Why We Won’t Be Applying for Stimulus Assistance

Why We Won’t Be Applying for Stimulus Assistance

Announcements Word in Season

Recently, the President of the United States signed into law the CARES Act, known informally as the Coronavirus Relief Bill. There are many provisions in the bill that are intended to assist small businesses as well as faith-based groups like churches. The most relevant to Ridgeview is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Basically, this program makes it possible for churches to take out a loan equaling 250% of their monthly payroll. It is more assistance than loan, as the debt is 100% forgivable, so long as the funds are applied to the payroll and the payroll remains the same (no layoffs). Ridgeview researched this program with help from our primary banker and then we sought guidance from our elder team. On Sunday, the elders met to decide whether we will apply for this. And, as you can tell from the title of the post, we decided that we will not. For the good of the church, I think it is worth sharing our reasons.

First, no one on the elder team was convinced that we should participate in this program. Not all the elders were against it, but no one was clearly for it. And two of the elders felt strongly that we shouldn’t do this. To move ahead on something like this, we would need a strong and unified conviction that we should, and we are nowhere near that.

Second, while we do acknowledge that churches can trust God to supply for them AND also apply to these programs (seeing these programs as a means of God’s provision), we also believe that we can trust God to supply for the church through normal means; i.e., through the believers who make up this local church.

We believe that God would be more glorified by our looking to him alone to provide for our church through normal and biblical means – through the body of Christ.

Third, we feel that we, as a church, need to grow in our theology of giving. God calls us to be cheerful and sacrificial givers, not merely people who give out of our abundance or prosperity. These are trying times, but in these times we are not called to be any less cheerful or sacrificial in our giving. Taking advantage of this assistance would not help us grow in this area, and it could even hinder us, as we look to the government to do what God has called us to do.

Fourth, and most important, as an elder team we believe that God would be more glorified by our looking to him alone to provide for our church through normal and biblical means; through members of the body of Christ. Honestly, it would be easier for us to turn to this program, and it can feel more secure to do so. Yet God is not always honored when we take the easy path. He is glorified when we find our security and our rest in him alone. And more than anything, we want to glorify God.

None of this is to say anything about churches that decide differently than we did. We recognize that there are coherent and valid arguments for choosing to apply for these programs. These are simply our convictions, before the Lord. We also sincerely pray that many small businesses (especially local businesses) and individuals receive the help they need through the CARES Act.

For the Glory of Our Risen King,

Pastor Mike

Don’t Waste Our Pandemic

Don’t Waste Our Pandemic

Word in Season

Nearly 10 years ago, a famous pastor from Minnesota was diagnosed with cancer. On the eve of his surgery, John Piper wrote an essay called, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” It has helped thousands of people walk through cancer with a determination to glorify God with and through and in their trial. You can read that here. I’m shamelessly coopting the title to encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, not to waste our pandemic. I want to focus my heart and mind on glorifying God through this, and I want to encourage others to do the same. So with that, here are some thoughts about not wasting our pandemic.

You will waste your pandemic if you fail to set your hope in our sovereign God. This, of all things, ought to humble the world and help us see how fragile we are, and how little control over things we actually have. A tiny, nearly invisible agent has shut down the most powerful countries on earth – nearly shut down all of the world! That’s humbling, and it ought to focus our hope in God.

Our ultimate hope can never be in preventative measures or in science or in medicine, as important as all these things are. We have to trust in God. He is God over all, big and small. From the mightiest nations to the tiniest microbes – he is Lord.

You will waste your pandemic if you spend all your time worrying about the future or complaining about the present. By all means, do what you can to secure your business, or find other employment, or whatever you can do today to keep food on the table. But doing things is different than worrying. You have no idea what tomorrow will bring (James 4:14), so leave tomorrow’s concerns to tomorrow and focus your efforts on today. Meditate on Philippians 4:4-7 (memorize it) and preach the truths of those verses to your soul until they stick there.

And complaining is about as helpful as worrying. Which is to say, it is not at all helpful. In fact, there is little in this world that is more faith-killing than a complaining or grumbling heart. So don’t give in to that. Start a journal and write down, every day, all the things for which you are thankful. Share the things for which you are thankful with those around you. Post evidence of thankfulness on your social media. Let the world know that we are thankful to the Lord, for he is good and his steadfast love endures forever. Read 1 Corinthians 10:10 to sober up from the stupor of complaint, and then drink deeply from passages like Psalm 136:1-26.

You will waste your pandemic if you spend all your time browsing or ranting on social media. Social media can be a wonderful thing during an event like this – an unprecedented means of communication while we are sheltered in place. Many thousands of Christians will be watching live-streamed sermons and services this Sunday from the safety of their own homes. We can easily check in on one another. We should be thankful for social media (and related technology). I’m thankful.

Yet, these things can also be a great means of discouragement. Christians would do well to stop Facebook shouting at their neighbors for either over or under-reacting (according to their superior, better-informed judgment). Please remember that the bridges you burn during this pandemic will likely stay burned after this is over. And people need love right now, especially from the children of God. So use this time to show love to your neighbors. And maybe turn the phone off and go read a book.

You will waste your pandemic if you focus only on your own needs. The world is reeling from this. Fear is everywhere. Use this time to show the love of Jesus to those around you. Call an elderly person and tell them you are praying for them and ask them what they need. Gather a list of needs and people and pray for them, every day. Seek for ways to serve others.

And do good things for your soul. If you have extra time off from work, spend that time with your family. Start up some online prayer groups (Zoom is an excellent tool for that). Read good books, go for a [socially-distanced] walk. Play a board game. Get on the floor and build a castle with your six-year old.

These are hard times. Let’s not waste them! Soli Deo gloria.

Our New House-Church Movement

Our New House-Church Movement

Announcements Word in Season

How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house… – Acts 20:20

Christians and house churches go way back. Some of the earliest churches met in homes. Even today, many Christians meet in homes. And now, at least for a while, we will too.

Today, the Governor of Nebraska restricted all public gatherings to no more than 10 people. This restriction will remain in place for at least two weeks, but possibly much longer. Obviously, this makes it imprudent for us to continue meeting as we normally have.

Thus, the church leadership has developed a plan for us to still meet, while also complying with the law. And that plan involves meeting in homes.

Every Sunday at 10AM (Update: Beginning, Lord-willing on March 29), Ridgeview members and attenders are invited to one of several homes (click here to sign up to attend a group). The groups will each have a leader and will worship and pray together. And then, at 10:45, the groups will all watch a message preached live in one of the groups, and broadcast via Facebook Live.

Those in greater danger of COVID-19 and others who feel safer by sheltering-in-place might choose not to meet at one of these groups (and that is totally fine!). You can still catch the sermon online. If you need any help arranging this, please contact us and someone would be glad to walk you through it.

Many people will see these things as very negative developments, and in some ways they are. These are hard times! Yet, we see so many opportunities to love the church, to see people discipled, to evangelize the lost, to develop new leaders, to serve one another, and to glorify God as a unified church meeting in diverse locations. It’s true: for a time we are not able to gather together as the full local expression of the body of Christ that Ridgeview is. Yet we can still meet, freely and without persecution. We just have to meet in smaller groups. We are very blessed.

And Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Check back here later this week for more specific information. Also, sign up for Remind (text @rbcchadron to 81010), and check out our Facebook page for the latest developments. Everything in this post – except for God 🙂 – is subject to change as things change and develop in our state and nation.

Ridgeview & the Coronavirus

Ridgeview & the Coronavirus

Announcements

As a church leadership it is important for us to consider the physical safety of our people, as well as our spiritual needs. It is also important to neither panic, nor scoff when it comes to public health scares like the coronavirus pandemic. We don’t panic, because our hope is in God. We take seriously verses like Philippians 4:6-7:

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We don’t scoff because we are called to be wise. To that end we have formed a team to oversee our precautions and form a plan of response as this health concern comes closer to home. At this point, we have not cancelled any regularly scheduled events. Our posture is to proceed with caution.

The caution we want to proceed with is in the following recommendations and decisions:

  1. We recommend that those who are elderly or who suffer from respiratory issues consider staying home should cases appear in Chadron. From the medical advice we have received, these demographics are at the greatest risk. We plan to live-stream our services so that you can log on and not completely miss out. Also, if you decide to stay home, please let an elder or deacon know so that we can show better care to you during this time.
  2. We recommend that we avoid handshaking (etc.) at our public gatherings until this concern has past. Maybe the famous elbow bump (click here to see what I mean) is in order.
  3. We recommend washing hands regularly and taking advantage of the hand sanitizer stations (which are now very limited, due to the demand).
  4. We decided that will not be serving coffee or hot drinks for the next few weeks. The coffee station is a common place of touch, as people pump the coffee canisters and cream, etc. We will continue to offer free bottled water.
  5. We recommend signing up for Remind to get the very latest information from the church concerning event scheduling, cancellations, etc.. To do that, just text @rbcchadron to 81010.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s do what we can to love one another, love our neighbors and make much of Christ during this difficulty, for the glory of God!

Church… Honestly, it’s for Everyone!

Church… Honestly, it’s for Everyone!

Announcements

Ridgeview Bible is a featured church on MyBridge Radio this month! They will be highlighting how God is moving in our church on 105.3, and we have an opportunity to share how God is moving here, too! They’ll be featuring Ridgeview Bible on their website, mybridgeradio.net, where you can leave a review, sharing your Ridgeview Bible story (click here for link)! We encourage you to share a review, and invite a friend to try the church that you love by having them tune in at 9:30ᴀᴍ every Sunday in March, when one of our most-requested sermons will be airing.

New Year, New Shepherding Plan

New Year, New Shepherding Plan

Announcements

It is a new year, and the elders and deacons of Ridgeview are implementing a plan to show better care to ALL the members of Ridgeview. It is pretty simple, but we think it will help a lot.

We have grouped the membership list alphabetically and assigned each member to a deacon or an elder. We’ll keep these assignments for 3 months, and then rotate the list. So, every Ridgeview member will have an elder or deacon praying specifically for them all the time. And every 3 months, a new leader will be praying for you!

Don’t be surprised if a church leader reaches out to you to find out how you are doing and how they can pray for you or help you. It is our hope that this will help members and church leaders to get to know one another better!

Please keep praying for the elders and deacons as we seek to shepherd the congregation well, with love and humility; for the good of the church and the glory of God.

Note: As always, members are welcomed and encouraged to contact any elder or deacon with their needs. You can find the elder & deacon contact info in the weekly bulletin. Also, each church leader will continue to be responsible to shepherd every member, not only the ones assigned to them each quarter. This plan is an added bit of structure to help us do that better.

The Word of God in 2020

The Word of God in 2020

Word in Season

After the worship gathering on Sunday, we had our annual Members’ Meeting. It was sweet to hear the reports of various ministries and endeavors at Ridgeview. God is at work, and that is an exciting and humbling thing.

I had the privilege of giving a brief Elders’ Report. I shared both the fruit of our time away at the Fall Elder Retreat, and our talks since that time. This year we reaffirmed our unapologetic commitment to the Word of God in every aspect of church life. By God’s grace, in 2020 we will continue to be a church that deeply loves the Word of God; that values expositional preaching and teaching and Bible study and other forms of Word-centered discipleship. We will be a church that seeks to be shaped by God’s Word.

During the report, I read a written response by one of the elders to this commitment we share, and I want to commend it to you if you missed the meeting. John Dockweiler wrote:

Ministry of the Word of God is a means to a compelling end. We are not just about doing endless Bible studies. The Word of God will produce godliness, fruitfulness, and life change through Jesus Christ. We teach the Word of God so that men will be qualified and capable to lead and teach in the churches. We minister the Word of God so that older men will be dignified, temperate, sound in faith, constrained by the Love of Christ and persevering. We minister the Word of God so that older women will disdain idleness and gossip, choosing instead to serve, be reverent, investing in families and teaching young women. Bible study should lead young women to love their husbands, be submissive and teach their children to love God. Being in God’s Word produces young men who exercise self-control, who are purposeful, intentional, and diligent (see Titus 2:1-14).

Overall, it’s my hope and prayer and firm belief that the Word of God will unify us in truth, in love, and in purpose. I believe we will become zealous for good works, eager to give to meet pressing needs, devoted to Christ and one another.

This is going somewhere. This is a compelling vision of godliness, fruitfulness, and real, tangible, life change, to the glory of God.

May God, by his grace, continue his good work in us through his Word; for our good and for God’s Glory.

New Class on Biblical Counseling

New Class on Biblical Counseling

Announcements

The Ridgeview elders invite you to join us for a 13-week class on Discipleship/Counseling, on Sunday Mornings, 9-10 a.m. (during Sunday School hour) beginning January 12, 2020.

This class is about how to deal with life’s issues and to help others work through difficult things. Topics include: the Sufficiency of Scripture, Comparison of Approaches, Marriage, Child-rearing, Anger, Depression, Sexual Sin, Suffering, and Communication.

In a sense, we are all counselors. Let’s learn how to be good counselors, equipped to provide answers that will help us and the people around us grow into maturity.

The sign-up sheet will be in the Worship Center Lobby this Sunday, or you can sign up online by clicking here (click here).

If you have questions, make sure to talk to Kassy Herbert or Maya Johnson.

New Elder: John Dockweiler

New Elder: John Dockweiler

Announcements Word in Season

We are pleased to announce the appointment of John Dockweiler as an elder of Ridgeview Bible Church. After a process of prayer, a time for congregational input, and a sweeping vote of affirmation from the congregation last Sunday, the existing elders believe that God has led us to John as the one to join the elder team. John has accepted the position.

We will present John to the congregation this Sunday and pray together for him and his ministry. Please be praying for John and the other elders (Jason, Devin, Mike, Rob and Jim) as we seek to humbly lead and lovingly shepherd Ridgeview, for the glory of God and for the good of his people.

John & Ann are longtime members of Ridgeview, and John leads one of the adult Sunday School classes. They ranch east of town, and Ann is a registered nurse. They have one grown son, Cole. You can listen to a sermon by John here [link], and a testimony he shared during a worship gathering earlier this year by clicking here [link].

Member Vote Next Sunday

Member Vote Next Sunday

Announcements

As we have announced for the last two Sundays, next Sunday (October 6, 2019), immediately following the Worship Gathering, we will have a brief Members’ Meeting to vote on whether to add John Dockweiler to the elder team. If you’re a Ridgeview member please plan to be here to be a part of this important decision. But if you can’t make it, there is still a way that you can vote. You can submit your vote via email.

The official voting question will be as follows and you can cut and paste this into an email:

Full name:_______________

Are you a member of Ridgeview Bible Church?

Yes___  No___  Unsure___

Will you affirm God’s leading through the elders in regards to John Dockweiler becoming an elder of Ridgeview Bible Church?

Yes__

No__

For your vote to count, please email this to elders@ridgeviewbiblechurch.com by Sunday morning, October 6, 2019.