Dear Willow Hill Family - Corona Virus

Dear Willow Hill family,

Many of you have probably already watched President Ramaphosa’s address last night regarding the coronavirus and new government emergency plan. If you have not already, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/E8v_qA4IcDY

We want to say that we love you and are concerned with you and your family’s health and would not like to put anyone at risk.  After consulting with our leadership, other leaders in the Vineyard and beyond, Sunday services, will not take place.  This is a kingdom opportunity to do church differently for a time.  This decision was not taken lightly but with deepest concern and love for you.  Pastorally we cannot put anyone at risk.  We will access this decision on a weekly or biweekly basis as is needed.  And will resume Sunday services at Oakfield as soon as we are given the greenlight by government.

Our life groups will continue to meet, provided they take the necessary precautions.  Keep yourself and others safe by implementing social distancing.  Anyone with symptoms staying home, washing of hands when entering the house, maintain space between people, no physical contact, including hugs and handshakes.  Let’s do the Cyril elbow 😊 

Instead of our Sunday morning services, our Life Groups will meet on Sunday mornings in various people’s homes.  It can be for a social, for a meal, for worship and fellowship.  It could be to study a passage of scripture.  Speak to your Life Group leader for more.  If you do not belong to a Life Group, join one.  Should it be required we will start more Sunday morning Life Groups.

Pastoral care will continue as normal, and we as a leadership are available to you. We will also be making use of social media, You Tube and various other communication platforms to keep in touch.  We encourage you to check in on one another, especially your fellow church members who do not live with other people or might be isolated (send a WhatsApp message or call them!)

And most certainly continue to pursue your inward journey with God and pray for divine intervention into our lives so that we can be people of faith, love, and courage during this time.  Call on the Lord! Keep engaging His Presence in worship, prayer and compassionate outreach. Be responsible but not afraid. Responsibility and faith are friends!  Look for God inspired opportunities for His Kingdom. This is a time for Sons and Daughters of God to arise in compassion to care about the groans of creation.

What other creative ideas do you have for how to continue to connect with and love people? Please share them with us! And if you have any questions, concerns, or just need to talk, please reach out to and of us on the leadership or your life group leader!

 

Current Sunday morning Life Group Leaders:

Rita – 072 057 7746 (Randparkridge)

Graham & Patsy – 083 280 4100 / 082 280 4099 (Bryanston)

Tyronne and Sam – 083 230 4147 / 074 601 4776 (Weltevredenpark)

Megan and Marco – 073 863 8918 / 082 804 1648 (Strubensvalley)

Andre and Jeanie – 083 310 6926 (Via Zoom)

 

If you are sick and need prayer please call us and we will pray for you and assist where possible:

 Andrew – 083 415 9620

Rob – 072 413 6285

Office – 066 327 1945 (Steph)

 

May the love of God be the passion in your heart. The joy of God your strength when times are hard. The presence of God a peace that overflows. The Word of God the seed that you might sow.

 Love

Andrew and the Willow Team

Pure hearts Clean Hands and COVID-19

We are faced with something in our nation which is unprecedented.  The COVID-19 virus or as it is better known, the Corona virus.  How do we as Christians respond?  We must take all the precautions we can and let us not be naïve in terms of how Corona will affect our lives, the economy and our nation.

In praying into all this in the early hours of this morning, I was led to the account of Naaman.  Now, “Naaman was general of the army under the king of Aram. He was important to his master, who held him in the highest esteem because it was by him that GOD had given victory to Aram: a truly great man, but afflicted with a grievous skin disease.” (2Ki 5:1 MSG)

Naaman hears there is a prophet in this foreign land who could cure his skin disease. He heads off to go and see Elisha. And as the account goes, Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha's house.  (10)  Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed."  (11)  But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.  (12)  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?" So he turned and went off in a rage. (2Ki 5:9-12 NIV)

The trouble is, Naaman doesn't like what Elisha suggests for his healing. His logic goes: Why couldn’t this prophet just come out, wave his hand over my disease and set me free from this affliction?  The rivers of my home in Damascus, Syria, would have been just fine to wash in. In fact, they'd be cleaner and better. Why should I come all this way just to wash in the Jordan?

I think you and I do this sometimes. We withhold our belief because we don’t agree with “the terms”. Because this is our heart response, we miss the chance to experience all that our Father has in store for us.  We can make a lot of excuses, and fear creeps in at a time like this.  We can’t see what sense it makes to come back to God.

We respond out of fear. Fear is out there and fear affects how we think and how we react. Fear distorts what we are, and what we are supposed to be. In the Bible we read the phrase ‘perfect love drives out fear’ (1 John 4:18) but the opposite is also true: ‘perfect fear drives out love’. In the face of the Corona virus, I am not suggesting that we are naïve and carry on with business as normal.  We must take all the precautions we can.  However, let us not fear! And let us not respond as Naaman’s! 

It is a time to do things differently than we have been doing. It’s time for Christians to bear witness of the hope we have in Jesus. It is a time to be creative in how we engage with one another and society.  It’s time for us be motivated by love and not fear.  Now is not the time to be stopping acts of kindness, feeding the poor or to stop praying for one another.  While the situation may seem impossible, remember “…Nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37) 

David says we should be in unity, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) live together in unity!” We should allow the crisis to draw us together not drive us apart. Could this be a time for us as Christians to unite, rise and give account for the hope we have.  The Corona virus shows no discrimination and no respect to race, wealth, culture, it could affect anyone. Could it be an opportunity in the face of humanities frailty and mortality to share Jesus with those who otherwise would be oblivious to the Gospel?

Naaman travelled all the way to see the prophet Elisha to receive his healing. But he was not happy with what Elisha said He should do.  We have all travelled through life and gotten to where we are through trials and tribulations, through blessings and curses, through good times and bad. We have been sustained by our Father. Now we are faced with the Corona crisis. As the church was persecuted in the account in the book of Acts and spread. If we don’t respond as Naaman’s I believe we could put Jesus on display, respond in love and see many lives transformed through the power of the Gospel.

In closing, let us not be Naaman’s, let us remember that ‘perfect love drives out fear’

May we lead with love!

Andrew

 

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The Team

imageAndrew Christie (Senior Pastor)
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 066 327 1945
 
image Rob McDonald (Pastor)
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Phone: 072 413 6285
 
image Steph McDonald (PA)
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Phone: 066 327 1945
 

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