I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with your family and friends. We now have arrived at the beginning of the Advent and Christmas Season. December 3rd being the First Sunday of Advent. The parament color is now Blue. Advent is a season for waiting and preparing for Jesus. It’s a wonderful time of year and a time when we really need to pull ourselves together and think about just why we do what we do here at Weedsport First Baptist. It’s a time to invite or re-invite friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to come with us to church services and church events. It’s a time to focus on the “Reason for the Season”…JESUS!
John Donne wrote a poem on the birth of Christ. He says it well in just a few words:
Nativity, begins with these lines,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb
There he hath made himself to his intent
Now leaves his well-beloved imprisonment
Weak enough, now into our world to come
But Oh, for thee, for him, hath th’ Inn no room
I believe John captured beautifully, the irony, contradiction, and capriciousness of God in Jesus Christ. We have an immensity God, one who can’t be gazed upon, put in a box, nor even understood, yet one that is cloistered in the form of a child in a virgin’s womb. This omnipotent God that is ‘imprisoned,’ lovingly in his mother’s womb and when he is weak enough, it’s then that Jesus comes into our world. This is what we celebrate at Christmas, an unknowable God coming to us in the form of the Christ child. We call him Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.” How impossible is this Christmas Story? In the book of Colossians 1:15 the Bible tells us Jesus “is the image of the invisible God.” Another contradiction comes to us in Jesus. An invisible God that has an image upon which we can gaze. Once there was nothing and now there’s Christmas. We that were without hope, living in darkness, have been sent hope, and a light to shine in the midst of the darkness. There is very little in the Christmas Story that makes sense to those who would seek a rational explanation or a scientific understanding. To those who encountered the Christ child, to those who have seen light in the midst of their darkness, those who had hope when there was only despair, those who had been loved at their most unlovable, the Christmas Story is very real and makes much sense. What was thought to be impossible is very possible.
This is a story of God coming to us when we couldn’t go to him. It’s a story of God turning everything upside down in our wrong side up world. It’s the story of a God that says when we are weak, then we are strong. When we give the most of (tithes, talents, time) we don’t become empty, but rather we gain more. When we seek to serve others and put the interest of others first, then we will be cared for. When we grow old, frail and die, then we actually come to life.
During December, the season of Advent and Christmas, if you have any disbelief or skepticisms, I invite and encourage you to suspend those thoughts and journey with me to Bethlehem, to the stable, to the manger to see this thing God has done. Journey with me to trust God, give ourselves, and all we have to do God’s work. Let us gaze again upon this image of an invisible God. Let us be caught up in the beauty, wonder, and excitement of it all. Let us celebrate again or maybe truly for the first time that GOD IS WITH US and let us go forth to live lives as if we truly believed this impossible story…. lives that make the world take notice. Let us live the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Invite someone to attend church with you, Pray continually, Read and Study Your Bible.
From our Family to Yours, have a Safe and Merry Christmas with your family and friends. God Bless you. In His Service, Pastor Doug
Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior
We are looking forward and preparing for the Holiday Season of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of you will have family arriving and others will travel to where your families are. Gathering together for a time of fun, fellowship and maybe even watch some football. But let me ask this question, what are you really thankful for? The Bible tells us in Psalms 107:1
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever.” There are all kinds of reminders that this is the season to be thankful. You will see this on Facebook, Twitter, the internet, the newspapers, hear it on the radio, TV, and see it in the stores. They challenge us to be thankful and share what we’re really thankful for. But do we really have that thankfulness in our heart? Do we live in such a way that expresses our gratitude for the blessings we receive in our lives every day?
With our busy lives we encounter the stresses of life in general, at work, at home, our families, our health and the list could go on and on. These things tend to take away our focus on what we really do have. However, in Ephesians 2:8 the Apostle Paul tells us it’s “By Grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” The gift God gave to us is His only begotten Son, Jesus to die on the Cross for you and me, for the remission of our sins. In James 1:17 James tells us “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights who does not change like the shifting shadows. The world is constantly changing with many “shifting shadows.” However, we can have the comfort of knowing that Our Father does not change, He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will never leave or forsake us. You can’t help but be thankful for these promises and blessings from God.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Remember to Give God Thanks with a Grateful Heart. Take time to ask each other at the Thanksgiving Table what they are thankful for. On behalf of Carol, myself and our family, have a blessed Thanksgiving. We love and care about all of you and continue praying for you.
In His Service
Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior
Well, summer has come to an end and on September 23rd we began the first full day of the fall season. The warm summer days come to an end as the bright cool days of fall begin to settle in upon us with the leaves changing to all the bright colors of oranges, yellows, reds and browns. It’s time now for us to check our furnaces and woodstoves to make sure they’re prepared for the winter months, along with checking our windows and doors for proper sealing. For those that have a garden it’s time to harvest what’s left, the kale, the greens, the winter squash and maybe a few lingering tomatoes. It won’t be long and we’ll have to store away the lawn furniture, but we’ll put that off as long as we can. Pumpkins, corn mazes, mums, and scarecrows will be coming. We also begin to think about the Holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Time will go by fast, but take time to enjoy the progression. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-5 that there is a time for everything so as the seasons change, what is going to change for you? An Improved Prayer Life? Growing more spiritually by studying God’s Word? Inviting someone to attend church with you? Being more faithful on attending church? Finding God’s Will for your life? Having fellowship one with another? Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior? There are many opportunities to serve within the church. Pray and seek God’s will for your life. Ask Him to show you the gift or talent He has given you, then step forward and use that gift or talent. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and He WILL direct your path. (Proverbs 3-6). He gives us our own free will, so we have a choice which way we want to go.
I’m excited about our fall season here at Weedsport First Baptist Church. It’s going to be busy. Through your faithful donations we have purchased the New NIV Large Print NIV Pew and Worship Bibles. Our Annual Fall Rummage Sale will be held October 3rd, 4th, and 5th, the Outreach Ministry Team is holding a FREE Spaghetti Dinner in our Fellowship Hall on Saturday, October 12th from 4:30pm – 7:00 pm, Tara Sheehan, Tammy Blowers and Amy Chirco will be sharing the responsibilities of holding a junior church program during our Sunday morning worship service, Jenn Cerio has the choir back in full swing after the summer vacation and retired Pastor Larry Wolfanger will be holding a fall bible study for everyone in the near future, more information to follow. Jenn Cerio has been upgrading our Church Website and working with me on creating a visitation packet to hand out to our visitors. I’ve received some new pamphlets that will also be included in the visitor packet along with a Dunkin Donut Gift Card. Once again, we will be hosting The Old Brutus Historical Society Roast Beef Dinner on Monday, October 21st at 6:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall. What a great blessing to see our church opening up its doors to show the love we have for our community, the people and to move forward with the message of the gospel for the Glory of God.
I have said many times that we’re living in the end times. No one knows the day or hour Jesus will return. There are some things we as the Body of Christ need to do but we can’t sit back passively in our church thinking about Jesus one day will come back for his bride that has been complacent and stagnant. Now that it’s Fall, we see the farmers preparing for the harvest season and there are things we too must do to prepare for the harvest as well. In Matthew 9:35-38 The Bible says: 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus is saying the workers are few and there are few people to reap the harvest to reach souls. Jesus needs workers who know how to deal with people’s problems. We can comfort others and show them the way to live because we have been helped with our problems by God and his laborers. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 The Apostle Paul tells says “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
Yes, we need people to go out into the mission fields outside of our church doors to evangelize and win souls for Jesus Christ, but I believe Jesus is also saying we must honor God because He wants to restore His honor to all the earth. He wants to have a relationship with everyone and doesn’t want anyone left out. If everyone would give God honor think how the atmosphere of the world would change.
What would happen if every church in the world reached outside their four walls of their Sanctuary and brought 100 people into the church and they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Would that be enough?
When visitors come into our church, do we great them in warm and friendly way, do they find Jesus being a priority during our worship service, is there an atmosphere of honor to the Lord that’s been created, did we have fellowship with them before they left? Did you plant a good seed for the harvest so they too will turn the hearts to God and honor him?
Most people after they’ve accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior will be satisfied, and that’s where it stops. They’ll say “I’ll be in church every Sunday, I’m good now, I know I’m going to heaven, I won’t forget to put a little money in the collection plate, and if I have time, I’ll come work some of the events and will be there for the holidays to ease my mind. That’s all I have to do because I know I’m going to heaven.”
The bible tells us how to prepare ourselves as the “bride of Christ.” It’s not simply about going and reaching heaven, but preparing ourselves for heaven so we’ll be ready when Jesus returns to take us there. In Revelation 19:7-8 The Bible says “7Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people). This is the culmination of human history, the judgement of the wicked and the wedding of the Lamb and his bride, the church. The church consists of all faithful believers from all time.
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ our righteous acts are to walk worthily and in unity as a body, putting God first, keeping the faith, believing, worshiping, praising, serving, tithing, understanding and living by the word of God. We won’t be a perfect church, but we will believe, have faith, and give God the honor and glory for what He has done for us. He’s not through working on each one of us, and He will continue to change us and bring in the harvest. We need to make God a Priority in our lives. To God Be The Glory!
Keep Praying, Studying God’s Word and Inviting others to attend church with you.
We say “Good Morning” to others. Do You Know What Good Morning Means?
Open your heart
Open your mind
Dedicate your day to God
Meditate on God’s Word
Optimize your faith and hope
Rebuke all evil
Never doubt God’s love
Never let anything scare you
Go out with joy
SHOES IN CHURCH
I showered and shaved………. I adjusted my tie.
I got there and sat………. In a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in prayer………. As I closed my eyes.
I saw the shoe of the man next to me………. Touching my own. I sighed.
With plenty of room on either side………. I thought, “Why must our soles touch?”
It bothered me, his shoe touching mine… But it didn’t bother him much.
A prayer began: “Our Father” ………. I thought, “This man with the shoes, has no pride.
They’re dusty, worn, and scratched. Even worse, there are holes on the side!”
“Thank you for blessings,” the prayer went on.
The shoe man said………. A quiet “Amen.”
I tried to focus on the prayer….. But my thought were on his shoes again..
Aren’t we supposed to look our best… When walking through that door?
“Well, this certainly isn’t it,” I thought, glancing toward the floor.
Then the prayer was ended………. And the songs of praise began.
The shoe man was certainly loud….. Sounding proud as he sang.
His voice lifted the rafters….. His hands were raised high.
The Lord could surely hear.. The shoe man’s voice from the sky.
It was time for the offering….. And what I threw in was steep.
I watched as the shoe man reached…. Into his pockets so deep.
I saw what was pulled out………. What the shoe man put in.
Then I heard a soft ‘clink’ as when silver hits tin.
The sermon really bored me……To tears, and that’s no lie.
It was the same for the shoe man…For tears fell from his eyes.
At the end of the service………. As is the custom here.
We must greet new visitors, and show them all good cheer.
But I felt moved somehow……… And wanted to meet the shoe man.
So after the closing prayer………. I reached over and shook his hand.
He was old and his skin was dark………. And his hair was truly a mess…..
But I thanked him for coming………. For being our guest…
He said, “My name’s Charlie………. I’m glad to meet you, my friend.”
There were tears in his eyes………. But he had a large, wide grin.
“Let me explain,” he said………. Wiping tears from his eyes.
“I’ve been coming here for months….. And you’re the first to say ‘Hi.”
“I know that my appearance………. Is not like all the rest.”
“But I really do try………. To always look my best.”
“I always clean and polish my shoes…Before my very long walk.”
“But by the time I get here….. They’re dirty and dusty, like chalk.”
My heart filled with pain………. And I swallowed to hide my tears.
As he continued to apologize………. For daring to sit so near.
He said, “When I get here………. I know I must look a sight.”
“But I thought if I could touch you…. Then maybe our souls might unite.”
I was silent for a moment………. Knowing whatever was said
Would pale in comparison…. I spoke from my heart, not my head.
“Oh, you’ve touched me,” I said….. “And taught me, in part
That the best of any man………. Is what is found in his heart.”
The rest, I thought, ………. This shoe man will never know.
Like just how thankful I really am…. That his dirty old shoe touched my soul.
“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there in front of me, suffering and I responded sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”
~ George Saunders, writer – in a graduation speech
SUMMER HAS ARRIVED!!!! I believe we can say we’ve all had enough rain. You turn on the weather and it’s another day of rain and possibly thunderstorms. We’ve seen the devastation from the tornadoes, and floods that the rain has caused. I’m struck by the power of water. Water is necessary for life and when we don’t have enough life suffers. Water has the power to give life and also has the power to destroy life. We’ve seen the devastation that’s occurred in the Midwest from the tornadoes and flood waters. We’ve also seen the devastation that’s been occurring in Oswego with the rising waters. Many farmers are having trouble getting their planting all done.
Watching the news and seeing the water surround so many places reminds me of the water that gives us life. The water that flows from God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit: The waters of baptism; These waters have both destructive and life-giving powers. Paul tells us in Romans 6:3-11 (NIV) 3“don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Paul is telling us when we go through the waters of baptism, we experience a death and a renewal of life. The moment we go under the water we die of our broken sinful selves and we arise with a new life in Jesus Christ. From the moment the Word of God’s promises combined with the waters touch our brow, we’re drowned in them, die, and live by the Spirit of the living Jesus Christ. The waters of baptism destroy our brokenness, our captivity, the power of evil, chaos, suffering to sin and death.
At the same time the waters of baptism have the power to give us life. As we go under the water it brings us into the gift and promise that we receive in Jesus Christ. God’s love encircles us in such a way that it can’t be removed. We live each moment of every day as one of God’s beloved children, carried by His unlimited grace. In baptism we received the same life to which Jesus was raised; life without end; life that is stronger than sin and death, life that promises an end to suffering and pain; life that no evil, experience, thought, word, or action, can take away. We find this difficult to wrap around in our minds because exactly how it works is a mystery of God. Yet, there is a death and there is life in the same act, in the same waters, brought about by the power of God’s Living Word, Jesus Christ. In these waters we find the promise of God. By God’s action through these waters we know God’s Love Never Fails, His forgiveness is stronger than our sins, His life makes a way through death and His unwavering presence is with us with always. He has promise to Never Leave nor Forsake us!
When you see the water around, as the rain continues to fall, as you see the devastation, the destruction, and the life-giving power of the water, remember the powerful waters of baptism which God’s promises become a reality for you and are renewed for you every moment of every day in your life.
God Bless You, Keep Praying and Studying God’s Word. Invite others to attend church with you.
In His Service,
Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
I’m going to go back to April one of our busiest months during Lent. We had 18 parishioners complete the 5-week Bible Study on “The Lamb of God.” On Friday, April 19th we held our Annual Good Friday Tenebrae Service. There were 58 that attended this service. Jenn Cerio our choir director put together a very powerful musical presentation performed by our choir along with the scriptures readings from some of our parishioners. It was then followed by the Drama entitled “Mary & James Under the Cross.” We received many good comments regarding our Tenebrae Service and Drama presentation. Many lives were touched that night. Praise The Lord! I want to thank Jenn Cerio, all the choir members, Elinor Fults & Briana Wignall for the duet they sang during the Tenebrae and Easter Sunday Service, also Cindy Kennedy that played Mary and Norm Chirco that played James during the drama presentation. Our Easter Sunday Worship Service ended with Communion. There were 50 in attendance for this service. Thank you to everyone that attended these services.
As we entered the month of May we celebrated the Wedding of Tim Short and Tammy Blowers on Saturday, May 4th. On Monday, May 6th we hosted the Lion’s Club Pasta Dinner for the senior Honor Society of the Weedsport Central Jr.-Sr. High School. Thank you to everyone that assisted in the kitchen, set-up, take-down, table servers, clean-up, whatever you did, just know it was greatly appreciated. Our Penny Fund for the Heifer Project has raised over $500 for the Heifer Project, a mission of our church. The Prayer Warriors continue to draw names on the second Sunday of each month to pray daily for a family that attends our church. We had 44 in attendance on Mother’s Day which included 10 children. We congratulate Michael Chirco that has graduated from Western New England University. On Sunday, May 26th A Memorial Candle was placed in the front of the altar which Bob Taylor lit to honor and remember the men and women of the armed forces that paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could have the freedoms we have today. We will never forget. I have been asked to do a Tribute in Memory of Chuck Jayne at the Law Enforcement Torch Run to be held on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at the Parking Lot of Rite Aid on Genesee Street when the Law Enforcement Runners arrive (10:00 am). Our church will be hosting the Weedsport Central Jr.-Sr. High School Baccalaureate Service on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm. Our Choir will sing during this program, and I will give a message to the senior class.
You have heard me say many times God has called us to be his disciples. I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” The call of God is not just for a select few, it’s for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears and exactly what I hear depends on my spiritual attitude. In Matthew 22:14 the Bible says: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” That is few prove that they are chosen ones. The chosen ones are those that have come into a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears opened. Then they hear “the voice of the Lord” continually asking “…who will go for us?” However, God doesn’t single out someone and say, “Now, you go.” He didn’t force his will on Isaiah. Isaiah was in the presence of God, and he overheard the call. His response, performed in complete freedom, could only be to say, “Here am I! Send me.”
Remove the thought from your mind from expecting God to come and force you or plead with you. When our Lord called His disciples, he did it without irresistible pressure from the outside. The quiet, yet passionate insistence of His “Follow Me” was spoken to men whose every sense was receptive. Mathew 4:19, the Bible says: “And He said to them “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we too will hear what Isaiah heard; “the Voice of the Lord.” In perfect freedom we too will say “Here Am I! Send me.”
Keep Praying, read your Bible, and Invite someone to attend church with you.
In His Service Pastor Doug
A Prayer for When You Can’t Pray
Every time you feel you can’t pray, you can start here, with the one prayer given us by our Lord.
By Marci Alborghetti
The Lord’s Prayer is the only formal prayer that Jesus offered us, the prayer He gave to His disciples when they asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:2-4). Every time you feel you can’t pray, you can start here, with the one prayer given us by our Lord. And since it is literally the Lord’s prayer, a personal gift from Jesus to each one of us, we should offer it back to the Lord as a personal gift, embracing the meaning of each line as it reaches out to gather us into Christ’s waiting arms.
Our Father: Lord, help me to remember that You are my Father, a caring Parent Who will love and protect me much more than any human parent.
Who are in heaven: Heaven is Your home, Lord, and I thank You for letting me see glimmers of heaven every day here on Earth, in sunrise and sunset, in thunder and lightning and rain-bearing clouds, in the oceans with their rippling waves and tides and the rivers flowing into them, in roses and irises and snowflakes.
Hallowed be Thy name: Father, let me honor Your name in my every word, action, thought.
Thy kingdom come: Let me remember, dear God, that this world is only temporary, that Your glorious kingdom will indeed come. I long to be swept up into it.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven: Father, in this world, we are often so far from doing Your will as Jesus revealed it. Help me to live my life according to Your will and help make Earth more like heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread: God of abundance, thank You for providing so generously all that I need. Remind me to share what You provide for me so that all may have their daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses: Without Your continuous forgiveness, Lord, where would I be?
As we forgive those who trespass against us: I should be more forgiving, Lord; show me how.
And lead us not into temptation: Father, I often feel that I’m being tried. Help me to remember that my small trials are nothing compared to those of Your Son, my Brother, and give me the strength and faith to persevere.
But deliver us from evil: Dear God, intervene for me because I am weak, and without Your deliverance I am like a lost and wandering child. Draw me safely into Your protective embrace, Lord.
Amen: You, Father, are the final amen, the way, the truth, the life.
We made it through the cold of winter, moving our clocks to daylight savings time, and now the season of spring has arrived. The robins and geese have returned, the birds are singing, the temperatures slowly on the rise, the tulips and daffodils have broken up through the ground and the baseball season has begun. Soon God’s beautiful creation will be enhanced with the blooming of the flowers showing off their colors. Yes, the yard work will begin, green grass will grow and need to be mowed. The creeks have all been stocked with trout and on April 1st the trout season of fishing opened.
We began our Lenten Journey on Ash Wednesday, March 6th. This was the beginning of our 40 day journey to the Cross of Calvary. A period for many Christians to observe a period of fasting, prayer, repentance, self-denial and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside a time of reflection on Jesus Christ, his suffering, his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. Before Jesus took his final trip to Jerusalem, and the cross, he prepared his disciples for the event that was to happen. Jesus discloses himself with the “I am” statements revealing His purpose and person. These are found in the book of John where Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd,” “I am the Bread of Life,” “I am the Light of the World,” “I am the way, the truth and the life.” These tell of Jesus care and love for us. In John ll:25-26 Jesus said: “I am,” “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” This is the focus of Easter. Jesus disciples didn’t understand what He was telling them. After the events of Easter, it became clear to them the meaning of Easter. Even as we see the season of Spring unfold, into the abundance of summer, the resurrection of Jesus unfolded in the lives of his followers. His promise of sacrifice and his victory over death became a real lived truth and it’s ours.
Easter is the core of our faith. When we look at all of Jesus promises, his teaching, his care & love for us, it becomes tangible for us at Easter. It’s my hope and prayer that you and your family will make Easter Worship not just a time of gathering for a meal, but a moment to stop and celebrate the truth that continues to unfold in each one of your lives. Jesus went to the Cross, shed His blood and died for the remission of your sins and mine, so that we can have eternal life with him. He is the way, the truth, and the life and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness, trust, have faith and obey Him.
God Bless You and Your Family
We’re now going into the third month of the New Year. Over the past month we held our Church Annual Meeting that was well attended. We look forward to what God has planned for our church this year. Our Outreach Ministry Team is reorganizing and will be discussing ways to draw others into our congregation as well as holding more events for children, young people and adults this year. We are also forming a Welcoming Committee that will be developing and implementing a visitor packet to give out when a new person attends our church. If you are interested in serving on the Outreach Ministry Team or Welcoming Committee, please contact me. Our Prayer Warriors continue to draw names each month and pray for families attending our church. We’ve had many answers to prayers and know God will continue to answer our prayers in His time.
On March 6, Ash Wednesday, we’ll begin our journey through the 40 days of the Lenten season. Lent is often seen as a season to be introspective, a time to check in on our relationship with God. Have we been praying and keeping in touch? Have we given thanks as much as we’ve asked for help? If we think God has been ignoring us, Lent is a great time to be honest about how often we’ve ignored God. We need a time of Lent to shift gears, to turn around (repent) and take stock in our relationship with Jesus Christ, the Giver of All Life. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our daily agendas and forget that God loves us unconditionally, truly desires to be in relationship with us.
During Lent we’re reminded what God has done for us, and the lengths to which God was willing, and is willing to show us that love. There’s nothing we can do to destroy God’s love for us. Our God is like a father who keeps vigil until his prodigal son or daughter comes home. If we’ve been absent, can we see Lent as a turn back to God?
Lent is what we make it; we can ignore it; or we can embrace it. Lent has also been described as a wilderness time. Our quest for God can feel like a journey in the wilderness; perhaps a little scary, or even dangerous. But in the end, it’s a journey inward; a road of twists and turns that ultimately finds its home in our hearts. In the Gospel of Matthew 4:1-11, and Luke 4:1-13, we find Jesus was driven into the wilderness right after his baptism. The wording sounds a little harsh, yet Jesus would return to the wilderness again and again to be in prayer with God, to reconnect, rest, and be strengthened for whatever was coming. Can we do the same? The wilderness can be a scary place, and so can the journey inward when we come face to face with the wild beasts that live inside of us: the beasts of anger, fear, grief, anxiety, guilt, and shame. Who wants to go there?
As we journey through Lent this year, it’s my prayer that we’ll be surprised by God, and discover how profoundly loved we are. God seeks; God knocks; God wants to be close. God only desires our joy, and our joy is a sign of God’s presence.
Keep Praying, Reading God’s Word, and inviting others to attend church with you.
In His Service