Dear Grace Family,
Our Lord, speaking to Peter (Mt 16:18), said: “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
It is good to know that, despite the current circumstances surrounding the coronavirus, the Lord continues to build His church in His Way and in His timing.
The events of this week have certainly been unexpected. As this virus continues to spread, and the Williamson County public officials have adopted extreme measures which immediately affect our church meetings. These measures include canceling or postponing any events of fifty (50) people or more held within the county until May 11, 2020. Because our church sits within Williamson County, the new ruling applies to us.
For more info on the ruling, click here.
In addition to the regulations from Williamson County, the City of Austin has limited public gatherings to 10 people. Because our church sits within the Austin city limits, we are affected by that regulation as well.
What does that mean for us? This means that we are unable to meet together for the next 8 weeks unles the city adjusts its policy. But thankfully, our elders are working to install the necessary equipment so that a live-stream of our church services is made available on our website. There will still be Sunday and Wednesday services, but we cannot invite our congregation to attend in person. A link will be posted to our website where the live-stream can be viewed.
Some have asked how we should view these current circumstances. I offer the following:
What this IS:
- This IS the Lord building and purifying His church (Mt 16:18).
- This IS an opportunity to help others in this time of need (Gal 6:2).
- This IS an opportunity to encourage one another, staying in contact and ministering to needs of our most vulnerable (Heb 10:24-25).
- This IS something for which we can rejoice and be thankful (1 Thess 5:18).
- This IS a great time to share the gospel with friends, neighbors and loved ones (Rom 10:9).
- This IS a time to honor the regulations of our governing authorities (Rom 13:1), knowing that we are ultimately bringing honor to God.
- This IS a time to continue faithfully giving to financially support the ongoing ministries of our church. You will find the GIVE link at the top of each page on our church website.
What this is NOT:
- This is NOT outside the predetermined plan of God.
- This is NOT a defeat or a setback for the church.
- This is NOT religious persecution. Because the government is not specifically targeting churches, nor are they shutting us down as a result of our teaching, we believe the best course is to submit to the governing authorities (per Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13ff).
- This is NOT a reason to despair.
Our God is STILL on the throne, and He is in FULL control of these changing circumstances! All of these events serve for us as a good reminder that our confidence and trust are found in the sovereignty of our God! The Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 26:3) offers great hope: “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trust in You.”
Thank each of you for your continued faithfulness and support through these challenging times. The Lord truly has been good to our church, and we rejoice! Please feel free to share the following service times with your friends and family members so that they, too, might benefit from the live-stream services.
Sunday School @ 9:15am.
Sunday Worship @ 10:30am
Wednesday GraceLife @7:00pm
Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Michael McGrath
Grace Community Bible Church