Beloved of Atlanta Baptist,
Let me first say, “I love you!” We need to hear those words right now. Share them with one another often.
It is with a humble heart that I inform you that our church, Atlanta Baptist, will NOT be gathering in the building until further notice. Our President, our Governor, and our local health departments have asked every person in America to think of their fellow man and do everything they can to slow the spread of the virus COVID-19. We are all being humbled by this novel coronavirus, and we must take every measure we can to protect the lives of everyone in our community.
After hours of prayer, reading Scripture, conversations, and even tears; our leadership has decided to meet on-line only until further notice. Our technology is primitive, and our presentation will not be professional, but by God’s grace it will be personal. I will do my best to deliver a message to you this Sunday at 10:30am and every Sunday at this time, while we are restricted to meeting in our homes. For this week you can go to our First Baptist Church Atlanta MO Facebook page at 10:30am to hear a message from God’s Word. We will continue to update you to any changes with our on-line messages.
How did we arrive at this decision?
As many of you know, I was blind to the gravity of this situation and made statements that foolishly down-played the seriousness of COVID-19. I was wrong. As the week has progressed, I have realized just how wrong I was. As of today, according to the Johns Hopkins website there have been 275,427 confirmed cases of COVID-19 world-wide and 11,397 deaths. So far, the USA has over 19,000 confirmed cases and over 200 deaths. It is being reported that Missouri has 73 confirmed cases and 3 deaths.
Our leadership (Elder’s and Deacon’s) wisely considered this information, as well as what we learned from personal conversations with a local physician, Macon County Health Department, and emergency response personnel. With this information in mind we opened the Scriptures for guidance. First, we listened to the Scripture’s command to love your neighbor (Deut. 10:19, Micah 6:8, Mark 12:28-31, Gal. 6:10). Second, we considered our responsibility to honor governing authorities (Rom. 13). Our government is not saying that we can’t worship God or follow Jesus Christ. WE ARE STILL FREE TO FOLLOW JESUS. The governing authorities are simply asking us to join forces with them and every other person in America to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
We do not know how long this will last and we will update you regularly at atlantafbc.com. We do know that this world is temporary, and we have God’s promise that these temporary things are passing away.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Rev. 21:1-4)