“I find afflictions to be good for me. I have always found them so. Afflictions are happy means in the hands of the Holy Spirit to subdue my corruptions, my pride, my evil passions, my inordinate love to the creature. Afflictions soften my hard heart, bring me to my knees, increase faith, increase love, increase humility, increase self-denial. Afflictions make me poor in spirit, and nothing in my own eyes.” –John Angell James, 1841
“Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s providence” –Augustine
“Real satisfaction comes not in understanding God’s motives, but in understanding His character, in trusting in His promises, and in leaning on Him and resting in Him as the Sovereign who knows what He is doing and does all things well.” –Joni Eareckson Tada
“Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide.” –C.H. Spurgeon
Make sure to check the “Additional Information” section at the bottom of this post for updated resources and other helpful information. I have also moved outdated information to the bottom, in the Archive section.)
(Updated 5/14/2020 Reopening Plan now posted, effective May 17th.
(Updated 4/2/2020) The State of New Mexico has implemented a new Public Health order, effective Tuesday, March 24th, banning all gatherings over five (5) persons, and closing all businesses not deemed to be essential. As a result, until conditions warrant, all of our gatherings will be online or by Zoom Meeting call, as follows:
- Wednesday Bible Study & Prayer Meeting will be conducted via Zoom Meeting call at 6:15 PM (Note change of time to avoid network congestion). Information on how to connect will be sent via email or text message.
- Thursday “Pilgrim’s Progress” conducted by Zoom Meeting call at 1:15 PM.
- Sunday Bible Study (9:45 AM) & Worship (11:00 AM) will be conducted as online streams, using sermon.net. Details and streaming instructions are listed below.
- If you would like to participate in any or all of these meetings, and are not presently a part of our church family, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information.
- Online Giving is now implemented. Look for this button Online Giving on this and other pages on this site. If you choose not to give online, an address to mail a check is found by clicking that button as well.
Let’s also keep in touch with one another using texts, phone calls, and social media. Please check back here often for additional news and information.
(Added 3/20/2020) If you need help setting up streaming, place see Streaming Instructions.
Let me encourage you to read some of the articles posted below. New, relevant, information will be posted as it is discovered. We are in new territory right now, and want to make sure that we honor our obligations by being faithful to God and loving our neighbors.
I have found this article to be a reasoned and rational approach to what we are facing, with sensible precautions. Regardless of the threats that we might face, there is some very good advice here: How to Prepare if the Coronavirus Comes to a Quarantine
So, we pray for wisdom for our leaders and medical researchers, we place our trust in our Creator, and we worship Him as the One who has all power over life and death.
John Piper also has some words of wisdom regarding this situation, here: How do we Make Sense of the Coronavirus?
Lessons from the ministry of C.H. Spurgeon during the cholera outbreak of 1854.
Another helpful resource is this month’s Tabletalk magazine on the topic of “Fear”. Because of the timely nature of this subject, it is being offered online for free at: Tabletalk Magazine, March 2020
“Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ” (Isaiah 41:10, ESV)
(Added 5/1/2020) As restrictions are lifted, and as people struggle with how to resume their daily lives, there may be disagreements within families, churches, and among friends as how best to proceed. This is a helpful article on how to deal with those disagreements.
(Added 4/30/2020) Next Thursday, May 7th, is the National Day of Prayer. While we may not be able to gather together to pray, we can still participate in our homes. Here is a prayer guide that you might find helpful.
(Added 4/29/2020) During times of suffering, we can gain insight from the Book of Job. Here is a free video series on Job, presented by Dr. Derek Thomas (Yes, the same Dr. Thomas who is leading our Pilgrim’s Progress study.)
(Added 4/26/2020) I know that things have been a bit of a drag lately, but here is a Hymns of Hope playlist from Keith & Kristyn Getty.
“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” – Psalm 42:4-6 (ESV)
(Added 4/20/2020) Similar to the government’s four phase plan for reopening the economy, John Thurman gives us COVID-19: 4 Phases of Emotional recovery.
(Added 4/16/2020) Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. We will need to see how this is implemented in our state in order to determine at what point we can begin meeting in person again.
(Added 4/14/2020) Natasha received permission from her professor, Dr. Donald Owsley, for us to share these encouraging notes on Psalm 23.
(Added 4/14/2020) Is God Sovereign over Viruses?
(Added 4/13/2020) For those who may be battling depression during this time, here is a free ebook from Living Waters.
(added 4/12/2020) Easter Fear is Natural, by Russell Moore.
(Added 4/11/2020) Today, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Department of Health Secretary amended the earlier public health order in order to prohibit mass gatherings of more than five persons in houses of worship. While I agree that it is prudent that we as a church choose to forego our meetings in person at this time , moving to online methods, I truly believe that this is an overstep of governmental authority, and poses significant 1st Amendment problems. Government should never order people of faith as to how they exercise that faith. At what point will government give its permission for us to meet again? This is a decision that should be left up to us, guided by our consciences, and led by our Lord.
(Added 4/10/2020) Pandemic, Meet the Resurrection.
(Added 4/9/202) Interesting Guidance to Houses of Worship from the US Department of Homeland Security.
(Added 4/8/2020) Why Missing Church Should Feel Like Missing Family by Trevin Wax.
(Added 4/8/202) I have been privileged to call John Thurman my friend for more than 30 years. As a Christian Counselor, he shares good information here about How to Use Faith and Resilience to cope with COVID-19.
(Added 4/8/2020) Coronavirus & Christ, a new book by John Piper. Available for free download as ebook or audio book.
(Added 4/7/2020) NM Department of Health guidance for Churches.
(Added 4/7/2020) Bible sales are increasing during the Coronavirus Panic.
(Addd 4/4/2020) in case you missed it live, the TGC Day of Fasting & Prayer Worship Service:
(Added 4/4/2020) 5 Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic Points Us to the Gospel by Paul Tripp.
(Added 4/2/2020) Losing your sanity while stuck at home? Check out these Resources for Families During Coronavirus Quarantine.
(Added 4/1/2020) This Saturday, April 4th, a Day of Fasting and Prayer. Note that this has 3 components: A time of personal prayer in the morning, a time for community prayer for us at 12:15 PM using Zoom meeting, and an Evening time of online prayer and worship. See the video below for more information.
(Added 3/31/2020) Exit Plan! When it is prudent and feasible for us to meet again in person, here is a plan to restore normalcy. Even though Easter Sunday is April 12th, and even though I plan to preach an Easter Sermon that day, we will aso celebrate Easter on the 3rd Sunday after we begin to meet. Why the 3rd Sunday? On the 1st Sunday, we will get used to being back together. On the 2nd Sunday we will contemplate the sacrifice of Christ, and celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, And on that 3rd Sunday, we will join together to celebrate the awesome miracle that is the resurrection of Christ.
(Added 3/31/2020) Gentle and Lowly: A 14 Day Podcast for Anxious and Discouraged Christians.
(Added 3/31/2020) Online/Offline Worship, there is much to ponder in this article.
(Added 3/30/2020) I found this to be convicting. Are we living by Probabilities or Providence?
(Added 3/30/2020) NAMB is providing a free “Seeing Jesus Through the Uncertainty” four week interactive family devotional. This resource contains short lessons, a simple leader’s guide and fun activities for kids.
(Added 3/29/2020) Not specifically church related, but with folks needing to stay at home, and with many live entertainment venues closed (We were going to see Opera Southwest’s “La Traviata” last Friday night, as well as missing the Albuquerque Little Theater) here is an alternative. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming HD presentations nightly for free, and you have 23 hours to watch the previous night’s selection. As I write this we are watching the last act of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
(Updated 3/31/2020) Online Giving is now live. You can contribute by clicking here or on this button: Online Giving This will redirect you to a secure site where you can give a one-time gift or set-up a recurring gift using either a credit or debit card. You can also designate your gift from that site.
(Added 3/28/2020) We May Be Confused, But God Isn’t by Paul Tripp.
(Added 3/26/2020) Is it well with your soul? Remarkable Cell Phone Choir
(Added 3/24/2020) A good word from Pastor Peter Heck in Indiana: 24 Minute Video Message.
(Added 3/23/2020) Here is a neat event. Every Tuesday Evening at 6:15 PM (MDT), the Getty’s will host a Family Hymn Sing Live.
(Added 3/19/2020) Some excellent free stay at home resources from Crossway.
(Added 3/18/2020) We are Safe.
(Added 3/17/2020) My good friend, John Thurman, tells us about resilience in Coronavirus, Toilet Paper, and Fear.
(Added 3/17/2020) Sweets, or Sustenance?
(Added 3/17/2020) The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread
(Added 3/16/2020) Do we truly love our neighbor?
(Added 3/14/2020) Tom Ascol has good words for us in Thinking Christianly about the Coronavirus.
(Added 3/14/2020) 8 Reminders in the Face of the Coronavirus Pandemic
(Added 3/12/2020) Nursing Home ministry is on hold until further notice due to the fact that all outside nursing home visits are prohibited by the State Department of Health.
(Updated 3/12/2020) Feed the Kids ministry. All New Mexico Schools will be closed for at least the next three weeks, beginning Monday, March 16th. As a result, we will not be packing until further notice.
(Added 3/12/2020) NM Department of Health issues Public Health Order banning public gatherings over 100 persons. Does not include churches, at this point.
(Added 3/12/2020) Baptist Convention of New Mexico Coronavirus Resources.
(Added 3/11/2020) COVID-19 now confirmed in New Mexico.
(Added 3/11/2020) NM Department of Health – Coronavirus Updates
Continually updated – Coronavirus Worldwide Statistics
Preparing for Coronavirus to Strike the US from Scientific American
(Added 3/11/2020) 8 Things the Coronavirus Should Teach Us
(Added 4/4/2020) The Biggest Story, an animated film, is available to stream for free between now and April 12th.
(Update 3/19/2020) In addition to the information in the paragraph below about the procedures to be followed during our in-person meetings, I will also be live streaming the audio from our Bible studies and worship services using my phone. I did a test yesterday evening, and while not perfect (it is hard to hear anyone not near the phone), it will allow those who choose to stay at home to continue to listen to most of our meetings. You will want to use the Riverside Baptist sermon.net website or the appropriate Android or IPhone app. (Update 3/20/2020) I will post the bulletin, hymn lyrics, and prayer/quiz sheet, along with that week’s Bible Study book material, to a secure folder instead of putting it out here in public view. I will text each of you a link to that folder by noon on Saturday. If you do not receive that text please let me know. Also, we will not have our normal 5th Sunday potluck dinner on the 29th.
(Update 3/20/2020) We will practice the following precautions until further notice each time that we meet:
- All hard surfaces will be disinfected prior to meeting.
- If you are feeling ill, please stay home.
- Please avoid physical contact with others.
- Please wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face.
- Bible Study will be moved to the auditorium instead of sitting around tables.
- Please practice distancing by spacing yourselves out in the auditorium, and please limit congestion in the kitchen while getting coffee, washing hands, etc. in the kitchen.
(Important Update, 3/14/2020) We will NOT meet in person tomorrow, March 15th. This is not predicated solely on the COVID-19 situation, but due to the fact that some miscreant(s) decided that they would attempt to steal electrical wiring. This has resulted in a situation where we have no power. As a result, we will implement our contingency plan, and will conduct both Bible Study and Worship with an online broadcast at the Riverside Baptist sermon.net site. We will begin Session 3, page 27 in your Gospel Project booklet at 9:45 AM, and will begin the worship service at 11:00 AM. Hymn lyrics can be found at Hymnary.org. (If you are using the web browser for sermon.net, look at the right hand side column labelled “Messages”. Scroll down, and you will find the only one with my picture, entitled “Riverside Baptist Church Albuquerque Live”. Click on that message, and then click on the start button in the middle of my face. If you are using the phone app, you will see “Live Broadcast” under “Ministry Details”.)
(Original Post) I am almost afraid to post this here, not wanting to contribute to the panic that is beginning concerning this new public health threat. In order to keep things in perspective, the “common” flu has already killed more than 16,000 people in the United States this year, and is some years kills many, many more.
However, in light of the Covid-19 “Coronavirus”, and because there may come a time when government will either request or require churches to suspend their normal gatherings, if only for a short quarantine period, I have felt that it is prudent to have a contingency plan in place. If we are not allowed to meet, then we will broadcast the audio of our worship services, live, using sermon.net at: Riverside Baptist You can either bookmark this site in your web browser, or download the sermon.net app on your smartphone and search for “Riverside Baptist Church Albuquerque”. (Android, IPhone)
(Added 3/12/2020) This Sunday, March 15th, to be a Day of Prayer.
(Added 3/11/2020) Also, if conditions warrant, we can have conference calls that will allow everyone to participate. This will be different from the one-way broadcast of worship services described above. I envision that participating in a conference call will allow us to share prayer concerns, pray together, and update each other as to how we are doing. If and when I schedule a conference call, you will receive an invite via email or text which will contain the phone number to be called as well as the access code.
As I have mentioned recently, since my wife is on anti-rejection medicines which compromise her immune system, we have not been shaking hands, but instead fist bumping or side hugging. This is only a prudent precaution to preserve her life, whether the bug in question is the flu, common cold, Covid-19, or any other pathogen.