Hope Community Church Olive Branch MS

A Message from the Pastor and Elders

March 25, 2020

Dear Ones,

The current events have required all of us to make some changes in our everyday activities. In my case, most of these have been mere inconveniences, but some have turned out to be good for me in more ways than one. With this in mind I decided it might be helpful to share some of the changes I’ve tried to implement into my life during the past few weeks. I trust you’ll find these suggestions helpful.

Also, we (the elders) learned today that the city of Olive Branch and Southaven passed an emergency declaration this past Sunday afternoon prohibiting any public gatherings until April 21. This means there will be no public Easter service for any church. We will honor that declaration, trusting that one day soon we will be able to gather corporately to celebrate the central hope of the Christian message…Resurrection to new life!

In the meantime, here are a few suggestions that I hope will enrich your life and keep you safe until we meet again.

1. Limit the amount of time you watch the news.

We need to stay informed. Ignorance is not bliss during these days.! However, too much news can pull you deeper and deeper into the pit of gloom and despair.  Paul told the Philippians to, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing”.  The nature of the news today can be a source of anxiety and even anger. Stay informed but let the peace of Christ dwell in you richly.

2. Read more. Read encouraging things. The amount of Christian literature available is unlimited. Today, you can go on-line and read the writings of some of the great Puritans, sermons written centuries ago… many who wrote on the subject of healthy Christians disciplines like prayer!

3. Exercise. We’ve all been shut in far too long during these rainy days of winter. Get outside and go for a walk. It’s not only good for the heart, its good for the soul. When Paul said, “Exercise profits little”, he wasn’t saying don’t exercise.

4. Plan more family meals together. We were made for community and community starts with the family.

5. Ask the Lord to show you ways you can help someone. Maybe its someone who has no family or someone who just needs help. Start with our church. Go through the directory and ask yourself how I can help this person or that one. Write notes and make contact with each other.

6. Be Joyful! This is no time for the Christian to panic. We know that God is in control. This is without a doubt, one of our generation’s greatest opportunities to “adorn the gospel” by how we react to the challenges and fears that people face today.

7. Declare the gospel. It is the reality of the gospel that brings us joy and peace. People need to hear the good news that Christ died for them and by his death they can have eternal life.

8. PRAY MORE! Think about it! We have the privilege of talking directly to our God who is in control of all things. What a privilege!!

I could go on with my list of suggestions, however, I want to focus some time on this critically important means of grace. A week from this Sunday I will be speaking on, The Profit of Prayer.

May the Lord continue to richly bless you,

Richard