That was some blizzard that blew and blew and blew and then blew some more as it passed through our area, wasn’t it! The actual event more than lived up to the hype trumpeted by the weather forecasters.
What did you do during the blizzard? Undoubtedly, you made adjustments to your normal activities and schedule. Our household did. Our church did. For one of the few times in recent memory our services were cancelled!
I also did some reflective thinking during the blizzard about the blizzard. Actually I thought about more than the blizzard, but the blizzard provided the context and the occasion for my reflections. I want to put before you three of those reflections.
First, I was struck by the mighty power of God. For about 30 hours the entire east coast from Washington, D.C. to New York City was in the grip of Jonas the Blizzard! During those thirty hours it became increasingly clear how little power we humans have when push comes to shove. No longer were we the ones calling the shots and setting the agenda; it was Jonas the Blizzard who did the calling and setting!
Schedules were changed all across the board. Professional sports games were postponed. Appointments for Saturday haircuts were cancelled. Over 5,500 airline flights never got off the ground. Dinner plans were laid aside. Broadway had no theaters open. Regular runs for Wawa coffee didn’t happen. Railroads ceased to operate. Some workers had to stay at their job site over the weekend to insure they were able to be present for their next shift.
While the National Weather Service called the blizzard Jonas, in reality the blizzard was the finger of God, a not-so-subtle reminder of who has the power. That same power is present each day, but in all the normal ways to which we’ve already accommodated ourselves. Hence, we can be blind to His power. In Romans 1 we’re told that God’s invisible attributes – that is, His eternal power and divine nature – are seen through what has been made. Looking at the common course of nature on a normal day should be sufficient to see God’s power, but storms like Jonas are made by God to display His power to even the most obtuse human being.
I encourage us all to reflect on the power of God. One day each person who has lived will stand before the living God. On that day each will see clearly all His great power. Some will find that It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. [Heb. 10:31]
Second, I was reminded of our need for progressive sanctification. On that Saturday when Jonas was huffing and puffing and blowing snow everywhere I spent over five hours operating the snowblower. It was very effective with blowing the snow away. I made real progress. By 1:30 Saturday afternoon I had the entire driveway cleared and ready for traffic!
Oh, there was one small problem: Jonas continued spewing out a couple of inches of fresh snow each hour! By four o’clock the snowblowing really needed to be done again. If you had looked at the driveway at eight o’clock that evening there were only a few places where you could tell that any snowblowing had been done at all!
Isn’t that the way it is with sin? Think about your life since your conversion. When someone is converted, that new believer has a certain amount of accumulated behaviors and thought processes and heart affections that are contrary to the will and word of God. The Holy Spirit begins “snowblowing” through the new believer’s life, clearing out accumulated sinful habits, thought patterns, and wrong affections. One wishes it were a complete sweep, a once and done sort of thing. Such is not the case.
That’s why we find repeated exhortations in the Bible to continue on in our walk with the Lord, not growing weary in well-doing, but pressing on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit works in our life to lead us ever more fully into the truth of God. He does that by dealing with all the residual sin our old man keeps throwing up. That old man in us is a constant sin-producing machine. He produces things we never had any idea were present in us! Here’s how Paul speaks of it in 2 Cor. 4:16, Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man [i.e. our old man] is decaying, yet our inner man [i.e. the new person we are in Christ] is being renewed day by day.
I encourage each of us to be encouraged as the Holy Spirit continues to snowblow through our souls! We can be assured . . . the path of the righteous . . . shines brighter and brighter until the full day. [Prov. 4:18] Unlike me, the Holy Spirit does not stop working while the snow is blowing.
Third, I found cause for great thanksgiving. It was such a comfort to have a warm, secure home in which to ride out the fury of Jonas the Blizzard. If I had to try and survive Jonas without a home to dwell in, I suspect I would perish. All during the time that Jonas was doing his worst, I could sleep securely without undue apprehension.
That’s how it is for all who have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus. All kinds of storms and dangers threaten us, but we are secure in Christ. Yes, I know about that old man, but that’s not who I am. I am that new man in Christ! Christ has made me His own. He will not let me go. He will sustain me and keep me regardless of storms and trials that may come my way, whether from outside or from within.
I encourage you, along with me, to rejoice with great thanksgiving that Jesus is our Good Shepherd! Hallelujah! He’s the One who says of His people: I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. [John 10:28] Because we’re in the hands of Jesus, we are no longer terrified to fall into the hands of the living God.
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
February Pulpit Schedule
7th – An Environment for Growth – John 12:24-26; Romans 8:31-39; Acts 14:19-28
The Church belongs to Jesus. He instituted it and ordained that there be elders to govern it. His desire is that we grow together as one body and continue in the faith. Our mission has a simple focus: to preach the gospel, and make disciples. But we live in a world of suffering, and a world of hostility toward the good news of Jesus Christ. We will be persecuted, and we will have trouble, but our sovereign God is totally in control of all things and will ensure that His Church grows and advances no matter how hostile her enemies. Today, we’ll see this in Paul’s ministry.
10th – Out of the Depths – Psalm 130; Jonah 2-4; Luke 15:10 ASH WEDNESDAY
There is a joy to repentance the world does not comprehend. On Ash Wednesday the Church sets her face to seek God with the joy of repentance. One catches a good flavor of such joyful repentance in Psalm 130. This is something the prophet Jonah had a hard time with. He was not wanting to repent or to have others repent. He will have to cry out to God from the depths, and will have the depths of his own heart plumbed in the process. The real joy of repentance, of course, is found in heaven. Jesus says it is a very great joy!
14th – We Need Answers – Exodus 18:17-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15; Acts 15:1-5
There are important questions in life that must be answered. No question is more important than stating what one must do to be saved. This presumes there is a heaven and a hell, that each is a real destination for eternity. In the church at Antioch this very question comes to the surface. Two answers are given, answers that conflict. Both answers cannot be true. As it turns out, the church at Antioch cannot resolve the issue, so Barnabas and Paul are sent to Jerusalem to get an answer. Where do you look when you need answers?
21st – True Circumcision – Colossians 2:8-15; Romans 2:25-29; Acts 15:6-22a
God is doing a new thing. That means it is a hard thing for those who have been around for awhile. The NT is a record of that new thing God is doing. Paul’s life is spent laboring to see that new thing accomplished. Though not without numerous hiccups along the way, the apostolic church confirms this new thing God is doing. Peter speaks up at the meeting of the apostles and elders in Jerusalem to remind them he has had a hand in this new thing. James, the brother of Jesus, also speaks and confirms it. What is this new thing? It is the true circumcision.
28th – Speak to the Issue – 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Acts 15:22-35
The Church and churches cannot be disengaged from the issues of the day. Something must be said that clarifies the teaching and stance of the people of God. The controversy about what’s necessary for salvation was the burning issue of that particular day. Hence, the church at Jerusalem issues a letter that addresses that specific matter. Our two texts from Paul’s epistles show that he doesn’t shrink from speaking to the issue at hand either. Gender identity and roles is an issue for the Corinthians, while the Thessalonians need to hear about work and eating.
From the Youth Pastor
Thanks For Noticing!
Social media/technology can be a tremendous blessing and a wonderful tool. If social media has taught us anything, however, it’s that people desperately desire to be noticed by others. Nobody wants to be ignored! In our day many will go to extreme lengths to be noticed. I can tell you that narcissism is killing us. Why? Because in 2015 there were more selfie related deaths than shark attacks! Why do people go to these dangerous efforts? What’s especially sad is that the motives behind things like skimpy clothing, selfie sticks, and high school shootings all stem from longing hearts crying out to the world “please notice that I exist.” Behind the craziness, it’s all about people who just want to be noticed by others.
How you go about getting noticed doesn’t seem to matter these days, so long as you get noticed. The unfolding tragedy of this messed up world is that being ignored is equal to not existing or having no value. Every day people (micro celebrities) feel the onus to feed the machine of self-promotion and posture their lives in ways that make content that gets noticed. When people do this, for whom are they living? Or may I say, “For whom are they performing?” The audience of course! The audience of “some,” and it’s for the some that may or may not actually take any notice.
If getting noticed is the central pursuit of many in our day, then lonely desperate lives are experiencing a very depressing existence. To orient your life to perform for the applause of some is an unfulfilled life. In many ways it is a new version of technological bondage where people slave away for a social media master – and we can’t serve two masters.
Jesus, on the other hand, says His burden is light and invites people to come to Him and find rest. It’s very interesting to read the gospels and observe Jesus interacting with people: Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, the blind man etc. Often it’s the insignificant people in the culture that He noticed. They were the ones society chose to ignore or even chose to despise, but those were often the ones that got Jesus’ attention and ministry. Read further in the New Testament and you will be amazed when you think about the “rag tag” bunch of disciples that Jesus used to start the revolution of the early Church movement. Jesus deeply notices people! So if you feel ignored by the audience of some, then be encouraged; there is a greater audience to perform for! He notices you! Jesus notices you and gives you His attention and righteous applause (Matt. 25:23), if only you would perform for the audience of One.
It’s hard not to want to play for the crowd! But Scripture speaks against living our lives this way. Paul knew people would sense the pressure to compromise and please man rather than God. He wrote to the believers at Galatia addressing this: As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. [Gal. 1:9–10] Maybe you can identify with those who wrestled with this tension after Jesus had been teaching in the temple. John writes, Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” [John 12:42–43] Many folks even in our churches have a posture of performance that is all about the crowd, rather than Jesus. Whose approval wins out in our lives at the end of the day?
Many are scrolling social media to find approval, but some have already found approval from the One who wrote the scrolls (Bible). Paul says, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. [1 Thess. 2:4] May you seek the approval from the audience of One and find rest for your soul.
Ash Wednesday Worship
Because Easter is early this year [March 27th – Brrr!], Ash Wednesday is early as well. The date is February 10th. So on that day you might well see some folk walking around with dark smudges on their foreheads. When you watch the evening news it most likely will include some mention of – perhaps even some footage showing – churches observing Ash Wednesday. But by and large it will be a day pretty much like any other day in the lives of most folk.
We hope it’s not for you. Leidy’s Church has a service of worship that evening. It begins at 7:30 and lasts for about an hour. We don’t put ashes on anyone’s head, but we do call for folk to look to Lord. In many ways, Ash Wednesday functions on the church calendar much like Yom Kippur does on the Jewish calendar, namely, as a day of repentance.
This year we’ll be looking especially at a reluctant repenter – the famous prophet who caused the sea to rage, Jonah. Not only was Jonah a reluctant repenter, he was a fellow who did not rejoice when others repented! Yet, according to Jesus there is joy in heaven even over one fellow who repents.
There is, in fact, a deep, deep joy in genuine repentance. It is a calling to God from the depths of one’s being. And it’s always a good thing to call upon the Lord. You’re invited to join others in calling on the Lord this Ash Wednesday at Leidy’s Church.
The Kings: Founders, Reformers, & Scoundrels
Looking for a good adult Sunday School elective to attend for a bit? During the month of February you’ll have just such an opportunity. Chris Tawney will be leading a course that looks at several of the kings of Israel, though not necessarily the ones you know the most about. In this election year, it might behoove us to consider what makes a great king and what makes a rotten king. Here’s how Chris describes the course:
What makes a great king/leader? In any land there is no one more influential, powerful, or important than the king/leader and in many ways, as the king/leader goes, so the land goes. What then are we to make of the kings of Israel? Some, like David, were great founders of the faith. But there were some whose very names became synonymous with wickedness, deceit, corruption, stupidity, and plain old sinfulness. For example, no one should want to “walk in the way of Jeroboam.”
For us today the kings of Israel and Judah serve as excellent “good bad examples” (plus a few actually good examples) which can teach us much about the sin and idolatry of our hearts, what godly leadership should and should not look like, and give us glimpses into the glorious foreshadowing (and presence) throughout history of the King of Kings.
Chris invites you to join him downstairs in Room 13 to take a look at Founders, Reformers, and Scoundrels among the kings of Israel.
What Can I Do About Abortion?
By Jerri Thompson
There are two relatively painless ways you help prevent abortions in our area. Both are through involvement with the Pregnancy Resource Clinic of North Penn (PRCNP). On Sanctity of Life Sunday two representatives from PRCNP, including our own Karli Weiss, introduced us to the PRCNP ministry.
We learned to take note of the word “clinic” in their name. PRCNP certainly offers sound counsel and godly encouragement to their clients. However, they also are a full medical clinic. They have medical people on staff. They have an ultrasound machine, which is sometimes the means God uses to convince a woman not to abort her baby. This medical equipment and staff are financially expensive, yet part and parcel of the ministry. Hence financial undergirding is essential for that ministry to continue. There are two ways we can help with that undergirding.
First, by getting and using one of the baby bottles they distributed. Each family or person can fill one of those bottles with the coin change accumulated on any given day or week. On February 15th we bring the bottles back to church and the Clinic will get the proceeds. About the only time I get coins anymore is when I get a Wawa coffee every week or so. If I expect to fill my baby bottle, I will need to use some bills and even a check or two. The whole family can participate in this. One of my children has already pulled some money out of his wallet to add to the meager coins so far.
A second way we can help PRCNP is by buying groceries with “their” gift cards. The Grocery Gift Certificate Program works like this: You choose the store where you shop. Participating stores are Giant, Hennings, Landis, and Redners. You pick an amount that you will spend at that store in a month. You tell PRCNP and they send you that amount of store-specific gift cards each month. You send them a check in the envelope they provide for the dollar amount and use the cards. To participate in this program you may call 215-855-2424 or go online to www.supportlifeprc.com/grocery-certificate-program/. If you have questions, talk to Jerri Thompson or Ginna Foote, who both use the gift cards.
How does the clinic get any money out of this? The stores sell the cards to PRCNP at a 5% discount. Therefore, the clinic will receive $5 for every $100 spent. Happily, this will not adversely affect any of your regular gas point accumulations. Over 130 households in the area participate in this plan now, which translates into over $16,000 a year for the clinic.
So there you have it. Two ways each of us can help prevent abortions. Please consider giving through the baby bottle campaign and more regularly through the Grocery Gift Certificate Program.
Ladies of Leidy’s
The next meeting is Tuesday, February 2nd at 7 p.m. in the Conference Room. At the February meeting, we will have a very special presentation from Chris and Kelly Kulp. They will be sharing about their plan to serve with 100 Fold Studio, a firm that offers professional design services to mission organizations and developing countries. A business meeting will also take place. All ladies welcome!
Ladies if you are considering attending the Discern Answers for Women Conference in April, the deadline to sign up is February 14th. Travel and housing arrangements are being finalized. Information is on the Women’s Ministry board.
Movie Night for the Ladies featuring War Room, Friday, February 19th in the Fellowship Hall at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments provided by the ladies on the Women’s Ministry Team. If you wish, bring your own comfy chair. Friends welcome!
Love Cradle Banquet
The ministry of Love Cradle has touched many lives in Leidy’s Church and in our surrounding communities. It’s amazing to see what God has done and to envision what all He might do in the future through Love Cradle.
Already in 2016 a family from our area has adopted and brought back to their home a 14 year old Ukrainian girl. Steve and Iryna Yagilnicky will have a report on all the work going on in Ukraine, especially the work at the Transition home.
In that light, Love Cradle will host a banquet in the Leidy’s Church Fellowship Hall on Saturday evening, March 12th. The meal begins at 5:30 and will feature good Ukrainian fare made with a flare!
If you would like to attend, please contact the Leidy’s Church office at 215-723-8707 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your dinner seat. There is no cost for the meal, but an opportunity to support the ministry will be presented.
2016 SLMT Auction:Let’s Go Out With A Bang!
We’ve all heard the clichés about things coming to an end in hope of new beginnings, phrases such as “Let’s go out with a Bang!” or “Let’s Finish Well” or “The Last Hurrah!” We are coming to an end of holding worship services and ministries at our current facility to start a new phase of worship and gospel ministry services in our new facility across the street. Our heart’s desire is to finish well and this means that decisions made now have an affect on our transition from the old to the new church building. So, let’s Go Out With A Bang at the SLMT Auction!
Plans for this year’s Stormer Lake Mission Trip Auction are already being considered by the Auction Committee. One issue raised was where to hold this year’s SLMT Auction. It was decided that the best course would be to host it at our current facility. So on April 30, 2016, we will host our 21st SLMT Auction at 276 West Cherry Lane.
There are many key volunteers that have agreed to be involved this year. Once again Len Walters has agreed to be our auctioneer. The Ladies of Leidy’s and other folks from the kitchen committee are onboard to help with homemade baked goods, potato salad, and other scrumptious goodies. The SLMT Auction Committee is working together to discover creative ways to make this year’s auction exciting and enjoyable for the entire church family. Ron & Kathy Moyer have volunteered to head up the kitchen that will be serving hot roast beef sandwiches, hot dogs, and other side dishes to round out a delicious menu for everyone to enjoy.
However, all of these plans are contingent upon your participation in this year’s SLMT Auction. There are so many ways you can get involved this year. You can donate gifts, services, crafts, and talents. There are donations that can be thematic to attract interest in sports, gardening, crafts, vacation, or recreational activities. The wide variety of donations makes it feasible for all ages to participate in the bidding process. All of us can contribute in some way to the 2016 SLMT Auction. No donations are too small. All donations are greatly appreciated. A tax-deductible letter from the church will be made available to everyone donating to this benefit auction. All of the funds raised go directly to defray the cost of this summer’s mission trip. Let’s make this year’s benefit auction the best ever! Let’s Go Out With A Bang!
We can all give of our time. Some can volunteer to help with the auction set up. Others can assist in the kitchen or bake homemade cakes, cookies, and pies. We are in need of youth or older volunteers to assist with babysitting before and during the auction event. Your generous giving of time, talents, and prayers will make this year’s SLMT Auction a big success. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer in any of these areas listed above, please call the church office.
Here’s the Call – Give Heed!
Though it’s difficult to imagine, now is the time to set in place your summer plans. Therefore, here is The Call for Volunteers to be part of the 2016 SLMT mission outreach. Over the years many have given heed to that call, and we need many to heed the call this year as well. We’re hoping you hear this call this year!
SLMT stand for Stormer Lake Mission Trip. This will be the 22nd year that Leidy’s Church looks to send a team of intergenerational mission workers to minister among the First Nations people in far northwest Ontario. Working in conjunction with Living Hope Native Ministries, we purpose to send teams to the Pikangikum and Sandy Lake communities.
The sign-up sheet for SLMT ’16 goes up February 1st. The majority of the team will focus on the ministry to children and youth at each of those Reserves via VBS and other means. If possible, though, it would be good to send a few folk with handyman or construction skills. There’s always work to be done that way too.
You’re invited to be part of this year’s SLMT team. We’re scheduled to leave on the evening of July 7th and return early in the morning on July 17th. The sign-up sheet is posted on the narthex wall, can you hear the call? If you have any questions, please call the church office or speak with one of our staff persons. We’re praying for the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow refreshingly through northwest Ontario this summer.
Church Without Walls
During the Lenten season Leidy’s Church encourages her members to set aside extra monies as a devotional exercise as part of what we call the Thirty Pieces of Silver offering. In this Newsletter you should have received a small plastic bag to use when you bring your offering to church on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday.
In 2016 our Thirty Pieces of Silver offering will go to the mission organization Church Without Walls, just as it did in 2015. Our good friend Anees Zaka heads up that ministry to Muslims. Anees is a native Egyptian, while his wife Farida is a native Syrian. Both were raised as Christians in those Muslim countries. Hence their roots are deep in the Middle East and in the church in the Middle East.
Our Thirty Pieces of Silver offering will be sent to Church Without Walls to help support its much-needed outreach to the persecuted Christian minority communities in the Middle East. This includes refugees and also those still residing in their native lands despite an increasingly hostile and oppressive civil environment.
Each Leidy’s Church household is encouraged to participate in the 2016 Thirty Pieces of Silver offering.
Though a construction update is provided in each week’s bulletin, there are those who get this Newsletter who do not get the bulletins. Here is a condensed update on the building project for those without access to the bulletins.
Virtually all the exterior work is done. The parking lot is paved, though there is a portion of the upper parking lot that will be finished this spring after all the big trucks have made their deliveries. The ball field area will be leveled out this spring as well.
If one drives by the site it looks as though we could move in right away. It’s true that all the utilities are connected and working. The elevator is installed and ready to go. Ceilings are hung, doors are in place both on the exterior and inside the building. Virtually all the painting is done. But looks can be deceiving, because we’re not ready to move in!
Here’s the bottom line: the general contractor estimates about 470 man days of labor remain to be done to complete the job. On any given day anywhere from 8 to 15 workers are present, so you can do the math. While certain levels within the building may be done in March, we’re looking at mid-April before the contractor is done. And that’s if all goes according to schedule!
The most commented on aspect of the building thus far is the lighted steeple. Many persons from the community have told us of the encouragement it brings to them when they see it from afar, sort of like a beacon to remind one of God’s presence.
Apart from all the construction work taking place, there are numerous committees at work to help get all things in order for the transition that must take place soon. Prayers from folk near and far are appreciated as we push through to the end of this two-year project.
We’re glad that God is in control – still. We may not know all of what’s going on and what the schedule is, but He does! He is faithful and true in all His ways. Praise be to God!
Winging Up a Super Deal
Are your plans in place for Super Bowl edibles for your Super Bowl Party? You may want to rethink them after reading this article.
The Leidy’s Youth Fellowship is offering Super Deals on wings for the Super Bowl. Building on the very successful Wing Buffet of last year, the youth are pleased to offer five flavors of wings this year. You may order them by the dozen or half-dozen. Profits from this Super Deal will go to the Building Fund, and, part of what makes the deal so super, all profits will be matched! Hence, your wing order doubly benefits the Building Fund. Here are the details:
- Flavors: Hot à Mild à BBQ à Spicy BBQ à Plain
- Mix or Match: for example, get ½ dozen Mild & ½ dozen spicy BBQ & 1 dozen Hot
- Cost: $12 p/dozen or $7 p/half dozen
- Pick-up: At the church between 2 and 6 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday
- Ordering: Place order forms (found in bulletin or call the office) in box on narthex desk
- Profits: Will be matched and put in the Building Fund
Sinners in Need of Grace – Four Stories
by Jerri Thompson
- We are all rejoicing that Pastor Saeed Abedini has been released from the Iranian prison where he’d been held for over three years. He is back home now. However, there’s a little footnote to the story. His wife, right before she stepped back from activism on his behalf, made some statements to Christianity Today about alleged marriage troubles and a possible addiction to pornography by Saeed. These comments resurfaced in an interview I saw on the Internet. What to do with a man imprisoned for his Christian faith who writes a heart-warming birthday letter encouraging his daughter to trust in Jesus, but is accused of being a pornography addict?
- We just celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday 47 years after his death. I was reading an article about him. It spoke of his vibrant leadership in the Civil Rights movement motivated by his commitment to Jesus Christ. However, the article also mentioned his womanizing behavior. What to do with a man whose Christian faith influenced him to give his life for the political freedom of his people, but who also repeatedly cheated on his wife?
- “Kayla’s Story,” an article in the PA Pro-Life Federation’s Lifelines, is written from the perspective of a unborn baby who was aborted. So it is fiction, but it is powerful. The baby calls herself a “shameful, dirty church secret,” that needed to be covered up. No one knew and no one tried to stop the mother who was agonizing over the decision to abort but saw no other way. I would think the baby would resent being killed. However, the baby writing the article seems to know Jesus. She closes the article with a plea, “You’ve seen my mother. She sits next to you in church. She believes she has sinned so much in her life that you will never accept her….” What to do with Kayla’s mother who aborted Kayla?
- I don’t know about the rest of you, but I occasionally, maybe often, have bad days. One happened this past week. I e-mailed a friend, “We didn’t get any homeschool done today because of my (Mom’s) bad attitude.” In line with the above stories, I wonder what you all would think of me if the words I spoke to my children that day were played on videotape before the congregation. What to do with that mother of eight [me] who was mean, very mean, to those children?
God gave an answer to all these in a devotional I’ve been reading this month, New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp:
(January 11) The peace that success gives is unreliable as well. Since you are less than perfect, whatever success you are able to achieve will soon be followed by failure of some kind. [I thought of Romans 3:23]
(January 12) …your security is not found in your faithfulness, but in His. He can be trusted even when you cannot. He will be faithful and good even when you’re not. He will do what is right and best even when you don’t. And He is faithful to forgive you when convicting grace reveals how unfaithful you have been. [I thought of the Prodigal Son’s father hugging him when he came home.]
There is grace for me, for the woman who had an abortion, for Martin Luther King, Jr., and for Saeed Abedini—the grace of God. We have our good deeds; however, we also have our sins. Thank God there is grace for us all. Let’s share that grace with each other.
It was on the Feast of Epiphany, that is, January 6th, that the Consistory of Leidy’s Church had its first meeting of calendar year 2016. Below are some of the issues addressed:
- With Psalm 16 as his scriptural basis, Rich Kapusta led the devotional time. A year ago Rich and his family were facing many challenges. Now, a year later, he can see how God faithfully guided them and provided for them. The “saints” in v.3 certainly include those fellow members of the body who supported him and his family throughout the year. Though all must experience trials, our “inheritance” and “heritage” are in the Lord. In His goodness He puts us among the saints for our comfort and benefit. Thus, we can face adversity with courage and a confident expectation of God’s provision.
- The financial reports for December – and for the entire 2015 calendar year – were reviewed. Thanksgiving was given to God for His provision for us that allowed us to pay all our bills, our staff salaries, our budgeted benevolence/mission support commitments, our contingency expenses, and everything else and still end up in the black!
- Reviewed the Building Fund and noted that $477,661 was received in 2015. About sixty percent of that amount came in during November and December as part of Doubling Your Dollars. Advances on our mortgage total $1,278,074, while the available balances in our several accounts total just over $2,500,000.
- Authorized a contract with Rob Ruth to handle snow removal through April of 2016.
- Received a report on the Building Project. While almost all the outside work is completed, there remains much to be done on the inside. The estimated finishing date keeps getting pushed back. Though now the finish date is the end of February, reality suggests that is a month or two too ambitious. We’ll wait and see. All agreed on the difficulty of planning anything without knowing when we’ll be occupying the new facility.
- The Construction Committee recommended adding back in two alternatives that were taken out during the value engineering stage of the project. The two alternatives are finishing ten elementary SS rooms with built-in cabinetry, and installing cabinets and kitchen components to the gym/youth room area. After a spirited discussion, the recommendation was approved.
- The Options Committee continues to meet with interested parties about renting our current facility. No one organization is able to take on the entire cost of the proposed rental fee. Some of the interested groups are seeing if a mutually satisfactory co-renting arrangement can be worked out.
- Discussed and made arrangements for the Congregational Dinner and Business Meeting. In addition to the review of our 2015 financial statement and adopting a budget for 2016, the proposed revisions to the Constitution will be acted on and an update of the Building Project will be given.
- A Children’s Ministry Advisory Council is being formed to come alongside Sherise and others who presently shoulder the burden of arranging all children’s programming. VBS will be its first focus.
- Authorized repairs to be made on the indirect water heater in the boiler room. The cost should be about $2,000.
Received a variety of other reports, made plans for the Consistory Retreat on Jan. 29/30, and adjourned at 9:39 after a time of directed intercessory prayer and the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.
The Westminster Larger Catechism
Having dealt with the benefits of being a partaker of Christ, in this month’s section of the Larger Catechism the issue of who is and who is not a partaker of Christ is addressed. This has to do with those who’ve never heard of Jesus, and those who have heard much of Jesus.
What Man Ought to Believe Concerning God
Question 60: Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?
Answer: They who, having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they profess; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone, who is the Savior only of his body the church.
Question 61: Are they all saved who hear the gospel, and live in the church?
Answer: All that hear the gospel, and live in the visible church, are not saved; but they only who are true members of the church invisible.
Question 62: What is the visible church?
Answer: The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children.
Question 63: What are the special privileges of the visible church?
Answer: The visible church has the privilege of being under God’s special care and government; of being protected and preserved in all ages, notwithstanding the opposition of all enemies; and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation, and offers of grace by Christ to all members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved, and excluding none that will come unto him.
Question 64: What is the invisible church?
Answer: The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.
Question 65: What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
Answer: The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.
Question 66: What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
Answer: The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.
Question 67: What is effectual calling?
Answer: Effectual calling is the work of God’s almighty power and grace, whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto) he does, in his accepted time, invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his word and Spirit; savingly enlightening their minds, renewing and powerfully determining their wills, so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein.
7th Ed & Darlene Schmidt
14th Ron & Kathy Moyer
21st Mabel Eisenhauer
28th JoAnn Elliott
7th Esther Davis
14th Sandy Derr
21st Vicki Freed
28th Donna Frueh
Greeters 8:00 10:45
7th Doug & Caren Elliott Kevin & Joyce Godshall
14th JoAnn Elliott, Elaine Frank Gregg & Tiffany Guerreiro
21st Tom & Abby Feverston Mario & Debbie Guerreiro
28th Larry & Jean Frederick Alex & Ally Hager
8:00 Francis Weiss, Captain; Ken Murphy, Frank Bivighouse, Rob Ruth, Gerald Moyer, Larry Frederick.
10:45 Dave Walbrandt, Captain; James Dierkes, Josh Wilwert, Justin Lockman, Matt McVaugh, Dustin Doran.
The A/V Booth technicians for February are Tony Kapusta, Andy Tawney.
The Emergency Committee for February is Brian Shoemaker and Karli Weiss.