Ladies come and join your fellow sisters for a time of renewal and worship, at the beautiful Cascade Mountain Ranch in Grants Pass, OR. The cost will be $100.00, We will plan rides the next coming weeks! If you have any questions call or email Lola Paquette at 707.951.5075 or email@example.com
A BIBLICAL CASE FOR THE CHURCH’S DUTY TO REMAIN OPEN
Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands. Some will think such a firm statement is inexorably in conflict with the command to be subject to governing authorities laid out in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. Scripture does mandate careful, conscientious obedience to all governing authority, including kings, governors, employers, and their agents (in Peter’s words, “not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable” [1 Peter 2:18]). Insofar as government authorities do not attempt to assert ecclesiastical authority or issue orders that forbid our obedience to God’s law, their authority is to be obeyed whether we agree with their rulings or not. In other words, Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 still bind the consciences of individual Christians. We are to obey our civil authorities as powers that God Himself has ordained. However, while civil government is invested with divine authority to rule the state, neither of those texts (nor any other) grants civic rulers jurisdiction over the church. God has established three institutions within human society: the family, the state, and the church. Each institution has a sphere of authority with jurisdictional limits that must be respected. A father’s authority is limited to his own family. Church leaders’ authority (which is delegated to them by Christ) is limited to church matters. And government is specifically tasked with the oversight and protection of civic peace and well-being within the boundaries of a nation or community. God has not granted civic rulers authority over the doctrine, practice, or polity of the church. The biblical framework limits the authority of each institution to its specific jurisdiction. The church does not have the right to meddle in the affairs of individual families and ignore parental authority. Parents do not have authority to manage civil matters while circumventing government officials. And similarly, government officials have no right to interfere in ecclesiastical matters in a way that undermines or disregards the God-given authority of pastors and elders. When any one of the three institutions exceeds the bounds of its jurisdiction it is the duty of the other institutions to curtail that overreach. Therefore, when any government official issues orders regulating worship (such as bans on singing, caps on attendance, or prohibitions against gatherings and services), he steps outside the legitimate bounds of his God-ordained authority as a civic official and arrogates to himself authority that God expressly grants only to the Lord Jesus Christ as sovereign over His Kingdom, which is the church. His rule is mediated to local churches through those pastors and elders who teach His Word (Matthew 16:18–19; 2 Timothy 3:16–4:2). Therefore, in response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction, and faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services. Said another way, it has never been the prerogative of civil government to order, modify, forbid, or mandate worship. When, how, and how often the church worships is not subject to Caesar. Caesar himself is subject to God. Jesus affirmed that principle when He told Pilate, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). And because Christ is head of the church, ecclesiastical matters pertain to His Kingdom, not Caesar’s. Jesus drew a stark distinction between those two kingdoms when He said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Our Lord Himself always rendered to Caesar what was Caesar’s, but He never offered to Caesar what belongs solely to God. As pastors and elders, we cannot hand over to earthly authorities any privilege or power that belongs solely to Christ as head of His church. Pastors and elders are the ones to whom Christ has given the duty and the right to exercise His spiritual authority in the church (1 Peter 5:1–4; Hebrews 13:7, 17)—and Scripture alone defines how and whom they are to serve (1 Corinthians 4:1–4). They have no duty to follow orders from a civil government attempting to regulate the worship or governance of the church. In fact, pastors who cede their Christ-delegated authority in the church to a civil ruler have abdicated their responsibility before their Lord and violated the God-ordained spheres of authority as much as the secular official who illegitimately imposes his authority upon the church. Our church’s doctrinal statement has included this paragraph for more than 40 years:
We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church, however, through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. The elders should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19–31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4–7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1–4).In short, as the church, we do not need the state’s permission to serve and worship our Lord as He has commanded. The church is Christ’s precious bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23–27). She belongs to Him alone. She exists by His will and serves under His authority. He will tolerate no assault on her purity and no infringement of His headship over her. All of that was established when Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Christ’s own authority is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And [God the Father has] put all things in subjection under [Christ’s] feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:21–23). Accordingly, the honor that we rightly owe our earthly governors and magistrates (Romans 13:7) does not include compliance when such officials attempt to subvert sound doctrine, corrupt biblical morality, exercise ecclesiastical authority, or supplant Christ as head of the church in any other way. The biblical order is clear: Christ is Lord over Caesar, not vice versa. Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church. Conversely, the church does not in any sense rule the state. Again, these are distinct kingdoms, and Christ is sovereign over both. Neither church nor state has any higher authority than that of Christ Himself, who declared, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Notice that we are not making a constitutional argument, even though the First Amendment of the United States Constitution expressly affirms this principle in its opening words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The right we are appealing to was not created by the Constitution. It is one of those unalienable rights granted solely by God, who ordained human government and establishes both the extent and the limitations of the state’s authority (Romans 13:1–7). Our argument therefore is purposely not grounded in the First Amendment; it is based on the same biblical principles that the Amendment itself is founded upon. The exercise of true religion is a divine duty given to men and women created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27; Acts 4:18–20; 5:29; cf. Matthew 22:16–22). In other words, freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state. An additional point needs to be made in this context. Christ is always faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). Human governments are not so trustworthy. Scripture says, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). That refers, of course, to Satan. John 12:31 and 16:11 call him “the ruler of this world,” meaning he wields power and influence through this world’s political systems (cf. Luke 4:6; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12). Jesus said of him, “he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). History is full of painful reminders that government power is easily and frequently abused for evil purposes. Politicians may manipulate statistics and the media can cover up or camouflage inconvenient truths. So a discerning church cannot passively or automatically comply if the government orders a shutdown of congregational meetings—even if the reason given is a concern for public health and safety. The church by definition is an assembly. That is the literal meaning of the Greek word for “church”—ekklesia—the assembly of the called-out ones. A non-assembling assembly is a contradiction in terms. Christians are therefore commanded not to forsake the practice of meeting together (Hebrews 10:25)—and no earthly state has a right to restrict, delimit, or forbid the assembling of believers. We have always supported the underground church in nations where Christian congregational worship is deemed illegal by the state. When officials restrict church attendance to a certain number, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the saints to gather as the church. When officials prohibit singing in worship services, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the people of God to obey the commands of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. When officials mandate distancing, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible to experience the close communion between believers that is commanded in Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. In all those spheres, we must submit to our Lord. Although we in America may be unaccustomed to government intrusion into the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is by no means the first time in church history that Christians have had to deal with government overreach or hostile rulers. As a matter of fact, persecution of the church by government authorities has been the norm, not the exception, throughout church history. “Indeed,” Scripture says, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Historically, the two main persecutors have always been secular government and false religion. Most of Christianity’s martyrs have died because they refused to obey such authorities. This is, after all, what Christ promised: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). In the last of the beatitudes, He said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11–12). As government policy moves further away from biblical principles, and as legal and political pressures against the church intensify, we must recognize that the Lord may be using these pressures as means of purging to reveal the true church. Succumbing to governmental overreach may cause churches to remain closed indefinitely. How can the true church of Jesus Christ distinguish herself in such a hostile climate? There is only one way: bold allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. Even where governments seem sympathetic to the church, Christian leaders have often needed to push back against aggressive state officials. In Calvin’s Geneva, for example, church officials at times needed to fend off attempts by the city council to govern aspects of worship, church polity, and church discipline. The Church of England has never fully reformed, precisely because the British Crown and Parliament have always meddled in church affairs. In 1662, the Puritans were ejected from their pulpits because they refused to bow to government mandates regarding use of the Book of Common Prayer, the wearing of vestments, and other ceremonial aspects of state-regulated worship. The British Monarch still claims to be the supreme governor and titular head of the Anglican Church. But again: Christ is the one true head of His church, and we intend to honor that vital truth in all our gatherings. For that preeminent reason, we cannot accept and will not bow to the intrusive restrictions government officials now want to impose on our congregation. We offer this response without rancor, and not out of hearts that are combative or rebellious (1 Timothy 2:1–8; 1 Peter 2:13–17), but with a sobering awareness that we must answer to the Lord Jesus for the stewardship He has given to us as shepherds of His precious flock. To government officials, we respectfully say with the apostles, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge” (Acts 4:19). And our unhesitating reply to that question is the same as the apostles’: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Our prayer is that every faithful congregation will stand with us in obedience to our Lord as Christians have done through the centuries. John MacArthur, Pastor-TeacherGrace Community ChurchSun Valley, CA
Hey Guys,Just click this link below to get to the Refuge YouTube page, where you can veiw all videos including the live ones. It is that easy! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6ftBryYW0Q8xn6p7OY5FHA
Here is a special website with articles, videos, activities and more just for kids! Prepare to have fun as you learn more about the Bible and science. http://www.answersingenesis.org/kids This website has videos, activities, devotions and a whole lot more. This is the company we get our Sunday School Curriculum from.
This website does not have as much to access without buying something but it does have crafts, recipes and articles about sports, music and other kid things.
I wanted to share with you our prayer team leaders who met tonight to pray for each other and you! You are all missed and much loved. Please know that we will be meeting weekly as we did tonight to learn how you are doing and how we can be of service to you and your families.
The one sentiment that kept coming up at tonight’s meeting is how much you are all missed. Please don’t hesitate to contact Lola or me if there’s anything we can do to help in this horrible time of “distancing” each other.Bill
I hope that all of you are well and are not overly concerned about our circumstances. It is very difficult to not feel anxious about our situation but just know that you are loved and that God’s plan for you is good and not of evil. Please take a moment and look at God’s promise for you found in Jeremiah 29:11-12. We will get to the other side of this situation and I pray that you are trusting God Who cares very much for each of us! Yesterday, the Elders met ,as we usually do on Friday mornings, to discuss how to move forward, not just with Sunday Services but with all ministries. We also previously scheduled a meeting with the leaders of every ministry in order to hear their hearts and thoughts going forward and that meeting was last night. Many issues were discussed and we all agree that no matter what we decide today, things could easily change tomorrow. One of the topics discussed is that we need to be prepared to help those in the Refuge family should an immediate or urgent need arise for food, gas or medicine. If you find yourself in a place where you need this kind of help, please contact Linda Sherman. Linda can be reached at, 949.689.7758. If you have a need for a Food Box, which feeds up to 4 people for several days, please contact Amanda Phillips. Amanda can be reached at, 707.218.7656. There are now 5 Prayer Teams established from your church. Each team will have a list of names including your phone number and your email address. You will be contacted by your Prayer Team Leader who will not only pray for you but will want to know how we can assist you during this difficult process. Please understand that we are a family caring for one another, which is a vital function in God’s family. We care about you and your needs. Our desire is to serve you however we can. This may include delivering food or medications or even shopping for non-food essentials. Let’s face it, we are in a place we have never been before and I feel strongly that this is the time for us to be who we are called to be; a light in a dark world, as well as men and women who are, “...able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” 2 Cor. 1:4 Regarding Sunday Services: There will not be a regular service tomorrow but there will however be a Facebook Live Service beginning at 10 am. All you will need to be able to view the service is a Facebook account and to “Like” The Refuge Christian Fellowship’s Facebook page. You will see worship, announcements and the sermon. Regarding Wednesday Services: At this time, we will make a decision based on the lockdown status. I can tell you that Lola and I want to have a study and will do all we can to make this happen. We are willing to open our home and you will be advised in the next couple of days. Regarding Finances: We are current with our bills, including our mortgage. We realize however that spending for benevolence will increase substantially and we are confident that God will provide as the needs arise. He does this through His church so at this time, we ask that you give what you feel led by the Lord to give. You will be able to give directly through our website at therefugechristianfellowship.com, or you can mail a check to:
The Refuge Christian Fellowship
1230 Blackwell Ln
Crescent City, CA 95531
Please add, Attn: Amanda Marx on your envelope when mailing a check.
Easter: Easter Service will be determined based on the lockdown status. We all agree that this day needs to be celebrated by all believer’s but we will know to what extent once we see what changes occur in the next couple of weeks. Our plan is for a breakfast and Egg Hunt, so please be in prayer that we can celebrate as usual on this special day.Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 707.951.5072. Please keep an eye on the Church web page as all announcements will be posted there.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith”. Galatians 6:10