INTRODUCTION: Please read entire emailIn this edition we have included:1.  Devotion: What’s Missing?
2.  Resources
3. Life Hack
1. Devotions: What’s Missing?
by Pastor Jeremy 

This is not my first lockdown.  

For many of us there are all sorts of questions about when it will be over accompanied by laments of things we used to enjoy.  I have to admit it isn’t something I’d ever thought I’d experience in my “civilian life”, but this isn’t my first time being confined to a certain space while waiting for some problem to be resolved.  

You see, when you join the military you’re issued all sorts of equipment and they can be separated into two general categories: sensitive and non-sensitive.  Sensitive items weren’t more emotional than the other equipment, they were the more important and more expensive gear that someone kept track of via serial number.  Your weapon, weapon attachments, radio, night vision, thermals, etc… 

At the end of any training iteration you always did a sensitive items check to make sure nothing was missing, and if you’re deployed you sent an “SI Report” at the start and close of every day.  If something went missing:  Lockdown.  Nobody moves till that one thing is found.  Your normal mission is interrupted until someone can find the sensitive item, hold it and whisper comforting words to it.

Part of the frustration with having normal life so abruptly halted is the abruptness.  “I wasn’t able to fully prepare.”  How could you?  You didn’t see it coming.  With that comes the loss of things we weren’t prepared to lose.  I can no longer __________________ like I used to.  Remember when we could get together at these places out in town that served food?  Remember when we could sit in dark rooms for hours and watch moving pictures with total strangers?

You know what I miss?  Singing together.  Not in the same way people miss singing during the 7th inning stretch at the ball game.  Not in the same way you might miss singing that popular song with your friends at karaoke.  Not simply for the experience of singing together in the same place.  Not even because it’s part of that larger category of “little things we took for granted”.

I miss it because it is one example of the Christian life that is an outward expression of an inward reality.  The Good News didn’t just happen to me, it happened to us, so we’re going to sing about it together!  If you were with us last Sunday we understand that our unity should be stronger than non-essential (boy that term seems different nowadays) squabbles, and what is a portion of the proof?  We sing about what brought us together and keeps us together.

Colossians 3 tells us that singing together is not only a result of letting “the word of Christ dwell in your richly”, but we are also taught and admonished through corporate singing.  There is something meaningful when we know the suffering and trials that our fellow members experience and they’re standing next to us singing their guts out about the faithfulness of God.  That just doesn’t have a proper translation over Zoom.

“That was a lot of words, dude.  What’s the encouragement part?”  

Let me start with this:  if you don’t don’t miss singing and other communal aspects of the Christian life, you should.  Not because I’m typing about it, but because it is recorded for us in Holy Writ.  Consider why you don’t hold dear in your heart the approximately thirty one another commands for us, repent, and ask God to help you come to the understanding He intended.  Develop a deep and heavy longing to be together again in order that we might be a fully functioning body sooner rather than later.

Secondly, nothing of the current situation has changed any of those commands in principle.  We are still to be devoted to one another with brotherly affection (Rom 12:10), but that affection might have to manifest in more creative ways during this time.  MaryAnn and I have received cards from several members during this time and we’re so thankful that you took some time to think of us and send a card in through the mail.  Even though we don’t get that face time every Sunday it was a tangible sign that we were not far from your minds.  

So while we are in the middle of social distancing and a form of isolation, look for ways to still be the church in all of those one another ways.

By the way, does anybody know what day it is today?

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”

2. RESOURCES:
Here are some helpful links in light of today’s devotion: 

Christianity Has the Resources for Grittiness Amid Pandemicby Sam Keyes:
Christianity is unique suited for difficult times. This is a great article reminding us “why?”

Free BookThe Power of Sufferingby John MacArthur
Did somebody say FREE book? This is a great resource for times of suffering..and it’s FREE!


ICYMI: Free EbookCoronavirus and Christby John Piper:
This is a great little book to help us make sense of our hope in Christ in light of this pandemic. Piper is an excellent writer – you’ll be encouraged and challenged. I believe there is a free audio version, too. Click on the title for more information and to download the ebook.

SIMPLE LIFE-HACK:
What is something you can do with your family that is purposeful today? If alone, who can you Zoom/FaceTime/Skype and encourage?

STAY CONNECTED
Contact Any of Us with Prayer Requests or questions:Todd Burgett: todd@orchardcommunity.org
Jeremy Wong: jeremy@orchardcommunity.org
John Gould: jgould@orchardcommunity.org
John String: jstringer@orchardcommunity.org
Lisa Burgett: lisa@orchardcommunity.org
Sue Ertis:  sue@orchardcommunity.org