April 28, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I miss you.
Like everyone else, I long for the day when we’re actually an assembled assembly.
Since Governor DeWine’s latest update continues the stay-at-home order and mass gathering ban of more than 10 people, we’re going to need to endure this situation a little longer. I’m praying we will see the decrease in the spread of the coronavirus continue and public officials lift the warnings about public gatherings.
Until then, I’m looking for positive things to think about in the midst of this very hard and difficult time. There is plenty of hurt and devastation being reported, as well it should be. This is terrible on many levels. But, since we’ve acknowledged those aspects already, let’s think about something good that is springing up from our current trials.
Families are together. We’re finding our core values in home and family to be the very thing we need in the midst of hard times. We agree with this. God instituted the family and this is one of the reasons. We love each other and are committed to each other through thick and thin. Perhaps this extended time together and this realization that this is the most basic unit of civilization can be a revival of emphasis on God’s value placed on the permanence of a man and woman promising to staying together “till death do us part” and raising children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Let’s cherish this time for its proper reliance on this divinely established priority.
Let me also say a word of thanks to you all. You’ve been encouraging and kind in your adjustment to all this. You have particularly been helping us all adjust to the online content we’ve been providing. You have eagerly embraced the admonition to “build each other up” by “liking” and “sharing” and kindly commenting on our efforts to teach from home and lead worship and preach to an empty auditorium. I’m grateful for your patience and flexibility. We’ve been on a pretty steep learning curve the last several weeks. But, Pete and Cindi have helped Faith and me shift into “online gear” and attempt to lead in a “socially distance” culture. Our tech team has worked overtime to make all this adjustment possible. It’s been an adventure for sure. If there is some other format or opportunity you would like, please let me know. We want to encourage you from God’s Word and find the most effective way to do so. So, we’re open to your ideas and help making it happen.
I love you and want to be available to you whenever and however you may need it. Please feel free to call or text or email anytime.
Exalting Christ in all things,
April 24, 2020
Dear Church Family,
A little change of schedule is in order. This Sunday we plan to have songs and sermon all available at 8:30 am on Facebook as well as on our website. You will be able to see some singing from the church auditorium and my sermon. We hope it “feels” a little more like “real church.” Now, it will be a very basic attempt at this but it is a start. Therefore, there will not be any Facebook event at 11:00 am as we’ve had in previous weeks.
Another change is that we’ve made the decision to not do VBS as previously scheduled for June. No need to go into the details, it’s called coronavirus. As we move through the next several months, we will consider the possibility of providing a fall VBS option.
Additionally, we are planning to move our Awana Awards Night to the very beginning of next year rather than at the end of this year as we usually do it. Again, obvious reasons. I’m delighted to hear of so many kids that are continuing in their Bible memory and passing sections of their books with their leaders online or on the phone. Good work!
I also want to report that we’ve had good progress on our upstairs construction project. It has been slow, only one or two workers at a time, but at least it is moving forward, not completely stalled. This means that we are helping keep our local economy moving and we’re creating space for ministry : ) It will have all the technology we need to be able to stream our services into whatever room we need in order to supply ample space for our future meetings.
That’s the next thing, we’re getting ready to meet again. Of course, I don’t know when, but we’re going to be ready! Sure, we’ll not shake hands and we’ll set up things to provide ample distance between people and we’ll encourage all the right social practices that allow for safe interaction, but we’re going to meet again. Please pray that it can be sooner rather than later.
You have made it possible to continue the work of this church. Your giving has been good. We’re still here and we’ve not taken a loan from the government. Your generous giving is providing for our staff and our missionaries and our ongoing expenses. Way to go!! We have a little way to go on our renovation project, but that is coming along well too.
It is apparent that we’ll need to continue having some opportunities for online interaction and programming even after we return to the church building. We’re doing all we can to learn the technology and train our people for this new reality. Pray for us to make all the adjustments needed and have the necessary equipment to keep sending the gospel out from our location.
There are needs all around us and among us. Please contact me if there is something we can do to help. We’re praying and working to maximize this moment in history for the good of Christ’s church. I’m so thankful for so many of you who are remaining faithful to pray, help, give, teach, learn new ministry skills and make yourself available to others.
I love you all and am so thankful for your spirit and attitude,
April 21, 2020
Dear Church Family,
“Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday school buildings in Ohio will remain closed for the rest of the school year, with all learning continuing to take place online.” With this line from our local newspaper, we all enter into the reality of yet another phase of this COVID-19 shut down.
The local news also announced, “Erie County, continuing a recent trend toward a spike in cases, had 41 cases as of Monday, and the number of deaths has risen from one death to two.” This reality reminds us of the fact that we’re not over the threat of this virus and will need to continue vigilance for some time to come.
With all that said, we’re still “More than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). As my sermon last Sunday pointed out, that “news flash” to believers in Rome from the Apostle Paul came in the midst of “Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness and danger” (v. 35) of all kinds. I suppose we can even insert – plague and viruses. Nothing can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 39).
Given that foundation, we will press on for our Lord. Church is being conducted differently these days, but the church of Christ is still active and ready to be the salt and light we’ve always been on this earth. We may have to use different programs and schedules and technology but we’re still the body of Christ and we’ll be His ambassadors during this crisis as well as when we come through it.
Like the public schools and every other institution, we’re rethinking how to deliver uplifting content and helpful opportunities for interaction and learning, for meaningful care and beneficial content. I’m open to your ideas. Let us know what you think would be effective. Naturally, we’re making sermons available online through all the various platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc. and we’re making video events available through Facebook and some classes and groups are having ongoing email prayer communication. What else would be helpful for you and your family? What would you be willing to listen to, interact with and participate in going forward?
We’re thinking carefully about how to open back up when the shut down in finally lifted. It will be different. We will make all the adjustments necessary to provide a safe and healthy environment for meeting together. Our building is clean, really clean. We’ll keep it that way. We’ll eliminate times of “greeting” that might pass germs unnecessarily. We’ll arrange meeting space that will allow ample space for people to gather without being “too close.” Yes, we can do this!
Whatever it takes, we’ll be ready and it will be possible to meet together. We won’t be hampered by fear nor will we be reckless in our approach. We’ll be careful and measured in our programming but we’ll be ready to meet again at the direction of our state and local officials.
How are your dealing with this in your home? Are you laid off of work, furloughed, loss your job entirely, still working, now working harder than ever, bored to death, depressed, angry, or something else? Please let us know how we can help. Don’t suffer in silence. We’re here and want to be of service as needed. Yes, there are limitations on personal meetings but no limitation to communication otherwise. Reach out and we’ll do our best to help.
I’m remembering this phrase from our passage last Sunday, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Those are not empty words. They are full of meaning and hope. Let your heart be encouraged, dear friend in Christ, at the reality of that wonderful statement today.
I love you and pray God will sustain you today for His glory.
Exalting Christ in all things,
April 17, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Your physical health is important. We’ve got a lot of attention focused on viruses and germs and temperatures and coughs and well – our health. Natural that we’d have that interest during a global pandemic!
Yet, our spiritual health is also important. We understand, perhaps unlike the general population, that our relationship to God through Christ is eternally important. We will always be appropriately vigilant about our physical health but I trust members of our church family will also know that it is “essential” (there’s a word that has taken on new status these days) that we flourish spiritually since we will stand before God one day and give an account of this important status.
You are to be commended for continuing your personal pursuit of holiness, your time alone with God and His Word, your desire to cast all your care on Him, knowing He cares for you, and your vigilance to guard against lust, greed, pride, dishonesty, worry and any other form of sin that might creep into your mind and life during these days of quarantine and isolation.
Let’s pray for the spiritual health of our brothers and sisters in Christ today. Yes, we are terribly interested in the physical well-being of each one but we have an eternal perspective that others might not have. It’s rare that a person in our generation would be too “Heavenly minded.” We are so earth bound that it is easy to forget the eternally important priorities that God desires for our lives.
Today we remember the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 splashdown in the Pacific Ocean after a failed mission to the moon. The courageous astronauts returned home successfully but only after emergency measures that held the world spell-bound on their incredible journey back to earth. Mission commander, Jim Lovell is 92 years old and recently said in an interview, “I think we had some divine help in this flight.”
Yes, indeed. We all need some “divine help in this” journey called life. Good news flash – help is available! You and I need the divine help of God’s Word and God’s Spirit to enable us and the on-going intercession of God’s Son. We have all the help we need – divine help!
Remember to watch my sermon this Sunday. We’re discussing our “divine help” from Romans 8. Go to calvarysandusky.org for on-demand viewing beginning at 8:30 am.
Check the schedule below for all the opportunities available this coming week.
Exalting Christ in all things,
April 14, 2020
Dear Church Family,
How would you like to join our GREEN TEAM? That’s right, it’s time to mow some green grass around the church property. Did you know we have 15 acres of God’s property to maintain? It is prime property for the use of the gospel. We have beautiful land to use for evangelism and discipleship. Would you help us keep it beautiful for our Savior?
Here’s how to sign up for our GREEN TEAM: Call Alan Scroggins directly (he’s the wonderful fellow who has coordinated our mowing efforts for a very long time). His mobile number is 419.239.5745. You can always text him as well. And remember, we have two very nice John Deere tractors to use to take care of our lawn. One new and one newly refurbished. This ministry might even be fun : )
I love the reports I am hearing regularly about how you guys are staying in touch with each other. Don’t wait for someone to call you. Pick up your phone and check on people in your Sunday School class. Be proactive. Let’s do our best to maintain relationships and extend care for one another even if it seems difficult to do so given our restrictions.
We’re going to come through this crisis stronger than we went into it. It has certainly caused us to redirect our energies and repurpose our resources. Perhaps you are perplexed by the “new normal” sometimes like I am but maybe we can find some good in this new circumstance we’re all experiencing together. Let’s look for a chance to radiate the love of Christ through practical help, advice and care.
We had our first “Zoom” Deacon’s meeting last night. In case you are wondering, that doesn’t mean it was fast! Innovation is the name of the game these days. We “press on” (Phil. 3:14) like the Apostle Paul to do the work of the ministry. Our work is urgent and ESSENTIAL!
Thank you for your prayers and sacrificial giving in these uncertain times. We need your support and are grateful for the priority you put on supporting the work of our church and our global ministries.
Please let me know if there is anything you need or if I can be of assistance to you. I go to the church each day and continue to work to advance the good news of Jesus Christ. Pete and Cindi Dodd are exceptionally resourceful and a terrific blessing to our church. I’m so thankful for their help. Diane Crouch is available and is at the hub of all we do so don’t hesitate to call or text 419.706.7461 if you have any questions or needs. One day soon I hope to see you again. Till then, stay safe and stay committed to learning God’s Word, leading godly lives, loving God’s people and leading others to Him.
Exalting Christ in all things (including THIS thing called social distancing),
April 10, 2020
Dear Church Family,
He is risen. He is risen, indeed!
You might take a moment today, Good Friday, particularly between Noon and 3:00 pm to reflect again on the love of Christ displayed in His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary. Stunning grace. Amazing Love. Unmatched mercy.
We call ourselves Calvary Baptist Church because of what Christ accomplished on that “Old Rugged Cross” many years ago “At Calvary!” Redeemed people think of this day with sober reflection of the price paid for our sin but also with celebration of our sins forgiven in Christ.
The love of Christ has motivated many of you to reach out to friend and neighbor, family and stranger with acts of love and good deeds.
- Some have given grocery money to others in need.
- Some have sewn masks for obvious reasons, given the shortage.
- Some have picked up groceries for others in our church family.
- Some have worked hard to make videos available and kept content from God’s Word flowing.
- Some manage our website and Facebook pages.
- Some have helped share our videos on social media.
- Some have made numerous calls to stay in touch so our connection remains vital and helpful.
- Some have participated in email chat groups for encouragement and prayer.
- Some have prayed longer and more earnestly than previously.
- Some have helped distribute food.
- Some have given to the church in spite of uncertainty with employment.
- Some bear the load of leadership in creative ways during tumultuous times
Actually, the list goes on. You guys are just great!
Please take note of our Resurrection Sunday schedule. No, Easter is not cancelled! Couldn’t do that if you tried.
We will have a sunrise service available at 7:00 am – not just like usual but like usual : )
Faith over fear, friends. This is the time for the church to be strong and aggressive with the gospel and the impact it makes in us personally and in us collectively as a church family.
I love you,
April 3, 2020
Dear Church Family,
As the news of the spread of the coronavirus continues to dominate our nation, we will have yet another Lord’s Day this Sunday where we are not able to physically come together to worship our Lord. While this situation is lamentable on many levels there are avenues of ministry that are opening up that simply did not exist before all this crisis.
Many are watching our live presentations online that would not normally come to our church. We’ve heard of several of you who have had conversations with family, friends and coworkers about spiritual issues that probably would not have occurred under normal circumstances. Opportunity abounds to make creative ways to spread the gospel and use our time of isolation to actually be a time of proclamation instead.
This Sunday is traditionally called Palm Sunday. Jesus was greeted riding into Jerusalem with cheers. It was a momentous occasion. Yet, it was short lived. Soon afterward, He was officially rejected and publicly executed. Our Savior was our substitute!
Jesus was not triumphant only for a moment in time. He is eternally triumphant and still is triumphant today! He allowed Himself to be temporarily humiliated but one day He is coming again in full triumphant splendor. What a day that will be!
This Sunday our focus, however, will be on another “Challenging Chapter” in the Bible – Psalm 91. These days of fear and panic have an answer. You might even put it this way – Call 91:1. We are accustomed to calling 911 in an emergency. Well, let that be a reminder that these days of emergency shut down and social distancing are a good time to call upon the truth of Psalm 91:1.
If you are able, please remember to join us “live” at 11:00 am on Sunday and we’ll worship the Lord “together” online from our church Facebook page. The sermon on Psalm 91 will be available “on demand” beginning early Sunday morning. Watch with your Bible open and your heart open to God’s truth.
Our church is still in need of your financial support. We are continuing to extend the love of Christ and truth of God’ Word in a variety of ways all week long. Please give “as the Lord has prospered” you and with the knowledge that our community is still being reached during this plague which separates us.
Let’s trust the Lord to sustain us and help us bring peace, love and practical help to our community in these tumultuous times.
I love you and look forward to seeing you again soon.
March 18, 2020
Dear Church Family,
In these troubled days, we recall the words of our Savior with new eagerness, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). When the disciples first heard these words from Jesus, their hearts were frightened at the prospect of Jesus leaving but Jesus promised the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Believers could be bold in days of trail because of the truth of God’s Word, the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of other believers. We still have those resources, despite the isolation now required of all of us. God’s presence and His promises will sustain us and we’ll do our best to continue ministering one to another in new and unique ways.
Please notice this word from our Deacon Board
All in-person meetings and activities at CBC have been canceled until further notice. We plan to resume our regularly scheduled meetings as soon as possible! We will inform you of our plans as they develop. We are eager to offer regular services as soon as our governmental leaders allow public meetings. Our prayer is that these extreme restrictions will be lifted quickly and our freedom to meet will be restored. Until then, we intend to offer as much programing as we can online so please watch for announcements on our church website and Facebook page. Please remember that our financial needs continue so your generous giving is urgently needed. Send your offerings to the church by check or utilize all the various ways of giving you normally use with your financial institutions or give online through our website. Thank you for your faithfulness during these times of national emergency.
New Ministry Opportunities
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 – We are launching our new Grounded Groups tonight.
Get your Bibles and gather the entire family. Below is the schedule for March 18. If you visit the church’s website, you can find direct links in the Grounded Groups information.
6:30 p.m. – Faith Hixson (and Sparky!) will sing and teach a Bible lesson directed to the children. Join them live at 6:30 p.m. on our Calvary Facebook Page facebook.com/calvarysandusky
6:30 p.m. – Pete Dodd will have a lesson for the teens! Find him on the Echo Facebook page live at 6:30 p.m. facebook.com/echosandusky
7:00 p.m. – Pastor Hixson will address the entire family! He’ll utilize the Calvary Facebook Page at 7:00 p.m. facebook.com/calvarysandusky
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Sunday School – a few different options will be made available via Facebook Live.
Sunday morning service – details are being worked out concerning viewing options
We’ll get more information to you as this develops.
How can I give?
We are doing our best to cut expenses and conserve resources. However, our ministry still goes forward! Please consider giving in the following ways:
- Mail a check through USPS (1810 E. Perkins Avenue, Sandusky, OH 44870)
- Set up payment through your online banking system
- Give online through our website: go to the Online Giving tab
What to expect with our online giving:
- You will be redirected to https://giving.ncsservices.org (a secure service that we utilize for online giving)
- You will be able to follow the required steps to set up your account
- You will need to submit a separate payment for each fund you designate if giving to more than one fund
- If you have questions, contact Bob Mitchel or Mike Morrow
What can you do to help?
If you’d like to be added to a list of people who are willing to deliver groceries to those who can’t get out or serve in some other way while observing all the isolation rules, let us know. We love each other and want to help but we need to find a way to coordinate our efforts. One thing we can all do is to call each other and process this whole situation. A friendly call on the phone, a sincere prayer together and helpful sharing of problem solving ideas might be just the encouragement a brother or sister in Christ might need.
What about pastoral care?
I’m available. Don’t hesitate to call if I could be of service to you in any way.
I’ve been at the church during regular hours so calling the church works but my mobile number is 419.515.0280 for texting or calling.
Our Deacons are ready to pray and serve as well. Also, Pete and Cindi Dodd are a wonderful resource if you’d like to reach out to them.
How will we communicate?
- Group email will be used periodically.
- Updates will be posted on the church website.
- Our Facebook page(s) will be a great resource for information and videos.
- At least for now, Diane has been in the church office if you call 419.625.9690
- A list of prayer requests will be sent each Wednesday to our Email Prayer Group – if you want to be added to that list, email email@example.com
Exalting Christ In All Things,
March 13, 2020
Dear Church Family,
We’re all aware of the coronavirus outbreak and the public health crisis that we face in Ohio and beyond. This pandemic is far-reaching in its scope and wide-ranging in its impact. Our church family must take precautions that are in line with recommendations from public health officials and governmental agencies. In light of our concern for the safety and health of our community and our church family, we are closing our building this weekend and canceling our services for Sunday, March 15, 2020 (and our Awana Grand Prix scheduled for tonight).
The situation is developing day by day and there will be more adjustments in light of this crisis in days to come. Please check out our church website regularly for current information and our church Facebook page for updates. We’ll communicate regularly as to the status of our scheduled programing.
The leadership of our church wants you to know going forward:
- We’re asking our custodial staff to conduct a deep cleaning of our facilities.
- Hand sanitizer is always available.
- We’ll avoid public greetings that involve personal contact.
- It is important to emphasize the need to stay home if you are sick and follow good hygiene. practices to promote health in all our gatherings and especially among those most vulnerable.
- We’re exploring ways to minimize passing of germs during communion or hospitality venues with drinks or food.
- Online giving is still available and contributions are still needed and appreciated during this time.
- How long we will need these extreme measures of isolation is not known but we’ll balance our desire for health and safety and the advice of the medical professionals that monitor the spread of disease with our ability to meet together without harm one to another.
Let me encourage all of us:
- This is an extraordinary time in the history of our country and we have an exceptional opportunity to express trust in God during this crisis. In the words of Jesus, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). Fear and panic are not becoming of the people of God.
- Our love for neighbor may well be demonstrated in practical help and opportunity to reach out in acts of kindness and concern (Mark 12:31). Let’s be aware of the needs of people around us and show the love of Christ in tangible ways.
- Let’s pray for God’s mercy to stop the spread of this virus. We believe God answers prayer and it is right to ask God to intervene by His power to give “help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). This Sunday would be a great time to gather your family in your home and spend time “before the throne of grace” asking for God’s help to stop the virus, healing of those that are sick and to prevent of death of our friends and loved ones. Pray also God would protect our medical professionals as they treat patients and develop protocols and processes that would be helpful in this situation. Remember, too, missionaries that sometimes minister in places with less access to good medical intervention in times like this.
- Since we’ll be spending more time at home with family (with schools closed, etc.) let’s be intentional about “making disciples” (Matthew 28:19) of our own children and use these opportunities to strengthen our knowledge of God’s Word by “renewing our minds” (Romans 12:2) in God’s principles by reading Scripture together, praying and seeking God for His mercy and grace.
We’ll do our best to facilitate communication over the next several days about future plans for our regularly scheduled programs. We love each other and want to minister one to another! We desire to open our arms wide to our community and continue the work of the gospel as we have done so for 89 years. So, we’ll assess the situation and get back to you about how we can do that best under these circumstances.
I love you all and want to be here for you. Please do not hesitate to call me if you want to talk. We’ll get through this together! We’re people of faith and prayer not fear and panic!
Exalting Christ in all things (including this!)