May Gospel News

May Gospel News

Weekly Update,

May 4, 2020

Dear friends and members of Fort Lee Gospel Church,

I have used the church E-mail list to communicate almost weekly since the church stopped meeting in person. The best I can tell, we will continue with virtual services and Google Meet Bible study groups for the rest of May. Three thoughts for this week:

1.       Mother’s Day: May 10

A shout out to all our mothers this week. It will be a different kind of Mother’s Day as social distancing will lead to Zoom conversations or talking on the front yard with safe distancing. This year we need to honor our mothers of young children especially. While 90% of us battle some boredom, mothers of younger children often have never been busier. With schools closed, parks closed, and activities cancelled, many mothers have spent the last 2 months pulling their hair out trying to manage their families. Proverbs 31:10-31 tells us about a super-woman that is to be honored. Verse 28-30 say,

Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

We honor all our mothers this Sunday, May 10.

2.       Looking Ahead

One thing I have learned in the past 10 weeks is that most of my projections have been wrong. In that context, here are some principles guiding our plans for the coming weeks. First, we plan to err on the side of caution. Do not expect Fort Lee Gospel church to lead the way in reopening programs. It is by God’s grace that we have not been a center for spreading this coronavirus so far. The first thing we will be able to do in person is to gather in groups smaller than 10, using masks and social distancing. Many of our group meetings have 10 to 15 people in attendance. It seems like the 6:00 AM Morning Prayer Meeting may be best suited to start before other groups. Second, our internet connections are here to stay. When we do start meeting for worship on Sundays, we will need to continue to livestream services for those who are not ready to join in person. We may even start meeting in the church building (maybe in June) with the plan to have most of the church stay home. More on that when we have better testing and guidance from the state. Third, rebellion is still sin, even when it is the church defying government guidelines. Enemies of the church love to see Christians acting unchristianly. Take some hope in the fact that God knows the future and God will lead. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

3.       A Personal Note

On May 4th, 1979, I prayed a prayer to ask Jesus to be my Savior. That day radically changed the course of my life, for which I am very grateful. At the core of our faith is the idea that God takes residence in the life of Jesus followers by His Holy Spirit. Change comes in our lives as God works within us. Today I reflect on the past 41 years with deep gratitude as God led me to become a pastor and I have had the joy of pastoring Fort Lee Gospel Church since 1991. Ephesians 3:21 reflects my journey of faith in saying, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” All glory goes to our Savior as all I did was say ‘yes’ to God.

I pray for you to enjoy God’s favor this week as we all journey through this season. God bless!
Pastor Rick

April 27, 2020

Dear friends and members of Fort Lee Gospel Church,

This is about week 7 of the pandemic mandated stay at home situation. The challenge at this time is that it feels like it has no end. We may see some changes in 2 or 3 weeks, but a sense of normal life is still many weeks away. This has been an emotionally challenging time. I have often summarized this season as a combination of fear, grief and loneliness. I have felt all of those emotions and spoken with many who are going through those feelings. Can I add a new emotion to what I think we are feeling – weariness. Don’t get me wrong. Among the negative emotions are good conversations and hope because of Jesus. 

I want to use this weekly E-mail to respond to feeling weary. Read these verses below:

Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Galatians 6: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Find encouragement from God’s Word as we travel through this together. Claudette and I welcome feedback from you. Sermons and worship are posted on our website, and church FaceBook page. Let me also remind you to connect with our small groups through Zoom or Google Meet. Information for Tuesday Bible Study and Wednesday Early Morning prayer are,

Bible study at 7:00 PM Tuesdays and Wednesday morning prayer at 6:00 AM. Connect info is:

Meeting URL :

For dial in: 

Phone: +1 567-351-1104 PIN: 469 349 929#

I pray that God will use this season to build our faith and grow our relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. God bless!
Pastor Rick

Fort Lee Gospel Covid 19 Update

April 20, 2020

Dear friends and members of Fort Lee Gospel Church,

First a word of encouragement for I Corinthians 15:58,

“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.”

This is week 5 or 6 of changes caused by our health crisis. We all have unique stressors. Some are feeling lonely and isolated. Others miss gathering for church, recreation or even work. Some feel overwhelmed by working at home plus home schooling their children. Others are on the front lines working in hospitals or other public spaces. To all of our stressors, God word says, “stand firm. Let nothing move you.” Be encouraged to find strength in God (in the context of our verse, in the resurrection of Jesus) to continue to make the most of our challenging situation.

Second, a note about our broadcasted Sunday services. In our home we have two i phones. We used the backup phone on Easter, April 12 and yesterday, April 19. The Easter service had a stop in taping near the end of the sermon. This led to two postings and then later a fix that brought them both together. Some of you watched the first one (about 35 minutes) and missed the 10 minute conclusion. If you came late you should have been able to watch the fixed version. That was Easter. Yesterday the livestream worked well and many watched. There was a glitch in uploading the 50 minute service onto the church Facebook and church website ( Skylar is attempting to find that taping somewhere is Facebook land. A note of thanks to Skylar Brown for all his help with the website and Facebook page. Meanwhile, last night I taped a 28 minute shortened version on my message from Mark 3:7-20 on Crowds, Touch and Discipleship. The short version is currently on the Facebook page and the website. We pray that the full version will be restored this week. 

Third, some updates on small groups. This past week we have largely restarted our groups that were meeting pre-coronavirus. The two public meeting I announced last Monday were the Bible study at 7:00 PM Tuesdays and Wednesday morning prayer at 6:00 AM. Connect info is:

Meeting URL :

For dial in: 

Phone: +1 567-351-1104 PIN: 469 349 929#

We are considering adding another public meeting as we prefer groups to be under about 12. I welcome your suggestions and feedback. 

In closing, I hope you are spending some time in the Psalms. The Psalms are a great place to connect our emotions with hope in a mighty God. Read all of Psalm 5 but it starts,

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.

May God be your strength today! God bless!
Pastor Rick

April 13, 2020

Dear friends and members of Fort Lee Gospel Church,

Passion week without church. Easter week without eating together as extended family or church family. The balance is that at least we have technology where scripture, prayer and reading can be seen by computer or heard over the phone. Meetings by Google Meet or Zoom help us stay connected. I have watched a few services of my home church in Canada. I would never have thought to do that before. Many of us have had added time to spend with God alone. I am praying that this season brings a stronger prayer and devotion life among us all. 

I need to acknowledge the pain of this season. The theme of early March was ‘faith overcoming fear.’ Some are still struggling with fear and anxiety. April has added grief to our fears. Phone calls about the passing of a friend or family member have been far too common. We grieve the high numbers in the news and the stories of nursing homes and medical workers that break our hearts. In the backdrop of this reality we as Christians can include the hope that Christ in risen. He is risen indeed. We need news of the resurrection more this year than any other. For many who live alone there is the pain of isolation. Loneliness is understandable and difficult to remedy. Others have financial pain to add to the other challenges. May God continue to shepherd us through these trying times. 

As a church we have stayed connected with some but not all. Most of our previous groups have met online. Sunday services have livestreamed at 11:00 AM and have been available for viewing on our church website ( and the Fort Lee Gospel Facebook page. Yvonne, Skylar and Adrian have posted weekly worship packages from their home. 

I plan to start two groups this week, which align with our previous schedule. First, the Tuesday evening Bible study will meet tomorrow at 7:00 PM. This should be for about an hour. We welcome members who do not usually attend in person to join us online. Second we will start the Wednesday 6:00 AM Prayer meeting. This should be about 30-40 minutes as I share a devotional and then we take turns praying. Here is the way to connect with these meetings:

Meeting URL :

For dial in: 

Phone: +1 567-351-1104 PIN: 469 349 929#

Please respond to this E-mail or reach out to me in another way with your prayer concerns. I would be happy to just hear that you are doing okay. 

I leave you with some encouragement from Isaiah 43:1-5. God bless!
Pastor Rick

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; . . .
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you, . . .
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;