Aug. 12, 2020

Precious Church Family,

Nicole, the kids, and I miss you!

On July 26th, out of an abundance of COVID-19 caution over a sore throat, I asked Steve King to preach at the last minute and was blessed by His faithful work in the text. Then we began two weeks of a scheduled vacation. We spent the first week building a fence in our back yard, playing games, watching movies, hiking in the Shenandoah, and reading. The second week we escaped town to an Air BnB and enjoyed a change of scenery, some history, and take-out. I was grateful for the way God used Greg Duhart and Matt Gibert to open up Psalm 73 and 103 to us while we were away!

Now back at home, most of our family is down with a cold. After seeking counsel, and in light of the pandemic, we felt it best to work from home this week. Therefore, Ed Grudier has agreed to preach Psalm 118 this Sunday. It is a glorious passage which highlights the King who would be rejected by men in order to ensure that His People would not die but live!

This Sunday is the 23rd Sunday of COVID. I continue to be astounded at how God has faithfully led us through a sea of unique decisions and challenges. I am also amazed at the godly, competent team of staff members and elders God has assembled at Cherrydale. They continue to work hard and lead creatively! Finally, I am encouraged by you. Each time I scroll though the member group in Circle my heart is filled with joy as I see your faces, think about your stories, and remember Christ’s enduring faithfulness to you.

As we look to the fall and the start of a new church year, my heart trusts our faithful God. Surely, more lengthy, isolating, and challenging days lie before us. Yet, our God will not stumble in His fatherly provision for us. As Greg Duhart mentioned in his sermon on Psalm 73, God uses hardship to increase our intimacy with Him. Though it is often hard to detect, God works the hard things together for our good.

Suzanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles) endured astonishing hardships in the course of her life. When she ran up against a difficult circumstance, she would consistently counsel herself: “Courage then. Think of eternity.” Will you join me in trusting our Father as He accomplishes an eternal work among us? He will accomplish His desire to see all nations worship Him and His church matured into the likeness of Christ. And He has committed to use His Church to that end. Therefore, let’s continue to surge forward in our commitment to the gospel’s power to raise the dead to life!

At the beginning of this pandemic I challenged us to do four things. They remain a steady course.

  1. Be dependent on the Word.
  2. Be desperate in prayer.
  3. Be devoted to your church family.
  4. Be deliberate with your neighbors.

As always, your elders are committed to shepherding you through COVID-19 and beyond. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us for any reason.

Yours for the gospel,

Tom Oostdyk
Lead Pastor