Our #churchaintabuilding UPDATES


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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