“HOW TO SUFFER”
“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God
commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
(1 Peter 4:19)
To suffer is not what most desire to do, but it is what most will experience at some point in life. People suffer for many reasons. To state a few, some suffer as a result of bad decisions, some suffer for reasons beyond their control, and some suffer because of their affiliation with God through Jesus Christ. In the case of the latter, to suffer is inevitable but rewarding, for God rewards believers who suffer for the sake of Christ. In 1 Peter 4:19, we learn how to suffer. Whenever we suffer according to God’s will—doing what God commands, we should commit ourselves to God (our faithful Creator) and do good. By doing this, we can endure suffering; therefore, I encourage believers who are currently suffering to commit themselves to God and to well-doing. In God’s due time, He will reward you with a crown for the cross you successfully bear.
Speaking of suffering, many are in a dark season of their lives because of the current pandemic. Most are forced to make numerous adjustments; for example, corporate worship at St. John is different. We currently have two Worship Celebrations (each is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes) every Sunday: 9 a.m. at the North Campus and 11 a.m. at the South Campus. We encourage everyone to arrive at least 10 minutes beforehand to be seated safely and comfortably. Temperatures are checked, hand sanitizing is urged, social distancing is applied regarding where people shall sit and walk, wearing masks are still mandatory, utilization of restrooms is restricted to 2-4 people at a time (depending on the size of the restroom), and congregating before and after Services is prohibited.
Because of social distancing, we now can only utilize 30-40% of our total seating capacity. Consequently, we are promoting the growth of our virtual audience. I ask everyone to share with others how they can view our Worship Celebrations via live streaming (Facebook or YouTube) or hear them via podcasts. For more information, you may visit our website at sjmbc.org.
Despite the pandemic, St. John is still thriving. The following general activities are scheduled for next week:
- Worship Celebrations at 9:00 a.m. (North Campus) and 11:00 a.m. (South Campus)
- Online Church School at 2 p.m.
- Preparation For Grocery Giveaway at 10:00 a.m. (South Campus)
- Grocery Giveaway at 12:00 p.m. (North Campus and South Campus)
- Online Prayer at 12:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
- Online Church School at 7:00 p.m.
Moreover, we are celebrating our 78th Church Anniversary throughout this month in each of the morning Worship Celebrations (9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.) with preaching, singing, and affirming the value of St. John. Because of the pandemic, we will not have a Church Revival or an afternoon Worship Celebration on the 4th Sunday of October at 3:30 p.m. as we have done for many years in the past. However, everyone is still encouraged to give a special offering (in addition to our regular Tithes and Offerings) of $78.00 or more. If everyone gives this special Church Anniversary Offering, this will be a financial blessing to our church since we are currently operating with about 80% of the normal income prior to the pandemic and since we are still endeavoring to construct and complete our Family Life Center being debt-free.
In reference to giving, as the Pastor, I thank God for so many of you who have faithfully supported St. John financially, especially in the last 18 months. Even though we are operating with about 20% less than we did prior to the pandemic, we are doing as well as we are because of so many of you. Again, I say thank you! We currently give in person during Sunday Morning Worship Celebrations, by mailing or dropping off our Tithes and Offerings at our Administration Building or South Campus, or by giving online through our website (sjmbc.org). If you are financially able but not supporting St. John financially, allow God to bless you with more by giving today your Tithes and Offerings.
Until I communicate with you again, I am inclined to conclude by saying: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25).
May God bless and sustain each of us.
Your Servant In Christ,
Dr. Kevin B. Hall, Pastor