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(4/2/2020 @ 4:00pm)
Letter to the Kittitas Valley SDA churches:
Paul’s statement in Philippians ceases to amaze me, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice”(Philippians 4:4). Paul is in prison when he writes this, and he is writing to people that are free. While the people that he was writing to were under persecution, they were in a far greater physical environment than he was, yet he was the oneencouraging them! This is a lesson for us, as there is definitely cause for concern in the recent days as well as the days to come. God never promises us that bad things won’t happen. In fact, just the opposite is true. Bad things will happen, yet He will be with us and He will see us through, and that is something to rejoice about. We have a God that will never be separated from unless we choose the separation! We can rejoice even when the world is shaken because there is one that sits on the throne and he loves us. Our conquering king will see us through this storm, one way or another.
Psalm 75:2-3 “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars.”
Here is what we are up to this week:
• You all should be contacted by a leader from our church by this weekend. We have divided the names for both churches between the leaders, so that we can hopefully stay a bit more connected. If you did not get a call, it may be because you either aren’t on our list or got missed somehow. If you didn’t receive a call or message by the end of this weekend, please reach out to me or a church leader that you trust.
• A sermon should be online by Sabbath morning each week
• We are trying to get Sabbath school up and running on zoom. We had a trial run last week and it went well.
o Contact Tami Sawyer or myself for more info on this
• Online offering and tithe are available right now for Ellensburg and I am working on getting it for Cle Elm
o For now, mail tithe and offering for Cle Elum can be mailed in at:
Cle Elum SDA Church
P.O. Box 54
Cle Elum, WA 98922
• Please let me or someone able to help if you or someone else needs groceries or any other essential thing delivered. We are here to help!
(3/27/2020 @ 7:30pm)
Letter to the church
Hey everyone! Hope you are staying well. I would like to say first and foremost, that we need to be good to one another, now more than ever. Someone immediately popped into your head as you read that and you’re thinking that they need this advice. We are all under pressure right now. You know what happens to things under a lot of pressure? The things on the inside come out. This is a good reality check for ourselves in how we view other people—how we talk and think about them. It is also a good opportunity to be calm when the rest of the world is not.
Some things have come to my attention that merit talking about for this short newsletter. I hear people on both ends of the spectrum as far as our current situation. This is a health crisis, that is going to have other ramifications that will follow. We need to please be on the same page as to what we are going through. I believe we are all trying to do what is best for our families, communities (churches included), nation, and beyond.
On one end of the spectrum we have some who are resisting recommendations and continuing to meet together—which has only led to more outbreaks of this virus. In other words, they are not taking this seriously. I saw that several pastors in the Midwest continue to have services and being very “courageous” and defiant. They are calling it religious persecution because they are being criticized and even threatened by many people, yet according to the article I read, the transmission rate is the highest in that state over any other. It is this type of mentality that will make things far more difficult for us that are not overreacting and attempting to see the big picture for what it is.
On the other end of the spectrum we have people that are completely terrified that this is Revelation 13, happening right now, and some are scared for their lives. To that I will say, we have to wait and see. From my current perspective it looks like there is potential for more control from political powers. This could lead to more laws and regulations that have potential to go against our beliefs, but that is not happening now. That is something we should be ready for when the time comes, but we need to stop pushing back against those trying to help us because then we become the problem. What is happening right now is something that is not against our religious beliefs, but is actually promoted by Leviticus 13.
Our church has been really wrong about this stuff in the past and I would advise us to take the wait and see approach. Will we act differently when things turn into actual religious persecution? Yes. Be ready. We will act differently because we will have to when there is a conflict between the law of man and of God. In closing, we should remember we are called to love Him supremely and love others, not just to the best of our abilities, but beyond our abilities. He is our life giver and sustainer, and we should not trust in any other thing, as it will fail us.
This is Leviticus 13, not Revelation 13…yet...so practice Romans 13 until we are no longer able to. Lastly, always, always, always practice 1 Corinthians 13 (I stole this from one of my professors, as I am not clever enough to come with stuff like this on my own).
We will get through this.
(3/20/2020 @ 2:55pm)
I hope you are all staying well and sane, as both things are becoming increasingly difficult. It is so easy to watch this spiral out of control and get caught up in the drama and panic. I’m no exception to this and found myself feeling a bit panicky and even a bit helpless on Wednesday night. My wife wisely pointed out to me that I should take a break from media for a day. I think that is advice we should all listen to if we find ourselves being overcome with information about what is happening. It is overwhelming. I saw something the other day that said that we should limit our media time to 1 hour a day or less because of the mental toll it can have on us. On that note it takes the average reader seventy-two hours to read the entire Bible (it would take me a lot longer). There are plenty of other things to be growing us instead of leading us into a downward mental spiral. Stay up to date on what is happening as that is rather easy to do, but do not let it consume us. Romans 12:2
Do not let this bug kill our momentum! While this may seem to halt what was happening in our churches, we can use time to advance them instead. Will it look different? Yes. Opportunity for innovation and creativity as well as catching up with the 21 st century in our technology are all at our fingertips. It will take some learning, and for some of us that means learning what YouTube is and how to use it, but it is possible.
We now have online giving in Ellensburg (shout out to Norm) and I will be working on getting that going in the next week or two for Cle Elum. Throughout history, crisis have actually been an opportunity for Christians to shine. This will be no exception to that. There will be a need for many people. There seems to be some national aid on the way for those that will be not only physically affected by this pandemic, but economically too. That being said, but we are underestimating the overall ramifications of this plague. Think about those that were struggling with anxiety or those with depression or loneliness and how this can put them over the edge. There are people that need help. We don’t necessarily have to go out and be with them physically but we can reach out through other avenues. If you are on any social media platform you have undoubtedly seen the quote by Mr. Rogers that says, “when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.’” I love that. The church is not a building. It is us. We are to be the hands and feet of our Lord to a hurting world and there will be no better time to show who Jesus is than in a time of crisis. I hope to never forget when my professor at Walla Walla, Dave Thomas looked at the dozen or so of us about to graduate and said, “ministry is seldom convenient.” He was right. People notice when we sacrifice and help them at our own cost, especially in this self-centered, “me first” world that we live in. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34,35
In the coming week(s) I will be talking with leaders and members about how we can support each other through this time and how we can best help those that we are able to. Cheryl is going to get a Facebook thread started for Cle Elum and we will get something started for Ellensburg as well to stay connected though this time.
Pastor Jake Wilkinson