COVID-19 Response From Our Pastor - March 14, 2020

 

Over the last day and a half, I've been asked if Barksdale Baptist Church will meet this Sunday.

 Here is our response in brief with a longer response below.

1. We will continue our services as scheduled.
2. Our facilities have been thoroughly cleaned and fully stocked with soap, paper towels, toilet paper
and hand sanitizer.
3. Welcoming and greeting will be modified to smiles, waves, or fist bumps.
4. We urge all to follow the hygiene guidelines laid out by government agencies.
5. If you have a need, call us!

 

In the last day and a half, I have been asked if Barksdale Baptist Church will meet this Sunday for our Bible studies and worship service.

Yes,  we will gather for Bible study, worship, and mutual fellowship and encouragement. We do so with faith and with consideration of all who attend. We do so with the understanding that “currently the risk to the general public is low,” as stated by the Office of the Governor ( https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/89  ).

We have seen actions to contain the spread of the virus by all levels of government and by private enterprise that are unprecedented in our experience. These actions have included calls on a personal level for increased personal hygiene and social distancing or self-isolation, and on a societal level the quarantining of person possibly having or confirmed to have the virus, and the suspension or cancellation of events where large crowds assemble. Today (March 13), in Louisiana, Governor Jon Bel Edwards signed a proclamation that “immediately halts any gathering of more than 250 people until Monday, April 13, closes all K-12 public schools statewide effective Monday, March 16 and also moves upcoming state elections.”

We, too, have done due diligence to clean our facilities well to minimize the possibility of the transmission of viruses. We have obtained and set out additional bottles of hand sanitizer for use by all present. We have taken these actions to help protect your health and your family’s health as best we can. We are in process of developing additional plans that we may implement as necessary to protect your health and the health of your family.

We ask that you, too, share in helping contain the spread of COVID-19, whether you attend the services Sunday or not. You can do so by taking the U.S. Surgeon General’s five precautionary steps: (1) wash your hands, (2) disinfect frequently touched surfaces, (3) cover your cough or sneeze, (4) stay home when sick, (5) avoid close contact with others.

If you not feeling well or concerned about possible exposure to the virus, feel free to stay home and take care of yourself. If you choose to stay home, please pray for all who are present for health, safety, and our Lord to encourage those present. And as we do each week, we will have the audio of the sermon posted on the church’s web page, typically by Monday evening, so you can listen to it.

If you choose to attend services, I ask that you continue to take the suggested precautionary steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Also, let us be considerate of others as some may not be comfortable being greeted as we normally do in our worship services. So, a smile with a wave or a fist bump may suffice as part of our greeting one another this Lord’s Day.

With this heightened awareness of COVID-19, I have been asked if we are in the last days. John, in 1 John 2:18, actually says we are in the last hour. So, understanding this, we are to live by faith each day. And since we are to live by faith, we need to see that there are opportunities to show our faith to others around us.

What opportunities are before us? First, we have the opportunity to address our anxieties (a response to a perceived threat) and fears (a response to a present threat). How do we do this? First, we pray. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (NASB95). Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Second, as a result of prayer, we can by faith expect the Lord to give us peace, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6).

Third, we set the kingdom as our highest priority, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life...But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25, 33-34, NASB95).

Fourth, we should remember what Paul told his friend Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Our Lord has given us a spirit of power (ability) and love (sacrificial love) and prudence (moderation, self-moderation). Thus, in this situation, we have an opportunity to serve others and not be swept away in the overwhelming anxieties that are being experienced.

Finally, we can look for opportunities to share the peace of God with others as we trust the Lord in the time of trial (Matthew 5:15-16). Share your story of how the Lord is helping and providing for you each day.

So, let us be considerate of others, let us tell the Lord our anxieties and fears, let us choose to trust the Lord and share his peace, and let us help others as opportunities arise so that others know that we have been with Jesus.

In Christ Alone,
Pastor Calvin

 

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