Sermon Audio

March 23, 2020 Update

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I’m sending you a link to a message I preached from John 16:31-33 this Lord’s Day. You can view the sermon here. In verse 33, Jesus tells his disciples just hours before his own death, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33; CSB). This text reminded me of the powerful words of the song “O Church Arise,” that we have sung together numerous times: 

Come, see the cross, where love and mercy meet,

As the Son of God is stricken;

Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,

For the Conqueror has risen!

Praise the Lord that Jesus has conquered the world with its sin and sickness! I pray this message from God’s word will be a source of encouragement to you this week. 

In light of the barriers presently inhibiting us from safely and responsibly gathering for worship,  our current plan is to offer our people a video recording of a sermon each Lord’s Day. A link to the video will be posted on our church’s website each Sunday at 11:00 AM, Lord willing. Some of our people have limited internet access, so we are also exploring ways to offer these sermons to them as well.

Our earnest hope is to resume Lord’s Day worship as soon as possible. As of right now, we are still seeking to follow the counsel of our national, state, and local leaders concerning this COVID-19 pandemic. So far, they remain consistent in urging people not to gather in large groups at this present time.

Brothers and sisters, I pray that you are still nourishing your own souls with the Scriptures each week in the time we are apart. Remember the words of our Lord Jesus who taught us, “Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). I’m hoping to lead a weekly Bible study on the Zoom video conferencing platform on Friday mornings. I pray that this might supplement your own Bible reading. I will send you more information about this in the coming days, Lord permitting.   

In these challenging days, we also want to serve our congregation’s precious older members in light of some of the risks associated with public exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Based on all the information that continues to come down from the CDC and our nation’s other health experts, people over the age of sixty-five are at the greatest risk for 1) contracting this virus and 2) being most severely impacted by this virus. If you are one of our older members, we want to bless you during this time by coordinating arrangements to pick up groceries and other household items for you. We have already reached out to many of you about this during the past week. To our dear elderly brothers and sisters, I pray you will consider letting us serve you in this way. 

If you have not yet had an opportunity to hear the song “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death,” I pray you will listen to it if you haven’t already. The song was written by Keith Getty (co-author of “In Christ Alone”), Jordan Kauflin (“All I Have is Christ”) , Matt Merker (“He Will Hold Me Fast”), Matt Papa, and Matt Boswell (“His Mercy is More”). Here is a link to a short video about how these brothers came together to write this song. I can hardly think of a more encouraging and timely song that could be written at our present moment. 

I miss you, church family. I am praying for you and look forward to the day when we can meet together again. 

In HIS grip,

Pastor Jared 

“How Can Christians Put Off Anxiety in the Face of Uncertainty?” Luke 12:22-34

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I’m sending you an MP3 file of a brief devotional meditation (20 min) I’ve prepared for you. As we face the prospect of not meeting in coming weeks, Pastor Deven and I are working to make audio/video accommodations so that we can continue to let you hear the preaching of God’s word each week. There’s no spiritual substitute for us gathering together on the Lord’s Day. If you’re at home and feel some sadness or restlessness about not being able to gather with your Christian brothers and sisters at church this morning, it is not a bad thing that you have such feelings—we should have them. I have felt those same sorts of feelings today! I miss seeing you and being together with you at the time that we normally worship our risen Lord. 

We do not take lightly suspending a Sunday morning worship gathering. We can praise God that the gospel can reach people through MP3s, video cameras, and livestream AV technology,  but watching a preacher on a screen or listening to a sermon over headphones can never be a substitute for physically gathering with the saints on the Lord’s Day. The writer to the Hebrews lovingly warns us as Christians that we must “not [be] neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Heb 10:25; CSB). Under normal circumstances, it would be sinful for us to identify as God’s people while habitually neglecting to gather together for worship with the people of God in the covenant community of a local church’s membership. There are good and legitimate exceptions to a command like this. This is why we rightly don’t hold members with crippling health or deployed military service members to this same standard we hold most church members. Another legitimate exception for not gathering together on a Lord’s Day would be under the sort of health crisis that our community, state, nation, and world is facing in this COVID-19 virus. This is indeed the situation we find ourselves in as a local church at this moment. Though we may gladly leverage certain technologies in coming days to give you access to parts of our service, we feel it’s important that you know we feel this can never be a fitting substitute for corporately reading God’s word, praying together, singing praises to God together, and sitting under the preaching of God’s word together.   

Please continue to pray for our church, our community, and our nation during these days. As I mentioned in my last email to you, Ronnie Floyd, along with leaders of the SBC’s other national entities has called members of our SBC churches to a “Day of Prayer for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Pandemic.”

Here are four key ways they are calling us to pray….

  1. Ask God, in His mercy, to stop this pandemic and save lives — not only in our communities but around the world, particularly in places that are unequipped medically to deal with the virus. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
  2. Pray for President Donald Trump and other government leaders — international, federal, state, and local — to have the wisdom to direct us in the best courses of action for prevention and care. (Romans 13:1–4)
  3. Scripture says: Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in this moment of fear as the foundations of what we know are shaken, that others would realize how fragile life is and how real eternity is, and they would see their need to turn to God. (Psalm 90:12)
  4. Ask God to protect our missionaries and their families around the globe, using this global crisis to advance His Good News to the whole world. (Mark 16:15)

I also want to introduce you to a wonderful new song of worship that I pray will encourage you in these days. The song is called “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death.” You can watch a video of the song here. Here are the lyrics: 

“Christ Our Hope in Life and Death”

What is our hope in life and death?
Christ alone, Christ alone.
What is our only confidence?
That our souls to him belong.
Who holds our days within his hand?
What comes, apart from his command?
And what will keep us to the end?
The love of Christ, in which we stand.

O sing hallelujah!

Our hope springs eternal;

O sing hallelujah!

Now and ever we confess

Christ our hope in life and death.

What truth can calm the troubled soul?
God is good, God is good.
Where is his grace and goodness known?
In our great Redeemer’s blood.
Who holds our faith when fears arise?
Who stands above the stormy trial?
Who sends the waves that bring us nigh
Unto the shore, the rock of Christ?

Unto the grave, what shall we sing?
“Christ, he lives; Christ, he lives!”
And what reward will heaven bring?
Everlasting life with him.
There we will rise to meet the Lord,
Then sin and death will be destroyed,
And we will feast in endless joy,
When Christ is ours forevermore.

Music by Keith Getty, Matt Boswell, Jordan Kauflin, Matt Merker, and Matt Papa
© 2020 Getty Music Publishing (BMI) / Messenger Hymns (BMI) / Matthew Merker Music (BMI) /
Jordan Kauflin Music (BMI) / Getty Music Hymns and Songs (ASCAP) / Love Your Enemies Publishing (ASCAP)

I love you and am praying for you.

In HIS grip,
Pastor Jared

Important COVID-19 Update

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In recent days, Pastor Deven and I have been closely monitoring the information and events concerning the COVID-19 virus. We have prayed much and also have been continually communicating with other pastors and church leaders in our area and state. While some of the sister churches in our area and state are choosing to gather for corporate worship this Lord’s Day, a number of congregations are suspending their normal Sunday morning worship gatherings. After much prayer, we also think suspending our regular Sunday morning corporate worship is the wisest and most loving course of action for our church and our community at this time. This is an incredibly difficult decision to make. We have reached it only after prayer and consulting many voices of wise counsel. What this means, brothers and sisters, is that we will not be gathering for worship this coming Lord’s Day, Sunday, March 15.  Instead we are exploring other ways to broadcast our Sunday morning service. We will communicate more about this soon. We will also communicate this message in other ways to our members who are less likely to use email. In addition to suspending corporate worship this Sunday, we will also suspend all other church activities. This means that until further notice we are also suspending the following:

  • Sunday School
  • Wednesday prayer meeting
  • Awana 
  • Youth Bible Study
  • Southwest Indiana Student Fellowship
  • Plainfield Health Care Outreach 

There are a number of factors and events that moved us to this decision. Earlier this week, Indiana University announced that it is suspending all classroom instruction. Other colleges, universities, institutions for higher learning in our state have followed suit. On Wednesday evening, the SBC’s flagship academic institution, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, announced that it is suspending all on campus courses and transitioning to safer online class alternatives for the remainder of the semester. Our convention’s other five seminaries are each taking similar action. As you also likely know, public schools in Hendricks County and other neighboring counties are suspending all regular classes.

The global and national concern has obviously impacted our decision as well. On Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Brothers and sisters, we share this with you, not to stir up panic, but to help you understand just how seriously we are considering this critical issue. 

Here are some of our deepest pastoral concerns concerning COVID-19: 

1) The symptoms of this virus can remain mild—and even undetectable—for two weeks. As far as we are currently aware, no one in our church family has contracted this virus. Even so, it is critically important for us to understand that the symptoms of COVID-19 can lie dormant for many days before appearing. In light of this, we need to recognize that a member or visitor might show no present signs of COVID-19, and yet unknowingly expose people in our congregation to the virus upon entering our building.  

2) This virus is overwhelmingly most threatening and devastating to senior citizens. All the information coming from the CDC and our nation’s leading medical professionals indicates senior citizens are the people at greatest risk for COVID-19.  Plainfield Baptist Church has a significant number of faithful older members who statistically fall under the age demographic that is at greatest risk for this virus. Our sincere pastoral concern for these precious elderly members makes us reluctant to risk exposing them to a virus they are statistically most vulnerable to according to the counsel of our country’s leading health experts.  

3) As Christians, we have biblical and moral obligations to consider the physical wellbeing of our non-Christian friends and neighbors. Not only do we not want to run the risk of exposing our members to this virus, but should someone in our church carry the virus, we also don’t want to endanger our non-Christian neighbors who we might come into contact with. Postponing our corporate gatherings right now is an act of love and concern for the physical well being of non-Christian neighbors who don’t yet know Jesus and his saving mercy.

So what should we do during this troubled moment? 

  1. Pray
    On Thursday, Ronnie Floyd, The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee President, along with other SBC entity leaders, called upon the members of our convention’s churches to unite for a “Day of Prayer for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Pandemic.” Last night, President Trump called on our nation to a national day of prayer this Sunday. So how should we pray during this time? Pray that God would show his mercy on our world and nation in eradicating this virus. Pray also that non-Christians would see how this virus exposes the frailty of life and certainty of death in this fallen world. Serious as it is, this virus is not the deepest thing that threatens people.  Pray that the Lord would move his Church to share the hope of the gospel to our non-Christian friends and neighbors in these days.  
  2. Rest in the peace of God’s sovereign care for us

This disease is a serious matter—and our God is in no way threatened by it. King Jesus is sovereign and He sits on his throne. Remember the promise of Romans 8:35 “35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Rom 8:35). 

We are currently exploring online giving options for our church at this time. You and your family can also mail a check to our church’s physical address: 

Plainfield Baptist Church

1575 Reeves Rd

Plainfield, IN 46168

I love you and am continuing to pray for you and your family in these days. I will leave you with the words of our Lord Jesus: “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

In HIS grip,
Pastor Jared