Letter to the Church

Dear Benchmark Church and Fenton Alano Club Family

Dear Benchmark Church and Fenton Alano Club Family,

I begin to write this letter to you on what is a beautiful spring afternoon with the hope of bringing a blessing of encouragement and hope to each of you in this time of uncertainty and testing. A moment in time which begs the question, will life as we know it return when this catastrophic global event passes, or will this become the page in history that we look back upon, as the place where everyday life was forever changed?

In truth as I press into God through prayer, seeking to understand his heart and will for myself and those whom he has so richly blessed me with the opportunity to lead and has privileged me to be a small piece of their life story, I returned with this thought.

I truly hope we are never the same as we were. My prayer is that this unparalleled chaos brings deep and lasting change to us as a people, a nation and most importantly as the church. I am not envisioning a change that leaves us entombed in anxiety and fear of the possibility that a phenomenon such as the one we are currently surviving, could repeat itself.

Nor do I desire that we are permanently relegated to exist in isolation from one another in fear of contracting the unknown diseases that might linger amongst us. I hope that soon we can all emerge from our safe places to once again shake hands with neighbors, hug family and friends and give our children and grandchildren a sip from our glass or a kiss on their cheek without the worry of who the last person was to be in contact with them.

My hope and desire that I am left with as I depart from my place of prayer, is that each of us can grow to be a more grace filled, compassionate and loving individual from our experience. That we would receive each day, truly, as a gift from God. A gift that we would never again take for granted but would instead cherish each and every hour of the day as the one God has made especially for us and being filled with gratitude to have.

As I meditate and pray about this very abnormal and unusual place that we are all attempting to navigate our way through, the Holy Spirit brings to mind numerous accounts of God’s intervention, provision and eventual deliverance for his children whenever they found themselves in quasi situations similar to the one we as a nation are confronting now.

We find within the scriptures numerous stories of God’s people being protected and delivered from the abject suffering in the cataclysmic events that often surrounded them. Not to say that some were not adversely affected by the turmoil that engulfed them and their nation. In fact, many times God was using the unpleasantness of the experience to draw his blessed creation back into fellowship and right relation with him.

Still other times, such as the devastating famine that Joseph led his family and fellow Hebrews through, even though he could have easily regressed into a litany of excuses derived from the unjust adolescence he was forced to weather and ultimately sidestepped the destiny God had designed for him.

Moses and the Israelite children find themselves in what seems like a no win situation with the Pharaoh until The Lord intercedes and takes Egypt to the brink of annihilation and then beyond due to their continued defiance. A situation that would forever leave the Israelites changed even though they could not realize it for forty years. Even in their time aimlessly wandering in the wilderness, God was forever changing them and solidifying their story of redemption.

The storyline of calamity, recognition, humility, prayer, redemption and restoration plays itself out over and over in the pages of the Bible.

The Lord always utilized the space that his people found themselves immersed within to illuminate his sovereignty, power and ultimate supremacy over all of creation. Which in turn, would cause those who had turned away from him to examine and accept the futility of their false idols and the inability of those idols deliver anyone from anything.

It is my sincere prayer that this season that we are in as the people of God will bring about everlasting change for the betterment of the church as a whole. I pray that not only does this cause us to not take the God given freedoms and blessings we have for granted, but that we would henceforth deeply cherish them. The freedom to assemble as the church, as the friends of Bill W. or just simply to gather as friends without fear of what we might be and the blessing of being able to come and go however we wish. The freedom to live in and love the liberty that our founding fathers afford us as they conceived and developed the Declaration of Independence.

The freedom to surrender ourselves completely to the One True and Faithful God of the Universe as we can best understand Him in the place we are in as an individual.

The freedom to live in and place our faith in Him and the indescribably peace that He gives. The peace that surpasses all our human understanding.

Be blessed, stay safe and look upwards towards the goodness of the changes that this moment in time will bring if we will receive it.