March 13, 2020

Carmel Family,

What a week it has been. In some ways, unlike anything we have lived through before. From a virus called COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic, to falling stock markets, and cancellations of schools, major sporting events, and most everything has felt anything but steady and certain. 
As followers of Christ living in uncertain times with panic and fear all around us, how do we respond? How do we continue to live with certainty and hope?  

I've been reading this week about different points in history from the Roman Empire until now, and how Christians have been known to run 'to' the disasters rather than away from them. Days like these are opportunities for us all. An opportunity to examine our own hearts to see where we truly place our hope and trust. And also an opportunity "to live the Gospel with everything" we have. 

So let's love each other and our neighbors really well right now. 

As a reminder,  we will worship together this Sunday  ONLINE ONLY at 9:30am . Tune in via our  church website , Facebook Live  or  Vimeo I felt the Holy Spirit's prompting to pause our current sermon series to preach a message relevant to the moment we find ourselves in called  How to Live with Certainty in Uncertain Times.

In advance of Sunday's message, here are a few more thoughts on how to live with certainty in uncertain times, as well as current steps we are taking:

Let's live with courage in the face of fear, because of Whose we are.
Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1:7 and 1 Timothy 4:10 that "God has not given us a  spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (NLT) and "...we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people..." As we actively trust  God in the midst of rising concerns, we display the truth and hope of the gospel.

Let's live with prayer and hope.
Prayer helps us guard our hearts and stay focused on what is true - especially in the midst of uncertain times. Romans 12:12 tells us to "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

Let's live with wisdom and care for those God has placed around us. 
God has strategically placed you where you are, let's keep His purpose and plan in mind as we go through our days. We also know there are many around us that are more vulnerable to illness than others. Because of that, let us look for ways to love our neighbors well through seeking wisdom and heeding advice from leaders and experts.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

As this pandemic evolves, our church leadership seeks to be proactive in our efforts and response. In addition to monitoring information from the CDC, US State Department NC Division of Public Health, and a team of medical professionals within the Carmel family, we are taking following steps:
  • Our Deacons are in regular communication with the widows and homebound in our church family.
  • Discipleship Community/Small Group leaders are being communicated with through our Pastoral Team and monitoring the health and needs of our church family. If you have a health concern or other need please alert your small group leader or let us know here.
  • Some of our ministry partners have suspended outside volunteers in order to protect the health of their clients. If this impacts an area you serve in, you will be notified separately. In the meantime, let us continue to pray for our neighbors throughout the city, especially those that are more vulnerable to health issues or financial crises due to limited work. 
  • There are always Kingdom opportunities around us, and this moment in time is no different. We as leadership will continue to  verify and better understand unmet needs in our city and our world so that as appropriate, church can respond to spiritual, emotional and physical needs. 
I look forward to "seeing" you online Sunday morning.

Love You Carmel,

Pastor Alex

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Carmel is committed to making disciples  of those Nearest, our Neighbors and the Nations.
Carmel Baptist Church
1145 Pineville-Matthews Road
Matthews, North Carolina 28105