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Coronavirus

Updates & communications

NEW!
During these uncertain times, be encouraged as you listen these short video encouragements from our Barn community.

The Barn Regular Update

May 19, 2020

Decisions Moving Forward to “Open” The Barn
 
Thanks for praying for the meeting of The Barn elders last night. We made three decisions regarding when and to what extent we can “open” the church for “in-person” meetings.
 
First, our live-streamed Sunday morning service will continue as is for now. We are double-checking with PA authorities to see what gathering guidelines apply to churches in our region of PA. Our understanding at this point (this may change) is that the 10-person rule for physical gatherings in the church facility still applies. So we will continue to do our live-streamed Sunday morning services using this guideline. In the meantime, we will start actively planning for when we can open up to a maximum of 25 or more people at this live-streamed service so that we are well prepared when we can go to that number. We welcome volunteers to help plan and launch this service when we go to 25 people or more; we will start with a max. of 25 to make sure we “get it right” before expanding. We will continue live-streaming our Sunday morning services even after all numerical restrictions are lifted because it has proved to be a way to reach so many more people than in-person services. We are aware of the need for kids to experience church, and for all at The Barn to experience “connection” spiritually and socially. We are praying about these issues. We are also exploring providing a Spanish-speaking element to our live-streamed services too.. If you have suggestions as to how to creatively enhance our live-streamed Sunday morning services, I (Bruce) am delighted to hear what you have in mind. We plan to do a “panel-discussion” teaching soon as one way to mix things up a bit. I would also be interested to know how you like the new “order” of an opening worship set, announcements and a 45-min. teaching, then a closing worship set. Once we open up the numerical limit, we plan to add in more people on stage, to do art and be expressive in visual ways through dance and/or flagging.
 
Second, we decided to plan and do a “parking lot service” in early- to mid-June at a time other than the Sunday morning live-streamed service.Details will follow, but right now our thinking is to make it a one-hour service done in a creative but safe way.  If this works well, we will plan to do regular outdoor services during the warm weather. We welcome volunteers to help plan and to serve at this service. One benefit will be that we get to visibly see each other and interact even if from a “social distance.” We will be working on the kids and bathroom usage issues for this service.
 
Third, we are checking into the legality of how we can use our Zoom-based small groups to provide more pastoral and body life fellowship and care by possibly meeting in homes. This may be a fruitful potential area where The Barn can grow more and more into our destiny by reaching out more and more into our communities, subject to shelter in place guidelines. More on this later. For now, let’s continue our Zoom-based virtual gatherings. Those who are feeling disconnected from the church should make extra effort to join one of our 21 Zoom-based small groups. You can call Lynn or Michele (info@thebarnvineyard.com) for how to connect with a Zoom group.
 
Safety Protocols in the New Normal of Church
 
One point we felt strongly was to reinforce the need to observe current CDC safety protocols when meeting in Barn facilities. That would include masking, social distancing, and regular disinfecting after each usage of our buildings. Sadly but truly, we are entering into a “new normal” for gathering in church buildings in America, as will be true also for schools and business-related buildings. Until either the Lord zaps the virus once and for all, or until “herd immunity” in the U.S. is developed through mass infections over time or mass vaccination. The Barn plans to seek God for creative ways to “do church” while still observing the common safety protocols recommended (or mandated) by our government.

The Barn Regular Update

May 12, 2020

Online prophetic prayer will be offered from the Barn through zoom Tuesday, May 19 from 7-8 pm. Email helen@thebarnvineyard.com by Monday, May 18 and we will send you an invite to go on zoom. Or just reply to this email. If you are new to zoom, let Helen know. It is easy to use and we can help you get on it. 

The Barn Regular Update

May 7, 2020

Praise our God for His marvelous goodness! We are happy to report no more COVID cases in the church, and, best of all, no deaths. Our God is protecting us according to His great faithfulness!
 
Adjustments to Sunday morning service
 
  1. We’ve had good feedback when we’ve placed a short set of musical worship at the end of the Sunday live-stream. So, unless the Spirit changes things, we will try to start the teaching before 11 and finish by 11:45. Then we’ll go back into worship to end our time together at noon.
  2. We have no idea when churches in our PA region will be able to go back to meeting physically, and at what maximum number. But our tentative plan we are praying about at this point involves, first, inviting our current functioning small groups to attend on Sunday morning—one or at most two initially—rotating through all the groups week by week. If we have room for 25, our “skeleton crew” of about ten will still do the live-streaming so we’ll have room for about 15 more from one or two small groups. This (and other parts of how to reopen church physically) is being prayed over and in flux planning-wise, but our goal is to be ready to re-assemble quickly once we can do so according to governmental recommendations.

The Barn Regular Update

April 12, 2020

The issue of whether churches should resume gathering in large groups has come into recent public focus. Some religious leaders who favor re-gathering their congregations now are framing the issue as one of religious liberty. The vast majority of American churches, however, see it not as that, but as an issue of responding in wisdom and love to a nation-wide public safety issue. We need to think and pray clearly about this matter. I have re-displayed Barn member P.J. Kurylak’s excellent article addressing this issue—which I asked him to write–so that we can all be fully convinced in our own minds. The Barn has chosen to align ourselves with PA’s guidelines related to church gatherings, which are, in our view, appropriate at this point given the realities of the COVID pandemic. –Bruce

Article by P.J. Kurylak:

Does Government Have the Right to “Close Down” Church Gatherings to Promote Public Health Safety?
 
I am not a lawyer. This article does not constitute legal advice.
 
As governments contemplate how to respond to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, they obviously have to consider whether any order that they issue will be seen as violating the First Amendment. The First Amendment of the US Constitution reads:
 
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
 
On the face of it, the answer to the title of this article is simple: no, US governments do not have the right to close down church gatherings. To do so would violate both the “prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]” and the “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” clauses of the First Amendment. So far, states have been careful to skate the edge of the 1st Amendment without violating it in their response to COVID-19. Religious organizations have been allowed to stay open as “essential businesses.” Peaceable assembly has not been prohibited; it has only been limited (to 10 or 50 individuals). In some states, such as Pennsylvania, assembly is not currently prohibited; the state just “strongly encourages” that the number of people be limited and that social distancing be practiced when people do gather.
 
But what if greater measures are called for? Could the government argue that there is a compelling reason to suspend portions of the 1st amendment for a period of time in order to contain this pandemic?
 
It’s possible. There are many ways in which Americans’ rights as detailed in the Bill of Rights have been restricted or removed over the years by laws and legal precedent. I can’t go into all the ways in which this has happened, but one terrible example is the government’s practice of civil forfeiture, in which citizens are deprived of their property without due process. Citizens are supposed to be protected from this practice by the Fifth Amendment, but the government has argued that they have a compelling interest in seizing property as part of their War on Drugs.
 
If the government were to make such an argument regarding the exercise of religion and suspend First Amendment rights in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, what should be our response?
 
I feel that in the short term we can reasonably comply with an order to stop meeting. COVID-19 is not like other illnesses. Though hard numbers are difficult to pin down, I have read that it is 10 times more likely to result in hospitalization than the seasonal flu, and 20 to 30 times more likely to lead to death. It’s spread is also much faster than that of the flu. I can understand the desire to stop the spread by limiting people’s contact, and so if the government were to issue such I order I feel that we should comply with it. We can for a time make use of our electronic means of assembly using virtual meeting software such as Zoom and by using social media to stay in touch. We have a responsibility to obey the government where we can (Romans 13). In addition, I think that if we out-of-hand resist such an order it can be perceived as the church not caring for its neighbors and that we are putting our desires above the needs of our community. (I’ll just let that statement sit there and not go down the rabbit trail of discussing how much we should care about how the world perceives us.)
 
But any such order to stop meeting should be time limited, and we should insist that it be. A lot is lost when believers cannot join together in person. I believe in the efficacy of the laying on of hands for healing, and that there is also power in corporate worship, in shared communion, and in simply being in each others’ company. Also, meeting online is not like meeting in person in that meeting online increases the possibility that uninvited parties are listening in on our meetings. I don’t want to live in fear, or spread fear to you if you haven’t thought of this, but knowing that others – whether governments, corporations, or bad actors – could be listening in can affect how transparent I am in a meeting. Finally, I believe that it is true that any time rights are taken away, no matter how compelling the reason, it makes it easier to take them away in the future. Limiting the time when rights are reduced places at least one hurdle in the way of reducing them in the future.
 
In summary, I don’t believe that state and federal governments have the right to shut down churches, but I can see where they could make the case that they have a compelling public health justification for doing so. As long as such an order is clearly time limited, I feel that we should do our best to comply with such an order for the sake of our community.

PJ Kurylak
 

The Barn Regular Update

April 2, 2020

Bold Faith, Steady Wisdom

The Barn has re-evaluated our commitment to live-streaming in light of the upsurge in COVID cases in our tri-state area and the potential for easier infection by those who are asymptomatic carriers. Our elders have prayed about this and considered it. We have decided the following, which is of course subject to change if the Spirit leads:
 

  1. We will continue live-streaming but with additional safety procedures in place.
  2. These procedures include increasing social distance to 10’ instead of 6’ and minimizing the number of musicians on stage at any given time (usually 3-4)
  3. We do now but will do more significant disinfecting of the Barn areas that we use in live-streaming: door handles, bathrooms, all musical equipment and microphones, including the floor mic and headset mic. We will be free to wear masks if we want to. Our sound-booth workers will stay at least 6’ apart and 3 persons will not be allowed in the booth at one time. No one with any flu-like symptoms—or who have been around people with flu-like symptoms–should be part of any live-streaming event.
  4. Unless we are married, two or more persons will not sit or stand near each other on or off-stage while live-streaming.
  5. Communion will not be served in person as we have been doing. 

 
In addition, we are looking at virtual ways to pray together instead of using the physical space of the Old Barn Prayer Center. As of now, those who pray never are more than 4 or 5 at one time and we sit or stand more than 6’ from each other. Also, the pastors will never meet physically with counselees or for staff meetings but will meet online, by phone, or through Zoom or a medium like Zoom. (We do not meet physically now.)

Thursday Night Worship (Incense and Arrows) Tonight! 
 
Go to The Barn’s Facebook Live and or watch HERE on our website to take in our Incense and Arrows evening of worship, prayer, and proclamations. Audrey and Jim Sims will provide worship and Bruce will lead the prayer and proclamations. 7-8:30 PM. Live-streaming is accessed through our web site.
 
Zoom-based Virtual Prayer Ministry After Sunday’s Live-Streamed Barn Meeting
 
Our first Barn experiment in virtual prayer ministry is scheduled to happen this coming Sunday morning. Instructions on how to be part of this new ministry will be clearly displayed during the Sunday morning live-streamed service. This is open to all who want to join into this Zoom-based ministry, not just Barn members.
 
Sunday’s Teaching: The Spirit’s “Jobs” and How to Partner with His Presence in Us – by Bruce 
 
We will give attention to Palm Sunday of course then teach the second half of last week’s message on The Distinguishing Mark of the New Creation Christian: The Presence of the Spirit. From one Sunday to the next, between 1200-1400 people visit The Barn’s FacebookLive Sunday service. This doesn’t mean that all of them view the entire service but that that many check in to take a look. That’s a lot of people we are reaching with our live-streaming ministry. Pray that God richly anoints this time and expands His kingdom through it!

The Barn Regular Update

March 26, 2020

Live-Streamed Barn Worship Tonight!

“Incense and Arrows” live-streamed worship, prayer, and proclamations tonight from The Barn at 7 PM. Join us!

Those of You Who Signed up for the Discipleship Intensive
We need you to send your contact info to the office or to Bruce directly (Bruce@thebarnvineyard.com) if you want to be part of a Zoom small group that will continue this Intensive for three more sessions—probably on a Tuesday or Wednesday night.

Teaching This Sunday

Teaching topic: The Protective Power of Being Led by the Spirit
Instructor: Bruce

Upcoming Sunday Live-Streamed Teachings:

Palm and Resurrection Day Sundays: Bruce
Overcoming Disappointment, by Nina Taylor
Series on Essential Biblical Doctrines, Continued, by Russ Mason

The Barn Regular Update

March 24, 2020

Additional Live-Streamed Worship Coming Up, Starting this Thursday evening, 7 PM!

The Barn will begin to live-stream mid-week worship and prayer times so we can all get re-charged in the Spirit between our Sunday gatherings. Bethany Sheldon and Kaleb Moten will lead our regular Incense and Arrows time this Thursday night starting at 7. Our gathering restriction of ten persons in the room will still be honored so non-essential personnel for the live set are asked to enjoy the worship/prayer times at home. Thursday evening sessions of worship and prayer will be live-streamed through The Barn’s Facebook Live account every week until the crisis ends.

Got Testimonies?

If you experience God moving in amazing ways during this time of crisis, please let us know. Send your written testimonies to info@thebarnvineyard.com and we’ll make sure to get them to the wider church!

Zoom-based Groups Coming!

We are launching next week our new Zoom-based online home groups. More info. coming!

Probable Leading Confirmed—Anoint Your Door Frames!

Several times now in Old Prayer Center prayer sessions, the thought to “anoint the doors of your homes” has come to the minds of prophetic pray-ers. So as a prophetic act, we suggest that you take some anointing oil (or possibly grape juice or wine if you want) and place it on the door frames of the entrances to your home, declaring the power of the blood of Jesus Christ to protect us from the “shadow of death.”

Continue to Proclaim God’s Protection Through Scripture

I suggest that we all continue to proclaim Ps. 91 and other scriptures that speak of God’s protection over His own. Ps. 34 is another excellent psalm to personalize and declare on a regular basis!

Devote Special Prayer to The Barn’s Medical Professionals

We have a number medical professionals (doctors and nurses) who are members of The Barn. They are on the front line of this virus crisis so let’s speak protection and empowerment by the Spirit over them as often as the Spirit brings them to our minds.

Prayer Sessions at the Old Barn Prayer Center are going on—times: 9 AM, Noon, 3 PM, and 7 PM. Please observe social distancing and no more than ten in the large prayer room.

It’s On! We will Live-Stream the April 25th Spiritual Navigation Workshop, taught by Bruce, from The Barn starting at 9 AM and ending at Noon or before. All—from The Barn and from other churches—are invited to dial in to The Barn’s web site live-streaming section.

 

The Barn Regular Update

March 23, 2020

Hi Barn Family,

New Sheltering Guidelines and Attending Church

DE has issued an order for residents to shelter in place. As far as we understand, DE, PA, and MD residents can still attend The Barn to worship and pray together, or to be edified through study or other “religious” means. This is because in PA, churches are considered organizations “essential to life,” so are not “closed” to worship-oriented activity. So we may continue to gather physically day or night at The Barn, but in groups no more than ten and observing the new norm of social distancing. And obviously if you are sick with flu-like symptoms or in a household with someone who is, please do not physically come to The Barn until all your ymptoms are gone for a few days. Those who want to wear masks or gloves are encouraged to do so, but those who do not want to are encouraged not to as well.

Daily Prayer

Prayer “hours” at the old Barn prayer center are 9 AM, Noon, 3 PM, and 7 PM Monday through Friday. Six Barnites showed up this morning for the 9 AM prayer, which ended at 10 AM. We sat more than six feet from each other, and/or we walked and prayed in the worship room at the old Barn.

Prophetic Words at The Barn

Prophetic words and encouragements texted to Lynn during yesterday’s live-streamed service at The Barn has been compiled and sent out to all of us. If you didn’t get them and want them, please let Lynn know by text. 302.463.1521

A word received this morning at prayer is that just as the Lord is in the process of rolling out a massive, worldwide outpouring of His Spirit, so the enemy, through this virus, has rolled out a massive, worldwide tactic to confine the church and minimize our “going out” into all the world with the gospel. But just as the spiritual energies of the Israelite army were “confined” and “boxed in” through enforced silence as they marched seven times around Jericho, but then that spiritual power “exploded” through a shout and flattened the city walls, so too, the time of “confinement” of the church will end and the people of God will “explode” out into the world, spreading the kingdom of God as never before on the face of the earth!

Zoom-Based Online Barn Small Groups Getting Set Up

We are in the process of setting up a network of Zoom-based Barn online home groups. If you are a member of The Barn (or took the “intake” steps and are waiting to become an “official” member) and you want lead an online group or be part of one, please text or email Lynn Latshaw (Lynn@thebarnvineyard.com) (302-463-1521). A list of the new online small groups will be sent out to you soon. You will still be able to sign up through our website under community and small groups.

Mid-Week Worship Live-Streamed

There is talk of setting up live-streamed mid-week (Wed. or Thurs. eve.) worship events at The Barn. Stay tuned. Unfortunately we will be observing the ten-person-limit guideline for these events as well, and with worship team people and tech people needed, there will not be many “slots” left over for Barnites to attend these live.

Coming Soon: Is Covid-19 a Revelation Plague—God’s Judgment?
Does the Government Have the Right to “Close” Churches for Public Safety Reasons?

Live-streaming tomorrow!

March 21, 2020

Hey Barn Family,

The PA governor has issued a shelter in place order for PA. However, that does not apply to religious organizations, which are considered life-sustaining and can be open using social distancing CDC norms, including live-stream services with a band. This means that unless this rule changes, we will live-stream every Sunday from 10-Noon and may actually go to a modified schedule of workshops or special meetings using a worship band and perhaps a special speaker—like a monthly Holy Spirit Night and/or a mid-week worship service.

However, there is a “ten-person gathered” rule we will observe so these will have to have no substantial live audience. We are sorry, but we’ll have to limit physical attendance at our live-streaming sessions to worship team personnel, technical support personnel, and Lynn and myself (or another teacher).

So, for tomorrow, go to this page to view our FacebookLive live-streaming. During worship you can text Lynn to forward words you receive to release at the mic. Note: if we receive too many words, we will may not get yours in as we seek the Spirit’s guidance—no different than a normal Sunday morning, really. Bruce’s teaching title is Temporary Inconvenience, Permanent Improvement! He will address our need to stay focused on the vision of God for us all as we move forward in the kingdom through signs, wonders, and miracles.

If you know others whose churches don’t live-stream or use video feeds for their Sunday services, please invite them to be part of the Barn tomorrow.

Blessings—Lynn and Bruce

March 21, 2020

A letter from Bruce

March 19, 2020

Hi Barn Family,

Well, you probably suspected that this particular letter would not be long in coming! I mean of course the letter about continued financial support for The Barn ministry. Yeah, that one…

Our treasurer Michele informed me today that so far we are behind by $8,000 per week for the two weeks we have not gathered at The Barn. Sadly, what we have discovered when we have missed the occasional Sunday meeting in winter is that much of the lost income for that Sunday was permanently gone. What that tells us is that while many of us at The Barn tithe our income regularly—so that physically not attending the Sunday meeting does not reduce giving by our tithers—many Barn members give only when they actually show up on a Sunday morning and slip into the offering basket.  

So this letter is really an appeal to you in this second category. The regular tithers will continue give regularly electronically or by writing checks and sending them to the Barn office.

I really encourage you givers-but-not-tithers to become more focused and faithful with your financial support for The Barn. I can say honestly and without hype that our ministry for the Lord does need what you give. When all of you don’t come physically to The Barn on Sundays and so don’t give, it looks like we now fall behind by about $8,000 per week. That’s a lot. Temporarily we can sustain this amount of loss from some reserves we have, but in time we will have to either lay staff off or in other major ways cut our expenses considerably. We must pay our $9,000 per month mortgage or we will lose the old and new Barns plus 18 acres to the bank.

Let me suggest that you Barn members who typically give to The Barn pretty much only when you come on Sundays do something like this: 1) prayerfully decide how much money you wish to give to the church each month, then 2) divide by 4 and send a check each week to The Barn Vineyard, 3224 Appleton Road, Landenberg, PA 19350, Attention Michele. Or: go online to our website (www.thebarnvineyard.com) and look for PushPay to do the same. Obviously you can give by some other way, but the key is to be both intentional and responsible in giving. If The Barn is your church home, now is the time to step up and continue to give what you gave when you attended on Sundays. If you do, we’ll be able to meet expenses both to house and to expand the kingdom of God.  

And if any of you regular tithers to The Barn are “behind” on your tithes, please consider bringing things up to date.

Thank you, everyone, for your faithfulness.

Blessings—Bruce

March 19, 2020

A letter from Pastor Bruce

March 17, 2020

Greetings Barn Community!

Here is the first of hopefully daily communications to you all at The Barn during this time when we cannot meet together.

Attached is Psalm 91, personalized and interpreted a bit so that we can all declare out loud these powerful protective truths from God’s word. I suggest we proclaim this psalm at least once per day, speaking it as a covering over ourselves, our families, and our church community. Also, don’t forget as led to declare death in Jesus’ name to this coronavirus pestilence. Even as we speak death to cancer cells that seek to cause injury, we have authority over this virus and all that is evil, in Jesus’ name! (Here’s another great declarable verse of scripture—Luke 10:19– “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you!”  I will be writing additional “declarable” verses periodically to add to our arsenal.)

Also, although we may not want to gather physically even in home groups at this point (though your small group is free to gather in a home if you wish of course; groups of under ten are recommended), we are working on getting info to you about how to use Zoom for a virtual small group meeting. Let’s stay in internet contact with each other so we can maintain fellowship even though we are asked not to gather in groups of more than ten.

Although your measure of faith may permit you to ignore the guidelines suggested–or in some cases mandated–at the governmental level, as a church we have chosen to submit to these guidelines in solidarity with our nation’s corporate efforts. Let all of us respect and honor whatever stand each of us takes with regard to this public health crisis. We will continue to update you all concerning our “church guidelines” as they evolve. Right now, we are continuing our live-streamed Sunday morning services, and group meetings at the Barn are limited to no more than ten persons, who should observe behavioral recommendations like no handshakes (or in our case also hugging), social distancing, and of course, no gathering with other if you are symptomatic. If some of us want to wear respiratory masks, that is an option too.

Finally, pray divine protection over all medical personnel at The Barn. They are on the front lines of exposure to COVID-19, and we want them kept safe by the Lord!

Blessings—Bruce

March 17, 2020

A letter from Pastor Bruce

March 14, 2020

Hi Everyone, 

If you are planning to gather tomorrow morning in your small group or worship by yourself or in your family, and you want to join the live-streaming from The Barn starting at 10 AM, here is our tentative schedule: 

  1. We’ll start with praise and worship as usual.  We will give some time for background music in between songs so you can give “words” if the Lord gives them to individuals in your group.
  2. We’ll end worship with Communion. So prepare the elements ahead of time so we can all celebrate the Supper together.
  3. We may have some brief announcements, but maybe not.
  4. I will teach on practical daily ways we can remain in the protective and healing presence of the Lord.
  5. We’ll close with an invitation for us to pray for one another if we’re in families or small groups.

It’s doubtful that the service will last only an hour, as I previously said. Probably a more normal time length, maybe a bit shorter.

If you want to plan a fellowship meal after the service, that would be great.

To live-stream the service tomorrow, CLICK HERE, or visit our Facebook page

Be blessed as you celebrate Jesus tomorrow! – Bruce

March 14, 2020

A letter from Pastor Bruce

March 13, 2020

Hey Barn Family,
 
We are aware that many of you think it was wisdom to cancel our weekend meetings, and that some feel it was a very wrong move. We affirm your right to hold different opinions. Like all things in America nowadays, even this public health issue has been politicized. It does no practical good to argue the two major positions. If the virus scare is a hoax (hoax is defined as “a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth”), we will soon know it because the so-called virus and its effects will simply evaporate. But if it is factual and capable of locking down entire nations (such as it has done in Italy), we will do well to slow its spread and to prepare for it as thoroughly as we can.
 
While we never want Satan to gain an advantage over us—and this “plague” must be viewed as from the enemy, not God—in this case we felt that our church leadership mandate (plus our perceived sense of God’s leading) compelled us to act to “protect the flock of God” as much as possible. A helpful analogy would be our practice of cancelling Sunday church because of a snow or ice storm. You could argue that many will survive driving to The Barn in a storm and in fact would make it here easily; so church should not be cancelled because that would give a victory by the enemy. Yet as leaders, if our decision to hold church when roads were dangerous resulted in even one death or serious injury, we would feel that we were irresponsible leaders (and may be held legally liable for negligence).
 
There is a difference between irrational fear (panic where no real threat exists) and rational fear (stepping on a coiled rattlesnake when hiking in the mountains). In the latter case, to take reasonable precautions is just plain smart—even a manifestation of godly wisdom. Proverbs has much to say about a biblical character who lacks wisdom and acts stupidly; he is called “the fool.” No place in the Bible it is positive to be labelled a fool—that is, one who does foolish (unwise) things.  
 
There is also a difference between genuine faith and presumption (human action not based on God’s discerned will). Faith exists where we know God has spoken; presumption exists where humans act when God has not spoken. It is not God’s will to barge on ahead when the Spirit says not to. Acts 16:4-6 gives us two examples of the Holy Spirit expressly forbidding Paul’s apostolic team from moving into certain areas to preach the gospel. Had they disobeyed the Spirit in these cases, they would have been out of God’s will—not a place of safety and provision. Jonah experienced this.
 
In our area, two Vineyards from the greater Philly area have chosen to close their Sunday meetings for two weeks, as their government officials have shut down all public gatherings. For them it was godly wisdom for them to submit to “the powers that be.” My guess is that all nine of our area Vineyards will not hold meetings this Sunday. The Barn will evaluate next week what we will do about next Sunday’s meeting. My fervent hope is that we will meet again then as we do normally and resume all normal church activities.
 
For this Sunday, I have a suggestion. A few of us will work out doing live-streaming of a modified service at The Barn. Starting at 10 AM, we will live-stream worship and a teaching (go to our web site and follow the prompts to live-streaming; we have updated our equipment so quality should be much improved). The service will probably not go for much more than an hour. My suggestion is that we gather in homes in our existing small groups (unless small group hosts decline of course), watch the live-streamed Barn service together, and then minister in prayer to each other plus perhaps enjoy a fellowship meal afterward. This is only a suggestion; if you want to take a personal sabbath and rest on Sunday morning, go for it.
 
I also suggest that we all “live” for a while in Psalm 91. Perhaps memorize portions of it. (I remember a story told by Graham Cooke about how prior to the start of his prophet ministry, God caused him to read nothing else in scripture except Psalm 91. In fact, when he tried to read other scripture, his eyes would blur and he couldn’t see!) Declare (aloud) the truths in that psalm over yourselves, your families, and our church. It’s not an accident that Lynn just recently taught on and led us all into regularly practicing proclamations of biblical truth. Let’s make such proclamations a spiritual habit. (Psalms 37 and 103 are two other great psalms for proclamation!) Life and death is indeed in the power of the tongue, so let’s all use our speech to radiate God’s protective and energizing power into every atmosphere we are part of!
 
Blessings—Bruce

March 13, 2020