We are meeting inside the building for Sunday Worship! Welcome!
Pastor Brad Christian Message "Forgiveness, not revenge" Matthew 5:38-42
Pastor Lee Scheumann "The truth, even when it hurts" Matthew 5:33-37
Pastor Lee Scheumann "Safeguarding your marriage" Matthew 5:27-32
Pastor Lee Scheumann "Love, Not Hate" Matthew 5:21-26
While it’s a unique year, an understatement to be sure, we know that as a church we don’t go forward unless we’re investing in and teaching the present and the next generation the truths of the bible and the way of living Christlike.
We have a unique opportunity to do this at Oxlip with our BRICK class, but there is so much more that goes on outside of the 11 o’clock hour on Sunday. The church body (that’s you) invests in the lives of these students. What you model makes an impact on their lives. What you hold them accountable to lasts for years to come. How you involve them in what we do as a church sets a pattern for a lifetime.
At Oxlip there is the opportunity at all ages and maturity levels to study God’s word and do so in a setting that isn’t as formal as a lecture. This is a bible study or class that allows for questions, seeks answers, struggles with difficult truths and illuminates darkened understanding. When this occurs we know that this is valuable. I know that this is one of the ways we desire to always improve here at Oxlip church.
We have a great God who has spoken to us in a book with words that will shape our lives. When this becomes the way of life for the church, we influence those who are near us, but we also shine as a lighthouse for those who are around us in the community. This light is not always appreciated, but it is always necessary for those who are IN CHRIST to fulfill their obedience and calling to be the light in the world. We get better at this when we meet together and encourage one another around God’s word.
So as 2020 continues, my exhortation to you would be- do not neglect the word of God, especially the opportunities that will present themselves to join together outside of a Sunday morning. When we become those who are sculpted and chiseled by the scriptures, we are in turn, able to model the grace, the good news, and the accountability we have to a world that increasingly is without mercy, revels in bad news, and refuses to take responsibility.
Where will you go to study the scriptures? Who will you study the scriptures with? When will this take place? All three of these questions, if you don’t have a ready response should be answered by each one of you in the soonest possible way.
Blessings on you,
Pastor Brad Christian, "Christian Education Sunday"
"Salt and Light in the world"message from Pastor Lee Scheumann. Matthew 5:13-16
"The Be (More than happy) Attitudes message from Pastor Lee Scheumann Matthew 5:1-12
There are many words which can be used to describe the last three months during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Unprecedented,” “disruptive,” “fearful,” and “isolating” are just a few. We have grown accustomed to social distancing, wearing face masks, canceling school, education at home, work from home and unable to visit loved ones in nursing home facilities.
This has been disruptive in our life together as a church. Many of us are coming together for parking lot church while a significant number choose to worship from home utilizing the online worship format. Now that Governor Walz has issued new guidelines for faith-based communities, what will this mean for us?
In the immediate future:
· Continue drive-in worship service but modify the parking lot to a “checker board” arrangement of every other parking space. This will allow individuals to either keep their windows open or to bring lawn chairs and sit outside in-between cars.
· On June 7th we will have communion as we have secured a supply of individually packaged communion cups and wafers.
· On June 13th we will be having a food packing with Life Rice in Fellowship Hall to pack 60 boxes of meals for the Logos Center in Kiev, Ukraine. We will be wearing masks and gloves as well as modifying the assembly line to facilitate social distancing.
· On June 14th all are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch including beverages for an after the service meal.
· June 15 at 9am White Cross (women’s quilting group) will begin meeting again the third Monday of each month
· June 20th at 9am Women’s prayer breakfast will resume meeting at Oxlip Church
· On June 27th we will be packing a container for the Logos Center at the Bibles for Missions Thrift Store. Since we will be working in close proximity, masks will be provided and required.
· Two adult Bible studies have resumed meeting together. We are looking to start additional small groups immediately.
The next phase will be returning to our facility for corporate worship. While worship will be led in the sanctuary, we will continue the FM radio broadcast for those who choose to remain in their cars. In order to maintain safe distancing, we will be using both the sanctuary and Fellowship hall for gathering areas. Hand sanitizer stations are being purchased and will be at all entrances. The wearing of masks is welcomed. If appropriate, we will consider resuming refreshments at this time. There will not be Sunday School until September. Sunday School and AWANA will resume in September, Lord willing.
When indoor gathering guidelines allow for resuming a combined worship service, we will again be worshiping in one place at one time. At that time we anticipate the resumption of Adult Bible Fellowship groups, children’s Sunday School and AWANA.
In the meantime, we need to extend a lot of grace and understanding to one another. As stated on several occasions, we want all to be safe and to feel safe. We realize that there is the full range of opinions regarding the formats on moving ahead together. In order to do this, we must extend understanding and mutual respect for all and to what extent they are comfortable in participating in our life together. We will continue to provide an online worship alternative as we move ahead.
We do these things in keeping with the counsel given in Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification,” and in Romans 15:7, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
There is the full range of opinion regarding our responses to the current pandemic. On the one hand, there is the strong conviction that life should return to normal immediately. On the other hand, there is the awareness that we are in a pandemic which has proven to be highly contagious and great caution must be exercised in every step along the way. There are some who understand that we are in the midst of a pandemic and others who believe that this is a “plan-demic” intended to disrupt and undermine our personal and collective lives.
We will move ahead by finding effective ways of “loving our neighbor” by both respecting appropriate boundaries as well as creating opportunities to worship and serve together. I close with the benediction of Romans 15:5:
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"The Present and Future Kingdom of God" message from Pastor Lee Scheumann
Check out this great message from Pastor Lee Scheumann
Check out this great message from Pastor Lee Scheumann
Pastor Lee's Message May 3rd, 2020 "Doubters welcome here"
If you have found yourself feeling sad, lonely, frustrated, anxious or discouraged in recent weeks, you are not alone. While we are continually being bombarded by discouraging reports concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, (1 million diagnosed cases, over 60,000 related deaths, 30.3 million people unemployed, mass euthanizing of pigs and chickens due to the closing of processing plants), we are also impacted by stay at home, work from home, school at home, church in a parking lot and staying away from extended family members and masks and social distancing in public places.
Yes, our world has changed and it influences our emotional and spiritual well-being.
Writing in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine, researchers observed,
The sparse literature on the mental health consequences of epidemics relates more to the sequelae of the disease itself (eg, mothers of children with congenital Zika syndrome) than to social distancing. However, large-scale disasters, whether traumatic (eg, the World Trade Center attacks or mass shootings), natural (eg, hurricanes), or environmental (eg, Deepwater Horizon oil spill), are almost always accompanied by increases in depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder, a broad range of other mental and behavioral disorders, domestic violence, and child abuse. (www. jamanetwork.com 04/10/2020).
The prognosis does not look well for what is to come.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears likely that there will be substantial increases in anxiety and depression, substance use, loneliness, and domestic violence; and with schools closed, there is a very real possibility of an epidemic of child abuse.
So why do we feel this way, writing in psychologytoday.com,clinical psychologist Shauna H. Springer gives this analysis:
1. Our future horizon feels changed.
People across the span of wealth are suddenly feeling financially insecure. Financial insecurity should theoretically be linked to the level of one’s wealth, yet it isn’t as simple as this. To the degree that people are stretched so thin that they don’t have savings or a buffer to pay their mortgage, they can be severely stressed by a change in their job status.
2. Our essential priorities are in flux, or maybe in direct conflict.
The unwritten rules that we live by have suddenly changed. What are the unwritten rules? They are generally invisible to us—until they change. Two unwritten rules are “You earn your keep” and “You protect those you love.” These unwritten rules are directly at odds for many people across America right now. Take the example of a dual wage-earning couple—perhaps one has been suddenly laid off and the other is a healthcare professional whose work is deemed “essential.” Due to the layoff, they need the income of the healthcare worker, but there is an invisible catch-22. For that health care worker to earn income, he or she must go into their work environment without being furnished with adequate personal safety equipment (i.e. a shortage of N95 masks).
3. Doing nothing is harder for many of us than doing something really hard.
There are plenty of examples in history to show us that nations of people can rise to the challenge of doing something hard. Yet, being asked to do nothing (but shelter in place) is quite a different thing. Many people will struggle with a loss of identity. The concept of “who I am” is formed in a network of interdependent roles and relationships. This is true across every culture and time. Losing all of this so suddenly will produce helpless rage for many of those impacted after the initial shock wears off.
4. Operating in defense mode may lead to second-order effects that we would be wise to anticipate.
Hoarding limited supplies is not a sustainable model for an economy. It creates a cycle of fear and anticipatory deprivation. Likewise, people pulling out of investing in the economy are seeking safety but are in fact creating the very conditions for economic collapse. Our way of life is based on trust and connection; these invisible threads that bind us also create the foundation for a strong economy. (www. Psychologtoday.com, The Psychological Impact of COVID-19)
So, what are we to do?
First, this is not the first time God’s people have faced difficult times. Pandemics, wars and social turmoil have been with us before. When this happens, we find great consolation in the scriptures. In surveying the ruins of Jerusalem following the sacking of the city and deportation of the population, Jeremiah laments,
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me. (Lamentations 3:19-20)
Feeling sad and anxious is normal when disaster hits. We don’t need to be in denial.
But we do have hope:
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
Our hope is in the living God who is always present with us, even in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pastor Lee Scheumann
Pastor Lee's Message April 26th "The Christ Who Transforms"
By now, most of us have received the $1,200 coronavirus relief check from the CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) fund intended to give financial relief to all Americans who in one way or another are being financially impacted by the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. This is the amount for every adult with an additional $500 for each child under 17 living in a household.
More than 80 million U.S. citizens were set to receive stimulus payments in their bank accounts the week of April 13. There are current proposals before Congress to extend the payment to $2,000 per month in order to help individuals and families in this time of national crisis.
For many, this is a time of economic crisis. Over 20 million have filed for unemployment in the last six weeks. That amounts to the entire populations of half of the states in our country. This means that groceries can be bought, rent paid and families can make their car payments.
For those who are still working, the money is an unexpected bonus. It is Christmas in April. So, what do we do with funds we didn’t expect and is now in our bank accounts? Will we be good stewards or wasteful spendthrifts with this new-found gain? This, then, becomes a test of our values and character.
By all means, if the extra money is needed for basic necessities, use it. If not immediately needed, use it wisely. Such as:
· Put it in a savings account as part of an Emergency Fund. As Dave Ramsey states in his Financial Peace University, “If you have an Emergency Fund, you won’t have an emergency when the car needs repair or the water heater goes out.”
· Pay down credit card balances. None of us can afford the unpaid balances of 15-25% charged by the banks on unsecured loans.
· Make an extra payment on your mortgage, car loan or any other installment loan which you have. Etc. etc.
Use the money wisely. Don’t waste it on non-essentials or impulsive items. There is a growing sense among business leaders and economists that we may well be headed for a prolonged recession or a depression as countries around the world have shut down their economies in order to combat the virus.
Above all else, use a portion for the glory of God.
These are times in which local service organizations, national and international relief agencies are doing their part to help those in need. Consider giving to one of the following:
Samaritan’s Purse - This organization headed by Franklin Graham has set up field hospitals in New York City and Italy. https://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/coronavirus-donate
World Relief – This is the relief agency of the National Association of Evangelicals. They are providing support for emergency workers and families who have ill members. https://worldrelief.org/covid-19
World Vision is working internationally in 19 countries in providing support, preventative tactics and supporting health facilities. https://www.worldvision.org/corporate/2020/03/18/donate-to-world-visions-coronavirus-emergency-response/
Salvation Army is working with people living in poverty and over 500,000 who are homeless in the United States. These populations severely lack access to proper care, hygiene, updated information and medical resources which makes them more susceptible to the virus. https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/covid19/
Now is our time to use unexpected resources to make a tangible difference for the glory of God.
Pastor Lee Scheumann