Coronavirus Update

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7

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Sunday Morning at 10am

Wednesday Night Bible Study at 7pm

 

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Each group will have a different schedule and meeting time.

Emails from Pastor Cary

Thank 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!

Your friend,

Pastor Cary

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

EBC Family,

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!

Your friend,

Pastor Cary

“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)

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296 New Britain Ave.
Newington, CT 06111

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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!