Evergreen Church News and Blog Posts

A word of encouragement 05.19.2020

Today’s word of encouragement is from Covenant Partner Linda Hangen. Linda came across this wonderful video of The Hallelujah Chorus and thought it would brighten your day. 
 

 
Enjoy and be blessed! 
Linda Hangen


Evergreen Church phase 1 reopening plan

A special message from Pastor Don regarding Evergreen Church phase 1 plan



A word of encouragement 05.14.2020

There is a passage in Isaiah I love. It comes from Isaiah 43 and says the following:
 
Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
  the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise.

 
Sounds great doesn’t it? Drop the past and look toward the future.  But here’s the challenge: so much of what we do, and how we do it, so much of what we think, feel and expect comes out of what has been. For example, we may be heading into summer but think about Christmas. How much of what we do at Christmas is ‘tradition’? I mean, my kids are grown and finished with college, yet Mary Ann still insists on buying pajamas and underwear for them every year! (Yes, I have pointed they may be a little old for this and consistently get the “it’s a tradition and I like it” look). We LIKE tradition. We feel SAFE with tradition. We KNOW WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO in tradition. Now, to be fair, (and to make sure I don’t have to sleep in the car) I don’t think God is particularly concerned with a pajama-underwear tradition at Christmas. God’s not concerned with it because it isn’t hobbling our view of the future. That’s the real problem, limiting the goodness, power, creativity and ability of God by measuring the present by the past. 

Right now, with so many cancelations and postponements it is easy to be disappointed. Based on what we have done in the past, the present isn’t measuring up. We are missing events and people we love. We are missing our usual patterns. We’ve missed birthdays or weddings. We’ve been stymied in honoring a loved one’s life or retirement. Graduation isn’t happening the way it is ‘supposed’ to happen, even things as simple as enjoying our friends at our favorite restaurant is on hold. Add to that furloughs and pay cuts. The disappointment is real. The cancelations and changes feel like a loss. But remember, God says…I am doing something new…can you see it?
 
When we get twisted up in the old, when our expectations and patterns (dare I say habits) are based on what has been, allowing the new to emerge is difficult. We might even fight against it. And so, when you put this in the context of a global pandemic, it is hard to see the new things coming out of it as good and positive. Still, it is undeniable that God is doing a new thing, creating a divine reshuffling and reordering in the middle of this.    

I wonder if you’ve felt it or seen “perceived” God doing something new in your own life. Have you noticed God working on a spot in your life or your faith which feels lonely, lost, desolate or without hope? Is there a
“dry place”; an area of life which you stopped visiting long ago because you decided it was never going to change? Is it family or work? Is it the routine of the everyday? Where is it you stopped expecting, anticipating and hoping? And: have you felt God moving your heart back in that direction?

Maybe you have felt isolated and alone but now you’re more connected with your family than you have been in a long time. Grown kids are home or at least calling a lot more; closed relationships beginning to open; parents and little ones more able to share life with working from home and the close of school. It might not be easy and it may point out areas which need work but it is new and it is good. Or maybe your job has been boring or hard. Maybe you’re career had gotten very dry, your passion disappeared or and you were just going through the motions for the paycheck. But now, somehow, working from home has changed your perspective. What was annoying has now become life giving. What was boring has taken on new importance.  Or maybe your desolation was just doing the same things over and over; life without variation or change. But now we’ve been reminded of the value of grocery shopping, a visit to the neighbors, or a walk around the block. It’s like God is pouring out water on the dry areas of our existence and bringing them back to life.  Just as Isaiah said,  God is doing a new thing; water in the desert, restoration in desolation.  

Many years ago, Mary Ann and I went to visit a friend from seminary who was serving a tiny church in a tiny town on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, about two hours from Seattle. Having never been out there, we learned how on the west side of the Cascades things are green and wet but on the East side they are brown and dry. Tumbleweed dry. Still, every now and then, we’d drive past a bright green area, a place where water had been directed and out of which burst forth life.  

I know things are hard right now. I know we are all tired of this pandemic “game”. But I also know God is doing a new thing right now. He is bringing life-filled green into the desert brown of our lives and maybe even into the world. And for me, I just have to stop struggling to get back to the old. What was, was but it is over. What will be, will be and it is coming created and directed by our good God. Oh, I am praying for revival to come on us in heart, mind, spirit and action. I am praying for a greening up, not just of “our” church but of all the church.  I am praying isolation highlighted the healing rain of our families, jobs, friendships and everyday life. I pray we come back deeper, gentler and more grateful. I am praying, as we walk into the next season, that we hold onto the old less tightly than we did before and that we enter it with a renewed sense of awe and wonder. 

I can’t end without asking you to go back and read that Isaiah passage one more time, slowly. Do you see it?  The new thing God is doing has a purpose: to give drink to his people, his chosen ones. Isn’t it crazy how God never stops thinking about us or acting for us? But that is who God is. He is the one who says, I am doing something new and I’m doing it for your good. When you see that, or at least when I do, I am moved to prayer and praise. Sure, I sometimes grieve the loss of what was and I am disappointed at what will never be but when I filter those feelings in the light of having a God who is bringing the new for our good, I am overcome with thanks and peace. May it be the same for you.   

 
Blessings and peace to you all.
Pastor Don Feuerbach


Phased reopening plan

Hello Evergreen Church,
 
We have missed worshiping with you in person, but have loved hearing the heartfelt testimonies about the life changes God has revealed to you during this time and the Words of Encouragement that have comforted and inspired our church family.
 
We are actively planning the phased reopening of worship services. We want to share with you some of the ways our discussions are developing into an action plan. Please remember that Evergreen Church will remain fluid and make adjustments necessary for the safety of our members and community.
 
Phase 1: May 10 – May 30 – Small group meet-ups
(No Sunday congregational worship until May 31)
  • Joint in home worship with 2-3 other families or friends follow CDC guidelines. Online worship will be offered through our Evergreen Church Facebook or on our website at EvergreenChurchGa.org.
  • Evergreen Church will also be open for small groups, meetings, and Bible studies. Meetings must be scheduled in advance through Raymonde Neely at Raymonde@EvergreenChurchGa.org, to ensure meeting rooms are properly set up to meet social distancing guidelines.
  • After meetings conclude, Raymonde will clean high traffic areas, ie. doorknobs, tables, and, water fountains. Doors should remain propped open while guests are in the building.
  • Evergreen Church office will remain closed unless you have prescheduled a meeting.
Phase 2: May 31 and June 7 – Outdoor worship and online worship continues
  • Evergreen Church will offer one in person congregational worship at 9:30 am as well as continue online worship service.
  • Bring your own chairs, blankets, or drive and sit in your golf cart or car.
  • We also strongly encourage you to continue to wear a face mask and will have a few provided should you need one.
  • Restrooms will not be available at this time.
Phase 3: June 14 – In person worship in the Evergreen Church building and online worship continues
  • Evergreen Church will offer two services located in the Great Room at 9:30 am and 11 am. Members are to preregister by using our Evergreen Church registration system or emailing Sarah@EvergreenChurchGa.org.
  • Areas will be pre-blocked to meet social distancing guidelines.
  • Church members and guests will be asked to head straight into worship, no mingling in the front lobby.
  • No bulletins will be handed out.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be displayed throughout the church.
  • We also strongly encourage you to wear a face mask and will have a few provided should you need one. This will increase comfort levels among all attendees.
Phase 4: August 2 – Normal Evergreen Church activities resume

Please note Children’s Ministry and Childcare TBD during each phase. These phases are also a ‘best guess’ at how things will go. We are asking everyone to remain flexible as Evergreen Church makes adjustments for the safety of our members and community.

Changes of our reopening status and ministry updates will be communicated through email and posted on our Evergreen Church website blog. We appreciate your patience and prayers as we navigate the future together. We are doing our best to address the most important immediate issues and should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Raymonde Neely at Raymonde@EvergreenChurchGa.org



A word of encouragement 04.30.2020

Since Covid-19 has happened, it has become a normal thing to stay inside and repeat the same routine everyday. We see news about unemployment rates increasing and Covid-19 cases increasing. At some moments, the current times seem hopeless.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Although we do not know what the future holds, stay faithful and keep a positive outlook. Keep faith in God’s plan and enjoy friends and family. Being stuck in a house with your family for a couple of months may not seem like a blessing from God, but that’s where faith comes into play. 

 
In His service, 
Josh Gibson 


A word of encouragement 04.28.2020

During this time of job losses, illnesses and financial instability, I have to dig deep to rely on God’s counsel instead of trying to problem solve on my own. One verse that helps me refocus is John 14:27. “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”
As we navigate uncharted waters, let’s continue to pray for wisdom, guidance and strength in order to safely move forward with a peaceful mind and heart. 
 
May God continue to bless our church family and community.
Bob Drakes 
 


Join us in prayer

Gallery
On Wednesday, April 29 at 6 pm join Pastor Don on our Evergreen Church Facebook page for a time of prayer. He will be showing up live to pray over our church, community, and nation, He will also be taking specific prayer requests. To submit a prayer request, click here.


Weekly Playlist 04.26.2020

Contemporary play list 

Freedom

Future / Past

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

King Of Glory

Traditional play list 

Because He Lives I Can Face Tomorrow

It Is Well With My Soul

To God be the glory

How deep the Father’s love


A word of encouragement 04.27.2020

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Exodus 14:14. It’s short; only a dozen words but it’s awesome.  Here’s what it says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

The context of the verse is important:  The tenth plague has caused Pharaoh to beg the Hebrew slaves to leave and so they pack up and start making their way out of Egypt. Shortly after, Pharaoh, realizes the free labor he is losing and changes his mind. So, Pharaoh sends the world’s most powerful army after this group of women, children, men and animals. At this point, the Hebrews are backed up against the Red Sea. Off in the distance the dust of 600 chariots starts rising into the sky. These former slaves know what this means, and they immediately blame Moses. “Didn’t we tell you to leave us alone? Didn’t we say we’d serve the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be slaves than die in the desert!” Moses answers them, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see in the distance you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” What a promise and what a request! 

It is amazing how quickly we forget the power of God is on our side. Just a short time ago, these powerless slaves watched God force the hand of the most powerful nation in the world. Plague after plague set on the Egyptians making clear the focus of God’s favor and provision has been on them. Yet the second things get hard, they forget everything. They forget how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is fighting for them.  They forget the power of the plagues. They forget God passing over their homes and striking the first born of the Egyptians. They can’t translate God’s love and faithfulness toward them in the past into God’s faithfulness and love for them in the present.  

That is the promise though, isn’t it?  What God did in the past we can count on God to do in the present and the future.  We aren’t asked to simply guess or cross our fingers and “hope” God will do what he says.  Instead, God’s backs his promise with evidence: account after account, both Biblically and in the present, witness after witness, of God’s faithfulness and love. 

But. Still.

The promise is one thing. The request is another: stand still and let me fight for you. Do you have as much trouble with that part as I do? Believing the promise is one thing. Standing back and watching chariots bear down on my family and me is another. Trusting God in theory is one thing, trusting God as a threat narrows the gap, that’s the hard part. No wonder the people say, uh, shouldn’t we have a plan Moses? Surrender sounds good.

It is easy to surrender to fear and hopelessness; to give into uncertainty and things being ‘unprecedented’, especially right now. No, we don’t know what’s going to happen as we reopen and begin to expose ourselves to each other again. No, we don’t know what’s coming financially. But we do know this: The Lord is fighting for us. He always has and he always will. For goodness sakes, he sent his Son to die for the sins of the world!  He’s bringing a new kingdom!  He isn’t about to abandon what he started! 

Now is not the time to shrink back and surrender to a spirit of slavery. Now is not the time to surrender. Now is the time to look at what God has done in the past, take heart, stand back and let his plan work itself out.
No one could have predicted God would part the waters of the Red Sea. God didn’t lay the plan out to anyone before he did it. But when those waters parted, they created both a path to freedom for his people and a path of destruction for the Egyptians.

So let’s wait and see. Let’s see how the Lord decides to fight for us. Let’s see what sea God will part for us this time…but we’re going to have to stand still, with our eyes open, our hearts confident of his saving power and let him fight for us. And when he moves, when the ground is dry…let’s be ready to go.