Hello Friends!

Here is your Fellowship Focus Newsletter for April. 

A COVID-19 EASTER

We need more than the cross. That sounds a bit off-putting at first, but if you think about it, it’s true. And it is what the Bible teaches. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, “17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

The hope of new life, now and in the life to come, is based on the resurrection. The resurrection shows us what is ahead for us. We need the truth that the isolation, sickness, and death associated with Covid-19 and other effects of the Fall have an end date.

A Different Kind of Easter

It is likely that we will not be together this Easter in the ways we have been in the past. It is good to be sad about that. God designed us to live and worship in community with one another – we should feel it when we are cut off. But the loss and longing we will feel in our Easter-morning isolation is a magnification of what we experience every day. We always carry the ache to be truly present with others, to share ourselves and be loved, to be done with all the careless thoughts and words that we wish we could take back. Isolation haunts us without social distancing. Or maybe another way of saying it is that we always live with some social distancing, at least emotionally. The coronavirus intensifies what we already experience.

We will be tempted to be flustered and frustrated that our Easter isn’t the way it’s supposed to be this year. A better response is to see it as a gift. This Easter we will live intensely what we tend to suppress: our unfulfilled yearning for the love and connection we were meant to experience. How is that a gift? Because it makes us see more clearly why Easter matters. That unfulfilled yearning will eventually be fulfilled. Imagine the day when we will celebrate together with our risen Lord. Each of us will see the other as God meant us to be, unblemished by sin. We will see Jesus as we were meant to see Him. We will know the love and acceptance from God and one another that is at the heart of all our longings.

Sadness Mingled with Joy

When a small child despairs because they broke their Dollar Store toy, we are sad and we smile at the same time. We are sad because we know their loss and tears are real – the world as they knew it failed them. And we smile because we know this is just a temporary loss. We expected the toy to break and we know they will soon discover joys and laughter that are much greater than a Dollar Store toy could ever promise. And that is why we can be both a little sad and a lot joyful at Easter 2020. The world as we know it has let us down. But it is Easter itself that promises so much more to come. So let us laugh and sing from the pure joy of knowing that an online Easter is just a small shadow soon to be consumed by the bright glory that shines from the empty tomb into all eternity.

–Todd Malone

Easter at Fellowship This Year…

  • This year we will only have online services for Easter.
  • Friday, April 13 at NOON we will broadcast our Good Friday service.
  • Easter Sunday, we will offer 4 different opportunities to worship together, with online services at 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. Encourage your friends and family to join us in worshiping online at longviewfbc.online.church. The celebration of all that is Easter need not be contained in a building. It is in all of our hearts! He is RISEN!!
  • We have had to cancel the Family Easter Celebration to Go! that was scheduled for Saturday, April 11. We know families are disappointed, and we hope to do something fun when we are all able to be together again.

We will keep you updated as guidelines and requirements are announced for our city and county. Check back at LONGVIEWFBC.COM and make sure to sign up for the MIDWEEK MOMENT from Pastor Todd

Encouragement from the Elder Board

Are you wondering when Fellowship Bible Church will meet again as a large group? Me too!  Please keep praying with us that it will be sooner rather than later. 

As Elders, we feel in our bones that something is missing when we don’t gather as a church. We miss you very much, and we joyfully anticipate gathering for worship again. But for now, we are following the government’s recommendations for social distancing. Our goal is to remain faithful and in contact while maintaining a physical distance. We are making safe connections via phone, text, email, Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook, Instagram, etc. And we encourage you to do the same. Reach out to others, and respond when others reach out to you. 

The open-ended nature of this crisis makes it more stressful in some ways than other “natural disasters.” Those happen and can be tragic, but we usually know when they are over, and we can get to the work of recovery. No one knows when this will be over. No one knows when the government will give the “all clear” to meet in large groups again. Until then, we have a responsibility as good citizens to stay physically distant from one another.  

During this unusual time, we have a great opportunity to share the love of Christ by staying connected even though we are physically distant.  For many of us, this may not be natural or easy. But we believe God blesses us when we care for and love one another. You might be surprised how great a difference a call, text, or email will make for the one you contact. And it might be the very thing God uses to bless your day! 

 

For the Elder Board,

Alex Stanton

Coming Events

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Family Dedication | May 10

The next Family Dedication will take place on Sunday, May 10, during the 10:30 worship service.
Family Dedication Sundays are for families who want to dedicate their children to the Lord, and we, as a family of believers, agree to help teach these children about the Lord and help them grow in their faith.

If you have children that you would like to include in this observance, please sign up bit.ly/Family-Dedication or email Kathy Silvertooth at kathys@longviewfbc.com before April 26.

There is a possibility we will have to postpone the Dedication, should the current restrictions on gatherings be extended. But we are hoping and praying we will be meeting together again in May!

Mother’s Day at Fellowship

May 12 will be a special day for mothers at Fellowship! We will have special treats for all moms, and a photo booth for you to capture your special moment with your family. Bring your mom, grandma, mother-in-love, and all the special moms in your life! Let’s celebrate motherhood together!
FAMILY DEDICATION: We will also have a family dedication ceremony during the 10:30 worship service. It will be a very special morning. Join us.

Kids’ Ministry News

Faily Easter Devotionals 

FBC Kids’ Ministry would like to invite all our families to join us in preparing our hearts for Easter!  We will be giving you a 6 day devotional guide to follow with your families.  We will be providing daily devotionals, activities and ideas for fun and creative ways to interact with your kids. 

Awana Updates

Unfortunately, our Awana year will not resume on campus for the rest of this Awana year, due to the Covid-19 restrictions. We hope to have opportunities for your clubbers to finish sections via phone, FaceTime and possibly Zoom sessions with their leaders. We will keep you updated on any plans and developments as the information becomes available. Please like us on Facebook @ Fellowship Bible Church Awana, Longview Tx and also watch for emails.

Awana Bible Club is for kids ages 2years – 6th grade. We normally meet every Sunday evening from 5:oopm – 6:45pm, August-April. 

Contact Bret Freeman for more information.