Ministry Moments – April, 2020

Greetings members and friends,

It is March 30th, 2020 and we are all confined. It is difficult for many of us, we can’t do what we normally do. We can’t see our friends and families. We aren’t free to go to the grocery store as much as we may like. Our meals are at home, no way to go out for a special meal at a restaurant and let someone else serve you. We may be getting tired of the same walls with the same paintings, pictures and then there are the same old programs on TV and we are coming up on reruns, oh boy, that’s something to not look forward to.

This is not the first time in history that people have been placed in seclusion or confined to a place. It isn’t the first time in history that people can’t get out and walk around freely and greet friends on the street. God has allowed many of His people to experience this in the past, and it may happen again. Think about Anne Frank and her family confined to small quarters above a warehouse. It was Anne and her family, father, mother and sister and the Van Daan family, mother, father and son. They were confined with nowhere to go, they weren’t able to get out for fresh air like we can, and were completely dependent upon others to bring them food. (Amazon, Doordash etc.) Then there were those confined to concentration camps during the holocaust. They had no control and very little food or warmth. Paul spent time in prison numerous times. David spent time running from Saul, separated from people and hiding in caves. Then there is Pastor’s favorite confinees, Noah and his family of 7. On the Ark during the 40 days and 40 nights and then for about a year after while the Earth dried up enough for them to disembark.

So the good Lutheran question is “What Does This Mean?” This means we will get through this. We will make it to the next adventure He has planned for us. We aren’t alone; God was with the people before us and He is with us now. In every situation God is right there with us. [Matthew 28:20]  He understands what we are going through and He will give us the strength and courage to get through this just like He did with Noah and the others.

When this is all over and we can get back to what we knew as normal, God will still be with us and we will have new experiences that have seasoned our lives and to tell stories about; new things we learned, and we will have grown. Use this time to study God’s Word, to talk to friends you may not have had “time” to talk to. Call them on the phone and spend 10 minutes talking to them. Spend some special time in prayer and meditation. Enjoy those meals at home, set your table with the good china and share a candle light meal with your loved ones. Take this time to get reacquainted with those you love and care about.

May God bless and keep you all till we can meet again. And when we do meet again, we will be free to shake hands, give hugs and sit next to each other. What a wonderful time that is going to be. I look forward to that.

You are all in our prayers and thoughts and we will be talking with you as this goes on.

In His love and service,

Debbie Oatman

Church schedule for April, 2020


Dear Friends in Christ,

Due to health concerns around the Coronovirus, we will not be holding services in person until further notice. 

Mid week Lent services and Bible Studies have also been cancelled.

Pastor Oatman and Debbie are providing a weekly service which is available through email or (since 3/29) on Youtube, search for GraceLCHayward .

You may also attend services virtually and 24/7 at Zion Lutheran Church at .

Lutheran Hour Ministries at is another great resource.

Please keep us all in your prayers as we deal with the uncertainties of this pandemic. Keep washing your hands! Maintain “social distancing”!

God is ALWAYS with us, especially in times of trouble and remember HE IS IN CONTROL.


Keynotes – March, 2020


As we begin the Season of Lent I can’t think of a single word that is more profound for us than humble. I also can’t think of one that is harder for us to accomplish.

From a dictionary: Humble 1. Not proud; modest. 2. Low in position or condition; not important or grand. 3. To make humble; make lower in position, condition, or pride. ‘Humble in defeat. Humbled by defeat.’

Of course our example is Jesus. “You made Him a little lower than the heavenly beings.” Psalm 8:5 Jesus also washed His disciples’ feet. Jesus went to the cross for our sins before we were ever born. Jesus tells us to ‘turn the other cheek’ when people hate us. Some have misunderstood Jesus and what it means to be humble.

Jesus remained humble as He overturned the tables in the Temple. Jesus remained humble when He answered the high priest questioning if He was “the Christ, the Son of God.” and He said, “Yes, it is as you say. But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Matthew 26:63-64

Sometimes humble is very submissive, as when Jesus chose to allow the soldiers to beat Him. Other times humble is confessing our submission to God no matter the consequences in this life.

The primary times for us to be humble are first before God confessing all of our sins and resting in His mercy for forgiveness and second when we are serving others. Both should flow from the same joy of being a Child of God.

There is an old tale that Benjamin Franklin carried a list of ten things with him every day. They were the things he wanted to work on in order to improve himself. The story says he had the word humble on the list, and after working on it for a long time he confidently removed it one day. On reflection, he decided to put it back on the list and never took it off again figuring that he could never claim to be truly humble.

As with our forefather, we too should be works in progress. We should continue to work and to serve all the while attempting to be honest with ourselves, listening to those around us, and seeking to be a better model of humility for all. If Ben was right, we will always have the opportunity to improve and the joy of knowing that we are forgiven by the only one who actually achieved being truly humble, our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

Pastor Oatman