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A message from Pastor Gene Whitehouse of Peachtree Baptist Church:
“There are some saying the new habit of watching church services at home will continue after the current stay-in-place orders are lifted. Others believe that Christians will miss the fellowship with other believers and will crave being with them in person. A recent survey reported that the majority of churches in America are recording higher ‘attendance’ numbers for their online weekend services during the days of COVID-19 social distancing than they had for their regular gatherings.
“The widespread use of internet-based technology, via platforms such as Facebook Live and Zoom, and the use of DVD-based services has allowed many churches to broadcast and send their sermons, and sometimes musical ministry, to a wider audience than would usually meet in their buildings on Sundays.
“One result of the current pandemic situation may be larger church audiences, but less active participation.
“There are also some key reasons why believers and visitors may want to come back to church after the coronavirus restrictions are relaxed. Peachtree Baptist will return to a Sunday morning service on May 24 at 11 a.m., with social distancing and a request for all to wear a mask.
“The membership has missed connections with other believers. I also believe that people will have a greater sense of commitment due to living through a crisis. No one knows exactly what the church will look like once the current practice of social distancing is over. Some are predicting difficult times ahead for churches. Others are saying the church will come back stronger than ever.
“The important thing to remember is that the church is God’s idea and it is His work in the world today (Matthew 16:18). He is certainly able to take care of His church and help the church weather whatever circumstances life may throw at it.”
My devotional is “Confidence and Peace,” by Billy Graham, from “Hope for Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith.”
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You.” — Isaiah 26:3.
“Peace carries with it the idea of unity, completeness, rest, ease and security. Many times when I meet Jewish friends, I greet them with ‘Shalom,’ the Hebrew word for ‘peace.’ And often when I greet my Arab friends I use a similar term that they use for ‘peace,’ ‘Salam.’
“Notice the key phrase in that verse: ‘whose mind is stayed on You.’ When troubles hit, our mind naturally focuses on them. When suffering comes, all we can think about is the pain. It takes a deliberate act of the will to turn away from the problem and focus our minds on God.
“When our minds are stayed on God, we won’t be worried about the future, because we know it is in His hands. We won’t tremble over what might happen, because our lives are built upon the solid rock of Christ.
“When you and I yield to worry, we deny our Guide the right to lead us forward in confidence and peace. Don’t cause Him to grieve over you by indulging in worry, but trust everything into His all-loving care.”
Hope for today: “Choose the peace of Christ over today’s problems. Focus on your faith instead of your feelings. Let worship be your first response instead of worry. Remind yourself that you know you have believed.”
Lawrence Edwards and I, teachers of the Median Sunday school class, ask that you continue your Bible study in, “Dealing With Messy Relationships.”
This is the fourth installment in a six-session lesson, “Serve.” The topic is “Seize the opportunity to serve,” with scripture from Galatians 5:13-15; 6-1-5, 10.
“Many people consider themselves ‘self-made,’ but the truth is, no one gets anywhere without the assistance of others. Some of these same people know within themselves they need the help of others; therefore, they build relationships with others but only for what they can get out of the other person that benefits their cause. Our relationships would thrive more often and become deeper if, instead of focusing on how another person can help us, we focus on how we can help or serve the other person...
“For example, a man booked a last-minute trip on a well-known airline to see his dying grandson one last time. Traffic and long lines at the airport caused him to arrive at the gate 12 minutes after the plane’s scheduled departure, but the airline had been informed of this man’s tragic situation. Imagine the man’s surprise when the pilot himself was standing there waiting on him. The pilot said, ‘They can’t go anywhere without me, and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.’
“Good customer service is not about making a sale or even keeping a customer. It’s about doing what’s right and helping the other person.
“But we’re not talking about customers and business; we’re talking about relationships. The principle still applies, though: we strengthen relationships when we help and serve the other person. Serving is a tangible way to love others.
“In these verses, we see Paul knew that would find a fresh new beginning as we focus on Christ by loving people He has brought into our lives and loving them.”
During this time, we have to realize everyone is suffering from the coronavirus in one way or another. Some more than others. This is the time we all have to pull together to get through this difficult time. We all need to help and serve one another as Christ has served us.
• Susan and Lawrence Edwards spent the week at the beach with some of their family.
• Jamie and Chad Horner continue their work at home.
• Melba and Jerry Hobgood just celebrated their 37th anniversary.
• Don’t forget, just because we are not able to do our celebrations or normal habits now because of the virus, we do not have to cancel these events. Just postpone them. Have a bigger and better event later. Look forward to that.
• North Carolina’s economic reopening is now in the first phase. Some things are starting to open up. Just be mindful and be careful.
IN LOVING MEMORY
The entire Peachtree Baptist Church family expresses heartfelt, deep sympathy to the family and friends of Bobby Kay May, age 81, who went home to our Lord on May 11. Bobby, a longtime Peachtree community resident, was laid to rest in the Peachtree Baptist Church Cemetery.
PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS
• To all those sick and in need. Please keep them all in your prayers.
• To Norman Whitley, Maxine Whitley, Jean Bunn and Beth Baines.
• Ann Browder’s sister and my dad are both in nursing homes. They have just learned these nursing homes now have coronavirus cases. Ann and I are asking for special prayers for our loved ones.
• Please keep all front-line heroes in your prayers.
• Please don’t forget the people in the nursing homes in your area. So many are suffering with COVID-19.
• Birthday blessings to Sandra Breedlove (May 19) and Ann Browder (May 22).
If you have news, please call or email me. I can’t print it if I don’t know. I do prefer an email. My email address is email@example.com. My phone number is 252-478-2846. You may leave a message.
Fran Bunn is a member of Peachtree Baptist Church.