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UPDATED MARCH 23

Dear Church Family:

Our health professionals and governing bodies are calling for our continual unified efforts of abating the spread of COVID-19.

In light of the most current information, Lakewood will again be offering online worship for Sunday, March 29 and Sunday, April 5.  While we are not in a mandated lockout (like some congregations across our country), I feel strongly that Lakewood should continue to be a good neighbor in a broken world and we must continue to protect our church family.

Therefore, Lakewood Baptist Church will not have any activities on or off our campus through Saturday, April 11.  This includes corporate worship services, our Wednesday night programming, choir and music rehearsals, Kids Cove Weekday program, weekday Bible studies, Upward Sports programming, Ministry Center programming and Ministry Team meetings.  If you have any questions, please contact your staff liaison or Sarah Williams. Presently Lakewood is maintaining normal business office hours.

I am deeply saddened that we are unable to gather as the body of Christ. Assembling together as Christ followers is important as we fellowship with one another and with Christ through His Spirit, and reveal to the world the power of reconciliation with God and one another.

Here is my challenge to the Lakewood Family as we face these next two weeks of not assembling together:

Remember how God used the scattering of His people in exile and the persecution of the church unable to meet publicly during persecution? During such times, God’s people experienced some unique moments of His presence and power.

I am trusting that during our absence in being together in corporate worship and study, we will actually see a greater degree of personal discipleship develop in our homes and many hearts turned back to God.

During our time apart, I have already been reminded how great a blessing it is for us to gather together.  Moreover, I am reminded that God at times allows his people to be scattered in order to turn hearts to himself and as His means of sending us out on mission in the world. This is why we must be proactive in practicing our faith in our homes, businesses and when we are gathered around people.

Truly, I miss our physical worshipping together in this season of being scattered; however, I believe that God is at work even in the midst of this season.  May I ask, “How will you respond?” Will you grow in this season? Will you lead your family and peers into a deeper walk of Christian faith or will you allow this isolation to promote fear and panic?

I am believing and trusting that God is at work in each of us and He is calling us to grow in our personal walk of faith and He will open the door of ministry for His church during this season of scattering.

Consider these Practical Steps:

Participate in Lakewood’s online worship and gathering opportunities. We will list and promote some innovative and interactive opportunities for our online “gatherings” via our website, www.lakewoodlife.org, and social media.

Turn off the TV and spend time alone with God in meditation and Scripture reading.  Lead your family in Christ-centered contemplation.

Love your Neighbor.  As we engage in social distancing during this crisis, a wave, enthusiastic smile, kind word or call to check in would be great expressions of love.  Take a posture of love toward your neighbor in this season. Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to not only love God, but also to love our neighbor.  Remember to reach out to unbelieving neighbors. Ask them how they are processing this season of unrest. Could this be an opportunity to share the Gospel of hope with someone in despair?

Pray.  Take moment to regularly pray for our health care professionals, our seniors with challenging health issues and those who are particularly fearful and anxious.

Be wise in your interactions with others. For instance, it may not be wise to visit in someone’s home, but a loving phone call or FaceTime chat, or even a door drop of groceries is actually a more loving action in light of these trying circumstances. Be mindful of how your actions impact others. This is a time where we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to people in our community who are in fear, both imagined and real.

Again, through April 11, all Lakewood activities will be canceled. This includes corporate worship services, our Wednesday night programing, choir and music rehearsals, Kids Cove Weekday program, weekday Bible studies, Upward Sports programing, Ministry Center programming and Ministry Team meetings.

The Lakewood Baptist Church office will remain open during our normal business hours for church staff and staff families. Effective Wednesday, March 18, the office will be closed to visitors with and without appointments as we continue to support efforts to suppress COVID-19. We are taking this precaution to protect our employees during this unprecedented time.  We appreciate your honoring this request for the time being.

If you need assistance with a spiritual matter or some other need, please call 770-532-6307 and speak to a staff member or leave a message.  You may also directly contact any staff member of Lakewood through our website: https://www.lakewoodlife.org/our-staff/. Every effort to return any contact in a timely manner will be made.  Thank you for your kind understanding.  These are unprecedented days.  Join us for Lakewood online worship this Sunday at 9:30 am or 11:00 am.  Creative, innovative and Spirit-led worship.

The most important thing we can do is remind ourselves and each other who our God is:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.…’Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress’ (Psalm 46:1, 10-11).


Dr. Tom

 

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