March 27th, 2020

Dear Galion Alliance family,


This Sunday, Thom McMurray will be sharing the online message (galionalliance.org). Thom works with CAMA services, the relief arm of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. This summer he is scheduled to move to Paraguay to serve as the regional director (I'm not sure of the official title) of CAMA's Latin American ministries, so this will be the last time we will be able to hear from him for a while. Thom is also the son of Eugene and Ellen McMurray, which creates a special tie with our church. Don't forget to spend some time Sunday morning worshiping, praying, and listening to Thom's message.  


You are all in my prayers!

Pastor Rick


Below is the video from the president of the C&MA

March 24th. 2020

Dear Galion Alliance family,


This pandemic the world is experiencing right now has brought to mind the following passage in Habakkuk. Habakkuk 3:16-19 says, "I heard, and I trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness entered my bones; I trembled where I stood...Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The LORD my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!"


God had just told the prophet that He was going to discipline Judah by sending the dreaded Babylonians to attack them and haul them off into captivity. This terrified Habakkuk: he trembled, his lips quivered, and his legs turned to jelly. Our response to the coronavirus may not be that dramatic, but a lot of people (including a lot of Christians) are very concerned, worried, and fearful. It is natural for us to feel this way when we consider the danger we are facing. But even though this might be our initial reaction to the current crisis, it doesn't need to be a lasting reaction.


Whenever we experience distress or fear, we have a decision to make. We can either focus on the situation we are facing and be overwhelmed by it, or we can focus on the Lord and rejoice in Him. Despite the disasters listed in v. 17, Habakkuk decided to focus on the Lord in v. 18 and rejoice in Him. That is also what we need to do at times like this. We need to remember that whatever we go through in this life, it is well with our souls. We need to remember that our God has saved us. We need to remember that we can still rejoice in His faithfulness and His never-ending blessings. We need to remember the eternity that awaits us with Him in glory.


When we choose to focus on Him, we will experience what Habakkuk experienced in v. 19. To begin with God will give us the strength we need to endure the terrifying circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength! Supernaturally, God strengthens His people when they rejoice in Him despite all the hardships and fears. Second, focusing on the Lord gives us security in a very insecure situation. Like a deer that can scamper up and down rugged mountains, we find security in our relationship with the Lord, knowing that He isn't going to let us stumble while we are trusting in Him. And third, God will grant us success over our circumstances when we depend on Him. Walking on mountain heights is an image of victory and success, rising far above the troubles that are trying to drag us down.


I am not suggesting that we throw caution to the wind and refuse to take prudent precautions, but we need to face this threat with our eyes on God, who is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Look to Him in faith and receive from Him all that you need for these difficult times.


________________________


I also want to let you know that it is now possible to present your tithes and offerings to the Lord through our website. You need to understand that a nominal fee for each transaction will be charged to the church, but for some this option will be worth it. If you would rather, you may mail your offerings to the church (to the attention of the treasurer). Whichever option you choose, you may want to consider giving monthly, rather than weekly, to slightly lower the costs and make less work for our treasurer and assistant treasurer.


You are all in my prayers each day. May God bless you with the strength, security and success that Habakkuk experienced in the midst of the crisis he faced.


Grace and peace to all,

Pastor Rick

March 21st, 2020

Dear Galion Alliance family,


I want to remind you all that Sunday is the Lord's Day, and we need to make the time to worship Him together. Even if we cannot be together physically, I encourage you as a church to enter His presence, united in spirit, at 10:30 am tomorrow in your own homes. Spend some time praising Him, praying to Him, singing to Him, and listening to the preaching of His Word. I have posted a new sermon on our website (www.galionalliance.org), which I trust will encourage you in your walk with the Lord. I think the message I have shared from God's Word is very appropriate for what we are experiencing right now. Next week, Thom McMurray from CAMA (and Eugene and Ellen's son) will be sharing the message.


I'm sure we all miss the fellowship that we usually enjoy on Sunday mornings, but just because we are apart doesn't mean we have to miss out on the fellowship. One of the blessings of our age is the ability to spend time together through the use of technology. Take some time today and throughout the week to use the phone, messaging, social media, and email to "reach out and touch someone," as the telephone ads used to say. You can be a real blessing to some brothers and sisters in the Lord by taking time to spend with them.


May you all have a blessed Lord's Day!!


Yours in Christ

Pastor Rick


Below is a video from the president of the C&MA

March 17th, 2020

Dear Galion Alliance family,


Thank you for praying for your elders as we wrestled last night with how to do ministry in these very unique times. We unanimously sensed God leading us to cancel our public services on Sundays and Wednesdays until further notice. This decision was not made lightly, but was made with a deep sense of our responsibility before God to protect the flock under our care. We also gave great weight to the directions and recommendations of our state and national leaders, as well as a concern for our community and country.  


The Sunday sermon will continue to be posted online each week at galionalliance.org. We plan to do this on Friday or Saturday, so you may listen to the message as a part of your personal Sunday morning worship. On Wednesdays we will email the weekly prayer list via the prayer chain. If you have a request you would like to add to this list, please call or email it to me before noon on that Wednesday. Pastor Marcos is working on ways to continue the study of James electronically, but it may take a week or two to make that happen. We are also working on ways you can present your tithes and offerings to the Lord electronically. Of course, if you prefer, you may mail them to the church, marking them to the attention of the treasurer.


These are challenging times that call for much prayer for our world, our country, our community, and our church body. Please continue to devote yourselves to prayer and keep in touch with one another by phone, text, social media, or email. We all need to encourage and be encouraged by one another. Most of all, stay close to God during this time and enjoy the peace and assurance He provides. As always, I am available to help in any way I can. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.


Grace and peace to you all,

Pastor Rick

March 14th, 2020

Due to the dramatic increase in both confirmed and suspected cases of coronavirus in Ohio and upon advice of the medical community in the area I think it is wise to be cautious and cancel tomorrow's worship service. Please keep praying for those who are ill, for the protection of others, and for wisdom for our elders as we seek God's direction.

Pastor Rick

March 13th, 2020

Dear Galion Alliance family,


It is my hope and prayer that you are all experiencing the tremendous peace of God in spite of the concern and near-panic that is going on around us and around the world at this time. God is still in control and we are still in His care. He will see us through this!


I am writing to let you know that we are still having our Sunday school and Sunday morning worship service this week, although the special celebration of our 25 years together is being postponed until a later date. I understand why some of you are concerned about venturing out in public and will choose not to attend. If that is what you decide to do, I encourage you to spend your Sunday morning worshiping the Lord, praying, and even singing songs to Him. You might also want to listen to the morning message at galionalliance.org, once it has been posted, and you should also check the website regularly to stay up to date on what is happening in our church family.


The elders and I will be meeting this Monday evening to discuss plans for the future, including ways we may need to adapt to the current situation, ways to stay in touch, and ways to minister to others as representatives of Jesus Christ. Please be praying for God to grant us wisdom as we seek His will. I will keep you posted through the website and prayer chain. If you are not on the prayer chain, I would strongly encourage you to ask Paula Sells to add your email. You can always have your name removed at a later time, but for now, this is a very important means of communication for us.


Below, you will find the CDC recommendations for limiting exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses. I trust you will try to adhere to them as much as possible.  


1. Please don’t come if you have a fever or cough.


2. If you have these symptoms, contact your health provider:

• Fever

• Cough

• Shortness of breath


3. CDC recommendations:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household

cleaning spray or wipe.

• Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect

themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

• Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help

prevent the spread of the disease to others.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (long enough to

sing “Happy Birthday” twice), especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and

after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at

least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty


If I can help you in any way, please feel free to contact me.


Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Rick