Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Hi, Friends!

Wow, this has been a wild week. Last night, we sent out an all-church email with Holmeswood’s plan to keep Coronavirus out of our community (see below). Instead of increasing anxiety in an already stressful climate, our role as a church is to help your family have a plan, not a panic. Not sure how to talk to your kids and teens about Coronavirus? Check out UNICEF’s helpful quick guide.

We’d appreciate your help ensuring the health and safety of everyone. In saying that, you might have some extra time at home in the upcoming days and weeks. If you’re tired of cleaning and doing other chores, here are a few ideas to connect as a family and have some fun, too:

Faith & Fun Activities at Home – The Coronovirus Stay-cation

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  • Make a Family Prayer Jar, an easy way to remember to talk to God about our feelings and stuff happening in our family’s life.
  • Learn “Christo Me Ama” (Jesus Loves Me in Spanish); one verse of this is the perfect length to sing while washing your hands with soap and warm water!
  • Toddlers/Preschoolers: Learn some Bible verses together using these fun robot cards.
  • Kids/Youth: Learn the books of the Bible using Legos.
  • Youth/College: Learn more about SSP and San Diego for our upcoming Mission Trip meeting! (April 5)
  • How about some Bible games? Or just a fun obstacle course around the house?
  • And, on a rainy day or sleepy night at home, there are some great films and TV shows on Netflix that talk about faith and the Bible. There are options for all ages. Here are a few notables for littles:

As we stay alert and prepared, know that God the Creator of the Universe is present with you (see this week’s Let It Rain post to read more). Share your thoughts, feelings and ventings with God. You are loved.


Let It Rain

Well, have you been a Trenta lately? (see last week’s post for clarity)

God doesn’t want us to live in a constant state of struggle…Jesus never said life would be easy; however, Joy is mentioned quite a bit in the Bible…around 172 times. And, keeping that in mind, we turn to another aspect…rain.

Rain is Surprising.

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When I woke up this morning to take my dog, Sam, outside, it was POURING. Sam does not like rain, and he tried to scurry back into the house as the rain poured down in buckets on us and around us. Honestly, I was super surprised by the amount or rain coming down–I had slept through the quiet, peaceful night without even noticing the raindrops hitting my roof and the street outside. And that rain made it’s presence known, soaking everything! Now sometimes “rain comes” figuratively through disasters like a tornado in Nashville or a fire in an apartment building of beloved church members and others. Other times it is a slow sprinkle that turns into a storm with a longtime illness or changing relationship. God is here, even when rain surprises us.

Rain is Unavoidable.

Sometimes (okay, Always) life happens. Things change, and we look up to God through wide eyes or tears and say, “Why, God!?” If the things happening are really exciting, we might say, “Wow, God!” Either way, the rain comes down. Changes happen, and we have an option to look to God for guidance, or we can curl up in a ball and wish we could avoid change by staying in a cave by ourselves for 49.2 years. (Hint: the first option is better. Caves are smelly.)

Rain reminds us of God’s Promise.

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God’s promise through the Lenten season and every other day of the year is, “I am here with you!” Here are just a few examples of God’s presence with us in the rain:

  • Joshua 1:9 – God is with you wherever you go. Don’t be afraid or discouraged; instead, lean on God’s strength and courage. Example: Moses
  • Isaiah 54:6-8 – In God’s everlasting love, God has compassion (compassion=empathy in action) on you.
  • Ezekiel 34:26 – My favorite major prophet mentions God making his people and the region a blessing. God will send down the showers, showers of blessings. What an awesome image!

While rain can evoke feelings of full joy, buckets of sorrow, or anything in-between, I think it’s grand for us to turn to wisdom through Scripture and through brilliant artists that paint the picture well. I hope this song is a blessing for you, as it has been for me:

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As you and I feel the rain on our faces, let us remember God’s unwavering presence with us in times of uncertainty. As Pastor David mentioned in his benediction yesterday in Worship, “No one knows what is going to happen this coming week. Except we go with confidence knowing that the Christ is always beside us and will never leave us. So, no matter where this week’s journey takes you, you do so going alongside the One who is the fullness of life, who is the abundance of grace.” Amen.

Coming Up…

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March – Lenten Season of the Senses

15th: SEE-9:00 am Worship; BFG following

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  • Check out The Faces of Beloved Community, a CBF Photography exhibit of 40 photos of field personnel (missionaries) around the world! They’ll line our hallways.

22nd: TOUCH-9:00 am Worship; BFG following

29th: SMELL-9:00 am Worship; BFG following

  • Youth host Meet & Greet! (youth and their families bring a tray of cookies, muffins or fruit to share with the congregation today)

Let it rain…God is with each of us, always loving and always protecting. And you are loved.


Be. A. Trenta.

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  1. Have you ever been around someone who was screaming and over the top when their food order was messed up by the wait staff? Or huffing impatiently while in line at school or a store?
  2. Has a friend or family member ever overreacted or spouted anger when the situation really wasn’t that bad?
  3. Have YOU ever been that person that overreacts?

At one time or another, we have ALL been there. Even the calmest, most contemplative of us have our moments when we lash out, usually misdirected at those we respect and love the most.

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Why do we do this?

Sometimes our “Tall” cup isn’t big enough to hold our stresses, worries, anxiety and problems. We haven’t yet developed the skills to cope with life’s problems and things that come our way (or we forgot to actually use those skills!). When we’re already pretty stressed, any little thing could overflow our cup, and we want to “Fight or Flight” our way out of the situation.

So, when you see a person way overreact to a situation, it doesn’t mean they’re a terrible person. They are probably just overwhelmed and not sure how to handle all of the things going on in their life. Maybe they’re not a trenta yet…

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What!? Why be a Trenta?

  • Ever had a Trenta at that famous global coffee chain? “Trenta” means thirty in Italian, representing the 30 ounces of liquid this size of cup can hold.
  • When you’re a Trenta, your cup is big enough to handle not only your own stresses, you can also respond calmly to the daily conflict and issues that you will come into contact with. Your emotional capacity expands, and you can “Shake It Off,” as a certain pop singer says. When a flat tire (say, 2 ounces) is poured into your only half full Trenta, you have (30 -15 -2 =13) 13 ounces of space left, so no problem! You can handle this like a yoga master, calm and cool as a cucumber. And you see that life is too important to drown in stress and struggle.

God doesn’t want us to live in a constant state of struggle…Jesus never said life would be easy; however, Joy is mentioned quite a bit in the Bible…around 172 times.

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So, Be. A. Trenta!!

Coming Up…

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March – Lenten Season of the Senses

1st: HEAR–9:00 am Worship; BFG following

  • Youth/College Planning Meeting for San Diego Mission, 11:30am-1:30pm 

8th: TASTE–Family Team Meeting, 11:30am-12:30pm (Conference Room 1)

15th: SEE-9:00 am Worship; BFG following

  • Check out The Faces of Beloved Community, a CBF Photography exhibit of 40 photos of field personnel (missionaries) around the world! They’ll line our hallways.

22nd: TOUCH-9:00 am Worship; BFG following

29th: SMELL-9:00 am Worship; BFG following

  • Youth host Meet & Greet! (youth and their families bring a tray of cookies, muffins or fruit to share with the congregation today)

Pancakes and 40 Days

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“There are difficulties in everything except eating pancakes.” Charles Spurgeon

Hello! So Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is tomorrow,  and it’s a church tradition to eat pancakes this day (yummm). We get the “fats” out of the house like butter and oil, and the idea is that we simplify and focus on Jesus’ incredible love and sacrifice for us–the Lenten Season.

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Lent, Noah and Moses, oh my!

Lent is really special, and it starts on Wednesday, March 26 with Ash Wednesday. Just like Jesus fasted for 40 days (& Noah and Moses did stuff for 40 days and 40 years), we spend 40 days (6 1/2 weeks–Sundays don’t count in the 40 days) praying and focusing.

Some choose to “give up” something and replace that time or energy (like not watching TV or not drinking coffee) with time in prayer, reading the Bible and generally focusing on getting closer to God. It’s a good idea, if you choose to “replace” something in your life with Jesus for the next 40 days of Lent. Talk to your family or friends about your plan. They can be encouragers during this time.

Image result for king cakeKing Cake-a staple of Mardi Gras and my birthday cake this year

Lent starts on Wednesday, and let’s start our special focus on Jesus by worshiping together at church, the annual Ash Wednesday service. Pastor Allen burns the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday and mixes the ashes with olive oil to make a paste. Pretty neat, right?


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Wednesday, February 26: Ash Wednesday Worship at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary

Sunday, March 1: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • San Diego Mission Team Meeting #1 (REQUIRED), 11:30am-1:30pm in Youth Image result for mission team meetingRoom (lunch provided)

Sunday, March 8: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • Family Ministry Team Meeting, 11:30am in Conference Room #1

Sunday, March 15: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • Deacon Council, 11:30am in the Parlor

Sunday, March 22: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

Sunday, March 29: Worship at 9:00am, BFGs (small groups) at 10:15am

  • The Youth host Meet & Greet! (every youth family: please bring a batch of cookies, muffins or a bowl of fruit to share)

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No matter what you decide to change in your daily behavior to focus more on Jesus, be sure and prioritize this change for 40 days–Jesus certainly deserves our focus!  = )

Have an awesome week! Go eat some pancakes. 😀☕️


Summer Registration is Coming…

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Summer Plans –Mark your calendars (add to your phones)!

  • Heartland Camp – July 6-10. A five-day, all day camp at church! We will learn, play, share and serve. Water games and others fun will be happening. The cost is $60 per camper, and scholarships are available!
  • Youth/College Mission Trip to San Diego – July 18-24. A 7-day trip to San Diego with Sierra Service Project, working directly with organizations and locals around God’s work in immigration, wealth inequality, and the environment. We will stay in South County Boys and Girls Club, and we will work among Sierra Service Project’s  established, incredible ministries. This will be a life-changing, meaningful, fun trip! 
  • 4D2nd Street Camp – August 3-6. Learn and perform an awesome musical in 4 days! Does it seem impossible? Well, it isn’t! Registration opens soon for this wonderful camp, directed by Pastor Allen.

Registration for Campers AND Volunteers opens up Sunday, March 15!!

Have the most wonderful Thursday ever!

Valentine’s Day: Loving or Lacking?


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What are you doing on Friday? (multiple choice)

  • Swapping candy and silly cards with classmates and teachers
  • Going on a date with a special someone or a group of friends
  • Attending an anti-Valentine’s event for fun
  • Nothing to celebrate…it’s just another day

Loving or Lacking?

Valentine’s Day brings out a range of emotions. Sometimes there are feelings of gooey love and the warm and fuzzies for our dear friendships and/or romantic relationship. Other times, we might feel terrible and dread February 14. It’s understandable–this holiday can highlight our feelings of lacking something…lacking popularity, lacking a healthy relationship, lacking close friendships. Sometimes it can be awkward, when you aren’t sure how to express to another how you feel or don’t have the financial or creative resources to gift others. For some of us, we draw our value and worth from a day like Valentine’s Day. (It’s really easy to do!) Full of wisdom, Jesus has something to say about our worth and belonging:

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Valentine’s Day: 2 Things

An awesome blog from Sparkhouse (a publisher that provides materials for our kids and youth BFGs) mentions two crucially important points about our self-worth:

  1. Our true worth is located in our identity as children of God who are created in God’s image, not in the way others feel about us.” Sometimes Jesus was super popular, speaking to crowds of thousands, and those same crowds that loved him turned against him within a week and asked for him to be killed. Even his closest friends abandoned, denied, and betrayed him. If you are lonely, if you’re unpopular, if your friends aren’t acting the way friends should, if people are talking behind your back, you’re in good company. And while things may improve for you in less dramatic ways than they did for Jesus with the resurrection, things will improve.  
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2. “Real love from one human being to another is not about buying someone roses or chocolates.” When we in the church think about love, we may think of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This is a good place to start—a better place to start, certainly, than the materialistic messages that claim love is all about gifts that people buy for each other at stores. Yet we need to be careful with how we read and talk about a love that “endures all things.” We must have this non-boastful, non-arrogant love for ourselves first and foremost, not to hold ourselves above others but to keep ourselves safe from abuse and to leave situations that become toxic. We are not required to endure these things. (If you are in an unhealthy relationship, please talk a trustworthy family member/pastor/friend.) Equipped with this love for ourselves, we can proceed into healthy, life-giving relationships with each other, honest and real relationships that rejoice in the truth of Christ’s love for all.

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So, as we approach Valentine’s Day, remind yourself and your loved ones that our value is not located in our popularity or relationship status. And it is really important to work toward healthy relationships, recognizing any sort of mistreatment or abuse as something we need to distance ourselves from. A holiday about love should make people feel included and valued, not alienated.

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