I’m so excited to share with you that our elders and pastors have made the decision that beginning this Sunday, we are going to celebrate communion during all of our online services. What a moment it will be to experience the peace, presence, and power of God together in this meal - especially during this time of fear and isolation.
Here’s what I’m asking you to do.
What an incredible experience it will be during a time when we are limited due to time and space to receive the grace of the God who is not bound by time or space through His body and blood. Indeed, Jesus is our hope, yesterday, today, and forever.
In this time of social isolation, the church isn’t growing weaker… it’s growing stronger.
As the State of Washington “stays home + stays healthy”, the story of Jesus’ rule and reign continues to play out in real time through His church.
Our Backpacks 4 Kids program and our Abundance Garden continue to respond to the economically disadvantaged and families in need within our local community. Both programs are both considered exempt from Monday’s Executive Order. As a result, we have created safe ways that comply with CDC recommendations for people to participate using a rotating schedule in order to provide social distancing. With your help, we will continue to place meals and basic necessities into the hands of hundreds of local community families. If you are willing to work alone and don’t mind disinfecting your work space before you leave, you can contact Tracy Schlatter at firstname.lastname@example.org to view the online schedules.
Additionally, even though our Faith in Action days are suspended until we can gather again, we continue to work closely with the Franklin Pierce School District to help provide for the needs of homeless children in our area.
Winter coats of all sizes are being purchased and collected to be given away at our August Back to School Fair. You can hang onto your purchased coats until we can gather together again or make a financial donation at oslc.com/give.
We also want to celebrate that during this time of social isolation:
Church, we have the promise that by God’s grace, Jesus’ power works best in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Over these past two weeks, I have heard story after story about you living life on mission. You are having spiritual conversations with your children, parents, family members, neighbors, and friends that are helping them find their way back to Jesus. Life Groups are seeking each other out, sharing stories of your hope in Jesus, and bonding in ways we’ve never seen before. Many of you have come together to generously give your time, skills, relationships, and finances to those in need, many times beyond your means.
In these times of social isolation, Jesus’ church isn’t growing weaker… it’s growing stronger.
So, I want to say, “I’m proud of you” and “keep it up”. God is using you to write His greater story in this very moment.
It’s a story of hope in the middle of uncertainty. A story of deep community found in isolation. A story of trust in anxious times. A story of redeeming time with family, friends, and neighbors. A story of creating new spaces to connect and belong, online. A story of generosity far beyond our means. A story that future generations will tell.
A story of disciples who making disciples who love God, love people, and live like Jesus.
Love you more than you know. -pt
I believe that through challenging times, God teaches us new things about Him and ourselves right where we are. Here are three things I've learned this past week as a result of our current pandemic...
As challenging as this pandemic is right now, God is still good. God still has this. God still has you. Keep making disciples - connecting, growing, and serving right where you are. It's what the church (you and me) have always done... it's what we always will do.
Love you more than you know. -pt
Whenever the world seems to get a little darker, Jesus’ light shines even brighter. We want you to know that long before we are an organization, we are a church family who is here for you during these difficult times.
There is no doubt that we all are impacted by the current pandemic. You may experience a change in your job. Your income may change. If you have been financially impacted by this current pandemic, we may be able to assist you with basic necessities. Please contact Sue Bratz at email@example.com.
If you would www.oslc.com/give like to help provide financial assistance to OSLC members, you can give online at oslc.com/give or mail a check to our office at 4519 112th St E; Tacoma, WA 98446.
The church will continue to thrive as we love God, love people, and live like Jesus. We trust that God’s got this… and God’s got you!
Whenever the world seems to get darker, Jesus’ light shines brighter. Through our Backpacks 4 Kids program, teams continue to serve by helping provide food to hungry families in the Franklin Pierce School District in safe, different, and effective ways. To help meet immediate needs such as additional access to food, laundry supplies, and gas, we are helping provide critical resources to families through the Franklin School District. Meanwhile, many of you are stepping up right where you live - to love your neighbors well in these challenging times, especially our elderly and at-risk populations.
The church will continue to gather. And, the church will continue to thrive. This past Sunday, we estimate that well over 1,000 people worshipped with us - in real time - at oslc.com/watch. That doesn’t count the hundreds of others who worshipped on Facebook or On-Demand since Sunday morning. The church is people. When we are weak, Jesus is strong - and we will continue to thrive.
During times like this, your and your family’s relationships with Jesus and others are the most important things. Our incredible ministry team is getting creative in how we meet.
Kids - starting next week, your Sunday School Shepherds will be meeting with you and your friends online during the week.
Students - you and your friends are going to start meeting online during the week, too.
There is no better time than right now to join a Life Group. More than ever do we need to connect with others, grow to be more like Jesus, and impact our neighbors with the Gospel. You can head on over to go.oslc.com/lifegroups to join one, today.
Remember that when the world seems to get darker, Jesus’ light shines even brighter. The church will continue to gather - and we will continue to thrive as we love God, love people, and live like Jesus.
I didn't have a chance to share the poll result from this past Sunday's question: Where do you first go to for wisdom? Here is where we landed:
I'll be honest... director-level staff transitions are hard on me. Conceptually, they're simple and I really enjoy facilitating them. Emotionally, they're extremely taxing... at least for me. I have come to believe that churches don't "just hire" director-level staff. The aspect of ministry calling adds a unique spiritual dynamic that is deeply tied to asking the question, "what is God up to and how can we join His work (and not create our own)?". After all, our ultimate win has to do with eternal investments (and consequences!). Simply put, our win is not solely a bottom line.
According to Wikipedia, the roots of the word is a shortened form of the Old English word lencten, meaning "spring season". However beyond marking physical time, for followers of Jesus, Lent is a spiritual marker of time that welcomes the 40 day journey toward the pinnacle of the gospel message.
If you grew up in the church, you may have heard of or experienced Lent traditions such as giving something up, special worship services, devotions and prayer, deeper reflection, or fasting. Growing up outside of Detroit, we had a fairly large Polish community where they would eat Paczkis, on the day before Lent began. Culturally, we know that day as "Fat Tuesday" where we indulge ourselves because we know what's about to happen.
As a follower of Jesus, Lent is an important part of living like Jesus. It a time that reminds me that I am not Jesus... though, I strive to be like Him. I am reminded of my temptations in light of Jesus' victory... my brokenness in the middle of Jesus' wholeness... my unsteadiness and unfaithfulness - even when Jesus is steady and faithful.
This Lent, I'm (personally) choosing to reflect on Jesus' justice, equity, peace, and humility in the middle of my personal and our culture's self-centeredness. It's so easy to make everything in life about me. From family meal times to work challenges; from cultural tensions to little comments that come and go. I need to be reminded that life is not about me... it's about Jesus.
It's Jesus' justice on the cross that levels the playing field so acceptance for all can be ushered into real life.
It's Jesus' equity in his suffering with the criminals that shows me that indeed, there is no distinction (unless we're talking about God and everything else).
It's Jesus' peace I find in the words, "It is finished" when He gives up His spirit.
It's Jesus' humility when He comes back to life and doesn't say, "I told you so", but rather invites me and whoever else chooses to follow Him to change the world to make life a little more like heaven on earth.
Will you join me in creating space for this important time. Worship. Reflect. Check out our daily online devotions. It can be habit forming. I pray that it will change your heart to be more like Jesus.
Love you more than you know.
Let's kick off our digital gods message series, together! Here are three ways you can prepare your hearts for how I believe God wants to shape our hearts to love God, love people, and live like Jesus when it comes to technology.
The OSLC ministry team is a growing collection of women and men who live as a family on mission, leading the OSLC family in connecting an unchanging God with a changing world by loving God, loving people, and living like Jesus.