with Pastor Amos and Pastor Kristina
K: Good morning HMC!
A: And Happy Sunday! My name is Pastor Amos
K: And I am Pastor Kristina
A: And we are so glad you have tuned in – on this beautiful Sunday morning! We are streaming to you LIVE from the empty sanctuary at HMC. We are six feet apart and practising safe social distancing – and we hope that you are too.
Truth be told. Pastor Kristina always keeps at least 6 feet from me every time I see her anyways!
K: We miss you. The empty building isn’t the same without you! But our primary concern is the health and safety of you – and of people in our community.
A: That’s right. And because of that – we will be LIVE STREAMING on SUNDAY’s for the time being but we will be following the protocols of our governments and local health authorities!
K: Pastor Lyndsay and Pastor Dave are watching from home.
A: And so is my mom! Hi mom! I made it! I am on camera!
K: You are such a nut-case.
A: Excuse me. You have the next line next.
K: Stop! We want to acknowledge that all of this has happened so incredibly fast. And a lot of the news is scary. And we want you to know that though we can’t meet at HMC – we can meet online. We are here for you!
A: Absolutely. You can contact each of us directly, through email, or through our Facebook page. We love reading your comments and want to answer any questions you have. If you have a specific question in our live stream we are asking that you CAPITALIZE the word QUESTION – so we can quickly flag it through the comment section.
Oh, look at that. Someone just asked a question.
Chris Winkels from Chesley asks – QUESTION: Amos, how did you get so handsome?!
*Pick up phone and pretend to type.
Oh – another QUESTION. This one is coming from… you Kristina.
QUESTION: Amos, how long do I have to listen to you talk?
K: If you are still in a position to give – and want to – you can do so through our tithely app, or direct deposit. If you are planning on giving by cheque, please contact the church office for arrangements and options.
A: Today is an exciting day! There are only two things we need to do this morning.
The first is to roll out plans for our two brand new initiatives at HMC. HMC digital and HMC cares.
And the second is to bare our souls with you in hopes to encourage you through this time.
K: This past week – the staff have been working furiously to create a plan of action for the coming weeks. We are really proud and really excited to roll out the details of that plan with you today. Your patience, support, and understanding has meant the world to us. And know, that as the situation evolves, so will our strategy. So please stay informed. Check the HMC Facebook page and website daily for updates!
Our strategy is two fold: meet digitally and reach out personally.
The initiatives and online schedule are already on our website under the HMCdigital drop-down menu. If you can split-screen, we would be happy if you followed along.
We will give you a moment to figure that out.
A: While we are waiting, should I tell a joke? Kids – you like my jokes don’t you?!
K: Oh please no.
A: Oh – another QUESTION!
This one is for you Kristina!
QUESTION: Pastor Kristina – what is it like working with someone who is so funny?!
K: Everybody ready?! If you don’t have the schedule in front of you – don’t fret. You can always read it later!
A: Our first initiative – HMC digital – is a unique online strategy to meet you and your family in your homes, where you are at. The platform will be multifaceted – trying to reach as many people – with as many variant degrees of technical abilities as possible.
K: The digital platform will be spread throughout the week with both prescheduled ‘online-events’ and impromptu gatherings, live streams and videos!
A: Sunday morning will be a mix – like a hybrid of both streaming and content. Our live stream will start at 10AM sharp.
But the Sunday ‘service’ will actually start in your homes 9:45AM. We are going to offer a Spotify playlist through a link – that has worship tunes to blast through your house before the live stream!
Then at 10AM the livestream will go up. You will see one of the Pastors from HMC – and we will give a 15-20 minute mini-sermon to encourage you, inspire you, and get you into your Bibles!
K: And we are really excited – because each sermon will be transcribed – both digitally – and in hard copies. So if you know someone who is not tech-savvy, or connected, but would still like to be a part of our service – we can mail, or hand deliver the sermon to them – or you!
A: After the livestream our service moves into your home. We will have a digital curriculum for you to download or print to use as individuals, couples, or families.
The curriculum is generation friendly. Content for all ages. There will be a scripture reading – a 2nd Story – play ideas – conversation starters – sacred prayer ideas – sacred Sunday meal ideas – and more. You can find more details on the schedule.
And in the days and weeks ahead there will be online tutorials of how to best utilize the curriculum and how to encourage your spiritual growth!
K: Then again at 11AM we will livestream for a closing benediction and prayer. Following the benediction we will have several ZOOM rooms – which are online group chats – for anyone who wants to connect with a pastor, for prayer or conversation.
Again, there are online tutorials of how to connect into a ZOOM room!
A: I am excited!
K: Me too! Then on Monday – we will be dropping our weekly briefing online. A summary of the what the week has ahead: the schedule, upcoming online events, prayer requests, and church updates!
A: Then on Tuesday morning at 10AM Pastor Dave will be going live with a devotional and a ZOOM room group chat immediately following – for conversation and prayer.
Then on Wednesday night I will be live-streaming our BEDTIME story at 7:05PM – picking up on the meal stories we have been covering at the MIDWEEK MEAL!
Following the BEDTIME story Pastor Dave will be opening a ZOOM ROOM group at 8PM for anyone who wants to chat and pray!
K: On Thursday we will be dropping some helpful hints, encouragements, and challenges!
And I will be going live at 6PM for a new segment called COOKING with KRISTINA! We will be making and baking together some delicious desserts, random recipes and maybe other non-food things! So watch for recipes and ideas!
Then at 8PM I will be opening a ZOOM ROOM group chat at 8PM intended for moms and ladies! Husbands – put those kids to bed so we can chat!
A: Alright! I can do that!
Then on Friday I will be hosting our ZOOM ROOM JRYo at 7PM – and ZOOM ROOM SRYo at 8PM! We are going to have online game nights. Video challenges. Conversation and prayer. It is going to be grand!
K: And then we meet back here – in the digital sphere – for church again on Sunday!
A: I am really excited for the days and weeks ahead. Now – we know the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic is changing almost everyday. So we have put this digital plan in place for at least the next 4 weeks. Again – stay tuned for updates and changes.
K: The second main initiative – HMC cares – is really awesome! Over the next while – we are making it priority one to personally reach out to each and every single person and family. We know that this is a huge task! And so we aren’t doing it alone. We have formed a care team, made up of several key leaders to help make the calls and reach out. And we believe, in fact we know, this is the church in action. We want to hear your voices. Talk to you. Listen to your concerns and note your needs and prayer requests. It is going to take some time to get this team mobilized – but expect a call from one of our HMC cares team soon! Beyond the personal contact – we will have community boards, ways to reach out, ideas – maybe a cookie cares team! Stay tuned!
A: Wow. The church in action. I love it.
It doesn’t really need to be said how incredibly surreal all of this is.
Our world has literally stopped. Almost the entire globe. Caught in unimaginable panic, and uncertainty. We can imagine how you are feeling right now. Because we feel it also. There is a lot of uncertainty. A lot of unrest and fear. AND It is really strange to be here on a Sunday morning and staring at empty pews! I mean – I am getting about as many laughs I would normally. So that isn’t so different. But we fully recognize the extraordinary events affecting our lives and our community.
In moments like these – I find nothing more comforting than the scriptures. The story of God at work in the world.
If you have your Bibles—which I know you do because you are at home, and haven’t been able to forget to bring them to church—
In ACTS 2 we find the disciples waiting. Some 120 people gathered in an upper room – probably in the temple because they were Jews – celebrating the feast of Pentecost.
They were praying and earnestly waiting for the promise Jesus had made to them. That he would send the counsellor, the Spirit, the helper. When I picture this room, I see pillars holding up the roof. A bench surrounding. A stone floor. And oil lamps scattered throughout. I can imagine the murmur in the room of the disciples praying. Men, women, probably youth and children. A quiet sort of energy. They are pensive; unsure but earnest, when all of a sudden the sound of a mighty wind ripped through everyone gathered had what seemed to be tongues of fire over their heads. The counsellor had arrived! The Holy Spirit had filled them. They were – in that moment – literally radiating God to the world. And I can see these people almost instantly changed.
And when the Spirit filled them they were filled with HOPE. The HOPE OF GOD – an eternal living hope. A hope in the understanding of God’s purpose in the world through Jesus Christ.
They were filled with BOLDNESS. their very purpose of their lives changed in an instant. They fearlessly marched down those steps into a hostile crowd, unafraid – because they now knew that JESUS was both the RESURRECTION and the LIFE.
And I can imagine when they marched down those steps of the upper room,
they flooded into the court of the gentiles and began speaking in languages they did not know, prophesying and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ
The Jews were stunned. Shocked! Just stop and picture this bizarre scene.
Imagine if you were a Jew at the temple that day. You’d likely have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, the hope of his Messiahship, his deeds and death, but surely that movement was over?! Now all of these people are flooding into the court speaking foreign languages and speaking of Jesus being alive?!
‘They are speaking our languages!’ some said in amazement. ‘They are drunk on cheap wine!’ others scoffed.
But Peter – full of courage – stood up on the steps and gave the first spirit-led preach!
That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:
“In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters;Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.When the time comes, I’ll pour out my Spirit On those who serve me, men and women both, and they’ll prophesy. I’ll set wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, Blood and fire and billowing smoke, the sun turning black and the moon blood-red, Before the Day of the Lord arrives, the Day tremendous and marvelous; And whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved.”
In the story Amos just told, the Holy Spirit came upon the Christians and filled them with power to go out and bring Jesus to the world around them. After Peter’s speech in Acts 2, thousands chose to follow Jesus and the good news spread like wildfire. People were being healed of all sorts of things, people were selling their belongings to care for each other, prison gates were being miraculously opened, and the disciples who had previously been filled with fear were preaching boldly. God was adding to their numbers daily.
In chapter 5 of Acts, we see that the Jewish religious leaders were growing increasingly jealous. No matter what they did they couldn’t seem to stop this. A pharisee named Gamaliel warned how coworkers that if this was not a movement from God it would just die down but they should be cautious in case it was from God. The others did not listen.
In Acts 8, persecution started to ramp up. Stephen, one of the great church leaders had been just been killed…
At that time, the church in Jerusalem began to be subjected to vicious harassment. Everyone except the apostles was scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. 2 Some pious men buried Stephen and deeply grieved over him. 3 Saul began to wreak havoc against the church. Entering one house after another, he would drag off both men and women and throw them into prison.
Now, I am not going to fool myself into thinking that what we are experiencing truly compares to the persecution of these people were experiencing. But, like them, we are experiencing forced dispersion, fear, and uncertainty. We are waiting on the precipice of something that is beyond our control. That can either cripple us with fear or fill us with purpose.
And in this moment, I think I finally beginning to know what it means to be a Spirit-led church.
To be a JOEL 3 church.
to be an ACTS 2 church.
The truth of this story hasn’t changed—my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, old and young, male and female—we are all scared. We are all uncertain.
If you are a follower of Jesus and the Spirit lives in you:
You can walk in HOPE
You can live in BOLDNESS
You can live out HOPE eternal – because you know that God’s redeeming work in the world is not finished. That even through this crisis God is at work. He still lives. He still moves. He still redeems all that is lost and broken.
My friends, you can live in BOLDNESS – because you have been given the promise of the resurrection because of Jesus. and nothing can strip that promise!
AND – I BELIEVE – MOST IMPORTANTLY
If you are a follower of Jesus and the Spirit lives in you
you are a PRIEST in GOD’s KINGDOM
You are those spirit-led people in the upper room you are the young and old, men and women of Joel who will dream and speak God’s LIFE into the world! You are the priesthood of believers
I speak for our staff team when we say how much we love you
how being a part from you is grieving
how much we loved being your Pastors.
We love being at HMC .
But now – in this moment in time in the life of our church it isn’t our time – it is yours! It is time for you to fully live out your call – as a priesthood of all believers:
mothers and fathers
you are now the pastors of your own home
you are the primary source of faith formation, education, excitement, prayer and story
you are the storytellers, worship leaders, creative arts directors! fill your house with play – and songs – and colour – laughter and hugs!
youth, singles, couples, marrieds
you are the prophetic voice of our generation
you are the visionaries who will reshape the world by the values of Jesus!
the old, wise, and grey
you are the counsellors, the wise, the encourages, the prayer warriors,
We have been a church together for a long time but now we are being dispersed. This is an opportunity to spread the light. To develop our spiritual gifts, as Amos wrote about this week and has spoken about today. Each family is going to need someone to teach, someone to shepherd, someone to show hospitality, and all of the other gifts. This dispersion could mean the extinguishing of all of these tiny lights, (blow out a candle)
or it could mean the start of new ones. (Light some new candles)
We have a chance now that none of us imagined, to be a light in our communities. To be Jesus to our neighbours and to our church community as well. The way we go forward will impact the future of our church in this community, and in the whole world. We can take this time to care for others both in our little family group, in our larger church family, and in the community at large. This is an unprecedented opportunity to use your gifts. Get creative. Take your faith seriously.
Rise up church!
Undoubtedly and unequivocally
we are here for you in whatever capacity we have
to call, encourage, resource, facilitate, to equip
but my friends
in this moment we ALL have a profound opportunity to be and act what we already are
EVEN IN CRISIS
EVEN IN TRAGEDY
EVEN IN UNCERTAINTY
EVEN IN DEATH
EMBRACE YOUR LIFE in HOPE because of the Spirit’s work
EMBRACE YOUR WALK IN BOLDNESS
EMBRACE YOUR CALL to be the PRIESTHOOD of ALL BELIEVERS
and when we do we will take on the image of our Master – Jesus
we will become more and more like him!
and we will begin to look and sound and talk and walk like Jesus
and join him in his work of redeeming it!
Blessings and peace be upon you
We love you
And we look forward to connecting with you again soon!