Jesus as the Good Shepherd

Dear Church Family,
 
Though we’re not able to be together in person, we as a congregation are finding other ways to stay connected. For example, we livestreamed my Lenten Bible study last night. (If you’d like to join the next session, which will take place on Thursday, March 26 at 6:30PM, please send me an email at cjones@communityoffaith.org. I’ll send you the link as well as a copy of the handout.) We’re also going to upload a prerecorded service and livestream it at our regular weekend worship times of 6:30PM on Saturday and 8:30AM and 10:30AM on Sunday.  Feel free to join the service via Facebook (www.facebook.com/cofumc/ ) or on our website (www.communityoffaith.org/livestream-services/). We need each other now more than ever, so take advantage of every opportunity you can to stay in touch with us virtually. And, if we can help along the way, let us know! Though the building is closed, the work of the church continues.  
 
As you’re well aware, this is a vulnerable time for so many of us, which is bound to have an impact on the church. That’s why your ongoing financial support of Community of Faith is so critical. If you haven’t set up an online giving account, now is the time to do so (www.communityoffaith.org/giving). Or, if you prefer, you can mail in your offering to our address (9120 Teacher Lane, Davenport, FL 33897). The other day, one of our church members came by the office and dropped off a larger than normal offering. When I called her to thank for her sacrificial generosity, she said to me something to the effect of, “I know it’s going to be hard for so many people during these weeks. However, my income isn’t affected. Therefore, if I can go above and beyond to fill in the gap, I’m going to do it and encourage others to do the same.” I was inspired by this woman’s comment and blown away by her commitment to look beyond herself to the needs of others. Again, your financial support of Community of Faith is what keeps our ministry running. Thank you for your faith-filled giving!  
 
My message this weekend is one that I think all of us (me included!) need to hear. I’m going to focus on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I didn’t plan it this way when I was putting together our current series months ago, but the next 2 statements in our “I AM” series happen to relay this image – which is great because, in this time of chaos and uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus, we need to be reminded that Jesus is our shepherd who will lead us through the dark valley into streams of living waters. Though anxiety and unrest abound, we need not fear because the Shepherd is here, and he lovingly cares for us. Find comfort and peace in his presence.
 
I end with these words from Psalm 23.

 

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Psalm 23 (KJV)
 
Blessings,
Chris