IT’S EASTER!!! The highest, most holy day of the year!
Although we wish we could spread the joy of the resurrection of Jesus in person, the fact remains – just because we can’t physically be together, JESUS IS STILL ALIVE AND HIS VICTORY STILL STANDS!!! No virus or situation can or will ever change that!!
I’ve been asked why we are still covering the anti-trafficking area during this crisis. Certainly, the thinking goes, COVID presentes more pressing needs.
I certainly will not minimize the great needs COVID has created and magnified. But I think it is important to note a few things during this crisis as well.
We made a commitment to help in this area during this time and it’s important to honor our committments.
Online buying or sex during this crisis has increased. This may be due to greater loneliness or time at home, but more people are buying and sexually abusing people now than before this crisis. In fact, they are being delivered straight to the homes of those who are stuck at home! The greatest increase right now is in the Galveston/coastline areas, perhaps at some people’s vacation homes where they may be “riding out” their time at home.
“Street traffic ” has not slowed down, either. In fact, several walkers have not even heard of the Coronavirus/COVID-19! This is how isolated many who are being trafficked and abused are kept!
The current economic downturn everyone is facing is affecting those who are either teetering on trying to get out of the industry or those who have recently but current finances are pushing them toward possibly needing to go back to it to be able to survive.
PornHub (see information here) is offering free “premium memberships” right now during this virus so people who are stuck at home (which includes children!) have easy access to hard pornography, thus fertilizing future addicts and fueling the sex trafficking industry.
The HPD Vice department, to protect their force, is minimizing enforcement of trafficking right now, which allows traffickers to victimize with even more impunity.
Please pray for these victims and the horrendous situation they face daily; and even more so during this crisis!
Ash Wednesday is on February 26, and marks the beginning of our Lenten journey, which culminates on Easter Sunday.
On that night at worship at 7:00 PM, we will mark our foreheads with an ash cross and, as that cross is marked, we will be reminded of our sins. As we are marked by Jesus’ sacrifice; we are drawn to the realization that “[we] are dust, and to dust [we] shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
On Ash Wednesday and throughout the season of Lent, we also focus on our sins, on repentance, and on our broken world; seeing how we and all of creation has fallen far short of God’s intention and glory.
THE IMPOSITION OF ASHES
Everything we experience in life is
finite and temporal, including our own lives. As the Scripture reports, we came
from the dust of the ground and we will return to the dust of the ground. (Genesis 3:19 & Ecclesiastes 3:20)
For many centuries the use of ashes
has symbolized repentance. Imposing ashes in the form of a cross on the
forehead of the worshipper on Ash Wednesday is a vivid reminder that such a
person has been redeemed by Christ the Crucified. It is a symbol, not primarily
of our sins, but upon the forgiveness of them through faith in Jesus.
NOTE: Ash Wednesday is a somber time as we remember that Jesus willingly suffering and death come as a result of our sins and His love. As such, at the conclusion of worship that day, we will exit the church in silence.
May your observance of Ash Wednesday nurture your faith and inspire your daily witness to Christ.
Starting this Lent, LifeBridge will engage in “OPERATION
FREEDOM: Be The Light!” The first endeavor of this LifeBridge ministry will
take place this Lenten season as we conduct a community service project to fill
“GoBags” to aid the victims of human trafficking in Houston.
What is a “GoBag”
Rescue America works with victims of sex trafficking, providing emergency rescue services and helps to reintegrate victims back into society. These bags will go to these victims to help in this process. LifeBridge will work with The Freedom Church Alliance (who supplies the bags and many more resources for the Church to fight the scourge of sex trafficking) to collect the needed supplies and help many victims.
Our goal is 75 bags and will run from Sunday, March 1, until Easter, Sunday, April 12.
See below for a card with the contents needed for each bag. PLEASE NOTE THE BAG COLORS/SIZES and PUT IN ALL AND ONLY THOSE ITEMS LISTED. No changes or substitutions, please.
Along with the bags, our sermon series for Lent will also touch on some of the many facets of human trafficking and what our Call, as followers of Jesus, means in the context of this needed fight!
Thank you for being a part of the solution to fight human trafficking!