P.O. Box 206 302 South Main Street Gainesboro, Tennessee 38562 (931) 268-4771 Office
Gainesboro First UMC
Thursday, April 09, 2020
"A Caring Community of Faith"

Pastor's Desk


Pastor Tim Dunavant, Josh, Staci, and Mikayla

 “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” Revelation 1:9-10

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, everyone is practicing self isolation and staying by themselves. One part of that is most of you do not have an opportunity to attend a church worship service on Sunday. So, we must ask, how do you worship God when you’re all by yourself at home? I could tell you that worship is a lifestyle, not a service that you attend. But you already know that. What you’re really wanting to know is how can you engage in a time of worship that has the same outcomes as a normal Sunday service when you’re sitting in your pajamas by yourself isolated from the world. That is the question most Christians in America are asking during this time. 
I presented the scripture above because I came across this analogy in a book entitled Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Perhaps you saw my video online giving a small exhortation from that book. As I read about John in this scripture, I couldn’t help but think of our current circumstances. John was isolated in exile. He was all alone on the isle of Patmos. And yet Scripture says that he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” and God gave to him a powerful revelation. As Bonhoeffer puts it, “He sees the seven candlesticks, his congregations, the seven stars, the angels of the congregations, and in the midst and above it all the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, in all the splendor of his resurrection. He strengthens and fortified him by his word. This is the heavenly fellowship, shared by the exile on the day of his Lord’s resurrection.” So, how did he do that? And more importantly, how can we position ourselves in a similar manner? here are some of my suggestions: 
1. If you’re not online, it’s time to get over your fear of computers and do it. Get someone younger to help you. Our service, and thousands others, are being broadcast online every week. (Next, prepare yourself. Don’t just turn on the video and start watching a sermon. You don’t do that on Sunday.) 2. Talk to your friends from church and encourage them to watch the video and worship as well. You could even put them on speakerphone and allow them to listen to music with you. 3. Get dressed appropriately. 4. Put away all distractions. 5. Begin with prayer. Pray for your church family and for your friends. Pray for all of those that you know would be mentioned for prayer if you were at church. 
6. Next, play some worship music. Whatever kind helps you focus on God, play a song or two of that. Maybe that means looking up some old hymns on the computer, playing some CDs you have at the house, playing some contemporary worship on your phone, or simply singing some songs that you know from memory. After a couple of songs, take a moment and think about the message of those songs. Meditate on them. Pray about them. Then play a couple of more songs. If you’re playing recorded music, sing along with it. Make these songs your prayers. 7. Take out your checkbook and make your offering to God. Pray over your offering and place it in the envelope to mail. Don’t cut this time of worship short but listen to as many songs as you need. 
8. When you feel your heart is ready, pray and ask the Lord to speak to you. 9. Then start the video. Watch attentively and don’t get caught up in the other things. have your Bible out and read along just like you would if you were in person. Take notes and jot down what’s important to remember. 10. When the pastor is finished and it is time for a response, pause the video and take time to respond to what God is doing in your life. Don’t rush through this. 11. When you feel you have been faithful to these steps, restart the video and allow the pastor to close in prayer. 12. After you’ve had a few moments to allow this to digest, call your friends from church and discuss the message with them. 
Remember, John didn’t have recorded music, the Internet, live stream videos, or any other aid. And yet he still found a way to position himself in the presence of God. Certainly, with all these tools at our disposal we would be able to do as much as he did. I look forward to hearing from you the revelation words of God spoken to you during your time of worship.