Good News Feed

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Tired of "hoaxes" and "conspiracies"? Think as a Christ-follower!

What we need in our times, and in the church, is a distinctly Christian understanding of Coronavirus and CoVid-19 -- and that is good news!! N.T. Wright & Francis Collins offer just that in this podcast. Please take some time to listen or watch! Francis Collins started out as a worship pastor, went on to become a medical doctor and researcher, headed the Human Genome Project, and now is Director of the NIH, National Institutes of Health. N.T. Wright is a leading Biblical scholar. This isn't a matter of politics, this is a matter of the kingdom of God and our interaction with our world -- the Word & the World!

Learning to think "Christianly" about the Pandemic

Here is an important conversation helping us as Christ-followers to form a Christian and scientific understanding of the pandemic in which we find ourselves.

Timothy J. Keller was the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the author of The New York Times bestselling books The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith (2008), Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (2014), and The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (2008).

Francis Collins started out as a worship pastor, went on to become a medical doctor and researcher, and headed the Human Genome Project, and now is Director of the NIH, National Institutes of Health.

Beginning at minute 26 there is an important conversation about conspiracy theories -- please listen!

Important study on facemasks show they reduce spread by at least 30%

August 11, 2020

Perhaps most important study to date is a study of all studies, called a "meta-analysis," by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The IHME, a research center that has provided projections on hospitalizations and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, performed a meta-analysis earlier this summer of mask studies from the United States, China and Germany that confirmed what most medical experts have advocated for months:

If 95 percent of people wear cloth masks when within 6 feet of other people in public, it will reduce COVID-19 transmission by at least 30 percent. So if every infected person transmits the virus to 30 percent fewer people, it improves the chances of subduing COVID-19’s spread in the United States. The results ranged from 30 to 60% reduction in spread.

So, where's the good news in this? Wearing a mask can save lives and reduce the likelihood of another lockdown. It is an easy way to show others you care.

Masks work. The meta-analysis assumed all masks in public use are cloth, not the even more effective N95 respirators worn by healthcare professionals.

Here is a more detailed look at this study:

Mask Mandate until September 28

I hate wearing a face-mask! But...

In light of the continued spread of the pandemic in our state, the Governor has issued a face-mask mandate. In light of this and scripture, we ask that if you are in the building for any reason while others are present, wear a face-mask. Believe me, I get it! Masks suck! But they help reduce the spread. And so, because I'm a Christ-follower, it's not about me, it's about what is the best for the other person -- and so I mask-up.

Not only that, but Romans 13:1-2 makes it pretty simple: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. The "judgment" in this case is a continued and intensified spread. Pretty simple: mask-up!

Love your neighbor, wear a mask.

Here is the actual mandate:

Coronavirus Plan shared

This Sunday Pastor Dennis shared what it looks like to be "incarnational" in our community in light of the ongoing coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic.

"Being vigilant to protect the most vulnerable in our community" is what it is all about. He asked us to consider:

  • Watching the service online if you suspect you have been exposed to the flu or coronavirus, and especially if you have a fever

  • Washing hands frequently.

  • Wiping down all "touch-surfaces" in the church building.

  • Having a full service cafe instead of self-service in order to minimize transmission.

  • Checking in on our older and more vulnerable and doing grocery shopping for them.

  • Using the video chat services to keep those who are sick connected

  • And, he said, the list goes on.

While it might seem like over-kill in our small-town church, it only takes one contact. One day after sharing this message, a church in D.C. was asked to voluntarily quarantine after their pastor was diagnosed with Covid-19 -- 500 people exposed. We just don't know. So during this season remember this truth:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7 New Living Translation (NLT)

Five Lives Changed There -- 13 Lives Changed Here

Check out this video that was created to recap River Hills' first mission trip. At least five lives were changed outside Antigua, Guatemala as our team built a small house for a widow and her four kids. But as you will see, God also changed the lives of the thirteen who went. Check it out!

Christian Music in my Rear View Mirror

James Calderon here with a new addition to the Good News Letter, or Feed whichever it is. That matters not. What is important is our devotion to Christ Jesus. As a Navigator I have had it inculcated into my head that part of living a life with clean hands and a pure heart is being mindful of the impressions we give other people. We are to become less like us and more like Christ in our every endeavor. So, you think, "jc what does this have to do with music?" The music we listen to is a sign, signal and symbol of our Christian belief system. I have been listening to Christian Music since Terry Talbot left the beginning of one of the first "Super Groups" i.e. Mason Profit and he dedicated all his musical talents to what used to be called Jesus Rock. I think I just played my hand as a pushing 70 something. Suffice to say I have a boatload of Christian Music in my personal rear-view mirror.

So let's dig on the inimitable Sara Groves and her early rendering on the obscure indie (independent) label inonotof. Yup that's the name of the label her first release can be found on. Bother not about "Big" labels Sara Groves "Converations" has been on my "Desert Island 10" since it's release in 2000.

Sara gets right to the point that she is singing full out to Glorify Jesus in the first song, "Conversation." Her voice is both powerful and mature and almost childlike in its purity from song to song. She can definitely "bring it." Sara sounds to me, a musician of almost 60 years like she has perfect pitch. In a word what a BEAUTIFUL voice! She deftly and with conviction makes Chapter and Verse sound as if they just..."belong" in her writing. Her piano playing is nothing short of stellar and she also wrote all the songs on "Conversations."

Sara is both poet and sage in her craft although every song is a pure joy I would love to have a conversation of my own with anyone who owns this fine CD and ask them what Sara is trying to convey to the listener in her song, "Painting Pictures of Egypt." In short it is easy to ascertain that I have a very positive bias toward the allure of Sara Groves and her incredible music!

To close anyone who can not feel like moving their feet at least to the last song, "Tent In The Center Of Town" better go have their vitals taken because you might be dead. It's pure joy in the bouncing piano part and the frivolity of the entire song are just not at all forgettable.

Sadly this writer thinks that Sara's "Conversations" may be quite hard to find anymore unless you get lucky at St. Vinny's. Sad but true not all great music finds commercial success. WAIT stop the presses I just checked and Amazon has it!!!! Cheap. Stop reading and get on Amazon and buy it. You won't be sorry if I know anything about music.

NEXT TIME in the Rear View Mirror, maybe some super vintage Jars of Clay when they were teens? Until next time. Don't look to the left or the right. The path is narrow. God Bless all of you and send any suggestions to Love your Mother, feed your Brother and Wage Peace.


Guatemala Team Update

After leaving the River Hills building early Sunday morning, the Guatemalan Mission Team made it safely to Guatemala Sunday evening. The team is hard at work building a modest house for a mom and her kids, as well as cutting hair for the Kairos Christian School. As the school's director said: "Un salón improvisado! Gracias Gina Hees y Margaret Maggie Kraus... y gracias a Aniu Salon y River Hills por prestásnolas esta semana."

May this team realize they are not only building a simple house, but that God is building a new understanding of His Kingdom both in the recipients of their service, and in the team-members themselves.

May this family know the love of Christ not only from having a new roof over their heads, but especially from the people who gave of themselves and their resources to make it a reality.

Here is the video from Sunday's message, "Your Mission: Love Your Enemies!"

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. -- Jesus, Matthew 5:43-45

River Hills Leaders' Summit

Sunday February 9 most of the ministry team leaders and small group leaders filled the KidStuf area, not just to eat some great food, but to start a long range ministry planning process. We are working on planning more than a year out, and running all our activities through a couple of different grids to determine what we're doing right, what needs improvement, and how everything we do fulfills, or fails to fulfill, our purpose of "encouraging people, no matter where they're at, in a growing relationship with God." Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share? Let us know