Our #churchaintabuilding UPDATES

May 14, 2020

Michael's Update from the Apple Orchard-We're Making a Difference!
(click on the photo below)

May 6, 2020

Hope and good news!
Update for Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Aren’t you grateful for the sun and nice weather?  I know I am!
I’m also excited that fishing is allowed now and some hiking trails and parks are open.  And I know more than a few of you who are excited to golf.

I don’t think I’m the only one who has a bit of cabin fever!  We joke at my house that the big decision of the day is whether we will turn left or right when we go for a walk!

Phase 1 of reopening
With the gradual reopening of the state, there is a new potential meeting option for churches… drive in worship!  Ummmm.  We probably won’t be doing this.  Although the thought of me standing up on the roof preaching does sound a little fun.  But, when I think it might be rainy and windy and all I will be able to see is the reflection of your windshields, it doesn’t sound all that fun.  Maybe we could have a code.  One honk is “Amen!”  Using your windshield wipers means you have a prayer request.  Starting your car and driving away would mean you didn’t agree with something.  LOL.

We are going to continue to produce high quality online experiences and pray for the day to come soon when we can actually be together in person.

Online growth opportunities
Please check the weekly emails that we are putting out on Tuesdays and on our facebook pages.  We have all sorts of education, discipleship, pray and fellowship opportunities that are on line.  I know.  We all have Zoom fatigue.  At the same time, I’m very grateful that we have it and other options.  It is a life line for many people.

Developing good habits
We continue to put our prayer walk guides on our podcast platform.  Listen and pray with us when you go out to exercise.

Where are all the prayer requests?
A number of you who have been on the prayer chain are wondering where the prayer requests are.  We have many ways for people to submit prayer requests.  We just aren’t getting that many.  We think the reason is because people in our church are doing such a good job of being in contact and caring for one another that a lot of the prayer requests are being handled one on one or within a small group.  Praise the Lord!  We promise, we are still praying!

Thank you!
Many, many of you continue to support the church generously and faithfully.  I am overwhelmed by your expressions of support of the ministry and staff at Harbor Covenant. We strive to faithfully minister to our church, community and world during this extraordinary time.  Your gifts are helping children explore the Bible in creative ways, helping people develop spiritual disciplines, encouraging missionaries, caring for shut-ins, keeping people employed in poverty-stricken areas around the world, and continuing the worship of God.  Seriously, that’s what every dollar you give does.  Thank you!

Words of hope and encouragement
Speaking of giving, a member of our congregation writes scripture references on her tithe checks.  I want to share a few of them with you

Psalm 75:3
When the earth and all its people quake,
it is I who hold its pillars firm.

Psalm 90:1
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.

Psalm 100:5
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I miss you all!  I pray each day for a vaccine and for meds that will lessen the severity of the symptoms of the corona virus.  I pray every day looking forward to the time when we can be together.  In the meantime, do not grow weary.  There is hope, because God is on the throne.

Pastor Michael

May 1, 2020

It’s the weekend!
Update May 1, 2020

Did you know it’s the weekend?  Is anyone really keeping track of what day it is?  (For the last two weeks, I’ve thought it was May!)

Here are a couple of things to help keep you occupied over the weekend:

Are you looking for something outdoors to do with your family?
Our community garden is getting started.  It’s a great family activity.  We have the sunniest spot in Gig Harbor!  Look for more information in the worship services and on line.

Are you looking for something indoors to do with your family?
Our church library has a collection of jigsaw puzzles to lend.  If you would like to borrow one, you can text nicole@harborcov.church.  We would also love to have any puzzles that you are done with so that others might enjoy them.

Are you looking for a fun way to study the Bible?
George Makari is leading a study on the Gospel of John using the visual Bible.  The idea is to watch one chapter per day and then join the group discussion through Zoom on Sundays at 1:00 pm, starting with an introduction this Sunday, May 3.  At the end of this email you’ll find the questions that will be covered in the introduction, and the questions for the first week.

Here is a link to the Gospel of John.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqmHNQhdLUM&authuser=0

Here is the link to the Zoom meeting for this Sunday, May 3 at 1:00 pm
Topic: Gospel of John Visual Bible Study
Time: May 3, 2020 01:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2603551145
Meeting ID: 260 355 1145

Communion on Sunday!
Get together some communion elements for you and your family and be prepared to share communion with us this Sunday.  Any type of bread or cracker will be fine.  You can use juice, wine or whatever you have on hand.

May these words encourage you today:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17

Pastor Michael

Questions for the Gospel of John (Virtual Bible)
Questions to be covered during the introduction:

  • Who is the author?
    When was the book written?
    How is it different than the other 3 gospels?
    What does it emphasize?
    Give a brief outline of the book
    What are the 7 signs recorded in the book of John. What is the significance of them?
    What are the themes of the book of John?

Questions for the first week, Gospel of John Study:
Chapter 1
Please give us a brief outline of the gospel if possible
What are the names and titles given to Jesus in chapter 1?

Chapter 2
Who was (were) the first witness (witnesses) to this the first miracle?
What does this tell us about Jesus?

Chapter 3
Jesus implied in verse 10 that Nicodemus should understand the message of the new birth. What should an Old Testament teacher know that would have enabled him to understand the message?

Chapter 4
Who are the Samaritans?
What did Jesus mean by the living water?

Chapter 5 question
What 2 reasons are given here for the Jewish leaders to oppose Jesus?

Chapter 6
There were several groups of people with different reactions to Jesus actions
What were they and how did Jesus respond?
Example: the disciples at the end of the chapter

Chapter 7
What is Jesus measuring stick of a teacher speaking of himself or from God?

April 29, 2020

Blessing others!
Wednesday Update
April 29, 2020

The Lord be with you!
I have some very exciting stories to share with you!

Helping missionaries
We know that ministry is disrupted everywhere including the mission field.  We love our missionaries and we want to help them and their ministries during this crisis.  This week we are sending $2250 each for a total of $6750 to: Steve and Lis Cochrane with India, David and Lauren Rurik with Covenant Youth of Alaska, and Madison and Spencer Lemer with YWAM in Honolulu.  Also, we are now able to grant a request for about $500 from Camp Stand by Me to help purchase some ADA approved toilets for their facilities.

Helping impoverished people
I have strongly felt like God has placed a concern on my heart for some of the impoverished areas in the world.  Specifically, areas of India, the Philippines and parts of Africa.  I haven't really known what to do with that, so I've just been praying.  Then the other day an opportunity presented itself.  Rick and Betsy Ellingson, long time members of our congregation, have a daughter who, along with her husband lives in the Philippines.  They run an organization which Rick describes as "the Philippines version of Habitat for Humanity."  They employ about 16 people full-time and produce bamboo to build low cost housing.  The Philippines government has been their primary customer.  Recently, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the government has cancelled all the contracts.  This means letting their workers go and no more homes for needy people.  Rick found out that it costs - wait for this, it's almost unbelievable - only $2500 to run the factory and pay the employees for an entire month!!!!  I prayed about it and talked to others of our congregational leaders.  Recently, Harbor Covenant wired $2500 to the Kawayan Collective in the Philippines to help them in their work with housing and enable them to keep their people employed!  How exciting is that?  We are reaching around the world and making a difference in people's lives!

Harbor Covenant is able to bless our community and our world because of your continued financial faithfulness and generosity.  Thank you so much to the many of you who are giving.  You are making a difference in ways that you many never know.

Creative use of stimulus checks
If you receive a stimulus check and decide that you don’t really need it, one possibility to consider is to donate it to our benevolence fund.  We are able to use the monies in this fund to help people in need in our community and around the world.  None of the money in the benevolence fund is used for operating costs.  A fully funded general budget covers those.  (Thank you!) 100% of the money in the benevolence fund goes directly to helping people and organizations in need.

Opportunities for personal growth:
We have several new discipleship opportunities that are starting or will start soon:

Praxis Group, a zoom meeting on "The Common Rule" started April 28th at 8pm and will continue for for 6 weeks. Mark & Kelli Willson will be leading. Visit www.thecommonrule.org or click here for youtube video with more info. No book needed but is available by clicking here. If you’re interested in joining contact mark@harborcov.church

Investigating Christianity began Thursday, April 16 and will go for 8 weeks.   It is taught by Jon Nichols and Jeremy Kidd.  The class meets Thursdays from 3:00-4:30 p.m.  If you’re interested in joining, contact jeremy@harborcov.church

Here's what you'll need:

We also recommend:

Gospel of John study with the visual Bible In response to the recent sermon on the importance of the Scriptures, George Makari will be leading a three week study on the Gospel of John using the visual Bible.
Follow this link to check out the video: https://youtu.be/EqmHNQhdLUM
The introductory discussion will be held this Sunday, May 3 at 1:00 pm.
Zoom link to follow.  For information contact gmakari@yahoo.com

Let’s share communion together!
We will celebrate communion this Sunday, May 3 at both campuses during the services.  Have some juice or wine in a cup and some bread or a cracker on a plate ready to go when we begin our worship time.

Words to live by:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:1-3

Pastor Michael

April 27, 2020

Swimming, prayers and other updates
Monday, April 27, 2020

Got a swim spa?  There’s a need you might be able to help with.  A young man in our congregation has some unique health challenges.  He manages those challenges best when he can swim.  Since the pools are closed, he and his family are looking for someone with a swim spa that he could use for one hour twice a week.  If you’ve got one, or know of someone who would let it be used for this, please contact michael@harborcov.church

Going for a walk through the neighborhood?
This Wednesday look for the first in our series of narrated prayer walks available on our podcast platform.  As you go for a walk through your neighborhood, listen to the podcast and it will give you ways that you can connect with God and pray for your neighbors.  You can find the podcast on the Harbor Covenant app or subscribe to “Seeking Significance with Michael White” on your favorite podcast app.

Got questions?
We would love to hear from you about any Bible, Theology, Faith, Application questions you might have.  Let us know.

Prayer for anyone battling addiction
When I go for walks around our building or in my neighborhood, I go passed several spots where addiction support groups normally meet.  As we seek to pray broadly during this crisis, here is a prayer that I received from YouVersion, the Bible app.

 

 

Pastor Michael

 

April 24, 2020

Stay at Home Check in from Michael
Friday, April 24, 2020


APRIL 22, 2020

Pastor Michael’s update
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Leadership Team and the pastors continue to work on your behalf.  We met last night to pray for our church and to discuss ministry and finances during this unusual time.  We want to thank you for your continued generous support of the church and its ministries.  We are in a solid financial position to be able to continue the ministry that God has given us.  We are committed to continuing to reach people for Christ, develop disciples and live lives of compassion, mercy and justice during this time while so many things are changing about how we do ministry.  Thank you for your continued support and participation.

Want to help bring joy to someone?
Flowers are blooming and the Harbor Covenant Flower Brigade is mobilizing to deliver beautiful fresh flowers to encourage folks in our Harbor Covenant family. If you would like to deliver lovely flowers to express our love and care please contact sammi@harborcov.church for more information.

Need a few moments of quiet and reflection?
Join us for prayer, reflection and music
Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 pm
Topic: Harbor Covenant Prayer Time
Time: Apr 23, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/2603551145
Meeting ID: 260 355 1145

Words to songs we will sing are below.

Q and A
What are you wrestling with right now?
What questions do you have about life or about God?
What challenges are you facing that you’d like a different perspective on?
Pastor Michael is following up our sermon series with an email series focused on questions that you have.  Send your questions in to michael@harborcov.church  and if it’s personal, still ask, just tell him you’d rather have a private answer.

Evening Prayers:
Psalm 61:1Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
2From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.

Tonight would you pray for:

  • People in abusive relationships or suffering from domestic violence
  • People in hospitals or care facilities whose families cannot be with them.
  • People who are pregnant or have recently had babies.
  • A breakthrough in treatment possibilities for the virus
  • Government officials who are making decisions that will affect us all.

God’s peace, joy and hope be with you all!

Pastor Michael

Songs for Thursday night:

This Is Amazing Grace
Verse 1
Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory the King above all kings

Chorus
This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You laid down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh Jesus I sing for all that You've done for me

Verse 2
Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory the King of Glory

Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory the King above all kings

Bridge
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy worthy worthy

Day By Day
Verse 1
Day by day and with each passing moment
Strength I find to meet my trials here
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment
I've no cause for worry or for fear
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure
Mingling toil with peace and rest

Verse 2
Ev'ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid
As your days your strength shall be in measure
This the pledge to me He made

Verse 3
Help me then in ev'ry tribulation
So to trust Your promises O Lord
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Your holy Word
Help me Lord when toil and trouble meeting
E'er to take as from a Father's hand
One by one the days the moments fleeting
'Til I reach the Promised Land
'Til I reach the Promised Land

O Praise The Name (Anástasis)
Verse 1
I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me
I see His wounds His hands His feet
My Saviour on that cursed tree

Verse 2
His body bound and drenched in tears
They laid Him down in Joseph's tomb
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all alone

Chorus
O praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord oh Lord our God

Verse 3
Then on the third at break of dawn
The Son of heaven rose again
O trampled death where is your sting
The angels roar for Christ the King

Verse 4
He shall return in robes of white
The blazing sun shall pierce the night
And I will rise among the saints
My gaze transfixed on Jesus' face


APRIL 20, 2020

Prayer
Join us Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 pm for another in our series of focused prayer times.
Topic: Harbor Covenant Prayer Time
Time: Apr 23, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/2603551145
Meeting ID: 260 355 1145

Are you looking for work?
Maybe you’ve been furloughed or laid off and you’d like a little help getting back into the job market.  We highly recommend the Gig Harbor Jobs Program.  “At the Gig Harbor Jobs Program we help job seekers use effective communications and actions to find the right job faster. We help you identify your skills and experience. Then identify a job target. We help you build effective communications as you look and interview. And we guide you in taking the best actions to get the right job.”  This program is run by a couple of highly respected Christian business men in our town.  You can reach them at gigharborjobsprogram@gmail.com

Help for restaurant workers
This past week we distributed an additional $20,000 worth of grocery gift cards to furloughed and laid off restaurant workers in the Gig Harbor area.  That brings the total distributed to $40,000.  We are so glad that we are able to make a real difference in the lives of families in our community.

Needs in our church
If you have a need of any type, or you are aware of someone in our congregation who has a need, please let us know we would like to help.  Email nicole@harborcov.church

Here is one of my favorite evening prayers:
O gracious Light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.  Amen.

Easter blessings!
Pastor Michael


APRIL 17, 2020

Our anchor holds

Weeks ago, on social media I wrote:  “Let’s be people who bring hope to others. Let’s be encouragers. Let’s put down our screens and find ways to help others. This will pass and we will have revealed who we are, or perhaps have discovered who we are, by how we behaved during this time.”

I have come to believe even more strongly that this is true.  We are showing who we really are. I have watched people give selflessly.  And I have watched people hoard.  I have heard people talk of faith and trust in God.  I have heard others spread fear.  I have seen people cope in the midst of great hardship and listened to bitter complaints about minor inconveniences.  In the midst of all this, I have more firmly committed to the type of person that I want to be.

I will spread hope.  Because Easter happened.
There.
Is.
Always.
Hope.
The tomb is empty.  God wins.  Let that be your first thought in the morning before you look at the news and that last thought before your head hits the pillow.

I will be open to being changed by this, because I am learning things that I might not have learned before.  Things like what is really important and things like everyone is important, even if they live in a faraway country that doesn’t really impact me.  I have learned that people in faraway countries definitely impact me.

I will focus on what I can control, not what I can’t.  The understanding that we are not in control is really central to the Christian gospel, but it is a hard lesson for us westerners to learn.  Except, I think, we may all be learning it now.  It is such good news that the gospel teaches that God is in control no matter what things seem like.  And I would rather he handle this than me.

What about you?  What lessons are you learning about yourself?  Who do you want to become?  Send me an email and let me know.  Michael@harborcov.church

The title of this brief note comes from an old hymn

Though the angry surges roll
On my tempest-driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I’ve an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure.
And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my boat so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.
Troubles almost overwhelm the soul;
Griefs like billows over me roll;
Tempters seek to lure astray;
Storms obscure the light of day:
But in Christ I can be bold,
I’ve an anchor that shall hold.
And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my boat so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.

Easter blessings and the peace of Christ be with you all!

Pastor Michael


April 14, 2020

Christ is risen!
The world is being renewed.
We have hope.
We are looking forward to welcoming you back together (we hope soon!)

Sunday, while different, was a glorious day of worship and celebration of the risen Christ.  We received wonderful photos of candles of Good Friday and Communion elements on Easter.  We saw our whole church gathered together even while apart.  If you haven’t sent a photo of your family “attending worship” on Easter please do!  Send it to info@harborcov.church.
It is my prayer that the hope of Easter will sustain all of us during this unsettling time.  This is hard.  But, God reminds us that he is present with us and sustains us when we are ill, weak, tired or just plain sick of this.
Put a stake in the ground!
The virus doesn’t win!
Sin doesn’t win!
Death doesn’t win!
Jesus wins!
And we win with him!

A huge thank you to all of you who are continuing your giving and to the many of you who were able to give an extra gift.  Every bit of ministry that is going on is because of your generosity!  There are wonderful stories:

  • families worshipping together across the miles online with us on Easter.
  • people who have been prayed for for years, tuning into our services and being touched by them
  • folks in other cities and other continents joining with us.
  • regular updates from people who are checking on members of our congregation.
  • we are on the second round of gift cards.
  • food and supplies that you donated are being distributed to students who are food insecure.
  • our missionaries are still receiving their monthly support from us.

All of that is happening, and will continue to happen, because of your generosity.  Thank you!

A new service to you:
The Harbor Covenant library is starting a new service for our congregation while physically distanced. You may request books, videos, Bible studies, etc., from the library and have them delivered to your doorstep or pick them up at the church door by prior arrangement with the church librarian, Jan Larsen. For information and/or requests, please e-mail Jan at janlarsen@centurytel.net or call at 253-365-3366.

A new service opportunity for you:
Check out Serve 253 for ways you can help in our community.

A prayer for this evening

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus
Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to
light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may
abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the
Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever.  Amen.

Easter blessings to you all!

Pastor Michael


April 9, 2020

Maundy Thursday is the day during Holy Week when we observe the Last Supper and the events of the last night of Jesus’ life.  The word “maundy” comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means command.  It is from the account of the Last Supper in John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

On this evening where we remember God’s great love for us, let us also remember the command that he gives us.
 
Good Friday Service, Tomorrow, Friday, April 10, 7:00PM
 
Tune into harborcov.online.church by 7:00pm on Friday - the service is airing in real time, you don't want to be late. If you can’t join us at 7:00 pm, the service will be posted to our Facebook and YouTube pages around 8:00 pm and can be viewed on demand.
 
You need to have 7 candles in candleholders. Any candles, any size will do.

We will read the Good Friday story in 7 segments, sing songs, and extinguish candles after each reading. It will be very family friendly. Perhaps kids can take turns blowing out the candles. The service will be explained as we go. Just have your 7 candles ready!

Easter for North Campus:
Join us for our sunrise service at 6:45am live at harborcovnorth.online.church 

Easter service will be at our normal service time of 10:00am
The service will be at harborcovnorth.online.church.  
Log on 15 minutes early to make sure you are ready to go and to have a chance to say hi to others.

Follow this link to hear more about our new online home from Kelli Willson.

2 things for you to do for Easter:

  1. We will be celebrating communion together.  You will need to provide the elements for your household.  Any type of bread or cracker is fine.  Any type of juice or wine is fine.
  2. Take a photo of yourself or your family before, during or after worship and send it to info@harborcov.church  We will share these later in a “Harbor Cov worshipping at Easter” post. 

The last two Thursdays we have hosted an online prayer time.  Since we won’t be doing that tonight, here are some things that you can pray for

  • That the way we live our lives especially during this time would reflect the love of God.
  • That we would find strength in our faith to face the uncertain days.
  • That God would guard those who do not have the same blessings that we do that enable us to socially distance with full refrigerators.
  • That the clarity we are getting about what is truly important would not be soon forgotten.
  • That we would find God present in unexpected ways every day.
  • That we would have the creativity to maintain contact with people who would be blessed by it.

 
Pastor Michael


April 7, 2020

Holy Week is the time when we ponder and observe the events of the last few days of Jesus’ life.  We have a number of ways for you to enter into Holy Week.
 
Daily devotions @ 10. 
These videos are posted to our Facebook and YouTube channel at 10:00 am
 
Prayer @ noon
Join us each day as we pause to connect with God by reading the psalm of the day (Psalm 7 on the 7thetc.) and pray for the needs of our families, community and world in the light of the corona virus pandemic.
 
Holy Week Meditations
“Holy Week Meditations: Journey to the Cross Paintings” is a series of 8 short videos with Sanne Beavin reflecting on the process and the meaning of each of the paintings we display during Lenten season.  These videos can be watched all at once or one at a time as part of your Holy Week devotions. 
Click here for the video series

 
DIY Good Friday Service, April 10 7:00 PM
Since we can’t gather for a Good Friday service, we are having a DIY (do it yourself) Good Friday Tenebrae service.  Here’s what you will need:  7 candles.  Any candles, any size will do.  You will light them, so they will need to be in holders.
 
Good Friday is the day we observe the crucifixion of Jesus.  A Tenebrae is a service where we experience the light of the world becoming dark as Jesus dies on the cross.  We will read the Good Friday story in 7 segments, sing songs, and extinguish candles after each reading.  It will be very family friendly.  Perhaps kids can take turns blowing out the candles.  The service will be explained as we go.  Just have your 7 candles ready! 
The link to the 7:00 service will be available Friday afternoon.  If you can’t join us at 7:00 pm, the service will be posted to our Facebook and YouTube pages around 8:00 pm and can be viewed on demand.
 
Easter Sunday
We will be sharing communion together this Sunday.  You will need to supply the communion elements for whoever is in your household.  You can use crackers or bread or a tortilla.  You can use wine or grape juice or whatever juice you have.  Perhaps place them on the coffee table or wherever you can see them during worship.
 
Each campus will have our own Easter services at the normal times.  You will receive a campus specific link.  You’ll all receive a video explaining this tomorrow, but note that services this week will be “live” at the regular service time.  In other words, the 10:00 service starts at 10:00!  If you can’t watch at the normal service times, you can watch on demand later in the day on our app, Facebook or YouTube.
 
 
Amazing love!  How can it be that thou my God should die for me!
I’ll leave you with my favorite hymn.  The words were written by Charles Wesley, John Wesley’s brother.  It tells the story of a person encountering the redeeming work of Jesus. 
 
And can it be that I should gain an interest in the savior’s blood?
Died he for me who caused his pain.  For me, who him, to death pursued. 
Amazing love! How can it be that thou my God should die for me!
 
He left his father’s throne above so free so infinite His grace
Emptied himself of all but love and bled for Adan’s helpless race
It’s mercy all, immense and free.  For, O my God, it found out me.
 
Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray.  I woke the dungeon flamed with light. 
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth and followed thee.
 
No condemnation now I dread. Jesus, and all in him, is mine.
Alive in him, my living head, and clothed in righteousness divine. 
Bold I approach the enteral throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own.
 
Amazing love! How can it be that thou my God should die for me!
 

May these words bless you and give you hope this Holy Week.
 
Pastor Michael


April 4, 2020

I continue to read the minor prophets in my daily devotions.  This morning I read Zechariah.  In the midst of the general format of the writings of the prophets, I found one of those hidden gems:
“?‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 3:10
 
The promise of God is that He will restore His people; that times of judgment and hardship will come to an end.  And this is one of the promises that He makes: we will be able to hang out with our friends and neighbors again!  Reading this verse was such an encouragement to me.  I long for normal human connection.  I can’t wait until we can come together again and not view each other as a potential source of contamination!  This verse gives me hope that we will get through this, that God has not abandoned us and that one day we will sit down again together.  Join me in praying that this day is soon!  God is good.  All the time.
 
Holy Week
Tomorrow is Palm/Passion Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  To help us all mark the events of the last week of Jesus’ life, we have created devotional videos for the week.

“Holy Week meditations: Journey to the Cross Paintings” is a series of 8 short videos with Sanne Beavin reflecting on the process and the meaning of each of the paintings we display during Lenten season.  These videos can be watched all at once or one at a time as part of your Holy Week devotions.  A link will be available tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow! University of Washington-Tacoma Food Pantry Support
 
Tables of Grace Tacoma is coordinating a food donation drive to support the UWT Food Pantry. The Spring quarter has started with online classes. Hundreds of students rely on the Food Pantry for themselves and their families. Help support what the Food Pantry is doing in this time to put meals in the hands of folks that really need it. 
 
The Food Pantry needs the following items:

  • toilet paper
  • hand sanitizer 
  • canned goods
  • boxed pasta (gluten free as well)
  • boxed frozen foods 

Donations can be dropped off tomorrow, Sunday, April 5, from 3-5pm at two locations:

  • Harbor Covenant Central Campus
  • Wingman Brewers (Dome District area)

A host will be present and a bin available for you to place your items in.  You will not have to come into close contact with anyone to drop off donations. We encourage you to take necessary health precautions and only leave your home if you feel safe doing so. 
 
Join me in prayer for:

  • A cure for this virus
  • the curve to flatten
  • those who are suffering alone
  • doctors, nurses and all those on the front lines
  • small business owners
  • the people of God to be shining examples of faith and hope 

See you at virtual church tomorrow!
 
Pastor Michael


April 1, 2020

“Ora et labora” (Pray and work) is a phrase generally associated with the Rule of St. Benedict.  It encapsulates the belief that prayer and action must go together.  The apostle James said it this way, “Faith without works is dead.”  In the midst of these challenging times, which continue to stretch on, we are reminded of what the Church is called to do.  So together, let’s continue to pray and work.
 
 
Join us for Prayer and Praise, tomorrow Thursday, April 2 at 7:00 PM.
The songs we will be singing are printed at the end of this update.
 
Follow the link under “Join Zoom Meeting”
 
Topic: Harbor Covenant Prayer and Praise
Time: Apr 2, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/626489425
 
Meeting ID: 626 489 425
 
 
University of Washington-Tacoma Food Pantry Support
 
Tables of Grace Tacoma is coordinating a food donation drive to support the UWT Food Pantry. The Spring quarter has started with online classes. Hundreds of students rely on the Food Pantry for themselves and their families. Help support what the Food Pantry is doing in this time to put meals in the hands of folks that really need it. 
 
The Food Pantry needs the following items:

  • toilet paper
  • hand sanitizer 
  • canned goods
  • boxed pasta (gluten free as well)
  • boxed frozen foods

 
Donations can be dropped off at two locations:

  • Harbor Covenant Central Campus: Sunday, April 5, 3-5pm
  • Wingman Brewers (Dome District area): Sunday, April 5, 3-5pm

 
A host will be present and a bin available for you to place your items in.  You will not have to come into close contact with anyone to drop off donations. We encourage you to take necessary health precautions and only leave your home if you feel safe doing so. 
 
 
Noon time prayer
Thank you to the many who continue to pause at noon to pray.  I’m hearing from a lot of people who set an alarm to remind them to stop to pray.  What a great idea!  Let’s continue this through the month of April.  It is a time for us in the middle of the day to turn our attention toward God and to lift our families, our church, our community and our world up in prayer.  During the month of March, I asked you to read Psalm 91 and then to pray.  For April, I suggest that you read the psalm of the day and then pray.  (On the first, read Psalm 1, etc.)  You can then use some of the ideas in the psalms to form your prayer.  If you don’t have the time to read the psalm, simply stop and pray for a moment.  There is power in all of us praying together.
 
 
Housing needed
A gentleman in our congregation needs housing.  The place he is living has been condemned.  He can pay rent.  He is working.  He also has a dog.  If you have any leads, please contact michael@harborcov.church
 
 
Tonight, join me in praying for:
 

  • The virus to stop its spread
  • Children who are tired of being at home
  • Parents who are doing the best they can to keep school going at home
  • Teachers and professors who are teaching on line and from a distance
  • People who live in high density situations like apartments with several families
  • Victims of domestic abuse
  • For enough resources to fight the virus and protect people to be available for all

 
Pastor Michael
 
 
Songs for Thursday April 2, Prayer and Praise
 
Everlasting God

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God You reign forever
Our Hope our strong Deliv'rer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Grace Greater Than Our Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt

Chorus
Grace grace God's grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace grace God's grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Sin and despair like the sea waves cold
Threaten the soul with infinite loss
Grace that is greater yes grace untold
Points to the refuge the mighty Cross

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide
What can avail to wash it away
Look there is flowing a crimson tide
Whiter than snow you may be today

Marvelous infinite matchless grace
Freely bestowed on all who believe
You that are longing to see His face
Will you this moment His grace receive

 

Kyrie Elieson

Kyrie, kyrie, eleison 
Kyrie, kyrie, eleison
 
Christe, Christe, eleison
Christe, Christe, eleison
 
Kyrie, kyrie, eleison 
Kyrie, kyrie, eleison
Eleison
 
 

Your Grace Is Enough

Great is Your faithfulness O God
You wrestle with the sinner's restless heart
You lead us by still waters into mercy
And nothing can keep us apart

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise O God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Great is Your love and justice God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your salvation
And all Your people sing along


March 30, 2020

Thank you notes
I want to share some of the thank you notes sent from people who received grocery gift cards from us this past week:

-------------------------------
Thank you for the very generous gift cards from the congregation of Harbor Covenant Church for our staff at Hackers Bar and Grill. The sixteen members of our staff were extremely overwhelmed and grateful for your gift to help their families during this difficult and trying time. We would also like to acknowledge, along with Harbor Covenant Church, Tamorro Farrell with Washington Restaurant Hospitality, Chris with Pizzeria Fondi and John Bahm, Madrona Links Men’s Club member for helping to coordinate this generous gift for our great staff members.
Again, Many Thanks
The Kelly Family Bob, Peggie and Ryan
Hackers Bar and Grill
-------------------------------
Hi my name is xxxxxxx.  I work for Anthony's restaurant down in Gig Harbor. I'm gonna be writing you guys a letter as well but I wanted to hopefully express my appreciation for your donations. Thank you very very very very very very much.
-------------------------------
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Myself, my son and our roommate all work for Ben and Jerry's in the harbor. We have all been laid off due to the covid 19 outbreak. We received your gift cards and it is so helpful as we try to navigate the loss of income. It is so appreciated. 
-------------------------------
I stopped into my work today to check on my boss. I work as a bartender at Sunset Grill and have had a very hard time since this outbreak. It has made me jobless and homeless. Your gift of the grocery store gift card brought me to tears. Thank you so much for your generous gift. It means a lot at this time of crisis. 
A very gracious recipient. 
-------------------------------

Hello and good afternoon, I work at the Gig harbor Blazing Onion and i just received a grocery gift card from you guys. I just wanted to personally reach out and thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have an 8 year old daughter who depends on me and this generous gift will help us out so much! Thank you again, stay safe

-------------------------------

Hi there! I am an employee down at devoted kiss cafe, I received your generous donation yesterday of the 100$ gift card! Wow, such a big help during this time, especially for me and my kiddo! I personally just wanted to say thank you
Take care,

------------------------------- 

Aren’t those awesome!  I’m so glad that we continue to make a difference in our local community.
 
University of Washington-Tacoma Food Pantry Support
 
Tables of Grace Tacoma is coordinating a food donation drive to support the UWT Food Pantry in this time. The Pantry remains open as Spring quarter starts today with online classes. Hundreds of students rely on the Food Pantry for themselves and their families. Help support what the Food Pantry is doing in this time to put meals in the hands of folks that really need it. 
 
At Tables of Grace, and as a larger church, we are asking you (if comfortable leaving the house) to donate any of these items:
 
-toilet paper
-hand sanitizer 
-canned goods
-boxed pasta (gluten free as well)
-boxed frozen foods
 
Here is when and where to drop off donations:
 
Harbor Covenant Central Campus: Sunday, April 5, 3-5pm
Wingman Brewers (Dome District area): Sunday, April 5, 3-5pm
 
Both locations will have a host to answer any questions and a bin for you to place your items in.  You will not have to come into close contact with anyone to drop off donations. We encourage you to take necessary health precautions and only leave the house if you feel safe doing so. 
 
As a church, we also just donated $1,000 to the Food Pantry as many of their needs require unique shopping trips each week. It’s because of your generosity that we are able to make a difference in the community. Thank you for your giving in supporting the mission of our church! 
 
Prayer
 
Read Psalm 4:
Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause;
you set me free when I am hard-pressed;
have mercy on me
and hear my prayer.
“You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory?
How long will you worship dumb idols and run after false gods?”
Know that the Lord does wonders for the faithful;
when I call upon the Lord, he will hear me.
Tremble, then, and do not sin;
speak to your heart in silence upon your bed. 
Offer the appointed sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord.
Many are saying “Oh, that we might see better times!”
Lift up the light of our countenance upon us, O Lord.
You have put gladness in my heart,
more than when grain and wine and oil increase.
I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep;
for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
 
Pray:
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours
of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and
chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
 
Pastor Michael


March 27, 2020

Phase 1 support of restaurant employees
This past week, we distributed $20,000 worth of grocery store gift cards to restaurant employees who had been laid off.  This coming week we plan to distribute another $20,000 worth.
 
University of Washington – Tacoma Student Food Bank support
We are providing $1000 worth of food for UWT students who are still relying on the university’s food bank for help.  We will have a food drive next week when we know more of their needs.  This is a continuation of the ministry of Tables of Grace Tacoma. 
 
Need employment?
We did a little legwork and found a list of local companies that are hiring.  If you are out of work, or if you know of someone, perhaps this could lead to something.  If you know of other employment opportunities, let us know and we will pass it along.
 
Albertsons
Amazon
Costco
CVS pharmacy
Dominos
Fred Meyer (Kroger)
Papa Johns
RiteAid
Safeway
Walgreens
Walmart
Whole Foods
UPS
USPS
 
Our online presence
Have you downloaded the Harbor Covenant App?  It makes it easy to find everything we are producing in one place.  You will also find the weekly podcast there.
You can also check out our YouTube channel and Facebook page and website. We are producing daily devotions, children’s ministries resources, student ministries resources, a Christian formation class, Psalm 91 reflections, and our worship services.  
 
Here are a few things to pray for:

  • Families with kids at home
  • Moms homeschooling for the first time
  • Dads who are now working from home
  • Medical personnel
  • All those who are keeping the supply chain going
  • Those seeking a cure/vaccine for this virus
  • Families that are not able to be together
  • People who are afraid
  • Folks who are making masks for hospitals.  Bless them!

 
May the benediction from last night’s prayer and praise meeting bless you!
The peace of the Father of joy,
The peace of the Christ of hope,
The peace of the Spirit of grace,
The peace of all peace be yours this night.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen
 
Pastor Michael


March 24, 2020

The peace of Christ be with you!
 
Harbor Covenant online
The work of the church is going on full steam ahead.  Check out our website, our app, our Facebook page and our YouTube page for daily updates and videos.

Prayer and praise time
This Thursday, March 26, join us at 7:00 pm on Zoom for an all church prayer and praise time.  It will be led by Abbie Vanderpuy.  Brenden will lead us in some singing. Pastoral Michael will do readings.  All the participants will be muted during the prayer time, but you will be guided through things to pray and we encourage you to worship along with Brenden.
 
To join us, click on the link below where it says, Join Zoom Meeting.  (You can even practice ahead of time.)
 
Topic: Harbor Covenant Prayer and Praise
Time: Mar 26, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time
 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/826090908
 
Meeting ID: 826 090 908
 
Are you receiving the weekly church email updates?
In addition to the daily updates from Pastor Michael, we have been sending out once a week email updates from Nicole.  Several people said they weren’t getting them.  They are sent from Nicole Pasin.  If you click on them the return email is notifications@ccbchurch.com.  Most people who didn’t think they were receiving them found them in their spam or junk folder.  If you cannot find them there contact nicole@harborcov.church
 
I love my church work days
We know you still love the church, but in accordance with the governor’s stay home stay healthy mandate we are cancelling any work on campus.
 
 
Tonight I share with you one of my favorite psalms, psalm 130
 
1Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
 
Pastor Michael


March 23, 2020

The peace of Christ be with you!
 
Things I’m thankful for:

  • Truckdrivers & warehouse workers
  • First responders
  • All medical personnel in hospitals, offices and care facilities.
  • Rain and sunshine in one day!
  • Blossoms and blooms.
  • People who are staying home
  • Encouragers
  • People who are contacting their friends
  • A really good book by NT Wright on the Apostle Paul
  • Reliable internet service
  • Photos of people having brunch in their pj’s and worshipping with us.
  • Folks keeping in contact with each other and helping each other
  • This church!

 
How about you?  What would be on your list?
 
You’ll hear more, but plan on joining us on Zoom for a prayer gathering this Thursday, March 26 at 7 pm.  Please practice how to get on zoom now!  If you need help, let us know.  (Before that evening!)
 
We published a video about how to give electronically.  If you want to continue writing a check, we will gratefully receive it.  But it is better to put it in the mail.  We are not keeping regular office hours.
 
We have new videos posted for devotions at 9am and prayer at noon.  Find them on Facebook or our YouTube channel.
 
I was reading psalm 46 today.  I want to share it with you as an encouragement.
 
Psalm 46:1-3,10
1God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
10He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
 
Pastor Michael


March 22, 2020

The peace of Christ be with you!

It looks like many of you joined us on line for worship this morning.  We had things for children, students and adults.  I am so grateful for the technology that allows us to be in contact.  I do worry that many of you are enjoying going to church in your pajamas and having breakfast during the sermon!

We will continue to produce content like our morning devotions, noon time prayers, podcasts, Christian formation classes, student ministries and children’s ministries.  Sammi is regularly updating the Harbor Covenant Trek Facebook page.

We have several organized efforts to keep in contact with one another.  But, we highly encourage all of our folks to call, facetime, text or whatever to check in with each other.  If you call someone new, let nicole@harborcov.church know.  We want to keep track of everyone and make sure everyone is ok.  If you know of any needs in our church, again, let nicole@harborcov.church know.

Tuesday we will receive and will begin distribution of over $20,000 worth of grocery gift cards for people in our local restaurants who are out of work.

A huge thank you to all of you who continue to support the church financially.  You are making possible all of the ministry we are doing.  Several have asked about different ways to give, so we produced a video to explain on line giving options.  Follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20bXgJtT_kU&t=11s

I want to leave you with a scripture and a prayer for this evening:

If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light
around me turn to night,”  darkness is not dark to you, O
Lord; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to
you are both alike.  Psalm 139:10, 11

Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day
is past; be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and
awaken hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in
Scripture and the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake
of your love.  Amen.

Pastor Michael


March 19, 2020

 We continue to produce resources for the entire church.  Check our app, our Facebook page, YouTube page and website regularly for updates.  If you need help with any of the technology that we are using, email nicole@harborcov.church and tell her what you need and someone will contact you to help.
 
Next Thursday night we will host a time of prayer and praise on Zoom.  If you are not familiar with the Zoom platform, there are lots of tutorials available.  Practice ahead of time so that you can participate with us on Thursday, March 26 at 7:00 PM

This next week is scheduled to be “I love my church” week, a time when we spruce up the campus for Easter.  And although we can't do projects inside the building we have ten acres and you can practice a lot of social distancing while helping out with the grounds.  We will be posting a job lists on our website.  There will be no organized work party.  You can come and go as you like.  If you are looking for something to do by yourself or with your family, there will be plenty to help keep you occupied.  We strongly stress that you must observe social distancing to keep everyone safe.  And, the building will not be open, so manage your fluid intake accordingly… to find out more or to have the list sent to you directly email nicole@harborcov.church.

Regarding reaching out to our community, we are doing several exciting things:

Because of an extremely generous donation, we are in the process of providing some help to local restaurant workers who have been laid off or had their hours severely cut.  We want to continue to reach out and impact our community during this time of great economic stress.

We are exploring opportunities with the school district to help with outdoor maintenance at various schools. 

And we are partnering with other organizations in the area to meet general needs in our community. 

Thank you to the many of you who stopped by with checks, gave special offerings or simply continued your normal giving.  The church is doing great things to help families, care for seniors, provide fellowship, keep discipleship going at the same time as helping to meet needs in our community.  Because some have asked how to give during this time, we will be producing a video that explains and demonstrates the various on line and electronic ways to give.  Thank you for your generosity.
 
Here is a prayer for you to use this evening.
 
In the shadow of Your wings
I will sing Your praises, O Lord.
 
The Lord is my light, my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the refuge of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
 
In the shadow of Your wings
I will sing Your praises, O Lord.
 
One thing I ask of the Lord,
One thing I seek;
To dwell in the presence of my God,
To gaze on Your holy place.
 
In the shadow of Your wings
I will sing Your praises, O Lord.
 
I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
O wait for the Lord!
Have courage and wait,
Wait for the Lord.
 
In the shadow of Your wings
I will sing Your praises, O Lord.  Amen

Pastor Michael


March 18, 2020

 Hey friends,
 
It seems like I am in a time warp.  Less than two weeks ago we were still meeting together.  Three weeks ago, the corona virus seemed far away.  Now we are living in a scenario that I thought only happened in movies. 
 
This morning I watched the birds – probably juncos – fly acrobatically around the shrubs and trees in my yard.  Then I came into church and watched two bees buzz around.  It reminded me of a passage from Matthew chapter 6  (have you started reading Matthew yet?!):
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
 
Jesus isn’t saying not to take necessary precautions or not to plan.  What he is saying is, “You can trust God.”  So, every time you see nature buzzing around or blooming, let those be signs of God’s care for you!
 
Updates:

We are publishing a Lenten devotional each day at 10 am.  Find this on our Facebook or YouTube page.

At noon we are publishing a reflection on Psalm 91 to go along with the prayer time.  Find this on our Facebook or YouTube page.

Congregational Contact list: We are developing and maintaining a list of contacts in and with our congregation.  Fellowship, connection and care will be critical during this time.  We encourage you to check in with people and then let nicole@harborcov.church know.  This will also be how we find out what needs there are and match them with people who can help.  This is the one contact place for both campuses.  If you have a way that you can help, e.g. “I can shop for people”, etc.  Please let nicole@harborcov.church

Prayer list:  If you have a prayer request, please email nicole@harborcov.church and we will distribute that request and pray with you.

Student ministries and Children’s ministries will be producing new content for this Sunday and for midweek too.  You’ll hear from them if your family is in that category.

Sunday night you can join the online Christian Formation class that Mark and Jeremy are teaching.

Let your friends know about the content we are producing.  We have other churches that watched our sermons last week.  People all over – including a whole church – have joined us at noon to pray.  Parents are looking for something for their kids to do.  Even people who aren’t Jesus followers will come to the point that they are ready for anything!  Let them know about what Children and Student ministries are producing.

 
Current need:  We have one gentleman in our congregation who needs a place to stay.  His current living situation has recently been condemned.  He is working.  He can pay rent.  He will probably need a place for six months.  Again, he is one of us, this is not someone that we don’t know.  If you can help email nicole@harborcov.church
 
Plan on joining us on line for worship this weekend.  Central and North Campus will be on at our normal service times.
 
Much more tomorrow!
 
These uncertain times are an amazing time for the Church to be the Church!  Because #churchaintabuiliding it’s the people of God dispersed throughout the community.  And that’s exactly what we are.
 
Pastor Michael


March 17, 2020

Hi Friends,
 
You’ll notice that the name of this update has changed.  We are living into the reality of meeting virtually.  The church ain't a building.  It’s God’s people dispersed into the world. And that is how we are now living and doing ministry.
 
Two new things to let you know about.  Each morning at 10:00 am you will find a Lenten devotional led by one of our staff members posted on Facebook and our YouTube page.  At noon we will post a reflection on portions of Psalm 91 for you to use as a part of the noontime prayer.  If you need help accessing these sites, let us know.
 
For the rest of this update, I am sharing something that Abbie VanDerPuy wrote.  (If you haven’t met Abbie, she was a guest on the podcast several weeks ago.  Check it out.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 A Call to Prayer to Fellow Christians:

Many in this nation and the world are finding their lives unexpectedly disrupted by COVID-19 (some in minor ways, others in life-altering/devastating ways). For those that have found social gatherings, athletic activities, school activities, church and bible study functions, etc. suspended for the foreseeable future may I suggest an alternative use of our time now that we will be spending more time at home. Let’s come together (through technology virtually and in heart and mind) as individuals and families in our respective homes for a dedicated time of prayer each day.

The Bible is filled with promises that God hears and answers the prayers of His people. The pages of Scripture are teeming with evidence of the healing power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is evidence from past history that when a nation comes together in fervent prayer, calling on the name of Jesus, that the tides of war and disaster have turned for the good of the praying nation. Now is the time to call on the name of the Lord and ask for His hand to protect the nations and stem the spread of this virus.

For those who don’t feel particularly adept at prayer, that’s okay, just treat it like a normal conversation, but instead of your friend, co-worker, or next door neighbor, you’re talking to God. Fancy words aren’t necessary, just the honest cries of your heart.

Many friends know that prayer is my passion. I know from personal experience that God hears and answers prayer. I will be taking my own words to heart and will be setting aside a dedicated amount of time to prayer each day. I would love to know that others are committing to do the same.

Some ideas about what/who to pray for:

The health of those who have tested positive for the virus.

The protection of the elderly, immunocompromised,  medically fragile, and their family members who live life with them day to day.

The strength, wisdom, protection, and skill of all the medical professionals caring for the needs of patients who are dealing with any kind of illness/sickness.

The slow down/end to the spread of COVID-19 so that healthcare systems will not be taxed beyond their capacities and lives will be spared.

The countries fighting this virus at the highest level currently: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran.

Government leaders and public health officials at local and national levels around the world, that they may have wisdom, discernment, courage and protection as they make critical decisions.

Educators and students who are having to adjust to online teaching/learning.

Families who are trying to balance work and childcare now due to school closures/move to online learning.

The protection of jobs and businesses economically (particularly small businesses and large industries heavily hit by the economic impact of the virus).

Today at lunch my parents and I were discussing the impact of COVID-19 on our local area. We could feel the stress level and anxiety rising as we talked. So we did what we normally do when fear starts to take hold. We turned to each other and started to list out loud what we know to be true about the character of God. We continued this practice until we started to feel a sense of peace and calm again. I encourage you to do the same when fear begins to take hold. Or better yet, tell God. Remind Him of who He says He is in His Word.

I’ll end with my favorite bible story. It’s found in the Old Testament in II Chronicles 20. It’s the story of a vast enemy coming against the people of Judah. This passage of the Bible says that, “Alarmed, (King) Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord...” Jehoshaphat stands in the assembly and cries out to God. One of my favorite parts of his prayer and something I repeat often in my prayer life are his words, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon you.”  After this time of prayer it says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon a man in the assembly and he spoke words from the Lord to Jehoshaphat and the assembly to not be afraid or discouraged. He told them the battle was not theirs but God’s. He also said that tomorrow they would march against the enemy, they were to take up their positions and stand firm, the Lord would be with them and give them His deliverance. And here is my favorite part of the story. Early in the morning they went out to battle. Jehoshaphat appointed people to sing to the Lord and praise Him for his holiness. It says they went out saying, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” And it says, “AS THEY BEGAN TO SING AND PRAISE the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah and they were defeated.” When King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah came to the place that overlooked the battlefield their enemy had already been defeated. That is the power of prayer. That is what happens when hearts cry out to God for His help, praise Him for who He is, and stand firm to see the deliverance of the Lord.

We may not be facing a physical army/enemy but we are facing the Enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy through sickness, death, and economic destruction. Let us call out to God, letting Him know that “We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon you.” May we “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.”

In Christ,
Abbie VDP


March 16, 2020

Dear Friends,
 
Things are changing rapidly, aren’t they?  It seems like several times a day we get disruptive news.  In the midst of that, hear this truth: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  And then consider this response: “I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
 
In response to government policy, the church office is closed and all church ministries and activities are cancelled.  At least in person!  The staff is working diligently to get ministries up and running virtually.  We will be resourcing families with activities and Bible based content.  There is a wealth of things that we have from the JAR that we will be letting you know about – although many are aware and regularly use them!  Student ministries will be providing resources and keeping track of your students.  We are training small group leaders how to lead an online small group through Zoom to make sure that adults are connected and can still study the Bible together.  We are running an online class that Mark and Jeremy are teaching and there will be more.
 
We have made an initial survey of most of our older people.  They are all doing well.  Many thanks to those who are helping.  Please check in on people you know of any age.  Text.  Email. FaceTime. Call.  Just keep checking in with one another.
 
Thank you for the many of you who are dropping off your tithe checks and for the many that continue to support through on-line bill pay, text to give or any of the other options.  We know things are uncertain and that may make us hesitant to give.  But, great ministry is planned. (see above!)  Help us to keep ministering to people during this difficult time.  Thank you for your generosity.
 
A few things to pray for:
The women’s prison has closed to outside visitors.  The Makari’s and others who faithfully serve and teach bible studies there are no longer able to go.  They are no without a Christian witness during this time.  The currently have no chaplain.  And when the new chaplain comes he is a Muslim not a Christian.
 
Pray that the disease will be stopped.  That they will find a vaccine.  That the supply chain will keep moving. That people will stop hoarding.  That everyone who is sick for whatever reason will be able to get the care they need.  Pray for families who have just had babies.  It’s an opportunity to celebrate.  Pray for others who are suffering disappointment, depression and anxiety.
 
Pastor Michael


March 14, 2020

How strange it will be to not be together tomorrow. I hope that you will join us online. The sermon for your campus will be available at regular service times.

We are marshalling every resource that we have to serve people in need, keep our congregation connected and continue to grow together spiritually.

We have put together a group that will contact seniors in our church to make sure that no one is forgotten and that everyone has everything they need.

Monday we will join together with Community in Schools, the Peninsula School district and other faith communities to try to figure out how we can serve some of the vulnerable students in our schools.

We are planning on rolling out training for small group leaders so that fellowship and Bible study can occur online.

We are looking for ways to support and resource families who now have children at home for an extended period of time.

Look for much, much more on these to come throughout this next week.

In the meantime, please continue to join us each day at noon to read Psalm 91 and to pray for all of the people who are affected by the corona virus. It has been such a blessing to me to know that so many of us are sharing this experience together.

Please pray for: people who have covid-19; for the virus to slow; for those healthcare workers putting themselves at risk every day as they serve in hospitals, nursery homes, care facilities and doctors’ offices; for college students who are travelling home or now doing virtual classes; for all students, particularly elementary kids, for whom distance learning will be difficult; for all those who are suffering disappointments – weddings, funerals, athletic seasons, dances and so many other things that are important and that people look forward to have been cancelled; all those people affected economically by this crisis.

Remember: “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Pastor Michael

Thank you for your continued financial support of the church which is making all this ministry happen!


March 13, 2020

Friends,

The situation around Covid-19 continues to evolve. In the midst of that reality, we are grateful that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” Hebrews 13:8!

I hope that you will all join me in prayer at noon today and everyday as we read Psalm 91 and pray for all those who are suffering illness or economic hardship, for the slowing of the virus and restoration of health, and for all those who are fearful.

We had many people respond to help with contacting our seniors and providing services for them. If you were one of those people who volunteered, you can expect to hear from us by the end of the weekend. Thank you!

With the closing of schools until April 24, we are prayerfully considering how we can help families. We have some ideas and we are open to others. Look for much more information about this in the days ahead. Please join us in praying for God’s direction in ways that we can help our community.

We will also be exploring creative ways to link us together for fellowship and bible study and encouragement. Do a tutorial on Zoom, so when a virtual gathering comes around you know how to do it!

I am so proud of this church and the way people are responding. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to being able to be together again.

Don’t forget sermons will be posted or live at the regular service times. Join us!

Pastor Michael


March 12, 2020

Dear friends,

We have no additional updates since yesterday.

To reiterate, we have canceled worship services for the foreseeable future. Sermons from Central and North Campus will be online or live at the regular worship service times on Sunday.

We understand that the situation is evolving rapidly. At this point preschool is still in session. Youth group is still meeting. Various smaller groups are still meeting. If you have a question about whether your activity is still meeting please call your group leader or the church office.
We strongly suggest that everyone make the best decision for them regarding participation.

We want to take care of and serve members of our community. We will be developing new ways to help over the coming days. Today, I have two opportunities to help.

Checking in with our seniors. We don’t want anyone to be isolated. For some this is a lonely and fearful time. We want to make sure that no one has physical needs that go unmet. If you would be willing to make a few phone calls to check in with seniors in our church, please email michael@harborcov.church

Helping with supplies and meals. As we check in with members of our church, we may discover that some folks need dinner dropped by or perhaps a grocery run. If you would be willing to help with these needs, please email michael@harborcov.church

If you are one of our seniors and have a need, don’t wait for the phone call! Please call the church office at 253.851.8450 or email michael@harborcov.church

In the midst of this unprecedented time, this is an opportunity for the church to reflect the care and concern of God.

And remember, “Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7

Verna Herron, church chair
Michael White, senior pastor


March 11, 2020

Dear friends,

We will not be holding worship services on Sunday mornings at any of our campuses for the foreseeable future. This is in accordance with guidelines from the governor’s news conference this morning. We regret that we have to do this. But, we want everyone to be safe. We will miss being together on Sunday mornings. We pray that these measures will slow the spread of the virus. We will begin worship services again when the government believes it is safe for us to do so.

However, just because we won’t be meeting in person doesn’t mean that we can’t meet virtually. The sermons from North Campus and Central Campus will be online or live at the regular service times on Sundays.

Other smaller groups may continue to meet. Preschool is still in session. Midweek youth group will still meet. If you have a question about whether or not your group is meeting, please contact your group leader or the church office.

While some activities will still be taking place, we encourage everyone to make the best decision for themselves. If you need to cancel something or not attend something, we are fully supportive.

The church office will remain open during our regular office hours: 8:30 - 4 Monday – Thursday; Friday 9:00 – noon.

This is the news that we have today. We know that the situation is changing rapidly. We will update you again tomorrow.

In the coming days you will be hearing much more from us about ways we can support and serve one another and our community during this unusual time.

Please continue to join us in prayer for this situation and all of the people that will be affected by these changes.

In the midst of it all, remember Psalm 91. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Verna Herron, church chair
Michael White, senior pastor


March 10, 2020

Hello friends,

We have no new news today.

Our activities continue as planned. They will continue until and unless we are advised differently by the health department. We completely support any who feel that they need to absent themselves from our gatherings. We encourage you to self-select based on your own needs.

Our member who tested positive continues to recover at home. It has now been over 14 days since they were present on our campus. Their spouse remains asymptomatic. The spouse was on the campus in a very limited capacity. The congregation was not present and it was not during a worship service. The campus has been sanitized many times since then.

This is still a very rough cold and flu season. Many people are sick with a variety of illnesses. We are praying for all of you!

Here are a couple of links that you might find interesting:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html

https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-people/human-coronavirus

Please join us in prayer for:
those who are affected by the corona virus
those with preexisting conditions who, because of panic buying, are unable to find the items they need for their care
those whose jobs keep them in contact with the public
our medical people, first responders and educators
those who are suffering across the world in all kinds of horrific situations. We don’t want to forget to pray for so many other people dealing with so many other things.

We want everyone to have all the information they need. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Verna Herron, church chair
Michael White,


March 9, 2020

Dear friends,

There is a lot of concern regarding the presence and spread of Covid-19 (the corona virus) in our community. We want to keep you updated on what we know.

Yesterday, we were made aware that a member of congregation tested positive for Covid-19. This person has not been present on our campus since February 23. Their spouse has been and continues to be symptom free. As of today, this is the only confirmed case that we know of.

We rely on the recommendations of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department as we plan our ministries and activities. There is currently no recommendation for cancelling activities or worship services at any of our campuses.

We fully support people who feel that they need to stay home because of their own health concerns. If you are sick, or in a high-risk group, or worried about contracting the virus, we encourage you to stay home. The sermons are on line. Yesterday’s sermon from Central Campus was posted on Facebook and our website by that evening. You can also give on line (and thank you for keeping up with your contributions!)

All regularly scheduled activities are going forward as planned. If you have any questions about your activity, please call the church office.

We encourage you to get your information from the Center for Disease Control and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health department

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-people/human-coronavirus

Please join us in praying for:
People who have the virus
Those who are at higher risk
Those who are afraid
People who are struggling with other viruses, diseases and medical conditions
People who don’t get paid if they don’t work.
For medical professionals and first responders
For all those whose jobs require them to be in close contact with others

Verna Herron, church chair
Michael White, senior pastor

Sermon topics for the next three weeks are:
Why does the church not welcome the LGBTQ community March 15
What does God think of war? March 22
Why does a good God let bad things happen? March 29

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