Dear Chisago Lakes church family,

I know you know that Jesus talked more about finances than he did about most other subjects. It’s because our view of finances shows a lot about our values—even our spiritual lives. I’ve said this in good times; it’s harder to teach that now, however, but it’s just as true.

Obviously for all of us our normal giving routine has been completely upended. We’re not meeting on Sundays and physically passing a plate so the reminder is not there. God will provide and he will do it through the faithful and generous gifts of our church family as he always has. You can mail your gift, use your bank’s online bill pay, drop it off at the office (call Pastor Kraig or Pastor Ben first to make sure someone is here), or use our new online giving tab on the home page of our church website (clbc.me). Online giving has two options: a credit card or through your bank. It’s a secure site.

Our finance committee in conjunction with our treasurer has figured out that over three Sundays, (3/8 - 3/22/2020) the total weekly giving is $14,500 behind budget. Over these three Sundays the weekly giving has averaged 58% of the weekly budgeted need. Yesterday’s (3/29/20) giving was 54% of our weekly need ($6,229 of our weekly budget of $11,604). It’s not just church bills that get paid with what is given; we also support missionaries through the regular giving of our church family.

I bring these numbers to you just as information. I realize that some of you might have had your hours or salary cut because of Covid 19. Please don’t see this as an indictment of the generosity of our church. You have proved over and over again that you enjoy giving to God. I just want our church family to know where we are financially. God will sustain us financially as he always has, and he will use me and you to do so.

Your undershepherd,

Pastor Kraig

Dear Church Family,

This Sunday morning we’ll be looking at Psalm 23, probably the most beloved psalm in the psalter. The video for the sermon will be posted Saturday night, and I hope that you’ll work through the family worship guide. The link will be on the homepage of our website, clbc.me. Can I suggest you do two things in preparation for Sunday? One, pray that God will work in all of our hearts even though we cannot meet together. His Spirit is not limited. Second, read Psalm 23 a few times in preparation for Sunday. It’s six very familiar verses.

This pandemic has been a stretching time for your church staff. We’ve had to make decisions that we never could have anticipated. One recent one involves Awana. Since we are not meeting on Wednesday nights for the foreseeable future, we’re going to allow kids to say sections to their parents and count them as being completed. Normally you know that children work on them during the week with their parents, but they have to say them to an Awana leader on Wednesday to get credit. However, in these extraordinary circumstances we want clubbers that have worked hard for 3/4 of the year to be able to finish their books. So this is an option to keep your children in the Word and completing their books.

Another item: this Friday night I’m teaching online for the Biblical Counseling Alliance. This was planned months ago—they do their teaching through online webinars. It’s normally a subscription service, but they are allowing any in my church to join the zoom meeting for free. The attachment explains it all. You might need to download the zoom app ahead of time, but it’s a pretty intuitive experience. You’re welcome to attend virtually. This will also give you some exposure to the BCA. They’re a national group doing a good work promoting the sufficiency of Scripture.

Finally, our online giving is up and running. If you go to the home page of the church website, you will find a tab on the front page labeled online giving. It redirects you to a secure site for giving. Of course you can always mail your gift, use online banking billpay, or drop it off at the office (you might need to call one of the pastors ahead of time since we have adjusted our office hours).

Until we can meet together on Sunday, may God grow our longing for exalting his Son together.

Your pastors,

Pastor Kraig and Pastor Ben

Been reading a book on forgiveness by Gary Inrig and one of the chapters I read recently was based on the biblical account of Jesus visiting Simon the Pharisee's house in Luke 6:36-50. It’s different but similar to how Jesus talks about forgiveness in Matthew 18. Simon the Pharisee isn’t rude, but also isn’t welcoming to Jesus. He doesn’t think he’s (Simon) much of a sinner. Jesus tells a story and Simon correctly understands it. Read the passage to get up to speed.

Here’s the bottom line. Those love the gospel best that know their sin best. If you don’t think you’re much of a sinner, then you don’t think much of the gospel. I mean you like it, but you’re not amazed that Jesus could forgive you. If, however, you rightly understand your sin, then you love the good news. Which means that our appreciation of the gospel should always be growing as we grow in our understanding of our sinfulness. If my greatest appreciation for the gospel is from years ago when I got saved, then I’m not growing in my knowledge of God’s Word.

So, is your love of the gospel growing?

Church Family,

It appears that it may be a good while until we worship together again as a church. And while this is not what we would have chosen for ourselves, it is what God has ordained, and we know that “what God ordains is always right.”

Until we are able to meet again, here is our plan.

We will be posting a pre-recorded video sermon on our website by late Saturday night. This will give you some flexibility as to when you can watch it. All you’ll have to do is click the first banner that comes up on our website on Sunday AM (it will say “Sunday Worship”). On the same page, you will see a link entitled “Worship Guide - March 22”. Click on the link for what we hope will be some helpful suggestions for worship.
God willing, we will have online giving available by Sunday. If you prefer, you may mail your regular giving to the church. Thank you for your continued support as our church and missionaries depend on your faithful giving.

Our other regularly scheduled activities are canceled until further notice (except our men’s book studies on Friday and Saturday). If you need any help with getting supplies, etc. please do not hesitate to email or call the church office.

Every time we gather on a Sunday morning to worship, it is a foretaste of the praise we will one day render to King Jesus when we finally gather around his throne. For now, we are left with a foretaste of a foretaste. We’re thankful this is possible. We need it. It is far better than nothing, but it leaves us wanting more. And that is good.

Your Shepherds,

Pastor Kraig & Pastor Ben

Dear Church Family,

Yesterday we sent you an email telling you that we were taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously and that as the situation evolved, we might make some decisions about activities this week. It’s only been 24 hours, but that’s a lifetime in this fast moving situation. Most colleges have moved up their Spring breaks and told students they wlll be doing online classes for the rest of the semester. Sporting events from all major pro and college sports have been cancelled. We are not succumbing to panic because we trust God. And meeting as a church is far more important than any sporting events—or even college classes.

However, just like vaccinations are a way we love our neighbors, so restricting our contact to limit the spread of this virus is a neighbor-loving practice to take. Therefore, we are cancelling our ABF and Sunday school classes for this Sunday. Of course this means our beloved coffee and donut time is gone too. ;) Also, the PM service was supposed to be a baptism and membership service. Normally those services are really well attended as we hear testimonies of the gospel and we gladly welcome new members. We are postponing that service for the foreseeable future as a precaution. Hopefully we can have it in the future with a large part of our church family there. We will also be cancelling our Wednesday activities (Awana, youth group, Bible study & prayer) for this coming Wednesday. We take these steps as prudent actions. Scripture encourages prudence, not panic. Proverbs 22:3 (ESV) The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

The cautions we mentioned in our last email still stand:

• We strongly encourage those who are high risk to stay home. This would include elderly members/attenders as well as those with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. Please do not mistake attending church during a pandemic for a test of spirituality or faithfulness. If you have ministry responsibilities, please contact one of us or the church office, and we will find a replacement for you. Also, if there are any needs you may have as a result of being homebound, please do not hesitate to call the church office and let us know. You have an army of brothers and sisters who would love the opportunity to serve you, whether that comes in the form of yard work, dropping off groceries, or something else.

• We are working on solutions for live-streaming our services. In the meantime, we strive to post the sermon audio each Sunday afternoon. You can find our sermons on this website. We are also working on solutions related to our offerings, as ministry needs continue as normal even if life changes significantly for a while. On both of these matters, we will keep you posted.

One of the songs we sing on Sundays says,

As summer flowers we fade and die

Fame, youth and beauty hurry by

But life eternal calls to us

At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might

Or human wisdom’s fleeting light

But I will boast in knowing Christ

At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer

Greatest Treasure,

Wellspring of my soul

I will trust in Him, no other.

My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

Neither our possessions, nor our might, nor human wisdom are our hope. Our greatest treasure is Jesus Christ and no virus can take Him from us. He is what we have in common. And we will worship him together on Sunday morning in our AM service together at 10:30am. See you there. Just don’t try to shake my hand. ;) Let’s not greet each other with holy kisses for at least this Sunday. ;)

Your Shepherds,

Pastor Kraig and Pastor Ben