Good out of bad

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Last night we had our first International Online Video Conferencing Bible Study and it was a huge success. Fifteen people took part with representatives from the U.S. and Canada. It was a meeting that would have been “illegal” — or at least not recommended in a home, church or workplace due to restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak — but was perfectly safe and enjoyable online. And except for touching and hugging, it had all the elements of an in-person meeting.

It was “church.” It was better than “church.” When do you get to interrupt the pastor during the sermon in church? When does the pastor get to ask a question during the sermon and wait for someone to come up with an answer? And when someone does speak, when do they get the floor? We laughed. We cried. We prayed. We even sang together. We’ve got church so locked up in a building, a service, and a Sunday morning that we fail to realize that we are the church, and whenever, however we gather, we are having church, or at least letting the church be the church.

We had what I call an inductive Bible study. It’s not based as much on my teaching as it is on my questions that open a discussion on the main points I’m trying to make from the lesson, so everyone takes part. I would never have thought such a thing was possible online, but it is.

How is it that I feel so much closer to these people than I did prior to last night? I saw them. I can still see their faces now. My screen was like a grid with a face in every square. And each face had a name. Better than name tags. (You can’t read name tags in a crowd.)

It took a pandemic to discover we had been put in place for this moment. And I have a feeling this is going to lead to something much bigger than we ever imagined.

The scriptures say that God works everything out to the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). What good has come out of this state of emergency so far for you? I certainly don’t want to belittle sickness or loss of life, but the verse does say “all things” and that sounds like everything eventually — the good and the bad. So write me and let me know what good has come out of this “bad” for you. Meanwhile, put it in your calendar — next Wednesday, 6pm PDT. We’ll get you the link and the instructions for getting on. Can’t wait to SEE you!

The whole world is facing the same invisible enemy and is feeling the same fears and anxieties and uncertainties. Won’t you pray alongside us? Likewise, we are here for you 24/7.  Send us your prayer requests (see below), and along with Pastor Merv Keck and his ministry of Prayer Warriors, we will  pray for you, asking only that you keep your eyes wide open in a state of expectancy as we experience together how the power of our Lord Jesus Christ is made evident in your life.

An Open Letter from our Prayer Pastor
Greetings from the Prayer Warriors. As the Prayer Pastor I would like to personally write and thank you for giving us the opportunity to pray with each one of you boldly, specifically, and fervently. We want you to know that we stand on the front lines in prayer because we are called to do so. And we answered that call gleefully. It is our great joy to pray on your behalf. 
Some of you may be thinking you don’t deserve prayer because of some past or present aspect of your life. God has you covered. John 3:16. 
It may surprise you, but I wasn’t born a Pastor. And I’m not perfect. Please don’t tell my wife. We have only been married 23 years and she might not have figured that out yet. I’m so thankful for prayer.
Maybe you can’t afford to give anything this week or month or ever. Don’t worry. Jesus has you covered. Smile!  John 3:16.
Maybe things are going absolutely great for you. We want to pray with you too. I’ve heard so many people say that their prayer needs were not as important as the homeless person down the street. Guess what? Prayer is not only available to everyone no matter how desperately poor you are or how wealthy you might think you are. But God wants to hear even the smallest, tiniest prayer from you, and so do we.
Prayer is free. Prayer is how we form our trusted relationship with God. It is our humble hope that you will trust us enough to join us in prayer before the Throne of Grace.  It would be both an honor and a privilege.
Prayerfully Yours,
Mervin Keck
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5 Responses to Good out of bad

  1. Tim Biwman says:

    We’re doing a road school camping trip. You can read about it here: https://timmerttt.blogspot.com

  2. Bob says:

    We’re getting to watch two young boys for a few days because their dad had a medical emergency. Their mom (a teacher) is off work because schools are closed, so she can be at the hospital with her husband. We get put love into action (hospitality like we talked about last night in the online bible study) by hosting their kids. It’s been fun being with these young boys while still keeping a social distance. I hope that by caring for them, and praying for their dad, we can help them to grow in their faith.

    • jwfisch says:

      Bob, I took the liberty of sending your comment to our prayer team. That’s so cool that you got the opportunity to practice hospitality right away. Can’t wait to hear the rest of this story/

  3. A Prayer and A Hope (Anonymous)

    May we who are merely inconvenienced
    remember those whose lives are at stake.

    May we who have no risk factors
    remember those most vulnerable.

    May we who have the luxury of working from home
    remember those who must choose between
    preserving their health or making their rent.

    May we who have the flexibility to care for our
    children when their schools close,
    remember those who have no options.

    May we who have to cancel our trips
    remember those that have no safe place to go.

    May we who are losing our margin money
    in the tumult of the economic market
    remember those who have no market at all.

    May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
    remember those who have no home.

    As fear grips our country,
    let us choose love.

    During this time when we cannot physically
    wrap our arms around each other,
    let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace
    of God to our neighbors.

    Amen and Shalom, Peace to everyone

  4. jwfisch says:

    This is excellent, Bob. Thanks for sharing it.

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