WELCOME DEAN INFINGER TO OUR STAFF AT RIVERBLUFF CHURCH
Currently, we are seeing people all over the world blessing others through incredible sacrifice and great generosity. And we don’t have to look very far because it is happening right here in our River-family over and over again. I’ve watched so many of you sacrifice and serve one another and its filled my heart with so much joy that I feel like I might burst! As much as I wish I could tell you all the stories I’m seeing, (many have chosen anonymity), I must share this one with you because you may find yourself in need, or know of someone in need of this new ministry asset of Riverbluff Church.
Dean Infinger is coming on our staff as an unpaid staff-member to help with Pastoral Care needs that have multiplied exponentially in this crisis. Though this may only be a short-term role, his official title will be Associate Pastor for Encouragement & Crisis Care.
Dean and his wife Melanie have been part of our River-family since 2009. Dean currently serves our church as a Deacon, a Small Group Leader, and Drama Ministry Leader; and has formerly served as one of our Elders. In 2019 Dean graduated from Liberty University with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling. After completing his required internship through The Discipleship Counseling Center at Riverbluff Church, he then joined its incredible staff of counselors. Dean loves to utilize biblical principles to help his clients experience the abundant life that can be found in Christ. His heart is to bring compassion, understanding, and counsel to hurting people.
Dean will be assisting Pastor Joe, our Elders and our other pastoral staff in meeting the unique care needs of our River-family and our community during these very trying times. If you are feeling the need to be prayed with, or are particularly discouraged or overwhelmed by our current circumstances, or if you know of someone who is, I’d encourage you to make an appointment with Dean for a call. You can schedule an appointment with Dean here. You can also contact Dean by email at email@example.com.
Dean is a dear friend and a humble servant. We so very grateful to GOD for the gift of Dean and Melanie in this season of ministry to our River-family. We are also grateful for their generosity and sacrifice of taking on this significant ministry in an unpaid status.
UPDATE: Livestreaming of our Sunday morning worship and teaching will be aired live on our YouTube channel beginning March 22.
March 17 3:00 pm
My dear River-family,
I know this is long, but believe there is much to share with you in this challenging season! Other ministry leaders will also be sending out additional information to their teams and those who participate in those ministries later today and tomorrow.
This morning as I was praying for you God’s Spirit prompted me to pray “peace” over you all. So I did a quick search of God’s Word in my bible app and many scripture came up and I just began to pray them for you…and me too! I thought you may be encouraged by those passages so I am putting them at the end of this message. I am asking God our FATHER to fill us with HIS Peace!
I also want to let you know of some decisions we as Elders made last night in an effort to do what we believe brings Glory to GOD and helps us live out Christ’s command to love one another and love our neighbors.
As you probably know, in his address to the nation yesterday, our President asked all Americans to not gather in groups of more than 10 people for the next 15 days. Before he made that request we had some strategic plans in place to allow for us to gather in multiple places in our building for worship in groups of less than 100. After our President’s request, we have put those plans aside and will now honor that request.
So for the next 15 days Riverbluff will end all meetings of groups of more than 10 people. That means we will not gather on our campus for worship for the next two Sundays and since most all of our “on campus” classes and Bibles study groups are larger than 10, they will also not meet until sometime after April 1. That is the painful news.
The good news is, this Sunday, March 22, we will begin livestreaming our Riverbluff worship service at 11:00 am so you can participate from home! I will send you some easy to follow details of how to do this tomorrow. We would encourage you to gather in homes together as groups of 10 or less to worship and fellowship together. Our worship team will be leading our worship in song and there will be a message from God’s Word that we can share in together. I know this will be significantly different than what is “normal” for us, but this still allows us to live out the instruction God’s Word gives us in Hebrews 10:25; “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” This experience may even make us more like the dynamic “Acts 2 Church” who met “from house to house”!
Let me also urge you to consider inviting some of our seniors to your home to join you in our livestream worship. Some do not have access to the technology to participate in this method of gathering for worship. If you are confident that you and your household are well, and you’re willing to invite someone from our River-family to gather with you for worship at your home, but don’t know someone with this need; send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate you would like to invite someone to join you for worship and we will try to send you someone to contact.
To our seniors and medically vulnerable Riverbluffians, please hear me say that we will understand if you thank us for our invitations to you but let us know that you are following the advice of the CDC and choosing to stay safe by staying home. We love you so very much and want you to know that. So yes, we want to fellowship with you, but even more we want you to be safe so we can enjoy sweet fellowship with you for many years to come!
Others of you should consider inviting a neighbor to join you for our worship experience in your home; maybe someone who is far from God but near to you. Many people are in greater need of encouragement, and hope, and connection than they have ever been in their lives. They may be open to the Gospel like never before. I promise we will work hard to present the Gospel in relevant and compelling ways in our “streaming services”.
Your Elders and Deacons are working tirelessly to shepherd our River-family well during these extremely turbulent times. If you have a need please make it known. Many in our River-family are stepping up to do things like deliver groceries or medications or run other errands for those who are especially vulnerable in these times. Please, please let the church office know if you need assistance! We are currently maintaining normal office operations.
The decisions we as Elders have made were not made without much prayerful consideration and reliance upon God’s Word. Our hearts were very heavy as we thought about not seeing many of you for these next 15 days. We have reflected much on the following passages to inform our decisions:
“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.” John 13:34
“You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
The Apostle Paul writes:
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10
“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21
The Apostle Peter writes:
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him… For it is God’s will… show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”1 Peter 2:13-17
The Apostle Paul writes:
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted… The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Romans 13:1-5
Please know that we will continue to do our best to communicate changes and opportunities for ministry in the days ahead. Please give strong consideration to joining Riverbluff’s unique social media platform known as REALM; it will serve us all well in staying connected during this global crisis. You can join realm here: www.riverbluff.org/realm or email Lynne Kight at email@example.com.
Also it is very important to remember that the Gospel work of GOD through Riverbluff church must go on and requires your generous support to do so. The support we give to missions work around the world needs to continue as it does here at home. We already know that many families are going to need financial assistance with basic needs like food during this crisis. As many of you know we made very significant cuts going into our 2020 budget. We will be working diligently to reduce spending even more to the most essential needs. Many of you already give through our website and know how convenient it is. If you do not give online through our website, would you please consider doing so? Our online giving page can be found at www.riverbluff.org/give. You can also still physically drop off your tithes and offerings at the church in our secure outdoor drop slot built into the block wall to the left of the outside doors nearest the church offices. For us to continue to minister effectively, we are dependent on your faithful and sacrificial giving. I am so thankful that you are a faithful and generous people!
There will also be many unique opportunities for serving in our community. We have opportunities to serve our partners at Oakbrook Elementary School, Lowcountry C.A.R.E.S., and the City of North Charleston. Please continue to look on REALM for those ministry opportunities.
Please know that I continue to pray for you and give thanks to our LORD for you as I think of you loving each other well and serving boldly in this great time of need. I leave you with GOD’s Word on living in His Peace.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:16
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
“Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength. Daniel 10:19
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Romans 16:20
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. 2 John 1:3
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:21
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:1
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 2 Peter 3:14
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Galatians 5:22
Seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. Matthew 10:13
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:42
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
“So that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.” Genesis 28:21
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants. Psalms 85:8
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:17-19
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. Romans 8:6
March 14 9:00 pm
A Message from Pastor Joe:
Hey River Family
I just left an extended meeting with our Elders, Deacon Team Leaders, and some church staff concerning COVID-19. We were doing additional work to ensure that we are working together optimally and communicating well in all areas of our church family. Our meeting focused on:
Special Care Strategies for Vulnerable People -Both in our church and community.
Event Cancellation Strategies
As we watch the news and the spread of the Coronavirus, it is easy to get caught up in circumstances and fear. However, God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity because HE is always in control of His creation. We want to provide care to one another and be prepared to keep church members and guests as safe and healthy as possible. To that end, here is what we are recommending and doing at Riverbluff in light of COVID-19:
We will gather tomorrow morning at our regular times for Bible Study and morning worship services. Any changes or cancellations of activities, services, or meetings will be determined by our Elder team. Our decisions will be based upon directives issued by local, state, and national leaders, as well as our medical advisory team. Those changes or cancellations will be communicated through this and other media.
We are working on plans to live stream our services so you might join worship from home if your are ill. We have a few technology challenges before we can do that well. Please be patient with us.
If you or your immediate family members are sick, especially with fever or symptoms common to the cold or flu, we encourage you to stay home until you are completely well. As I hope you know by now, Riverbluff is a “NO SHAME ZONE”. If you stay home we will only miss you, pray for you, and have great thoughts about you.
If you have traveled outside the country or to any high alert areas within the United States or have been exposed to anyone who has tested positively for COVID-19, we ask that you refrain from attending our services and events until a 24-day time-frame has been observed.
If you or someone you have personally been in contact with tests positively for COVID-19 please contact Pastor Joe immediately. Your identity will be protected but we will need to let our entire church know.
Based on advice from other churches who are remaining open and medical professionals, our Sunday morning Café will be closed until further notice. You are welcomed and encouraged to bring your own coffee or other beverage to our services. Additionally we are discouraging the bringing or home prepared food to your smaller gatherings such as bible studies and home groups. It is just one additional way to lovingly, protect one another in this challenging season.
Our Facility Staff and Children’s Ministry are working hard to keep spaces, furniture, and toys sanitized. Please use common sense and wash your hands often. Hand sanitizers will be available throughout the campus.
We will again refrain from passing the offering plate during worship services. Rather, baskets will be available at the conclusion of our services to receive the LORD’s Tithe and any offering you may give. In order to minimize impact to our counting team we strongly encourage everyone to begin the practice of giving electronically. To begin this simple practice go to riverbluff.org/give The Weekly Newsletter & Sermon Notes will be available to pick up in areas designated in our Auditorium such instead of being distributed by ushers.
For the next few weeks, let’s wave instead of shaking hands or “air-hug” instead of giving real hugs. We will catch up on those later!
As our President has declared tomorrow to be a National Day of Prayer, we will pray together tomorrow. We will pray for those who are affected by this illness, as well as their caregivers and those who are working tirelessly to minimize the impact of this virus. We will pray that GOD would bring an end to COVID-19. Tomorrow I will also bring a message on “Worry” from Luke 12.
I look forward to being with those of you who well and able to attend tomorrow. Thank you for your cooperation and your extra grace in helping to keep Riverbluff as safe and healthy as possible!