We are pleased to take steps toward regathering. Needfully, this
will be a slow road forward requiring us to be careful and
flexible. Thankfully, God’s church has always been resilient,
and our church enjoys a strong spirit of unity.
Beginning June 7, you will have multiple options for worship:
1—Continue joining us online either at 9am or 10:30am
2—Reserve seats for the 9:00am service (up to 100)
3—Reserve seats for the 10:30am service (up to 100)
4—Reserve seats for the 12:00pm service (up to 100)
Daily Live Broadcast – 12:00pm
Past Updates from Pastor Cary
Drive By, Say Hi - 5/23
How about a “Pre-Gathering Surprise?”
We invite you to do something simple, safe, fun, and compliant this Sunday…
Our Governor is permitting churches to meet with up to 50 people. Our President, Friday, affirmed that churches are essential and Americans have the right to go to church. On top of that, we miss each other.
Our re-gathering plan is in the works, and we haven’t been permitted to have a higher number, but we would like to invite you to DRIVE BY and SAY HI this Sunday between 9am and Noon. What does this mean for you?
First—We will stream the worship service three times—8am, 10am, and 12pm to accommodate if you choose to participate in the “drive by.”
Second—We invite you to click this link and reserve a time. This will help us with traffic flow. In thirty-minute increments between 9am and noon, we invite our church family to swing by the church to say “hi.”
You could do any of these things, depending upon your level of risk and comfort…
—Stay in your car and wave or roll your window down for a brief hello
—Receive a small prepackaged treat and gift (gloves and masks in use)
—Spend a few minutes near your vehicle (socially distanced) greeting friends
—Enter the church (up to 50 people at a time) to see “the surprise!”
—Spend a few moments in the Worship Center praying with your family
—Write a “Post-Pandemic Prayer” for our church and leave it at the altar
(All of these activities are completely optional, and if you feel at risk, we encourage you to stay home and stay safe.)
We ask you to remain socially distanced and wear masks. We can allow only fifty people into the building at one time (basically to pass through for a few moments and pray). We will have hand sanitizer, and follow the same basic guidelines that stores and public spaces are following at this time. (Children will need to remain with their parents at all times.)
(Help me spread the word, and feel free to coordinate your visit with friends.)
If you would like to participate, PLEASE reserve a time at this link.
If you have questions about this or about our upcoming plans to regather, join me in a live Q&A time, Saturday evening at 5pm. Email your question to me at [email protected] or we can receive questions live on Facebook.
Sunday morning, join us ONLINE at either 8am, 10am, or 12pm! If you are comfortable driving by, we would love to see your smiling face! Either way—stay safe and healthy, and please know we love you and are praying for you.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Regathering Plans In Progress - 5/22
Good Friday morning! Church plans are moving forward and I want to give you a heads up…
PLEASE TAKE A QUICK MOMENT TO READ…
1. Our preliminary gathering plans will be shared soon. Please give extra attention to our communications in the coming days as they will be essential for safe church gatherings.
2. State leadership will soon be announcing guidelines and permissions for church gatherings over 50 people.
3. We will move quickly to host services opportunities as soon as guidelines are clear. We expect that some of our church family will wait to gather, and we fully support that.
4. Online services and daily devotions will continue, even after we begin to gather again.
5. We will be sending you a short survey later today. Please respond as it will help us serve you better.
5. We are implementing a church family “text messaging” service. (You will have the option to opt out, but this is an efficient way of communicating information to our whole church family quickly.)
6. We are taking every consideration and recommendation to be safe.
7. We all need to be thoughtful, resilient, and patient, as this will be a gradual road back to normal. I know the spirit of our church family will thrive because I’ve seen you adapt many times.
8. We are getting ready! The building is freshly cleaned. The plan is being finalized. A nice surprise is waiting for you. And we can’t wait to see you—safely!
In conclusion—I’m not sure if our gatherings will be two or more weeks from now, but there’s a good chance it could be sooner than later. We are moving forward now to draft our plans in light of forthcoming guidelines.
Thank you for the ways you have stayed engaged, encouraged, and devoted to Jesus through this hard time.
Pray for wisdom!
I love you and pray that you are well. I’m praying for your strength and joy today. See you online at noon.
Encouragement from Pastor - 5/15
“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”—Philippians 1.2–6
I have never identified more with those verses that I do today! I miss you, but at the same time, I know that God is strengthening you. I am confident that He is working in and through us during this season. I am confident that we are growing in Him every day. I am confident that our hearts are being knit together in love.
My prayer for your today are the following things…
—Sustaining Grace— that God’s supply will meet you in your weakness, lack, or short-fall. Wherever and however you need God’s grace, I pray it will be there right when you need it!
—Patient Endurance— that God will breath His life and breath into your spiritual lungs, that you will be able to “sing in the cave” and enjoy Him and His care today.
—Dependent Waiting— that God will remind you to put your burdens on Him, and wait dependently upon Him. I pray you will sense Him carrying you again today.
—Devoted Listening— that you will hear God, from His word, by His Spirit, and that you will follow His lead for today.
—Steadfast Love— that you will grow in love for those closest to you today. When patience wears thin, I pray God will make it stretch further.
—Physical and Emotional Energy— that God’s ability through you will be a perfect match for the work He’s called you to do today.
—Right Words— that God will give you His words to others, and that they can be fitly spoken. I pray that someone will see Jesus in you today.
—Health and Healing— that God will either protect you from illness or heal you (or those you love) from it as you presently fight it.
—Anticipation and Comfort— that dreaming of tomorrow’s hope will make today’s burdens a little lighter. Our hope is sure, and someday will be here soon!
I pray today for the sick, the grieving, the lonely, the endangered, the exhausted, the frustrated, the fearful, and the flustered. I pray that God will calm the storm around you, or within you—one way or another. I pray He will continue to give us all the daily patience to see this through until we can gather again.
Before I close, let me give you a church update:
—We are working on a reopening plan, but it appears that it won’t be implemented until late June or beyond. So for now, I encourage you to stay engaged online. We pray that the ministry of our team is touching your life daily.
—God is meeting needs and moving us forward. Great progress has been made during this season. God has paid every bill and blessed every effort to get the gospel out and serve others.
—We are connecting daily at noon, Wednesdays at 7pm, and Sundays at 10am—I hope you will invite others to join us for these times of biblical encouragement.
—God allowed us to send $18,000 to Guatemala to Feed Buena Vista. The teams are still delivering food baskets from these gifts!
—Sunday night at 6pm we will host another “Sing-Along” from my living room piano! Invite some friends to join us for this casual time of worship.
Finally, thank you for your devotion to Jesus through this! I miss you so much, but I am amazed at how God is working through you to touch this community and our world! Have a blessed Friday, and please know I am praying for you.
Quick Encouragement and Ministry Report - 4/28
Psalm 27.14 says, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
Earlier in the Psalm, David asked God to teach him and to direct him in a “plain” path—a clearly identified, level path. David wanted to walk God’s way when he was surrounded by enemies.
How about you? Today you are surrounded with opportunities to make a wrong step, engage in a bad decision, or respond in the flesh. Your enemy is bent on trapping you. But God will lead you forward, giving you clarity, not on the next twenty steps, but on the next step. One step at a time, He will make your path plain as you “wait on the Lord and be of good courage…” Day by day, He will strengthen your heart!
While I miss “normal” I also celebrate how God has strengthened us during this crisis. I’m SO VERY proud of the way our church has pulled together, shared Jesus, cared for each other, and reached out during this time. Your faith and devotion has come into full view, and it’s awesome to see God’s Spirit deepening us. On top of that, ironically, we are ministering to SO MANY more people than we ever have—by the thousands. It’s jaw dropping.
Here is some GOOD NEWS…
—Feed Buena Vista—You responded “over the top” on Sunday! Wow!!! We sent $9,200 to Guatemala, and today food is being distributed from our church to impoverished villages in the mountains! Thank you, Emmanuel family!
—Q-Groups—About 500 adults from Emmanuel are engaged in Q-Groups! Great job! Thank you leaders and thank you church family for wanting to care for each other. I’ve heard that you are loving those weekly connects. If you haven’t connected to a Q-Group, jump in. Click here—it’s a short commitment but a valuable connection with your church family. Thank you, Pastors, for leading this!
—Care and Prayer—Because of the Q-Groups, needs across our church family are being met and prayers answered. Thank you, Group Leaders!
—Gospel Ministry—Dozens of people have trusted Christ through this, and many of them were led to Jesus by YOU! Wow! God has answered years of prayers by softening hearts. Keep sharing! Keep pointing others to the cross. Thank you, Lord!
—Weekly Worship—We’ve seen a large number of new people attending online services and responding! The music team has gone above and beyond. As much as I hate teaching in an empty room, I am rejoicing that God’s message is reaching many more. Thank you for being faithful and responsive. Thank you, Worship Team!
—ECA—Our teachers, staff, and school family have worked so diligently to keep our students on track and to support our families. The feat they pulled off—moving a traditional school completely online within the span of a week or so—WOW! They have made a difficult time so much more endurable. Thank you, Teachers and Pastor Jon!
—Budget and Missions—Your faithfulness to Jesus and His church is incredible! God met our budget needs in March and April. Every missionary received support. Every bill is paid. I’m standing, clapping, cheering, and thanking you for trusting God in this season. I’m in awe of how He has provided and can’t wait to share some of the stories with you when we gather again. He’s been so faithful to us. Thank you for your faith and generosity!
As I close…
—A Word about Re-Opening—Connecticut is just starting to think about “re-opening” so our present schedule/arrangement doesn’t have an end date. We are not in a hurry, and we are seeking God’s wisdom. We will need your help, and we will need to be resilient as a church family (just like the first century church.) Your safety is paramount. We plan to move slowly and safely back to “normal”—whatever that is. We are confident that God will direct our steps.
—A Word about Preparing—We are getting ready for you. Presently, we are deep cleaning the entire facility. Every carpet, surface, toy, and handle is being scoured. We are also researching every idea and studying suggested safety protocols. Until it’s safe, we will continue to connect online and serve with wisdom. We will do everything we can to prepare for the path ahead.
I am confident in several things. First, God is clearly making His church stronger. Second, He is using us to reach many who would never have attended Emmanuel. Third, He is meeting our needs personally and corporately. Fourth, He is directing our steps. You could add to the list—surely He’s doing a similar deep work in you that He is doing in me
I’m cheering you on! Go Health-Care workers! Go Stay-at-Home workers! Go First-Responders! Go Home-Educating Moms! Go Faithful Seniors—no, wait… STAY HOME Seniors! Be safe! 🙂 To those fighting illness—I’m praying for you! To those lonely—we love you and want to stay connected! To those discouraged—look up and be of good courage! To those fearful and anxious—rest in Him! To those in need—we want to serve you!
THANK YOU FOR BEING A CHURCH FAMILY OF FAITH!
We had so much fun Sunday night! Thanks for joining us. We will do it again. Don’t forget to join me daily at noon, Bible Study tomorrow night at 7pm, and Family Trivia Night on Zoom this Friday night at 7pm. We will send out the Zoom meeting link on Friday.
Have a great week! We love you and miss you!!
What is God Doing Right Now? - 4/22
For ten years, Hezekiah lived under the threat of the Assyrian empire threatening to pillage the southern tribes of Judah. I bet he wondered “what is God doing?”
Habakkuk watched his nation deteriorate into chaos—injustice, evil, idolatry, and violence prevailed. Early in his short message, he cries out to God, “O Lord, how long will I cry for help?” In other words, “God, what are you doing right now?”
For years Joseph was a slave in Egypt, and then unjustly imprisoned. I’m sure he wondered, “what is God doing right now?”
When Abraham left home not knowing where he was going, wouldn’t he have wondered, “what is God doing right now?”
Childless Hannah. Ark-building Noah. Fearful Gideon. Hiding David. With-child Mary. Imprisoned John the Baptist. Weeping Peter. Blinded Saul. Scattered 1st century believers. Beaten Paul and Silas. Exiled John. From the beginning of God’s story to right now, His people have always had reasons to ask, “What is God doing right now?”
And the answer is always “we know” but “we don’t know.” We don’t know the immediate future, or what the path ahead will hold. We do know God, and we know He holds the future and He ordains the path ahead.
One of my favorite parenting quotes is: “Some parents spend their parenting efforts preparing the path for their child. Successful parents focus instead on preparing their children for the path.” In other words, some parents focus solely on removing obstacles but successful parents focus on building their children.
Fortunately, our heavenly Father does both! He knows the path ahead and has specifically prepared us for it! He prepared you for the path. He is with you on the path. He knows the path. And He controls all of the outcomes of the path.
What do we know God is doing right now?
—He is doing good things personally and universally. His big plan for the ages is unfolding. But also, His personal plan for me and you are unfolding. We can trust that one day we will celebrate like Joseph, “You meant if for evil, but God meant if for good.” (see Genesis 50:20)
—He is glorifying Himself and His gospel. People all over the world, for the first time, are accepting the gospel and turning to Christ. More than we know, God is calling hearts to Himself. (And we get to play a small part in that!)
—He is caring for His people and His church. All over the world church families are growing stronger! As a side note, I am amazed by your faith and faithfulness! Our church body is wonderfully connected, caring for, and edifying one another in love through this trial.
—He is directing our steps day by day. I like to have a plan, but some trials show us that plans are also burdens. Sometimes God releases that burden by giving us seasons we can’t plan—day-by-day times, and gifts from God. These are seasons when He essentially says, “You simply live today, and I’ll care for all other plans!” It’s kind of like being five-years-old all over again!
—He is giving us His presence and provision. Being forced to “be still” is a gift. What stories of God’s amazing interventions we will have to tell after this is over!
—He is strengthening relationships and families. These times remind us that our busyness is not as valuable or significant as our relationships. God’s priority is always the people He has placed into our lives, and how well we love them.
—He is doing things in your life that only you are aware of. This is where my list becomes your “homework assignment.” Finish the list. What has God done in your life these last six weeks? What is He showing you? How has He guided you? How has He driven you deeper in faith and in Jesus?
We are all writing a story right now. For years to come, we will tell that story! Let’s make it one of faith, devotion, faithfulne
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”—Psalm 27.14
I truly love you and pray for you today! I pray He will strengthen your heart, fill your thoughts, and direct your steps. I pray that He will give you hope, meet your needs, and show you His grace. Please let me know if I can serve you!
Post Easter Update - 4/14
Thank you for engaging in a great “online” Easter weekend! How we miss seeing and fellowshipping and worshiping with you! I pray daily that you are trusting and strong in God’s grace and care. He is working during this time in marvelous ways.
Let me share some good news with you!
—Some portion of the Easter service was viewed by well more than 10,000 people (Not accounting for rooms where more than one person was watching.)
—There were people watching from almost every state, but most of the viewers were in New England. (This is due to your diligent outreach!)
—We’ve received several emails from people who trusted Christ and were grateful to hear the gospel!
—We’ve received a lot of feedback from friends and family (of yours) from many places that they were invited to celebrate with us. Thank you for reaching out!
How can you be strengthened this week?
—Be a part of a Q-Group—we now have more than 40 leaders leading small groups (10-20 people) in a brief weekly connect for prayer and encouragement. Hundreds of our adults are participating, and I encourage you to “jump in” if you haven’t already.
—Join us daily for Enough for Today—every day we are sharing a devotional moment at noon on Facebook Live and all of our streaming platforms. The videos are archived at enoughfortoday.church. We are presently studying Psalm 46.
—Join us for “The Grace Life” as we continue our study of Titus this Wednesday, live, at 7pm.
I pray for you daily! I pray that God will keep you encouraged, growing in His grace, and walking forward in faith.
We are moving forward together in faith and vision! I can assure you, as a church—we are going forward in mission and biblical priorities. God is growing us in many profound ways, and I believe He is also growing our church family. Ironically, we are sharing the gospel and teaching God’s word to more people than we ever have before. What an amazing thought in the middle of such trying and unpredictable times.
We are laboring daily to teach God’s word, provide care, and strengthen Christian connections in your life. I encourage you to stay engaged in all the God is teaching us and doing through us at this moment.
Please let us know if you have a need, a prayer request, or if there is any way we can serve you. We can’t wait to see you again, and hopefully sooner than later!
Have a great week looking forward in faith!
Resurrection Week - 4/8
Happy Wednesday! How can we maximize this week and pray for each other at this time?
It’s hard to believe we have not been able to assemble in four weeks. I’m encouraged by how you have stayed connected online and how the Lord is obviously working in and through us. He is deepening our faith and strengthening our church in many ways. But I sure miss seeing you all!
Here’s some good news—again this week, we had at least three people that emailed us regarding a salvation decision. On top of that, many friends of our church family have “attended” online for the first time. People who would otherwise have never attended or heard the gospel are hearing it and responding!
Let’s talk about Resurrection Week!
—There will be no livestream tonight, in lieu of our Good Friday Service.
—Good Friday Service will include music and a look at the cross at 6pm online.
—Resurrection Sunday will go LIVE at 9:45, with worship beginning at 10am.
How can you participate?
—Pray—we hope to preach the gospel to more people on Sunday morning than we ever have.
—Invite others to watch—Share, email, or personally invite others to attend the online celebration.
—Tell your story—Post your 4 minute, personal salvation testimony video before Saturday. Use the hashtags #JesusChangedMyLife and #EBCNewington.com
—Send in your “quick clip”—We need a 10 second clip of you sharing ONE THOUGHT about why you are glad you personally trusted Jesus as Savior. If you are willing to send this short clip for use on Easter (either alone or with your family) please email [email protected] or send the clip directly to [email protected]
—Host a Facebook Live Watch Party—this feature on Facebook brings the service stream to the attention of all of your friends. It also allows you to interact with just that group. (By the way, if Facebook has streaming problems on Sunday, don’t forget we will also be live at EBCNewington.com)
—Share the Service Afterward—our Sunday services are archived to the church website as well as YouTube.
How Can You Stay Encouraged Right Now?
—Join a Q-Group—this is a brief weekly, online meeting for 10-20 people on Google Hang Out or Zoom. It’s a short time for prayer and encouragement, and our leaders are waiting for you to jump in! If you haven’t yet, click here to get involved.
—Visit Enoughfortoday.church—Post a prayer request, pray for others.
—Join us LIVE at noon daily—Join me for a short visit and devotional thought at noon daily.
—Dive into Biblical Content—use our large library of Biblical studies at ebcnewington.com/messages
How Can We Pray for Each Other?
—Pray for Our Front-Line Workers—Many in our church are serving in hospitals and first response.
—Pray for Our Vulnerable—Others in our church are more susceptible to the significant impacts of this virus.
—Pray for Whole Church Family—Some are business owners unsure of the future. Some are mom’s managing their quarantined homes. Some are seeking employment. Some are working extended hours. Some are fearful. Some are alone. Some are already fighting hard battles against cancer and other illness.
—Pray for Our Leaders—our president and all those surrounding him.
—Pray for Our Ministry—Ask God to do a powerful gospel work through Emmanuel. He has provided a gifted, talented team and amazing tools that we can use to touch literally thousands of people right now.
—Pray for our Teachers and Students—all the teachers in our family who are leading online learning right now.
—Pray for the Grieving and Sick—for God’s comfort and healing.
—Pray for Endurance and Deliverance—Ask God to shorten the duration of this plague and to give us patience.
—Pray for a Listening Heart—Seek to understand what God is teaching you right now. Undoubtedly He is teaching us much!
Ok… I’m done! Thank you for being a faithful and faith-filled church family! It’s a privilege to serve you and to see God use you during this time. Please let us know if you have any needs.
I love you and am praying for you today!
Thanks for Sharing the Vision - 3/31
Three years ago, as a part of our worship center renovation, we decided to invest into quality sound, video, projection, and livestream equipment. This was partially because of “snow days” but also because we wanted to get the gospel to people “online.”
THANK YOU for sharing that vision!Who would have imagined that our entire ministry would move online for a season? Here’s just a few good reports to celebrate…
—Four people emailed us to say they trusted Christ through the live stream.
—More than 6,200 people have viewed a portion of Sunday’s message.
—More than 11,000 people have viewed the song video from Sunday.
—Consistently from 800-1,000 people are viewing the daily devotion.
—People from many states and foreign countries have responded to us.
From Oregon to Thailand, Florida to Ireland, Maine to Argentina—God is using our live stream and online ministry! One young lady emailed me yesterday from Kansas—formerly Catholic—sharing her salvation testimony from Sunday’s service. Isn’t God amazing?!
That said, WE MISS YOU! Wow—so much! We pray you are well and we can’t wait to see you again.
Monday morning, I went for a short drive around Hartford. I drove by the local hospitals to pray for those who serve there. I prayed for you, for our region, for first responders, and for our leaders. I prayed that God will give us His protection and peace during this season. I hope this email finds you safe and encouraged.
Growing Forward Together…
It appears that we will not be able to gather during the month of April. As difficult and as “saddening” as this is, we trust God’s will and are choosing to do the best we can to settle into this longer season of “online ministry.” I believe we can thrive during this—both personally and as a church. How?
I ask you to do some things intentionally.
—Protect your Sunday morning 10am worship. It’s not the same as gathering, but I believe there’s something powerful in doing this together from home.
—Connect with us live daily at noon or on Wednesday nights at 7pm. Our staff is online and responsive as we study the Bible together. Also you can post prayer requests at enoughfortoday.church.
—Be a part of a Q-Group. Launching in the next week, these are small groups for brief, weekly fellowship, prayer, and encouragement. We have a large group of leaders and we want everyone in our church family to engage for a few moments each week. You will hear from our staff on this, or you can go to groups page of the website to connect.
—Connect with us about needs and prayer requests. Please keep us posted on how we can serve and pray for you.
—Reach out to the person God places upon your heart. If our whole church family will listen to God’s Spirit and respond, those most in need will be ministered to very well at this time. What single adult can you connect with? What elderly family member needs your warm voice? What sick or hurting person could you have coffee and facetime with, or creatively connect with?
—Stay consistent in your personal devotional time with the Lord. Let Him refresh and calm your heart daily, and let Him deepen you. This may be a great season to read some good books or take a deeper dive into a new book of the Bible. (Don’t forget the church website has a vast archive of past studies.)
—Stay engaged in your God-given assignments. What is God’s will for you right now? Perhaps it’s to continue functioning in a critical job. Perhaps it’s to manage a creative daily schedule for kids. Perhaps it’s to pray and encourage others while protecting your own health. Perhaps it’s to take on some new project. Embrace those opportunities, and seize this moment.
—Invite Others to Online Church. We are preaching the gospel to more people right now than we ever have. It’s different, but it’s no less true. Those saved this week were invited by others to “watch.” How easy is that? This is your moment to reconnect with a lost friend (even across great distances) and simply invite them to “watch.” In most cases, the response has been, “Thank you for telling me about this!”
Here’s a simple idea for an approach:
“Hey—I was thinking about you today, and I hope you are doing ok in this crisis. What strange times! I thought I would share a good source of encouragement and good news with you. My church is providing a live, online series called ‘Fear Less’ every Sunday morning at 10am—EBCNewington.com—and I think you would enjoy it. (The videos are also archived.) Be well and let me know if I can encourage you.”
Of course, use your own words, but ask God “Who might need my voice of hope?” And follow His lead. Think about how many people we could preach the gospel to on Easter Sunday! It could be EPIC!
What about Easter Sunday?
Yes, that too will need to be online. But I’m praying that God will give us the greatest engagement in the gospel that we’ve ever seen. We will be sending a separate email about how to maximize our Easter gospel influence and how you can safely engage.
Until We Meet Again…
What an amazing re-opening we will have! Until then, let Jesus keep your heart and deepen your love for your church gatherings. I pray we all LOVE being and attending church a lot more when this is over.
In closing, I want to share some good stewardship news with you…
When this crisis began, we immediately took steps to begin operating as fiscally conservative as possible. We are praying that God will sustain both our church family as well as our church and school needs—especially payroll for our 32 employees and their families. Thank you for responding faithfully, and thanks to the many who engaged in online giving. (ebcnewington/give)
God is sustaining ministry needs! We are operating with a conservative budget and protecting emergency savings. God is using your generosity and He met our budget needs in March. We were just shy on missions. All of our ministry support is uninterrupted at this time.
Additionally, we are actively pursuing the applicable stimulus benefits for our church and school. There are numerous biblical examples of God providing in similar ways for His work. Pray with me that this will materialize as it could have a significant impact.
God is at work in many ways we cannot see. Some that were laid off have been called back to work. Others in various lines of work are experiencing income growth or new opportunities. God’s hand of provision is clearly at work.
Keep trusting Him to provide for your needs! He will. And thank you for being faithful—I realize that every tithe and offering right now is a strong statement of FAITH and LOVE for JESUS and HIS CHURCH.
I love you and miss you all so much! Our team loves you! We can’t wait to see you again!
Have a hopeful day.
Getting Through This Together - 3/18
Good morning Emmanuel family! I hope you will pause and engage your heart in this communication. I need to visit with you about how we intend to serve you and stay connected as a church family over these coming weeks.
We will get through this, and you will too.
Jesus is not afraid—and I follow Him. God is not surprised and we are held by Him. You are His child. This is His church. He knows how to sustain us, and He will.
If you have or become aware of a critical need in our church family, please contact the church office immediately.We want to serve those needs in any way that we can.
Would you join me in living by this basic rule:“If God’s Spirit places somebody on my heart, I’m going to reach out personally and see how they are doing.” This simple practice would make a massive difference in the flow of love within our church family at this time.
We will stay on mission through this.
Our mission is to share the gospel and grow devoted followers of Jesus. Our purpose is to love God, grow together, and serve others. This momentary trial is an opportunity to do mission differently and to fulfill our purposes in a broader way. Fearful hearts abound all around us and we hold a message of HOPE!
We don’t know how long before we can reassemble.
We are already planning an amazing CELEBRATION SUNDAY when this is over, but we don’t know how long that will be. Basically, any large gathering event of our church is postponed for now, and our ministry is moving completely online and into smaller groups like Saturday morning men’s prayer (8am) or home gatherings where people feel comfortable having a small meeting with friends or family.
We are starting a daily LIVE connect online for our whole church family!
We’re calling it “Enough for Today!”—based upon Jesus’s words in Matthew 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” He taught us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread” in Matthew 6:11. You’ll receive another email later today introducing this new daily connection point for three separate groups—EBC adults, elevate teens, and EBC kids.
We will connect in groups through Google Hangouts.
If you are currently in a group, you will receive an email from your teacher with a link and time for your group meeting. We also encourage team leaders and teams to stay connected via phone and social connections.
We will live stream for your spiritual growth and encouragement.
Our team is diligently working on a comprehensive plan for your spiritual growth and health.
—Every Sunday morning at 10amour team will conduct a full worship service online (until we can gather again).
—Every Wednesday at 7pmI will teach “The Grace Life”(Titus) and then begin a new study.
—Every day at noon, I will live stream to the church family for about 15 minutes—“Enough for Today”—a bright spot of biblical encouragement in the middle of your day. These videos will be archived to our website and shareable on social media for outreach purposes.
We will continue to respond as much as possible to phones, emails, and social media.
Our staff and office team are engaged to serve you. This week, our pastoral staff is calling the church family. We will build a master prayer listregarding how this trial is most impacting you. Some are worried about jobs/finances while others are worried about health risks and work schedules and yet others are concerned about navigating their families through this. We want to support and strengthen you as much as possible.
We will keep you informed on specific needs and opportunities that we can serve as a church family.
God will lead us. We may come to a point where we are helping families in our church with basic needs, etc. God will provide, and we will hear Him and obey Him in serving one another and loving one another. We are already praying that God will protect our church family in regards to health, basic needs, and jobs.
We will keep you informed on the ministry financial picture.
We will pray our way forward in total faith and dependence upon God. Your generosity and faithfulness in the last two weeks have already encouraged us. Week by week, we will evaluate the “new normal” and seek to operate in church and school as fiscally conservative and cautious as we can.
We will help you get connected and stay connected.
Do you need help accessing our livestream? Do you need help connecting to Facebook or the church website? Would you like some assistance getting our services and livestreams onto your larger TV? Do you need assistance with online giving? We have a great group of volunteers who are willing to come set these things up for you or fix them if something doesn’t work right.
We are in this together!
I believe that our church will THRIVE through this! I believe that our church will grow spiritually and numerically. Our faith is being strengthened and proven. God will show Himself to you (and us) in amazing ways in the coming days.
When you begin to fear, remember—you are not alone—we are all in this together!Everybody is facing the same circumstances and concerns. And we will get through this together.
We are hope in a fearful world.
Tozer said “A fearful world needs a fearless church.” We have hope that most people have never known, and more than ever, their hearts are softening. Many will fall into despair. Some will take their own lives. Before they do, may we offer them the antidote to fear—the gospel of Jesus. You know the gospel. You’ve heard me preach it a thousand times. Now it’s time to be the church and watch God’s Spirit empower your message. Today, offer your co-workers, neighbors, and family an explanation of the hope that is within you. Many of them are EAGER to listen!
We live by faith.
This is a critical moment! Every response right now is either a statement of faith or a statement of fear. Our hearts are tempted to shrink in fear, but God calls us forward in faith. There are many things I do not know and cannot control… many answers we simply do not have. But I can respond intentionally. I can control my decisions… therefore, I will…
—I will wake up tomorrow and worship my God
—I will open His word and walk with Him personally
—I will rejoice in this day that the Lord has made
—I will love my family and bless those within my reach
—I will serve Jesus and honor Him throughout the day
—I will share the gospel with anyone I can
—I will continue to honor my God through faithful giving
—I will “fear not” and refuse to worry about tomorrow.
—I will encourage our church family to do these same things
We are Jesus’s church!
His church has ALWAYS been resilient. Rise up Emmanuel. Live in faith. Rejoice in hope. Magnify Jesus. Show Him to others. Love one another. I have always had confidence in the strength of the faith of our church family, but now we actually get to display it more brightly and loudly than ever before.
Remember:“If God’s Spirit places somebody on my heart, I’m going to reach out personally and see how they are doing.”
“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”—Psalms 118:24
I love you and am praying for you!
Resources for your encouragement and connection:
Sunday’s Live Service and Message “Fear Less in Faith”
The EBC Facebook Page for Live and Posted Updates
The Soon-Coming “Enough for Today” Website—http://enoughfortoday.church
The Leading in the Gospel Podcasts Recorded Yesterday
The Done Book in Video to share with friends
Pastor Cary’s Email—just click reply to this message
Church Phone Number—860-667-1372
Church Email—[email protected]
PS—If you know of someone who does not receive these email and desires to, please reply and send their email address. We will subscribe them today.
How Do Jesus-Followers Respond to Hard Stuff? - 3/15
I’ve spent a lot of time this week hearing from advisors, listening to our leaders, and considering the spiritual and practical implications of the COVID-19 virus for our church, school, and ministry. I’ll share more thoughts on Sunday via livestream at 10AM as well.
I ask you to read this email carefully and prayerfully, and premeditate your response as a follower of Jesus. Also, consider sharing this email. We want to make sure our whole church engages in a godly response to our present situation.
How do Jesus-followers respond to hard stuff?
1. Jesus-Followers Respond Prayerfully and Hopefully.
Our church family has studied much recently (during our emotional health series) about biblical responses to fear and worry. You might be encouraged by some of those messages of hope. We’ve also recently studied God’s strength. We belong to a good God who promises to meet our needs.
In this, I encourage you to be at rest psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. You are no less secure in Christ than you were a month or two ago. The gospel is designed for times like this. This is when our hope matters most!
I encourage you not to descend into divisive, political, or pointless rhetoric and not to be captured by the rampant panic, fear, and conjecture. Rather be prayerful and be hopeful.
How can we pray? Please pray for those impacted by this illness. Pray for those at risk, those who are sick, those who are fearful and anxious. Please pray for medical professionals and governing leaders who are under much stress, long hours, and intense public scrutiny. Pray for lost hearts to turn to Jesus. Pray for God to protect our nation, our region, our church family, and our ministry. Finally, pray that hearts will open to the gospel.
(In that light, I am meeting with a small group of men at 8AM tomorrow at our church just for prayer. Feel free to join us if you would like to pray with us for a short time.)
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)
2. Jesus-Followers Respond Missionally and Intentionally.
As I’ve studied various leaders’ responses online and elsewhere, I have been struck by the absence of gospel intentionality. I’ve heard many pastors concerned about their church’s financial giving. I’ve heard only two mention the potential of gospel ministry in times of crisis. I’ve heard none mention concern for how this virus will impact members of the church family either in health or in financial fears.
The first-century church was resilient because of the resurrection. They viewed hardship as opportunity for the gospel. Indeed, the rapid expansion of first-century Christianity was a result of believers spreading the gospel in response to crisis. God often uses fear to help people see their need for Jesus. People around us are scared, and this is no time to panic. It’s time to speak. It’s time to let others know of the hope that is within us.
My friend Pastor Josh Teis well wrote, “Take one minute—imagine what it would be like to not believe in an omnipotent God. Imagine the terror and uncertainty that so many are feeling tonight. Could this be our moment? Could this be our chance to demonstrate true peace and genuine faith to a world in panic?”
Let us pray together that God will help us speak the gospel into a fearful world! Only Jesus ultimately resolves fear.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15)
3. Jesus-Followers Respond Lovingly.
This is not a time to hoard, but a time to serve. This is a time to unify for the purpose of loving others. Who do you know that is vulnerable? Who do you know that is afraid? How can you serve and help to care? Would you be willing to grocery shop for a widow or high-risk neighbor? Is there someone God would have you help to serve or bless or comfort. Likely, within your reach, there is someone God would call you to love.
As a church we want to help team up those willing to serve with those in need of help. If you are a part of our church that is at risk or in need of help with something like a trip to the store or child care, please contact the church office. If you are willing to be a helping hand in this way, please email [email protected] so we can coordinate these needs.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14)
4. Jesus-Followers Respond Practically and Reasonably.
Because of the possibility of overwhelming our healthcare system, our governing leaders have asked us to limit public gatherings. This pains us all, as Sunday is probably our favorite day of the week! And yet, I believe it is wise and responsible to heed the direction of those God has placed into leadership. Regardless of your personal persuasion as to the nature of this threat, it is wise to be cautious and to act responsibly as a church family. (Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13)
Here’s our plan for this weekend (beyond this weekend, we will be communicating on a week-by-week basis regarding future scheduling of services and events):
Sunday Worship—We will livestream one service at 10AM at the church with our worship team, our pastoral staff, and a full Bible message. We encourage you to gather your family or even consider gathering with one or two other church families to engage in the livestream together from home.
We will promote this service as an online event called “Fearless—Finding Real Confidence in Crisis Moments.” We encourage you to share and invite fearful friends and unbelievers to engage in this service and simple gospel presentation. People are looking for a hopeful message right now, and we want to speak into that cultural need.
You can find the livestream at https://ebcnewington.com/live/ or on our church Facebook page. Our pastoral staff will be responsively engaged on the livestream starting at 9:45AM, so jump on early and join the “good morning” conversation. (The service video will continue to be available after the service so you can share with others.) Our staff will also be responsive to phones and church email during the service time.
5. Jesus-Followers Respond Patiently, Flexibly, and Faithfully.
Like you, I have no clue how this will develop or how long it will last. I ask you to pray with me that it will pass quickly. That said, it is impossible to know about the status of future events except on a week-to-week basis. Please stay connected with email, church social media accounts, and our website for the most current announcements and information.
We will postpone our Vision Offering and reschedule it after this crisis has past. Personally, I have prepared my offering and am excited to give it to the Lord’s work at the right time. I pray you will be seeking the Lord’s direction in this as well.
Finally, when it comes to provision, both for your family personally and for the whole ministry, we are all tempted to fear. I encourage you to remember—God’s got this! He’s got us. Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Keep Him in view. Sometimes He provides weeks or months or even years in advance, but at other seasons He provides day to day or week to week. Whatever He chooses to do, be at rest in His protective promise. He will care for you, and He will care for us. In fact, it’s going to be exciting to see just how He will show Himself real and trustworthy to each of us in these times. I know this, it is impossible for God to lie. (Hebrews 6:18)
As for me and my house, we will continue our regular giving patterns in love and trust. Being that we are not gathering, I encourage you to engage in giving online, text-to-give, or feel free to drop your offering by the church any time the office is open. I know God will continue to be faithful to us and through us. For more information about giving options during this season, visit https://ebcnewington.com/give/.
6. Jesus-Followers Respond Calmly and Confidently.
In closing, pray that God will lead us forward, calm our hearts, and sustain our needs. Pray that He will use us to be loving light as darkness grows. Pray that He will intersect our paths with seeking and fearful hearts. Pray that He will make us courageous and confident to share the hope of the gospel in the midst of such hopelessness.
I love you. I will miss gathering on Sunday. I can’t wait to see how many of you engage on livestream and how many of our friends will do the same. God is at work around us and in our world. We are His, and He has called us for “such a time as this.” May we not shrink from our calling, but step into it with real faith!
Let me know how I can serve you!
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:” (Hebrews 6:11)
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)
9:15am, 10:30am & 12pm
Emmanuel Baptist Church
296 New Britain Ave.
Newington, CT 06111
Grow. Equip Others.
At Emmanuel, one of our goals is to help you understand and apply God’s word. We believe that the Bible has the power to transform your life from the inside out. Every message is posted online so you can listen again and share with a friend. Enjoy!