Holy Week

Greetings friends,

We are in Holy Week and so with that, we’re looking at continuing our online services as we would if things were normal. Things will obviously be a little different from how the “services” are conducted, but I thank everyone for their understanding that this is how church looks for now.  All the “norms” have gone out the window. One thing you’ll notice that is very different is that Maundy Thursday service will be more of a devotional/lesson on what Communion means and why we partake in it. Good Friday will be a service like we have been doing with our online format, as well as Easter Sunday service. I want to thank all those that have come in to record their music so that we can continue to see some familiar faces!

The services will be on Facebook Live at their normal service time and they will also be posted to our new Hope Free Lutheran YouTube page as well as on our website www.hopefreelutheran.org/sermons

Here is the schedule for the services that will be on Facebook live:

Maundy Thursday: 7pm
Good Friday: 2pm
Easter Sunday: 9:30am

Just a reminder, there will be a Sunday School video at 11am on Facebook for the kids (we’ll get those loaded to our YouTube channel as well).

Let me leave you with a reminder of what Christ’s offering has meant for all of us.

Hebrews 7:26-28:

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

God’s blessings,

Pastor Dave

Upcoming Service/Holy Week

Greetings friends,

You know the expression “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, I witnessed a really great example of that on Monday. You see, I had been recently asked if I would do a wedding at the end of May. I agreed and met the young couple on Saturday for our first session of pre-marital counseling. Monday morning my phone rings and it’s the young man saying “Pastor Ryerson, there’s been a change of plans…”. Honestly, I was fearing that maybe there was an issue between the couple and they were deciding to postpone the wedding. I could NOT have been more wrong, because the next words out of his mouth were “so we’re going to get married this Sunday.” Let’s just say my week has been quite unique, packing in the remaining six pre-marital counseling sessions, along with preparing planning to do a wedding this Sunday (4-5-20).

Ok, enough about me and onto church business…This week is Holy Week and though there will obviously be no services at the church, the plan is to produce a devotional for Maundy Thursday, a Good Friday service and of course an Easter morning service. Right now, the plan will be to do Facebook live at the scheduled time, but also have them available on the website for those that either are not on Facebook, or are planning to watch at a later time:

*Maundy Thursday 7pm
Good Friday 2pm
Easter Sunday 9:30am

*One note I would like to add, and this may not be the most popular of decisions, but I feel it best to not be attempting some sort of “virtual communion”. I have had many folks ask about it, and I too am greatly longing for that spiritual nourishment, but for reasons too long to explain here, I think it best we hold off until we can meet together again in person.

As for this week, we’ll again be streaming our service live on Facebook at 9:30am. It will be up on the website as well at www.hopefreelutheran.org/sermons . You can also find it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLOJuoO-_Pc If you go on YouTube, you can subscribe to our Hope Free Lutheran page, and you’ll be able to always find them there.

Thank you for all those who reached out to me who are willing to record a song or two. I have a feeling that we will not be gathering again in church until at least May. I hope I am wrong about that, but if that’s the case, the more music we have, the more we can feel connected to one another. So, please feel free to reach out to me and we can arrange a time to record you.

I would like to leave you with this passage I came across as I was reading through Hebrews. As we prepare for Holy Week, this is the great reminder of why Jesus came and what he’s done for you. Hebrews 2: 14-15:

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

Thank you Lord Jesus for all that you have done for us!

Pastor Dave

Services Online Sunday

Greetings friends,

Well, it’s been an interesting week, learning how to change our church to a digital church, until life returns back to normal. As with all things in life, I try and ask “what did I learn from this” and if anything we’ll certainly know how to conduct church services in the future, regardless of the circumstances. This should even be helpful for those Sundays where we have to call off church due to the weather.

So, barring any unforeseen issues with uploading the video, there will be two different ways you can watch the “church service” on Sunday. We attempted to do a type of mini-service, so Jordan sings a song to start off, we’ll follow that with the Apostle’s creed, the sermon, the Lord’s prayer and then Jordan will close with a song.

Here are the two ways you can watch. The first way will be logging onto the Hope Facebook page a few minutes before 9:30. We’re going to post it as “live” so that it will debut at that time, and will allow any type of immediate comments, as well as give us the feeling that our brothers and sisters are watching with us as well. Also, Jordan will be posting on a separate post, a short video sermon for the kids.

If you don’t have Facebook, or are unable to watch at that time, I’ll be posting the video to our website as well…www.hopefreelutheran.org

Please let me know your thoughts on the video as to what can be improved, so that I can make proper adjustments the following week.

Finally, I’ve had a few people ask about their offerings during this time. You can either drop your envelopes off at church, of if you’re social distancing, then you can mail them to the church, which is:

Hope Free Lutheran Church
P.O.Box 83
Ishpeming, MI, 49849

One final note, I’ve been struggling with this and if we’re doing the right thing about suspending our services. While we feel it proper to honor those in authority, it is difficult not getting together to worship. God then brought this verse to me from Proverbs 27:12 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

We are being prudent, even though it leaves us with the longing for community.

God’s blessings,

Pastor Dave

Church Update In Response to the Coronavirus

Yesterday was a very difficult day, as the decision was made to suspend services until at least the first week of April. As it stands right now, it sounds as if we’d be able to hold services during Holy Week, so I’m certainly optimistic for that.

In the meantime the plan is have a video service posted Sunday…Whether the service is done via livestreaming on Facebook, or we post a recorded service, I’m still looking into the best way to produce the best quality type of video service experience. My hopeful goal would be to start and end the message with a song, having the confessions in there, along with a message. I’m sorry this is not more informative regarding that, but as I said, I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do this, in a way that can give you that full worship experience. I will make sure to send out an email later this week with links, through Facebook and to our church website where you can see the videos once they are posted.

I think the greatest struggle I’m having with all of this is that fellowship, community, gathering are all such essential aspects of our faith. It is in times of uncertainty that we draw strength together going to our God in prayer, as one. But even though gatherings are being limited, the church will still be open during this time, and you are welcome to come by anytime for prayer, personal Bible study, or just to socialize.

On top of that, our food pantry will be open twice a week to fill any needs, and we have people more than willing to do any type of shopping you may need if you can’t go out. This is one way the body of Christ can continue to function, by serving each other, so please do not hesitate to ask for any type of assistance. As stated above, please feel free to email me with any requests you may have! I think this description Paul wrote of his dear friend Timothy is the example of why we should never hesitate to ask for help, because it’s our joy to be able to serve one another:

Philippians 2:19-22 – I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.

Let us continue to serve one another in love, glorifying our Savior,

Pastor Dave