Anthem Camarillo is part a family of churches helping people find their way back to God. The Anthem family of churches is united around shared mission, vision, values, and submission to the Lordship of King Jesus. In our cities, we are working to obey Jesus in helping people find their way back to God.
Good afternoon Anthem Camarillo. As we expected, there have been further developments regarding COVID-19. I’m sure many of you are aware the number of cases in Ventura County has continued to multiply. Though the number may seem small at the moment, testing is still extremely limited. In just three days the count moved from one confirmed case to thirteen! We have been in contact with those on the front lines, we are connected to health care workers in the Bay Area, Ventura, Thousand Oaks and LA, and they are urging people to take action.
What are we asking? We appeal to you like Paul to be ambassadors of Christ, seeking thewelfare of the city by staying at your homes as much as possible. To practice social distancing when you are at the store, or walking around getting some fresh air. And we ask that you pray and act for the welfare of your city like we learned in Jeremiah 29 last week. The days we are in are troubling, we all agree on that. As we read from Andy Crouch, we need to preparefor trouble. Preparing for trouble does not mean worry, just as Jesus instructed his disciples notto worry, that too is still prescriptive for us. So what does it mean for us to prepare for trouble?
First, it means we need to cling to Jesus, and be obedient to him. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Just yesterday I was reminded of our need to engage with Jesus and his word specifically in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Here we are reminded how to suffer, pray, how to love those who think differently than us, how to approach money, deal withanger, hate, idolatry, lust and put the words of Jesus into practice.
Second, a willingness to consider others better than ourselves as Paul talks about in Philippians 2. A willingness to lay down our rights and even lives for the sake of others. And in our case at this moment, our right to gather in the ways that we have always gathered. We believe part of God’s grace in this moment is the ability to connect via technology: phone calls, texts, emails, and virtual community groups via live stream and Webex group video chats.
Third, we will try hard to reach out to you, but would you do your best to reach out and stay as connected as possible as well? We know full well that God does not desire that anyone be in isolation or alone, so lets make sure to use the resources available to us to stay connected as possible during this time .
Finally pay attention to the hunger in your heart to gather together in person, not simply to lament, but to long for the opportunity when we are able to gather together again and sing in one voice the wonders and glories of our King.
I’m sure of this, that God is working and his kingdom will move forward (Matthew 16:17-18). Listen to Jesus' words in John 16:32-33.
Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said those things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. This comes after his promise of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Just as Jesus was not alone, because of the finished work of Jesus and promised Holy Spirit, we too are not alone. The Spirit of the living God dwells in us. Let us rejoice in what we have in and through the finished work of Jesus our Lord and Savior.