Dear Oak Cliff Church Family:
Today marks three weeks since my surgery. The first two weeks of recovery were pretty miserable and for the past week, I’ve been treating a minor infection that has made me feel pretty crummy. I am finally feeling a little better and I am missing my brothers and sisters at Oak Cliff so very much that I feel I must begin communicating with all of you the best I can.
During the past three weeks, I have been praying earnestly for our Lord to nurture and sustain our fellowship and our deep affection for one another in Christ Jesus despite the fact that we are all isolated from one another. I am so thankful to our Lord for the digital means of communication. I want to encourage you as much as I can from a distance.
I have also been praying earnestly that our Lord will protect all of you from COVID-19, especially our older and most vulnerable members.
I am so thankful that Bro. Lyndel has been able to keep the ministry of our church going while I’ve been recovering. He has done an outstanding job encouraging and edifying all of us through his preaching and through the contacts he has been making with many of you by phone. I also am so thankful for Daniel Hinkle and Justin Dang for getting our Sunday videos recorded and posted to Youtube and FaceBook. They have done an outstanding job!
During this very strange time in all of our lives, I want to encourage you not to be afraid. Take the virus very seriously and do everything you know to do to protect yourself and others from this contagion, but do not fear. Instead, I want to encourage you to stay in contact with one another by phone, text and email. If you are able to use Skype or FaceTime, these wonderful tools can go along way to make us feel less isolated.
I also want to encourage you to use the extra time you have to focus on your relationship with the Lord. Spend extra time in Scripture and in prayer. Draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you. Spend time daily in personal worship. Look on the positive side of our isolation and use your time wisely and in a way that honors the Lord and that strengthens your family relationships.
In Scripture, we clearly see that the Enemy sought to destroy the ministry of the Apostle Paul by isolating him in prison. By cutting Paul off from his ministry to the churches through his actual presence with them as he traveled around the Mediterranean visiting and building up the churches, I’m sure the Enemy must have thought that he was destroying the evangelistic ministry of the Apostle to the Gentiles. Instead, however, Paul’s time in prison became a most fruitful time of ministry that continues to this very day. He wrote letters to the churches that are the very Scriptures that we read in much of the New Testament. He also evangelized those guards who were assigned to watch over him. They, in turn, took the gospel to the very household of the Roman emperor himself, many among his household becoming followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So be encouraged. Prayerfully consider how this time of isolation can become a spiritually fruitful time for you and your family. Spend time alone in Scripture and in prayer, but if you are home with family, schedule daily times of family worship. Begin a spiritual journal, writing down the spiritual experiences you are having during your times of worship. Call or write your Oak Cliff brothers and sisters, praying with them over the phone. Pray especially for those among our Oak Cliff family who are having to work and are in contact with the public every day, especially our members who work in healthcare. Pray for our Lord to grant them protection from the virus and for Him to supply all of the necessary Personal Protection Equipment they need to do their jobs.
My heart longs for that day when we will all be able to meet together again. I’m also looking forward to that day when I will be able to expound God’s word for the church and help to facilitate our Sunday worship. Hopefully that day will be soon.
Let me leave you with this wonderful Psalm, Psalm 29, as a word of encouragement for you today:
“1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!”
My our Lord bless each of you with His richest spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus!
With great affection,