ANNOUNCEMENTS

RiverCross’s worship service

Hello again, church! As you should know by now, I will be undergoing minor surgery tomorrow (Wednesday, January 13) and will be out recovering for a week or two.

 

Although we have wonderful people who have gladly worked hard to continue providing our church family with worship opportunities, the truth is that this is a good opportunity to give all of our volunteers a little bit of rest. For this reason, we will not be producing online worship services on January 17 and 24. Instead, I hope that you will join our sister church in Visalia, RiverCross, for Sunday morning worship. We have worshiped together with Rivercross several times in the past, and I asked pastor Karl if he would mind our virtual presence for a couple of weeks.

 

There are a number of ways you can tune in to RiverCross’s worship service, and you can find all the possibilities here on their website.

 

You can find Rivercross’s YouTube channel here.

 

Thank you for your well-wishes and your prayers (especially for your prayers!) I am hopeful that this surgery will relieve some uncomfortable issues that have become chronic over the last several months, and your prayers are a meaningful part of my cure! I will be thinking of you and praying for you as well!

Pastor Ian Hodge

Lemon Cove Community Church


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Christmas Eve, Eve

Hello church!
 
There’s been some confusing information going out about the time for our Christmas Eve, Eve service on the 23rd. The service will take place on the church patio at 7pm, December 23rd. We will sing carols and hear the Christmas story, and I hope you will come!
 
Also, don’t forget that our worship services are available on YouTube at this address: You can subscribe to our channel and be automatically notified anytime a video is posted, from our devotionals to our worship services!
 
If you are trying to get your year-end (or regular) donation to the church, you can mail a check to
 
Lemon Cove Community Church
PO Box 44348
Lemon Cove, CA 93244
 
Or you can use our secure online giving portal on our website. Here is a direct link!
 
Hope to see you on the 23rd!
Pastor Ian Hodge

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Moving to Online Worship

Hello church!
 
I have a couple things I want to share with you today. 
 
First of all, the turnout for the Christmas tree lighting (and tacos!) on Sunday night was nothing short of spectacular! Lots of kids and families and people from our community. We didn’t take an official count, but it looked like about 80-90 people showed up! We also successfully lit the Christmas tree, and you’ll be able to see it yourself if you drive by the church at night!
 
Secondly, it has become clear that the pandemic is hitting closer to home in these days. Last week 4 members of our congregation had relatively close contact with a confirmed Covid case, and we are aware of many more cases outside of our church family. While we continue to believe that the church is an essential service, the Session has decided that in the near term our meetings in the sanctuary should move online. I’ve attached a letter to this email with substantially more information on this decision, but let me simply say in this email that when we give up meeting in person for a period of time, it is all the more important for each one of us to actively connect with each other, be it on the phone, by email, or another way. Please take care of each other and encourage each other in these days! You will be hearing more from me in the days to come!
 
So then, let me end with a word of encouragement from 1 Corinthians 15:56-58
 
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
 
Jesus has died, Jesus has risen, Jesus is coming again! The Lord has defeated your enemies for your and broken their power, therefore you can stand firm!
 
God be with you,
Pastor Ian Hodge

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December Covid Letter

Click on the link to read our latest communication December Covid letter.

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Worship on Sunday

Hello church! I want to give you an update on worship for this Sunday.

 

First of all, we are having worship this Sunday at 10:30am, and it is taking place in the sanctuary. We are aware of the rising case counts in Tulare county, and so we ask for the following:

 

  1. If you are sick in any way, or suspect that you might be sick, PLEASE STAY HOME! But please also join our livestream on our YouTube channel!
  2. If you are part of a vulnerable group, please consider if staying home and joining worship online would be a better option for you this Sunday. However, we will not turn anyone away!
  3. If you do attend the worship service in-person, please carefully abide by all social distancing requirements – 
  4. Wear a mask at all times while on the church property – even outside.
  5.   Please keep all physical contact to an absolute minimum – no shaking hands, no hugs, etc. Please remember that even if you feel comfortable doing these things, the people around you may not.
  6. Keep a minimum of 6 feet between your household and other households. 
  7. Please fill up seats that at the far ends of the sanctuary first – find a seat that won’t require anyone to climb over you or shuffle past you.
  8. Please arrive a few minutes early so that we are not trying to seat people after the service has started.
  9. Please do not linger in high traffic areas or indoors – when the service ends, please immediately exit out of the sanctuary doors in the back, not stopping until you are outside. You are very welcome to linger in the courtyard and parking lot to enjoy fellowship with each other – but do so where people can easily get around you and where you can maintain 6 feet of distance between households.

 

I know that I’ve just given a long list of rules, and I know that we are all weary of the sacrifices Covid has required us to make. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” We have made it this far without a serious case of Covid in our congregation, let’s make it all the way!

 

One last thing before I press send – I can’t wait to see you on Sunday, I will be back in the pulpit!

 

Pastor Ian Hodge


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Pastor’s Announcement

Dear church,
The last several weeks have been difficult trying to balance my health needs and the requirements of pastoring our church. The greatest challenge has been not knowing what I would be able to do each day, meaning that some weeks I could only work a few hours, while others I would be able to put in at least a couple of good days.
 
Last Sunday, after church, and at the suggestion of several people in the congregation, I asked the Session to consider granting me a temporary leave of absence so that I could focus on getting healthy again. Very generously, the Session, with the support of several others present, granted me that leave for a period of one month.
 
What does this mean? First of all, it means that I plan on coming back in one month ready to rock and roll! Obviously I am not God to guarantee that I will be fully healed by such time, but it is my earnest hope.
 
Secondly, it means that the next four Sundays will be filled by pastors from other churches. Rich Latta will preach for us on Sunday, followed by Cal Palmer (one of our own congregants!), and then by Nate Dreesman, who is the Director of Ecclesiastical Support for our denomination. One Sunday is yet to be filled, although I have asked another pastor who is currently on vacation to step in for us.
 
During this time Jessica will still be in the office, and the church will otherwise run normally.
Please continue to love and care for each other, and please be praying for me and for my family. I have a number of doctors appointments coming up, and there is a good chance I will require at least one minor surgery, and possibly a second surgery if the issues in my back do not resolve. I am grateful for your prayers, for the encouragement you have given to me in person, by text, email, and phone. Please also feel free to contact me and to wave if you see and come over and chat.
 
You all are wonderful, and Kaela and I and the kids are blessed to share life with you!
 
In Christ,
Pastor Ian Hodge

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Prayer Request Update

Hello church, I’d like to ask you to pray for me and my family as well, while also extending thanks to you for the prayers you’ve already been praying!

 

I had an MRI this week which found some structural damage in my back. I have appointments to meet with someone for pain management, and also with a neurosurgeon to explore what other options are available. Please pray for healing for me, as well as for the ability to be active where I can, and rest where I need to. Please pray for Kaela and the kids, as I am less able to carry my weight these days as well.

 

Thank you church!


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Another reason to pray

Hello church! I’d like to ask you to pray for me this weekend as I have another full weekend with a memorial tomorrow and worship Sunday. Both are exciting opportunities, but my body is still rebellious, and preparation difficult with my limitations.

 

Please pray that tomorrow the Holy Spirit would minister to those who are grieving to bring comfort and joy, and also that God would strengthen me to clearly and winsomely proclaim the Gospel to the people there – especially because I know that many people who will be there don’t know Jesus.

 

Thank you, church!

Pastor Ian Hodge


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A Note from Pastor Ian

Hello church!
 
I apologize for my long and growing absence. You may have noted that the devotionals stopped a couple weeks back, and then I wasn’t at church this Sunday at all. As I think you’ve heard, I’ve been having problem with major sciatic pain. Although this pain was improving, my medication seems to have caused a new problem which became totally debilitating, and then worsened my sciatic problem as well. Today is the best I’ve felt in at least a week, and I hope that it is an indication of recovery! I am grateful for your prayers and the encouragement many of you have offered by email, phone, and otherwise! I am also grateful for the many people who stepped in (some stepped farther in!) to continue caring for our church these last couple of weeks.
 
I’m finding that my energy levels still seem to be low, but I am beginning to re-engage with the work of our church this week. I ask for your understanding as I reorient and begin doing the things I can. I also want you to know that you don’t need to be afraid to call or email if you need to connect with your church or your pastor – I want to hear from you and share life with you!
 
Look for the devotionals to start up again this week – I’ve had lots of time to reflect, and although I haven’t been able to do much study, I have a lot of questions for God coming out of the last couple of weeks, questions I aim to prayerfully test by the Scriptures, and I want to share that journey with you!
 
Folks, the bedrock conviction of my life, the thought I come back to when I am lowest is that I cannot escape the fact that God is real, that He is out there, and that He matters in my life. Angry, sad, joyful or serene, He is a brute fact.
 
I think often of John 6:66-69
 
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
 
In this moment, I’m not sure that Peter was very happy about following Jesus – Jesus had just given a particularly difficult teaching, and most of his followers were abandoning him. But Peter knew that, like it or not, Jesus was (is) the one. He may not have been the one Peter wanted to cling to in that moment, but Jesus was the only real option.
 
I am encouraged by remembering that moments of discouragement are inevitable in this life. I am reassured by knowing that Jesus is more true, more real, more important than my wavering levels of satisfaction. There is no other rock to which we can go – only Jesus. The good news is that it is our discouragement and fear that is the liar. Jesus is still the resurrected Son of God!
 
In Christ,
Pastor Ian Hodge

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Clarification on Encouragement Drive

And because it may not have been clear in the letter, if you would like to participate you can bring your donations to the church this Sunday and next Sunday, and on an ongoing basis. We will continue to update the church every week on what we’ve collected and what’s happening at the school.


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