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  • Writer's pictureLuke Humphries

COVID Update

As we entered into the summer months, many felt as if life were going back to normal. COVID was a thing of the past, and the future was full of lake trips, BBQs, and back to school in August. Well, we are over halfway through the summer and it appears that isn’t the case. During the last half of July, Fulton and Baxter counties (and most of Arkansas) have seen a major rise in COVID activity. Cases have increased, hospitals are full, and the media attention for our area has been high.


All across the state, local governments, schools, families, and churches are determining how they are responding to the increase, and the responses vary. For churches, some have chosen to remain open, and others have closed for a period of time. So what are we doing at Ozark Bible Church, and why?


Biblical Reasoning

As Christians, our reasoning for how we respond in any situation should be saturated in prayer and guided by the counsel of God's word. Over the last 18 months, I’ve heard different biblical reasons for different Christian responses to COVID. One may say, “We must live by faith and not fear.” Another says, “We must act in wisdom.” While another says, "We must act in love towards our neighbor." All three are guiding truths from scripture and must be taken into account. But let me add one more, God's instruction and intent for the church.


God has called us together spiritually and physically, to assembly as believers and live by faith in wisdom and love. We are united spiritually by Christ, but God has instructed us by his word to come together physically for the sake of the spiritual. We come together to be equipped, encouraged, and worship. We are stirred up to love and good works when we obey the command to not neglect to meet together... but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Heb 10:24-25). We are instructed to let the peace and word of Christ dwelling in our hearts through teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Col 3:15-16). Therefore, we at Ozarks Bible Church will continue to meet together.


Faith and Wisdom

While we will assemble in faith, we will not neglect wisdom. To throw caution to the wide for the sake of "faith" is to be a poor steward of the blessing of life and to misunderstand biblical faith. We will be wise about how we gather, looking to minimize any risk in the same way we do when we drive the speed limit and buckle up on our way to church on Sunday morning. We will make the following adjustments to our gather:

  • Bulletins will not be passed out but located throughout the pews. Also, an online bulletin is available on our website. Click for Bulletin

  • The offering plate will not be passed around but located at the back of the church.

  • The Lord's Supper will not be passed but each family will come forward one at a time.

  • If feeling sick, please stay home. Sermons are posted online. Click for sermons

  • Cleaning and sanitation will be done after each gathering.

  • Hand sanitizer and masks are available in the Foyer.


For those who are at high risk with COVID and have in wisdom and prayer made the decision to stay home during this time, you are still a member of the body of Christ. I would love to hear from you. We want to make sure you are loved, served, and in our prayers.

If anyone is struggling through this time, looking for answers, in need of counsel/prayer please do not hesitate to reach out. Turn to the mercy found in Christ. - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Cor 1:3-5


A Word of Caution

We must be careful not to assemble in vain. God is not pleased because we decide to walk into a building. He is not pleased because one church meets when others don't. He is pleased when His bride assembles in the name of Christ in sincere worship, a dependency in prayer, and obedience to the Great Commission. If we are going to gather together as a church, let us not stand in pride, but on our knees in humble adoration, worship, and dependency on the Sovereign God of the Universe. If we neglect the love and good works when we assemble, may we not come together. If Christ is not dwelling in our hearts richly while we gather, let us not come together.


Instead, may the fruit of our gatherings be maturity into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, make the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (Eph 4:16).


Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.


Luke Humphries

Pastor

Ozarks Bible Church

lhumphries717@gmail.com

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