As a preventative measure, all activities of Oakridge Community Church have been suspended through March 29. Click here for the most recent UPDATES.

Oakridge Updates Regarding COVID-19

Update: March 29 -

 

Click HERE for Zoom Meeting!

 

 

Update: March 28 -

Brothers and sisters,
I know you all just love last-minute changes!
Even with the help of my lovely bride, I could not get the live feed through Facebook to work for those who were not logged in with an account.
So . . . to the joy of many of you, we are planning to do our first church-wide Zoom meeting tomorrow. It is fairly easy to enter the meeting (simply clicking a link, which may automatically download the Zoom app, and then joining the meeting when prompted). Below are some detailed instructions, written out by our very own Zoom-guru, Loren Hubin!
It seems that Zoom will be a great tool for us. There is still the option to type out messages in a sidebar for those who may want to interact with points in the sermon or add your own thoughts and Scripture references for others to see. One of the most encouraging parts of last week for me was scrolling through the comments you all left, and seeing the Scriptures references that came to your minds. The MOST encouraging part about it is that you shared those thoughts with others. Keep it up!
I am not sure what it will look like for all of us to be on Zoom at the same time tomorrow, but you should be able to scroll through all the participants in the meeting and see each other. I will start streaming music for worship from my end around 10:05 tomorrow. The sound quality will not be the best, but hopefully, it will be worshipful just to listen to or helpful for those who may want to follow along. Then, once I hope on, the format will look very much like last week (just a simple Bible study with some application). To help with the outline for the study tomorrow, I will share my screen at times with you all and write down the main points, and may also include some key thoughts underneath the points (hopefully, you will be able to read my handwriting).
Because we will not be able to have our "5th  Sunday Smorgasbord" tomorrow, we will plan to hang around on Zoom for some church-wide prayer, and then discussion and interaction (which I can't wait for). 
Tomorrow morning, around 9:45, I will send out a link to the meeting to your email addresses.
The link will also be posted on the website under the UPDATES page (click the link in the banner at the top of the home page).
Grace and Peace, beloved.
I look forward to our meeting tomorrow.
To the praise of the glory of His grace,
Seth

Dear OCC family,
In anticipation of using Zoom to connect us to the Sunday morning message this week, as well as possibly care group meetings, etc., here is a (hopefully concise) tutorial on the use of Zoom.

The host of the Zoom "meeting" (Seth, on Sunday) will send everyone an email invitation with a link to click that will enter you into the meeting.  If you're using a tablet or smartphone, you will need to have installed the free Zoom Cloud Meeting app beforehand -- nothing is needed in advance if you're on a laptop/desktop computer.  As you're joining the meeting, you may be given a choice regarding the audio, and if so, choose device audio (e.g., computer audio), not "dial in."  

Once you're in, there are two views you can select from.  "Speaker" view puts whoever is currently speaking on the main screen, with everyone else showing as a small window off to the side.  "Gallery" view puts everyone who's in the meeting in an equal-sized window on the screen, allowing you to view everyone at once.

Seth will have all of us muted initially.  After the message is over, it will be possible to remain logged in together and try to have a group conversation for a time (we're missing our 5th Sunday smorgasbord!).  This can take a little getting used to with several people on at once, but we (Loren and Carol) did it as a family from four different locations recently and enjoyed it.  During this time it's especially helpful if people keep themselves "muted" except for when they want to say something -- as otherwise there can be lots of extraneous noise that becomes distracting.  Muting is done by clicking on the microphone icon on the lower left of the screen.

We're all on a learning curve with this, so let's be patient and make the most of it! :)

Loren for the elders

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Update March 28 -

Brothers and Sisters,
I hope you are all bearing up well during this time. It is a fascinating time in which we are living! So much is being revealed about the world in which we live, about ourselves, and for those with spiritual eyes to see, about the God we serve! If there are any needs that any of you have, please do not hesitate to let me or one of the elders or deacons know. We will do everything we can to help during this time.
Sorry that this update is going out so late in the week. I have meant to send it every day since Thursday, but time gets away from us all.
Sunday Morning:
This coming Sunday, we are going to try Facebook Live again (I hear the groans from some of you!). I am pretty sure I figured out what went wrong last week, and why some of you (those who do not have a Facebook account) were not able to join. I am going to do a test run today just to see if the issue has been addressed. If it does not work, I will let you know, and we will simply try YouTube Live and see if we can make that work. I also will be posting a list of songs I recommend for family worship, with video links, just like last week.
5th Sunday Smorgasbord?
Remembering that tomorrow is supposed to be our "5th Sunday Smorgasbord", we may host a church-wide Zoom meeting after our study together tomorrow morning. The great thing about Zoom is that everyone can participate (though I am not sure how easy it will work out with 30+ families logged in). If we do this, we will send an email to you all explaining the process for participating in the meeting (it is really simple).
Adjusting to the NOW:
It is just reality... right now, we are all staying in contact with each other through technology. And, it goes without saying that all this "body-life through technology" is new to most of us. Few of us have been technological masters to this point in our lives, nor have we even had much or any interest in being so. But, praise the Lord, some in our body are! And, by God's common grace, the advancements in technology have made learning how to use it very easy. I encourage you all not to fear technology! None of you are too old or too uneducated to click a button! Right now, this is becoming a vital part of staying connected with the rest of the body. In fact, all body-life will be taking place through technology for at least the next few weeks; so please branch out, be fearless, and join in! And, if something happens tomorrow, and for some reason, you still cannot join the meeting without having an account on Facebook, just open one to use for this season. I heard that some of you wound up doing that last week so you could join the meeting on Facebook Live. You do not have to post any pictures of yourself on Facebook, you don't have to share everything about yourself, and it is easy to join.
Where do I go tomorrow?
Just as I did last week, I will be posting links on the church website and sending them out through email tomorrow morning. I look forward to the time together, as limited and imperfect as it is. If you have any problems joining, email me. I will have my email up.
So grateful for your love for the Lord, for one another, and for my family as well.
We rest in Him, together!
Grace and Peace to you all in Christ,
To the praise of the glory of His grace,
Pastor Seth

__________________________________________

Update March 22 -

We are planning to go live at 10:20!

Click HERE for Live Stream

 

For those who are interested, here is a list of songs you can sing or enjoy that might go well with the study on Sunday, March 22.

March 22 Playlist

A Mighty Fortress - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek31iqNw9Ms

It Is Well With My Soul - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHe_qmo3gX4

Jesus, Strong and Kind - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYMh8Vn9JgY

All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOU1pG8x_R4

He Leadeth Me - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrQfszHM_P4

All the Way My Saviour Leads Me - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnEZyfzkJgs

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Update March 21 -

SERVICE UPDATE:

We were planning, hoping, and praying to be able to stream our service on Facebook Live this coming Lord's Day and the next. But, due to the low streaming capabilities at the church building, Oakridge Community Church will not be able to live-stream on Sunday, March 22nd, or Sunday, March 29.

However, Pastor Seth will live-stream a biblical study from his home this Lord's Day beginning at 10:15 AM. The live-stream will be posted on the church's Facebook page (click HERE to be directed there). Plan to join in as he looks at how to walk with God through trials based on truths found in Deuteronomy 8:1-6.

"He leadeth me, O blessed thought . . . "

__________________________________________

Update March 18 -

Grace Peace, brothers and sisters of OCC:

Loren, Erick and I hope you are bearing up under the current circumstances well. More importantly, we pray that your spirit is resting well in Christ, Who has sworn to be your good Shepherd to the end! His promise remains for our hands of faith to grasp: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” Because of that promise, “we can so confidently, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid . . .” (Heb. 13:5-6). We encourage you not to succumb to the fear and worry running rampant in the world right now. We all know that trying times lay ahead. But you, my brother or sister, have every reason to put your hope in God, to make Him your trust and confidence. As dear brother Luther reminds us, “. . . the devil would excrete us out of this life as he tries to make us despair of God, become unwilling and unprepared to die, and, under the stormy and dark sky of fear and anxiety, make us forget and lose Christ, our light and life, and desert our neighbor in his troubles.” Let us make sure that the “stormy dark sky of fear and anxiety” that is so evident in the world does not settle over our minds and cause us to forget Christ and one another.

We know that many of you have been eagerly waiting for an update from us. We thank you for your patience and your prayers. There are decisions to be made that require much wisdom, for which we are daily asking God in prayer.

Worship Service:

Due to the development of community spreading of COVID-19 in the very areas we all live and work, the elders have thought it wise to suspend our gatherings and activities at the church building for another 2 weeks. We will reassess the situation as best as we can on March 30th when hopefully, we have more information.

However, this Sunday will be our first effort at live-streaming a service. This is new to us all, so let us be gracious with one another. We know this option is not ideal. But given the circumstances, it is a small way we can still “gather” together on the Lord’s Day (albeit, more in spirit than in person). As of now, we are planning to use the Facebook Live feature. If that changes, we will send out an update. Though not gathering in person, streaming the service this way will provide everyone with an opportunity to interact with the sermon/singing as you are listening. You will be able to post a comment on the comment section of the page, and those logged on to the streaming feed will be able to read and interact with the comment as well. That may deter some of you from doing it, but it does provide another way to interact and “fellowship” together online.

If you have not liked the church’s Facebook page, or are not following it yet, I encourage you to do so. New updates, sermons, blog posts and other information can be accessed from there. So long as we are able to set everything up (thank the Lord for James DeCaro!), we will be posting a link for the Facebook Live feed around 10 AM Sunday morning. This will (hopefully) be posted on the website, Facebook page, and emailed out to you all. I understand that not everyone is comfortable with doing this. We know that some would rather opt-out. HOWEVER, we strongly encourage you not to do that. You will not need to be a technological wizard in order to access the live feed. All you will have to do is click the link on the Facebook page, email, or church website, and you will be taken directly to the Facebook Live feed.

"Into the Weeds" Blog:

I (Seth) will be posting more regularly on the blog site during this time. I have been made aware that not everyone knows about it. The name of the blog is "Into the Weeds." The website is intotheweedsdotblog.wordpress.com. Every new post I make is also posted on the Facebook page. There is a way to reach the blog site through the church website as well.  For those of you who do not know, on the home page, click the resource tab. The first option down is a page with a link to the blog.

Website:

Starting tomorrow, the church’s website may look a little different than what you are used to. That is because it has been upgraded. With the different ways we are needing to utilize the website during this time, we had to upgrade with Church Plant Media in order to access all the features we need. We can all thank the Lord that, in light of the coronavirus situation, Church Plant Media upgraded our website for free!

Tithing:

We have had a few ask about giving and tithing to the church during this time. We are currently looking into providing a way to give online through our church website. Once (if) that is set up, I will send out an update explaining how to go about giving that way. Otherwise, you can support the USPS and mail it, or shove it under the front door (just make sure it goes all the way inside!).

Communicating Prayer Requests:

If there is anything you would like to communicate to the rest of the body regarding prayer needs, please email Pastor Seth: seth@oakridgecommunity.org. You can also call the church office: 651-439-4882. If there is no answer, as normal, leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Communication:

Brothers and sisters, we are urging you all to utilize every form of technology available to you in order to stay in contact with the rest of the body. Emails, texting, phone calls, Skype, Zoom, whatever is easiest for you to use, redeem it for the glory of Christ, and put it to use to love His people! Hebrews 3:13—“Encourage  one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘today,’ lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”   The elders are planning to send out regular emails of encouragement and updates as the Lord allows.

Our Oak Tree:

Sadly, the big oak next to the driveway is officially down. One estimate put the tree probably between 225 and 250 years old. There is indeed a time for everything. The pictures below are of the final part of the trunk being removed.

We love you all. Be strong, take heart, pray, trust, hope, and wait upon the Lord!

__________________________________________

Update March 14 -

Dear brothers and sisters of the OCC Family:

I am sure all of you are following the latest developments in regard to the COVID-19 outbreak. The situation is changing rapidly, as was expected. Please be sure to stay informed concerning the latest local and national updates. As President Trump has stated, the next eight weeks will be a crucial time of response to this virus threat.

In light of the current spread of COVID-19 and the responsibility we have to lovingly care for our neighbors and one another as best as we can, the elders have decided to suspend tomorrow’s worship services as well as all Oakridge gatherings that were planned for the week of March 15th-March 21st (care-group meetings, prayer meetings, etc.). Updates concerning future events and services will be announced as we gain a better understanding of how the virus is spreading and the impact it is having in our area. 

Please do not let this alarm you. This decision was not made from fear, but in loving concern to protect your health as best as we can. We also have a responsibility to help protect the community in whatever way the Lord allows.

Though we will not be gathering together, we as elders do encourage you all to be in regular contact with one another during this time. Praise the Lord for the interaction that technology allows in our day. Phone calls, emails, text messages can be a very helpful way to stay connected with, check in on, and encourage one another. We ask you to take advantage of every opportunity. 

Even though we are not gathering together as a body tomorrow, the elders do ask for you all to set aside time for family (or personal) worship (singing hymns, reading Scripture, listening to a sermon online). If you choose to listen to a sermon, we would recommend Alistair Begg's, “Casting All Your Cares.” This is a very fitting encouragement for us all during this time.

President Trump has also designated tomorrow, March 15th, as a national day of prayer in light of our situation. We ask that tomorrow, you would set aside specific time to pray on behalf of our community, our nation, and the world. This virus has caused a great humbling of the world in many ways. Let us pray that that humbling of the pride of men will teach all of us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12). It is always an act of God’s kindness to remind us of our desperate need of Him.

We hope that no fear intrudes into your hearts at this time. The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) has put out an article titled, “Anxiety, Waiting and the Coronavirus.” We think this would be helpful and encouraging for everyone to read. God is our very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). The elders of OCC pray that in these times of trouble, you are resting firmly in the name of Christ. Our Lord Jesus is our faithful Shepherd. He will bring us safely into His heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18). “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD” (Psalm 31:24)!

Feel free to contact any of the elders with questions, concerns, or anything else. We are here in to serve you all for Christ’s sake. We love and are praying for each of you.

May the grace of the Lord be with your spirits

__________________________________________

Update March 13 -

Dear Oakridge Family,

We as your elders want to keep you informed of our thinking and any decisions being made as we continue to monitor and pray over the unfolding situation with coronavirus. 

First and foremost, in accord with last Sunday’s message, we want to encourage a firm and glad-hearted trust in the Lord, even in the face of many inconveniences (at least) or even the possibility of any personal suffering we might experience through this.  Let this be an opportunity for us to act as a family together, to support and help one another, and to show loving consideration for one another—and let it also be a time when the world takes note of the steadiness and other-centeredness that our faith and the indwelling Spirit enables, as a witness to our trust in God.

And, while placing our trust firmly in the Lord, we recognize that He has also called us to be wise and prudent!  At this point, our intention is to go ahead with Sunday morning gatherings as planned, but with the following strong encouragements:

·        Out of consideration for the body, and especially those that may be more vulnerable to this illness, PLEASE be extra careful not to come to church if you’re unwell, OR if a family member is unwell, OR if there is any reason to believe you may have been exposed to the virus.

·        While we are together, as HARD as it will certainly be (because of our love for one another!), for now, let’s plan to limit our physical contact. We are encouraging all to refrain from hugs and handshakes, at least for a season.

·        We have hand sanitizer in the bathrooms and a few other places, and encourage you to make use of it, along with being extra diligent in thorough hand washing.

·        Catch those coughs and sneezes—and not in your hands!

And only partly related to this, we are actually going to reschedule the upcoming March 20-21 Membership Matters class.  It may be good sense to hold off on meetings that can easily enough be done a bit later, but there were also a number of those interested who are not able to make the scheduled time anyway.  The rescheduled class will be announced soon.

Thankful for all of you and the opportunity to serve one another in this rather fascinating, and perhaps challenging, time

__________________________________________

church-cross

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