Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Normal Church?

Dear LCBC Members and Friends,

We know that normal church looks like to church described in the Bible. The world's version of church that doesn't have the power of God or a heart for the lost and the saved is more of a typical church. As a church family, we have been blessed with a great series of revival services and we are ready to move past typical and back to an old normal. The biblical normal for the saints of God. 

This coming Sunday we are excited to move back into our normal schedule of church meetings. We pray that the power of God will move us to be strong and courageous as we join together once again. Everything will be socially distanced to the best of our ability. Masks are welcome for those who believe they are needed to protect their health. Sunday School will start at 9:15 a.m. with some room changes. 

Adult One Men will meet in the Dining Hall of the Family Center. There will be no assembly meeting for the whole department because we cannot social distance the whole group. Adult One Women will meet in their departmental space and will likely stay as one group in that room until the individual women's teachers are ready to return. 

Adult Two will meet in their normal department space for assembly but their could be some classroom changes if they are needed. Adult Three will not have assembly in the choir room. The whole Adult Three program will meet in the Old Sanctuary. 

Adult Four which is the Coed class taught by Carrol Teal and the Ladies class taught by Liz Turner will meet in their normal spaces. 

Special plans have also been made for the Youth, Children, and Preschoolers.

Please do not plan to huddle up around tables since it is not possible to social distance in that way. Please plan to use hand sanitizer before handling coffee pots, cups, and supplies. The Lord's Supper will also be different with some special protocols included for your safety. 

We will continue to use Facebook Live on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. as well as 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Wednesday night meals will not start until we get closer to the new school year. The two Sunday services will no longer be the same content. For those of you who are concerned about attending on Sunday at 6:30 p.m., because you do not feel safe driving at night; it is not getting fully dark until 8:30 or so. 

For those of you who continue to shelter at home due to special health issues, we will be praying for you and hoping to see you at the right time. As a church family we will present ourselves as living sacrifices for God's purposes and His glory. This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday in which we remember the beginning of the church and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those that Jesus saves by grace through faith.

David Turner

Monday, April 27, 2020

It's Time For Church With Wise Precautions

We recently received from the State Attorney General’s office and the Governor the Guidance for Houses of Worship During the Covid-19 Crisis document. In addition, we listened to the Governors presentation about the phases of opening Texas. The presentation today affirms that the counties cannot supersede these guidelines unless there is a spike in these virus cases in our county. For this reason, we are confident to re-open public worship at Little Cypress Baptist Church on Sunday May 3rd. This does not include Sunday school or any other meetings that can be done remotely. It is possible to schedule meetings now, that are socially distanced and you will be notified when these become available in the future.

We had a dress rehearsal this past Sunday to see how we would establish social distancing as attendees entered the building. We determined the best way to set up the worship area to maintain social distancing for family groups and individuals. We determined the best way to dismiss these family groups and individuals to maintain social distancing. The new G-18 guidelines ask us on pages 39-41, to maintain social distancing throughout your time at the church. This was confirmed in the news briefing when the Governor answered a question about mandating masks. In his response to a reporter he said that no one can legally mandate wearing a mask. The same G-18 guidelines for individuals says on page 20: “Consistent with the actions taken by many individuals across the state, consider wearing a cloth face covering (over nose and mouth) when entering a business, or when within 6 feet of another person who is not a member of the individual’s household. If available, individuals should consider warning non-medical grade face masks.” So, as we socially distance, you have the option of wearing a mask or not wearing one.  See PDF: https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/organization/opentexas/OpenTexas-Report.pdf

As a part of the earlier G-16 guidelines we were also encouraged to create a worship service that would focus on those 65 and older. We have decided to provide such a service for this age group, but we will not discourage anyone from attending. The worship service will be held at 5 p.m. but only during this transitional time. The content will be the same as the 10:30 a.m. service. We will practice the same precautions as the morning worship at entry, with seating, and with departure. We will continue having a Facebook Live worship livestream, as well as the archived version which is found on the website. We hope this helps you establish a plan for your participation in worship at LCBC. We will make adjustments as we walk through each phase of opening Texas. Continue to pray for your staff and Deacons as we work out these details.

We have not cancelled the revival that we scheduled earlier this year. The dates for the revival are May 17-20 with a leadership seminar on May 16th. All of these events will be socially distanced. Our guest preacher is Randall DeVille of Falcon, Colorado. Randall grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. A member of our church who had heard him preach in his home church came to Church Council with a recommendation that he be our preacher for meetings that we pray will lead to revival in our lives. He is Pastor of Falcon Baptist Church.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Great Days, Hard Days, and Faith In Uncertainty

As we approach Resurrection Sunday on April 12th we are reminded that this coming Sunday would be the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem for Jesus and His disciples. This appearance of Messiah coming into Jerusalem was prophesied and the religious leaders should have known that the time for Messiah had come. It was an amazing day! The people called out Hosanna as they took branches from the palm trees and waved them or laid them on the road. Children celebrated and the religious leaders fumed. What was a horrible day for the religious leaders in their rejection and unbelief of the cornerstone of their faith would become a horrible day for the followers of Jesus very soon. 

Jesus had warned His disciples that He would be captured, tried falsely, beaten, and crucified. They heard Him but they could not really hear what He was saying. Jesus was coming to the city as the Passover Lamb. He would celebrate Passover with His disciples before He became their sacrifice for sin- once for all. By His sinless life, and sacrificial death, He would provide a way for all who would believe in Him to be made right with God. The disciples would see that great day turn into suffering. Yet, in the Father's hands, that suffering would provide the only way to eternal life, salvation, and abundant spiritual life here an now. For the disciples, with their limited perspective, life had just become fearful and uncertain. They had forsaken their previous ways of life, and now it appeared the choice they made had come to nothing. All they had was uncertainty and promises that Jesus made which they did not even understand.

Does that sound familiar? So many of us said goodbye to 2019 with the hope and expectation that this year would be better. It seemed that a biblical worldview was now more acceptable because of the people in the White House. The economy was booming and most everyone had jobs. Families were so busy and the bread winners often had too many hours on the job. The constant politics were disturbing if one paid attention to them, but it seemed that things were becoming more stable. How many of you even knew where Wuhan, China was in October of 2019? Now our family life, church life, school life, vacation plans, job stability, date nights, everything has changed because of a virus that we cannot even see except for pictures from a microscope. Some people are suffering more than others because of the loss of loved ones or the stress of work in medical and service professions. But what does this have to do with Jesus and the Triumphal Entry?

That same Jesus, resurrected from the dead and alive forever more is the Lord of Life! He knows our great days, our hard days, and our days of uncertainty. He is the source of our faith. In prayer, we can cast all of our anxieties upon Him and know that He cares for us. (1 Peter 5: 6-7) Jesus reminds us that in this world we will have trouble but that we should take courage because He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) He understands what we are going through and He loves us. He also has called us to love one another, which is best seen in how we minister to each others needs. This is our triumph. No matter what we go through Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us even in our tribulations. Praise God for His grace, mercy, and love. Remember to share that grace, mercy, and love with others because helping others by staying in contact and being honest about our own needs and concerns will help us all get through this together!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Loving Gospel Prepping

I heard it on the news last night on Channel 6. A large cult group made a major contribution to a local food bank. The food bank was happy to have the donation and the news was happy to give credit to the large cult group. In this way, this cult builds a reputation as caring people. So, what is wrong with that? As this cult builds its reputation, it gains more opportunities to spread their false teachings. They can't be so bad some will think even though their Jesus is a false Jesus and their salvation is a false salvation. How do we know that their teaching is false? All it takes is a Bible to see that their Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. Their Jesus was a man that attained to Godhood. He came into existence as a result of God the Father having sex with Mary. God the Father had also attained to godhood, and by being one of them you can attain to godhood also. That is not in your Bible, so they will tell you that your Bible is corrupted and their extra books will straighten things out for you. In addition, you will actually be saved by doing good works. The Gospel is that Jesus did all of the work for our salvation and we receive Him by faith thereby being saved by Him and Him alone. So these people are all around us and even have a spike in our community. They are nice people. But they are also some of the best preppers in the world. They have all kinds of food and resources so that they can 'take care' of people in times of crisis.

So why won't Christians live a more sustainable life so they would be prepared to help the people around them in need? Could we stop living on all of our income, and save a little money in the form of food and supplies we could have on hand? Wouldn't that give us the ear of people in need so that we would be able to share the true Jesus and the true Gospel? Yes it would. So what will you do? Prepping is not hoarding. If you grow it, can it, store it, and share it, it is not hoarding. If you buy something when there is not a shortage, that is not hoarding. If you buy things you and your family eat all of the time and rotate the products to maintain freshness, that is not hoarding. But let us not be guilty of hoarding the Gospel of salvation by faith alone through Christ Jesus alone. We can plant those seeds anywhere, everyday.

What are preppers thinking about in our area today? They should be thinking of the needs of others around them and how they can help. In addition, you should be thinking about the next opportunity to be ready. We don't know what all of those difficulties might be but one of those potential situations is hurricane season. You and I know what will happen when the first storm hits the Gulf. That's right- hoarding! Get appropriate supplies for hurricane season before June. If you do not know what these supplies are you can find a list for most any circumstance at the FEMA website. If you don't find it there, then send me an email and I will get you specific resources for your planning.


Monday, March 23, 2020

The Lord's Supper Observance for March 29, 2020

We are all dealing with the changes that the voluntary quarantine has brought because of the Covid-19 virus. We want to aid our church family with a sense of normalcy during these times. For that reason, we will still have the Lord's Supper observance which will be posted on Facebook Live and the delayed recording available through the church website, if the Lord wills. The next paragraph is a notification that we will be sending through out the church family. It is not an intended activity to partake of the Lord's Supper away from a church family, but this method, we believe, will be true to the intent of the local body of Christ remembering what Jesus did for us in the sacrifice of His body and blood on the cross for the salvation of all who would believe.

The Lord’s Supper March 29th
Little Cypress Baptist Church will be having our remembrance of the Lord Supper this Sunday in our 10:30 am service. If you are able to join us on Facebook Live or through the delayed broadcast through the website, we invite you to participate. The two elements of the Lord’s Supper are a bread and the fruit of the vine. These are symbols for the body and blood of Jesus that which He provided for our salvation as the fulfillment of Passover. The amount used is always small so that the focus is on the symbol, and not on our satisfaction with an amount. The Lord’s Supper does not save anyone, but it is for the saved, so if you observe it with us at home, please keep that in mind. The bread can be literally any bread product which will represent to you His body. The cup can be any appropriate representation. Missionaries have used things with great dignity and without sacrilegious intent such as grape cola, because it was germ free as a bottled product. Certainly, the real issue is one’s attitude, which could be a cause of discipline from God because of a flippant attitude. For this reason, we encourage you to read through 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 before we share in this remembrance together on Sunday.

The evaluation we spoke of in the message above is an examination of our life and attitudes. We often become comfortable with our sins. In preparation, would you take some quiet time with the Lord and ask Him to reveal to your spirit any sin, so that you might repent of it and be cleansed.        1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". This is what Jesus was saying to Peter at the Passover meal before Jesus went to the cross. In the Gospel of John chapter 13:5-11 Jesus tells Peter that he is clean (referring to his salvation) but that Jesus would be washing his feet. When we confess our sins to the Lord with a repentant heart, He cleanses us of the contamination of the world and restores our fellowship with God. Nothing can break our relationship with God, our sin blocks our fellowship with Him and that is why we should deal with our sin immediately. Love will motivate us to keep a short list.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Can A Preacher Say That...A Really Big Dog!

I have been coming across a lot of people who are having a time imagining a virus on their gas pump or the loaf of bread that the bread truck driver, who has Co-vid19 and doesn't know it yet, just put on the shelves. If you can avoid being offended and just laugh along with a very serious situation, I would like to tell you a story.

"Once upon a time a race of very tall male dogs roamed the planet. You would never see them but while you were not looking they were peeing on everything. They were sneaking into Walmart, they were going to the gas pumps. It would all dry very fast and you would never know where they had been. Now the people had to decide what to touch and what not to touch. It was impossible to decide so they made a decision to wear some gloves when they pumped the gas. What would they do about opening doors? They were embarrassed to wear the gloves everywhere, so they just used hand sanitizer  every once and awhile and tried to remember not to pick up food to eat or to avoid putting their fingers in their eyes, nose, or mouth. Those dogs created a terrible situation, but the people were more concerned about what people would think if they put on a mask or gloves. What good does it do to put on the mask? That is one way to keep your own fingers out of your own mouth, eyes, and nose. "The best thing to remember" the Governor said, "is to wash your hands and stay away from the people who aren't washing theirs".  "Some day these dogs will go away," he said, " but be wise even if it looks weird!"

So now you have the beginning of the story, and you may add to it however you please. But remember that your God is Lord of Heaven and Earth and He has given us common sense and a promise that as Christians we will not face anything in life without Him. Now, I must go and wash my hands because I am afraid that big dog may have gotten to my keyboard.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Is It Too Late To Be A Prepper?

Welcome to the educational phase of becoming a 'prepper'. You should be taking notes "in your spare time" of what you wish you now had in your home to help you with this crisis. In your spare time you might also want to watch a few YouTube videos on basics of prepping. Most people want to skip past the basics of having a storage of food and water and sources for replenishing them. Most of the time we are looking at generators for hurricane season, and new monster truck for the next flood, you get the point. But what is prepping, really?

What can I grow, buy, and appropriately store when those items are not being hoarded? What can I do that makes a difference in my families food security and safety any time? We make prepping an expensive process but it can be as simple as making product adjustments. For example, if I buy only brand name food products because they are 'the best', could I get two cans store brand green beans for the price of one can of brand name products? What things could you cut back on that are non essentials to put some real food in the pantry? Simple things make a difference. You don't need a generator to run your can opener if you have a manual can opener.

How difficult are your circumstances now? It will be hard to prep if you don't have any cash flow at all. Do you know how to barter time and services or additional products? Trading some of your time could be bartered to borrow the tools to put in a garden while you are going to pressure wash their house in return. You can see an earlier blog on activating your children and grandchildren who are stuck at home instead of being in school. Do you know how to put in a garden and could help someone else do that and as a result get the unused seeds, use of the tools, or something they have like Toilet Paper!

Gardening is not a one time success thing for most people. It takes some time to get everything to grow especially with the crazy rains we have been having. One thing is certain, the nation make it through World War II with what were called Victory Gardens. Let me share a testimony about prepping that is not my own. A friend told me that God began to put on his heart the need to store food in large enough amounts to help take care on his family and friends. He continued to pray about the situation and ask God to show him how to do this work. He did not know what to do but one day while he was at work, a man came to him and asked him if he could use some five gallon food grade buckets with lids. God was at work in that situation and my friend recognized it immediately. Beans, rice, oxygen absorber packets started coming together and he has food storage that will be good for 25 years! In Experiencing God terms, it is a matter of asking God to direct you and then paying attention like He is really going to do it.

In the meantime, do not let your faith falter as you walk through difficult financial situations. "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:5-6  Sometimes hard choices have to be made to shut down the amenities of life. Jesus knows what you need to do but if you ask Him for direction, don't reject His leading. Don't keep your situation to yourself. Get prayer partners and make them aware of your changing circumstances. Preparing is a wisdom issue, not a fear issue. The basics of prepping for a Christian start with God. We can do all kinds of things that are good, but if we are not doing what God has called us to do, all of those actions may be sin. If you need any help in your situation please give us a call and we will see how God would have us respond.