As most of you probably know by now, the coronavirus pandemic has gotten to the point where the governor of California has placed an order requiring residents to stay at home. As a result, several of our churches recommended by GCAAM Network had to make some difficult decisions. Some of our larger churches have decided to offer their services online only until further notice. Other churches that are smaller in size made the decision not to meet at all until the virus goes away. Most of our church recommendations altogether have decided to cancel or postpone all mid-week events until then.
As someone who struggles with Asperger’s who desires to see God work through other Aspies as well as help people plug into healthy churches, I take these types of issues very seriously. In response to COVID-19, the Gospel-Centered Autism Awareness Movement is taking the necessary steps to help our subscribers while complying with the dictates of the state.
Normally, I would discourage Live streaming worship services because I don’t believe them to be effective substitutes for church especially for the Autistic Spectrum community. People who struggle with Asperger’s usually have difficulty with social skills, even though we have great intelligence. These problems with social skills make it harder for us to associate with other people. This is why I recommend healthy churches to people like me to ensure they are in a safe place of worship. However, considering the seriousness of this pandemic, I am making this one exception. While we as Aspies need to be in community with other believers, I also believe that loving one another requires that we be courteous toward others. One of the ways we can share that courtesy is to NOT spread our germs. I have friends who are of the 40s-60s+ generation. So, if I am under the weather, I have a responsibility to stay home and keep my distance to be courteous to my brethren. Having said this, I strongly urge our subscribers to take advantage of the churches that are offering Livestreaming during this time. Once this pandemic subsides and it is safe to come back to church, then I strongly recommend that you get plugged into a healthy church in person.
At present, 10 of our recommended churches have decided to offer online services for the next few weeks. Accordingly, the GCAAM Network page on my website has been updated with details showing which church will be offering services online. If your church is one of those offering Live stream and is not included on the page, I will update it per your request. Each of the churches recommended will have the Symbol (L) which will mean that the particular church offers a live streaming option. I would strongly encourage that you take advantage of that option until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
As far as interCOM Bible Fellowship is concerned, we have made necessary alternatives to comply with the state of California’s request. Before receiving this news, we had already added Video Conferencing as an option for people who were unable to come to our group in person due to physical limitations or as a placeholder until they could find a local church where they lived (some of these participants were out of state or had no mode of transportation whatsoever). After careful prayer, perspective and patience we unanimously decided to have our group meet ONLINE ONLY for the next few weeks until more information regarding COVID-19 comes to light.
Finally, I want to encourage you all with this: I know that no matter what happens, God is in control. I will make it an effort to continue to keep all of you in my prayers. I also acknowledge that this whole situation has frightened a handful of you. But I want to encourage you with the words of our Savior Jesus Christ.
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (ESV)
From God our father in the book of Joshua:
“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:5&9 (ESV)
And in the book of Isaiah:
“But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:8-10 (ESV)
It has been a while that I have encouraged this of my subscribers, but it is time I started saying it again: Remember, Jesus Loves you. He will NEVER leave your side. You are not alone. El-Shaddai is on your side!