Join us on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2020 for a time of singing Christ-centered Christmas songs and a message from Galatians 4:4-5 about how the Son of God came to us so that we could become children of God.
This week I sat down with Christine Appel to discuss the history of Project Greatest Gift, a home-grown ministry that serves kids in kinship and foster care in northern Colorado at Christmastime.
Every year during the month of November, we partner with the Health and Human Services departments of Weld, Adams, and Boulder Counties to provide for children and families in the kinship and foster care systems.
In this interview, Christine tells the story of how Project Greatest Gift got started, the vision behind it, and how God has used it over the past few years.
Importantly, we also discuss what is different this year in 2020, as Project Greatest Gift expands to an online platform.
Check out: projectgreatestgift.org
The Bible Learning Center is something that has been on my heart for a long time, and I’m excited to see it begin.
In the past we have taught classroom-style classes at White Fields on topics such as Church History, Christocentric Hermeneutics, and more, but over the past year I handed the development of the Bible Learning Center off to a team who have really laid the groundwork for this to become more of what we originally envisioned:
I like to describe it as: “Bible college for people who don’t have time to go to Bible college.” Think: community college meets Bible college.
The Bible Learning Center will have a two-year non-accredited credit based curriculum, aimed at preparing believers for ministry in the world, whether relational or vocational. If you only want to take a few classes which interest you, that’s possible. If you want to do the entire program, which seeks to give a well-rounded offering of essential and elective classes, that is also possible.
This first semester will be limited because of COVID-19, but we will be offering three 6-week classes starting October 5, 2020:
- Monday nights, 7:00 PM: Walk Through the Bible with Pastor Nick Cady
- Monday nights, 7:00 PM: Worship Guitar Workshop with Pastor Michael Payne
- Tuesday nights, 7:00 PM: Spiritual Transformation – a study of 1 Peter with Pastor Ken Cartlidge
For more information and to sign-up, click here: Bible Learning Center Sign-Up
My post was a shortened version of my message this past Sunday at White Fields from 1 Kings 17. Click here to listen to or watch that whole message.
Elijah was called by God to pray that it would not rain. This was a direct challenge to the pagan god Baal, who was thought to be the god of rain – a resource as valuable as gold in the arid Middle East.
James 5:17 tells us that Elijah’s prayers were used by God to cause the drought, during which Elijah hung out at the brook Cherith, which provided him with water to drink (1 Kings 17:5).
But, after a while, the lack of rain caused the brook Cherith dried up (1 Kings 17:7).
So here is Elijah, doing what God called him to do: praying that it won’t rain. But by doing what God called him to do, the same prayers which brought God glory against Baal, also caused Elijah’s own resource, which he needed to survive, to dry up.
Similarly, there may be times when God calls you to do something, and the very act of obeying God may result in your financial resources drying up, or in your popularity to drying up.
I wonder if Elijah was ever tempted to stop doing what God called him to do, out of fear that his resources would run out if he kept doing it? Are you?
“For the eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth to show himself strong for those who are wholeheartedly devoted to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 CSB)
Faith means: trusting God enough to do what He says. When you do, that is when you see God’s power and experience the evidence of His strength at work in your life.
Elijah experienced just that: as he continued to do what God called him to do, rather than dying of dehydration, God provided for him through a widow in Zaraphath. The widow herself was broke and hungry, having only enough oil and flour for one meal…but as she trusted God enough to do what He said, she experienced God’s power at work in her life, and her jars were never empty.
God has shown himself strong on your behalf in Jesus: “When we were weak, at just the right time, Christ died for sinners” (Romans 5:6). Therefore you can be sure that he will show Himself strong on your behalf whenever you trust Him enough to do what He says.
We have been monitoring very closely the COVID-19 situation from multiple angles, and are excited to announce that our church will begin gathering for in-person worship in our new building on June 7!
This is consistent with our previously announced Reopening Plan, and is in accordance with the state and federal guidelines.
In preparation for opening on June 7, we will be:
- Rearranging our sanctuary and setting up an overflow room to accommodate social distancing
- Working out the kinks with live-streaming our services
- Setting up audio and video in the overflow room
- Having the building cleaned by a professional cleaning company
- Hanging our big sign on the outside of the building
- Coordinating with our service teams to ensure a welcoming and safe environment for worship
We look forward to seeing you on June 7! Remember that we will be having two services, at 9:00 & 11:00 AM. These are family services, which means that there will not be NextGen classes for children or youth, but there will be a “Wiggle Room” available for parents with niños who need to get out their wiggles, as well as a Nursing Mothers room, complete with a screen where you can watch the service as you take care of your babies!
The wearing of masks is recommended, and we will be disinfecting between services. Those leading from the stage will not be wearing masks while they lead worship or teach, so please plan your seating accordingly if that is a concern for you. Families are encouraged to sit together, otherwise seating will be done with 6 foot distance (2 empty chairs between you and the next person). Hand sanitizer stations will be available.
If you are experiencing symptoms, or are not yet ready for public gatherings, you will still be able to join us online on our YouTube channel, our Facebook page, and whitefieldschurch.com live at 9:00 & 11:00 AM starting June 7. On May 31 we will still be broadcasting our service at 10:00 AM.
But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face – 1 Thessalonians 2:17
We are excited for this new season for our church!
Love and blessings,
In this video I explain our church’s 3-stage plan to reopen and resume physical gatherings in light of COVID-19 and the end of stay-at-home orders:
Today as we celebrated Easter at White Fields Church in Longmont, Colorado, we had a special greetings sent in from some of the missionaries we support around the world, including several in Ukraine.
Here’s the video of the Easter service, which includes the greetings from those missionaries:
Some of the missionaries in Ukraine mentioned that their country celebrates Easter a week later than we do in the United States, leading some people to ask why that is.
Council of Nicea (325 AD): Setting a Common Date for Easter
The First Ecumenical Council of Christin leaders around the world as held in 325 AD and is known as the Council of Nicea.
Prior to Nicea, churches in different parts of the world celebrated Easter on different Sundays of the year. In order to bring unity, council members created a formula to would calculate the date for Easter for all churches around the world: the first Sunday after the first full moon which follows the vernal equinox, after the Jewish Passover.
To avoid confusion, it determined that the vernal equinox was on March 21. This system guaranteed that all churches around the world celebrated Easter on the same day.
The Great Schism and the Introduction of the Georgian Calendar
In 1054 the Eastern and Western churches split. The division was for theological, cultural, and political reasons. Shortly after this, Pope Gregory VIII introduced the Gregorian calendar, whereas the Eastern Empire continued with the Julian calendar, which had been used since the time of Julius Caesar.
The reason for the introduction of the Gregorian calendar was the realization that the Julian calendar was discovered to be 11 minutes too long, which, though not much, led to the spring equinox no longer being on March 21 by that time. The Gregorian calendar sought to bring correction to this issue, whereas the Eastern Empire (and its churches) continued with the Julian calendar despite the fact that according to it, the vernal equinox was no longer on March 21.
By using two different calendar systems, the vernal equinox now fell on March 21 under the Gregorian calendar and April 3 on the Julian calendar. The two empires (and their churches), as a result, began celebrating Easter on two different days, though on occasion Easter date does still fall on the same day for both calendars (e.g. in 2017 and next in 2025).
As for the question of why the date of Easter changes every year, see: Easter Math: How Does It Add Up?
A Time For Celebration?
For Christians, Easter is our biggest celebration of the year. And yet, how do you celebrate in the midst of a crisis in which thousands of people are sick and dying, and millions are out of work and hurting financially?
Some churches have suggested that celebrations of Easter should be delayed until this crisis gets better. I disagree. In fact, I would say that there is no more appropriate time for us to celebrate Easter than in the face of sickness, instability, and death, because these things are the very reasons why Easter is good news worth celebrating!
In fact, this may be the one moment in all of our lives when we understand the weight of what Easter means, and the hope that it brings, more than ever.
The meaning of Easter is that the Lord of Life died in order to destroy death, and make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him and resurrected to “a better life” (Hebrews 11:35, 40).
How We’re Doing Church This Weekend
This year we will be having our church’s first ever Good Friday service, but since we cannot gather physically we put out pre-packaged communion supplies for people to pick up outside of the church.
We have been pre-recording our services in order to create a worshipful experience for those who watch at home.
See also: Pastoring in the Midst of Crisis
Join Us for Good Friday and Easter Online
- Good Friday: 6:00 PM Mountain Time
- Easter Sunday: 10:00 AM Mountain Time
This past Sunday (March 22, 2020) was supposed to have been our last service in the Saint Vrain Memorial Building, where White Fields Church has met since its inception, years before I became pastor.
However, because of concerns about the Coronavirus outbreak, not only are we not gathering physically out of concern about spreading the virus, but the Memorial Building is closed.
This past week, some members of our congregation were able to get in to move our things out of storage at the Memorial Building to move them to the new facility. The group also moved us out of the offices our church has been in for the last 2.5 years.
Looking at the pictures, it was a bit surreal realizing that it is the end of a season during which a lot of good ministry took place, and when I last left those places I had no idea that I wouldn’t be able to return!
This coming Sunday (March 29, 2020) was scheduled to be our first Sunday in the new building, and we were planning to kick off doing two services on Easter. Right now, it is looking unlikely that churches will even be able to gather on Easter at all.
However, I was able to go into the empty church building last Saturday and pre-record my sermon by preaching to an empty room, making this the first service in our new building… kind of.
I can’t wait for the time when we will get to gather physically again, and have a proper grand opening!
Here’s the video of the service:
Psalm 112:7 (NLT) “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.”
With the heightened awareness and deep public concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to let you know that we are carefully monitoring the situation, CDC updates, and government response and recommendations.
We are continuing to take precautions at our services and gatherings. We have prepackaged, single use communion cups and wafers available, as well as hand sanitizer. We ask that everyone please wash your hands thoroughly, even more than usual, as this is this most effective way of preventing transmission. We are committed to being as proactive as possible to create safe and clean environments for us to worship in. We’ve always been very intentional in this commitment and are now, more than ever.
Currently we are not planning on canceling any of our church services or Bible studies.
We have made the decision to cancel our Easter Outreach at the recommendation of Boulder County, which is asking that large public gatherings and festivals be cancelled. We want to be good neighbors and honor the authorities God has put in place.
Some of you have asked about whether Pastor Mike and I will be affected by the travel ban. We will not be affected by it, as we are US citizens. We will be home soon. Thank you for your concern.
Let us be ready and looking for opportunities to love our neighbors in this time. Let’s be respectful of people’s concerns and ready to reach out in love, faith, and compassion – being full of the confidence and courage that comes from the hope of the gospel.