Jon Hoover • April 04, 2020
Good morning church family!
I hope everyone has had a great week. This week will be my last sermon on faith from Hebrews 11. Next week is Easter. I'll be sharing more with you this week about how you can make this an evangelistic Sunday even though we cannot meet together.
CALL TO WORSHIP
This Sunday is Palm Sunday.
This Is the day Christians begin to think through Easter week as they prepare for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. If you have children, let them read through some of this with you.
Pray together as a family that God would bring you closer together.
Pray that God would open eyes and hearts to the gospel message on Easter.
FUN FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES
Jon Hoover • April 04, 2020
A Pastor's Hope
Over the last several weeks, I have felt inclined to write about many of the issues facing our churches, our world, and our own well-being while we are socially distanced.
There are a many things that I hope for once this pandemic is over, but below are the three primary things I am praying will be renewed in churches all over the world.
A Greater Passion for the Word of God
As a pastor and student of expository preaching, I am often burdened by the number of churches and pastors who primarily preach "how to" sermons. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the occasional sermon series on how to have a better marriage or how to better steward your finances. The Bible certainly speaks to those issues. However, the Bible is not primarily a "how to" manual.
The Bible is primarily about Jesus.
Hebrews 6 and 1 Peter 2 exhort believers to long for spiritual maturity and a depth of faith that will keep them grounded throughout trials of all kinds. Psalm 19:10 says that the word of God is more to be desired than fine gold. It says that it is sweeter than the drippings of the honeycomb. If this is true, and I believe it is, my pastoral hope is that believers would have a passion for the Word of God that is deeper than the ocean and more expansive than the skies above.
Pastor friends, let's leave behind the "how to" sermons and lead our people to plumb the depths of God's Word.
A Greater Passion for Church
Now that we are all keeping our social distance, I hope and pray that there is a renewed desire for people within our communities to attend church. I am a firm believer that the church is one of the cornerstones of a community. It provides stability and hope. It reveals to any given community that there is something more enduring than any other institution. Studies have consistently revealed that when churches leave a community, crime goes up and quality of living goes down.
I agree that churches need to move services online and find ways to connect, but I will also admit that this is painful. There is simply no online service that can match the grandeur of the gathered church in one place.
I think the church has been taken for granted. It has been replaced by sports, travel, work, and any other number of things that we would rather give our attention to. My pastoral hope is that people would quickly realize that none of these things can replace what only God was meant to fill.
I'm not asking for a return to a cultural Christianity that was largely shallow and void of passion for God. I am hoping and praying that the idols we have created out of other things would be revealed as futile pursuits of happiness that will all come crashing down when trials like this one throw the world into chaos.
The church, gathered around the Word of God, will outlast every single idol our culture has created. Let's gather there before we gather at the ball field.
A Greater Passion for Evangelism
As of my time writing this article, over 7,000 people have died from the coronavirus. Further, hundreds of thousands have lost jobs. Domestic abuse, loneliness, suicide, and mental illness are all on the rise. I know everyone feels different about this virus because things like the flu, abortion, car accidents and all sorts of other things have ended lives as well. But, can we all admit that even one life lost too early is tragic? It is right to grieve the loss of another 7,000 people that will continue to grow into the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands worldwide.
There are many practical ways that I hope our society would change in order to combat these things, but my hope for the church is that this virus would cause us to see the brevity of life and the urgent need for people to hear and respond to the gospel.
I believe this is one area the church has been complacent, but the truth is, you cannot outsource evangelism. If it is not a vital part of your faith, then there is something significant missing. Evangelism is the responsibility of every single follower of Jesus Christ.
My pastoral hope is that many believers in Christ would see the lostness of the world and desire to respond with compassion and love that results in a desire to share the only hope that can save one's soul - Jesus Christ.
God's word is precious. His church is glorious. Jesus still saves.
May we all grow in our love for God, his church, and the sinner who needs grace (myself included).
Jon Hoover • March 29, 2020
Good morning church family!
Here we are again another week, but do not despair! The Lord is still faithful. God is still ruling and reigning the same as he has ever been throughout history!
Jonathan Edwards once said, "Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church.” Right now, truer words have never been spoken. My hope is that you use this by yourself or with your family to worship the Lord, Jesus Christ. The fact is, you can worship God from home as much as you can at church. Let's worship the risen Christ today!
CALL TO WORSHIP
Take a few moments to learn about an amazing new hymn from the Gettys.
Today's message is a message about salvation.
Pray today that someone might hear and respond
to the gospel in repentance and faith!
FUN FOR THE KIDS AND FAMILY
Praise His Name (Parents, see if you can do these with your kids)
I hope everyone has a blessed Sunday!
Jon Hoover • March 20, 2020
Good morning church family!
This is certainly not the path any one of us would have chosen for a Sunday morning church service. However, I pray that God would use this for good. My encouragement to you is to gather your family or your spouse or, if it's just you, grab your Bible, and let's worship the Lord, Jesus Christ in our homes.
If you have children, I encourage you to take time to register with LifeWay Kids at Home for Sunday School. I cannot stress enough the importance of also keeping your kids grounded in Christ during these trying times.
There are likely an endless number of live-streams you can watch online this morning. There are plenty of churches on TV you can watch, too. But, my hope in this is for a simpler time of worship. My encouragement to you is to grab your Bible and read it yourself or read it out loud together as a family. Let this be a simple but meaningful time of worship.
The following will be laid out like a typical church service. I hope you will use it in a similar way to lead your family. Links will be included to the Bible passages, but I encourage you to open your Bible with your family and read the Word of God together. If you have children that can read, let them read as well. I will add music here also. Of course, feel free to pick and choose the songs you prefer.
CALL TO WORSHIP
WORSHIP / HYMNS
Pray together for the following:
-an end to COVID-19
-for our leaders
-for the unsaved
-doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and support staff in hospitals
-Pray for our church family
WORSHIP / HYMNS
Below is a list of ways you can take a day of rest and serve others:
- Call the members of your Sunday School class.
- Take a walk (and pray while you walk).
- Play a board game with your family.
- Call a few elderly members of the church.
- Read a book (Gospel eBooks keeps a running list of free or cheap Christian books on Kindle. The Kindle app is free for any smartphone or tablet).
- Check on a neighbor.
- And my personal favorite: go fishing! :-)
WEDNESDAY NIGHT CHURCH:
As much as possible, I believe it is important to keep everyone connected through this temporary (but frustrating) moment. I plan to use ZOOM for our Wednesday night prayer service. If you do not have a ZOOM account, you can sign up for free through your PC, smartphone, or tablet. You will get an email link this week with how to tune in to the prayer meeting. If you need help getting setup, please contact me.
I hope everyone has a blessed Sunday! I'm praying for you!
Jon Hoover • March 17, 2020
Good morning church! I wanted to share a few thoughts of mine regarding the coronavirus and what lies ahead for us as a church.
But first, I think a little humor might be good for everyone. Take a quick look at this clip from Tim Hawkins from almost 10 years ago. Who knew it would be so prophetic?!?
I know several of you were able to watch the live stream of church on Sunday over Facebook. The audio and video were not great, but we are working to improve that experience. In addition, we hope to be able to stream it over YouTube for those who do not have Facebook but do have access to the internet. I will keep you posted on that. I have a feeling we might be in this for the long haul, and my hope is to keep us all connected and in the Word of God on a regular basis.
More importantly, I want to share with you what is on my heart as your pastor. I came here six and a half years ago, and in those years, I have really come to love our church - not the building or the programs, but, you, the people. We are the church. The building is just the place we gather.
Pastors live for Sundays like linebackers live to sack a quarterback on Sunday afternoon football games. All week long linebackers train and get their bodies ready for the game on Sunday. When Sundays come, they go to war and leave it all on the field. Once the game is over, they return to practice on Monday and get themselves ready to do it all over again a week later.
Pastors are no different. All week long we study, pray, prepare, write, pray more, rewrite, edit, proof, and fine tune a sermon. Then we preach the sermon and go home. On Mondays, we start the process all over again. We live for Sundays. We live for the gathered church sitting under the Word of God. We live for that moment when God's people are together worshiping with each other under one roof. There is no sweeter moment than that.
I don't know what the weeks ahead hold for us as a church or when all this will be over, but I do know the God who holds us all together. I am not scared of the future. I have a sure and steady anchor in God. He knows what He is doing. I trust Him. But what weighs heavy on my heart is the temporary loss of the human connection of our church people gathered together on Sunday listening to the Word of God preached and proclaimed.
Last Sunday we had maybe 20 people gathered together. It truly was a sweet time of worship, and I loved everyone that was there. However, I did sincerely miss those who were NOT there. And I will continue to miss them until all of this passes.
In the days ahead, I will keep this blog site updated regularly with devotions, scripture readings, sermons, etc. My next post will probably contain a long list of things to do while we are all having to keep our social distance from one another. I will be calling and praying with our seniors and shut-ins to encourage them during this time. I would encourage you to do the same thing with each other.
I long for the day when this is all over, and ALL of us can gather again in the Lord's house on Sunday!
For now, there are a few things you can do.
- Pray that God would miraculously end this pandemic today.
- Pray for our leaders at the national, state, and local level to have wisdom in dealing with this virus.
- Pray that God would use our absence from one another to create in us a deeper desire and understanding of the importance of the gathered church.
- Call one another. Call the members of your Sunday School class. Call our elderly members who don't have access to the internet.
- Don't stay glued to the news. Instead, read a book, study the Bible, go for a walk, or work in the yard.
I'll keep you posted here with Scripture readings and other encouraging notes along the way!
The ministry of the church is going to go on. There is no virus that will stop God's people from ministering to one another and to those around us! I encourage you to give your tithes online at www.kinstonfbc.org/give You may also mail them in, but I do suggest giving online if you are able. It is no less important to give now than if you were able to come. Your tithes go a long way to support missionaries around the world, missions through our state convention, local ministries who will be impacted, and our own church's ability to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Finally, keep Nancy Vander Schaaf and the people of Guatemala in your prayers. Her trip was cancelled yesterday due to the virus beginning to show up in Guatemala. Their fatality rate is going to be significantly higher than ours due to their lack of medical care. Pray that God would spare lives and open hearts to the Gospel!
Have a blessed rest of the week!