • No Evening Service or Youth Group

Events on the Horizon

  • April 18 @ 8am – Men’s “Breakfast” (Zoom)
  • April 19 @ 2pm – Virtual Bridal Shower for Sydney Peters (Zoom)
  • May 1 – Young Adult/Professional Pre-Retreat (Zoom)
  • Post-June 10 Events (Pending Relaxation of Social Distancing)
  • TBD – Graduating Seniors Dinner (Sakura)
  • TBD – Condensed Baseball Season (registration completed)
  • June 26-27 – Evangelism Explosion EV2 Launch
  • July 13-17 – Vacation Bible School
  • July 18-25 – Cherokee Mission Trip

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