March, 2017

Pastor’s Column

            Are you as bewildered as I am by the world in which we live? How did our country get to the place where we are? This country has experienced successive waves of godly spiritual renewal for centuries. We’ve known the First and Second Great Awakenings. Jonathan Edwards, Asahel Nettleton, Dwight Moody, and Billy Graham are among the many evangelists who have preached with great effect throughout our land. Just last generation there were the twin phenomena of the Jesus People Movement and the Charismatic Renewal. In the middle of those two happenings Bill Bright’s evangelistic campaign called I Found It was a national wonder. Being born again was so popular and on the minds of people so much that when Bjorn Borg won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title a popular magazine ran a cover that showed Borg lifting the trophy and captioned it “Bjorn Again!”
            Yet now our land is in a deeper spiritual and moral morass than ever before. What’s going on? What has happened? While I do not claim to have any definitive answers, I would like to consider three passages of scripture to help get our bearings.
            First, the parable of the Sower and Jesus’ explanation of it. [Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8] You remember, the parable has a fellow sowing seed with abandon, seeds are flying everywhere. Four types of soil are mentioned as receiving the seeds. The first is roadside soil where the seed received no entrance at all and is immediately consumed by birds. Rocky soil also receives some seed, but because of its lack of depth the sprouts of the seed wither away when the sun gets warm. A third type of soil has thorns and thistles in abundance so that when the seed begins to grow they choke it out and it dies. Finally there is the good soil, and it is characterized as good because it produces a crop and bears fruit.
            Here’s how Jesus explains the parable to His disciples. In Matthew He says good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it and bears fruit. The good soil in Mark hears the word and accepts it and bears fruit. In Luke’s account the good ground is the man who hears the word in an honest and good heart and bears fruit with perseverance.
            In each instance the telling point is the bearing of fruit. I can draw no other conclusion than that in our land much of what has passed for revival included plenty of the first three types of soil and not so much of the fourth type of soil. The word has been sounded throughout our land, but many pay it no attention whatsoever: roadside soil. Others get hepped up about what the word seems to promise, but then when opposition arises the word is discarded and put out of mind: rocky soil. Others hear the word but as it seeks to grow competing calls of material, relational, or vocational concerns trump the word of God: thorny soil.
            Those who prove to be the good soil persevere despite opposition and temptations. Jesus tells the parable to help us in just such situations as we find ourselves. What’s going on in our land? We’re finding out what type of soil we have in our souls.
            The second passage is actually two from the prophet Hosea. The first is Hosea 4:1-2: For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery. The second is Hosea 6:1-3,6: Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him. So, let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. . . . [God speaking now] For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
            In Hosea’s day there was much show of religion, but not of true religion. Just as in the parable of the Sower, there was no perseverance, hence no true knowledge of God. The fruit produced was a litany of immorality. Except that some begin to talk of returning to the Lord, recognizing that He has brought about their current morass. Their goal is to press on to know the Lord. Notice in God’s response He says that’s the right direction to take. More than performing religious exercises, He desires for His people to grow in the knowledge of Him. That would be worshipping Him, honoring Him, delighting in Him, allowing that knowledge of Him to permeate and shape every aspect of their lives. They do so with the expectation that He will heal them.
            What’s going on in our land? It is a time when we need to recognize He has a case against us, He has wounded us, and we need to turn to Him, looking for Him to bring healing and restoration to us. We need to press on and grow in the knowledge of God, looking for Him to transform our minds and help us apply His word to all areas of our lives. We need to understand and accept His word with honest and good hearts.
            The third passage is the first verse of Genesis 8. This is during the time the waters of the Flood are over all the earth. It’s a signal time of the judgment of God. For over 140 days Noah and all with him in the ark have been tossed about, wondering what was going on around them. During that time do you think they prayed and sought God? Yes!
            Then we’re told But God remembered Noah. What wonderful words! The word remember does not mean God had forgotten Noah. He never forgot Noah. It means that God remembers His covenantal promise to Noah, that He would bring him through and out of the Flood, and now He intends to fulfill it.
            What’s going on in our land? A whole lot of “Noahs” are being tossed about by the floods of cultural change crashing over our land. Like Noah, they should be praying and waiting with perseverance for God to remember His covenantal promises to hear their prayers and heal the land.
            This is the Lenten season. It’s a time to seek the Lord. We are looking forward to what happens on the third day, which is the Lord’s Day, which is the first day of the new creation. We may be bewildered, but we know God has not forgotten us. He will remember His promises to His people. He will hear our prayers. Let us seek Him. May we be good ground, ground that grows in His knowledge as we accept, understand, and receive with honest, good hearts His life-giving word.
                                                                                                In the Joy of the Lord,
                                                                                                John H.C. Niederhaus

 March Pulpit Schedule

1st – Turning to Jerusalem – John 6:35-40; Luke 9:51-56; Philippians 3:1-11
            It is Ash Wednesday, time to turn our hearts and minds to Jerusalem, to remember what happened there for us. According to Luke, Jesus set His face like a flint as He turned to Jerusalem for He knew what awaited Him there: He would be raised up. Certainly He would be raised up on a cross, but in particular Jesus was thinking of His being raised up to heaven at His ascension. In John’s gospel we discover Jesus also had in mind those whom He would raise up at the last day. Let’s turn to Jerusalem where the promises of God are validated and activated.
5th – Drunken Maltese Peasants – Genesis 50:15-21; Numbers 23:1-12; Acts 28:1-6
            Here’s an unusual portrait of Paul: a prisoner shipwrecked on an island hustling about picking up sticks for the fire. A poisonous snake is in the sticks and latches onto his hand! He shakes it off into the fire. Anticipating Paul will soon swoon and die, the residents of the island conclude he must be a wicked criminal. But he doesn’t die. Nor does he get the slightest bit woozy. They conclude he must be a god. Ah, the shifting sands of human speculation! Each time, they ask the question “Why” and each time reach the wrong conclusion. We need to do better.
12th – Marked by Miracles – Mark 16:14-20; Hebrews 2:1-4; Acts 28:7-15
            God makes a way for His apostles. He lowers the hills and raises up the valleys so they have a smooth way to go. In today’s text from Acts we read about the last of the many miracles in that book. It’s precipitated by an act of concern and mercy. That miracle smoothed the way for Paul and the rest of the shipwrecked group to leave Malta with honors. Rome is reached at last!  What happened all along the way as the apostles roamed the apostolic world was one miracle after another. Jesus had promised as much. What did those miracles mean; where are they now?
19th – What’s in a Name – John 9:18-23; 1 Peter 4:12-19; Acts 28:16-22
            Why is Jesus of Nazareth known to most folk as Jesus Christ? Certainly “Christ” is not the last name of Jesus! There have been many men named “Jesus” but to only one has the name “Christ” been attached. In the apostolic era the name “Christian” designated a despised person. It was almost a curse word. It was a term of rebuke and judgment and scorn. The term was applied only to a person who attached the name “Christ” to Jesus of Nazareth. Peter writes that Christians should not be ashamed of the name, but give glory to God for being so named.
26th – Blind Seers – John 9:35-41; Romans 2:28–3:4; Acts 28:23-31
            To speak of “blind seers” is an oxymoron, it is a contradictory joining of words. “Seers” is a term designating folk who can “see” with great clarity, especially with regard to moral and spiritual matters. They can “see” what you need to do and tell you what you need to know. Hence a “seer” is a “see-er.” The Jews were meant to be seers; they were the ones entrusted with the oracles of God. Yet the consistent charge against them by Jesus and the prophets is that though they say they can see, as a matter of fact they are blind. A blind man proves such is the case.

Within the Fellowship

            Our sincere Christian sympathy to Carl Thompson and family at the death of his mother, to Wynne Parfitt, and Cindy Filson and their families at the death of their fathers. May God be with them at this time.
            Congratulations to Michael and Shannon Kehs at the dedication of their son, Isaac Quinn. May God be with them as they grow in Him.

From the Youth Pastor

Behavior Modification Manufacturing
            You may have heard the saying, “Belong, believe and behave”. This saying has been kicking around the ministry leader circuit for decades and is a simple way of describing a process of connecting with people who don’t know Jesus. As I read the Scriptures I see Christians relationally advancing the faith (discipleship) through knowing people and sharing their life and beliefs with them. We see this “belong, believe and behave” process exhibited in the life of Christ Jesus when He chose His disciples. A strong case can be made from the gospel accounts that the disciples were pretty clueless about their beliefs and their behavior was unruly. Despite who they were Jesus called them to follow Him (to belong) and they were in relationship with Him before their behavior changed.
            Some would argue that we need to factor in that this is a unique pre-cross ministry, and that it doesn’t apply to us. Well, to that point I would argue that as a model it does apply and is consistent with how Jesus relates personally with us in the Church era. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. God always makes the first move towards us through giving us faith in Him despite who we are. So in the case of the original disciples (and us) they didn’t understand clearly who Jesus was (believe) before they were in community with Him (belong). Despite their lack of belief and sinful behavior these men belonged with Jesus even though we don’t see consistent growth and maturity in their behavior until His ascension and the early Church.
            What I’m concerned about is that often in ministry we get this all in a jumble! We say that people are welcome to join us at church, but first they have to fit in with us and behave as we do – even if we don’t voice these ideas we sometimes convey them in other ways. Pastor Mike Pilavachi humorously recognizes this tendency in saying, “Traditionally we’ve told people they are welcome to join us at church, but they have to fit in with us and behave as we do: stand when we stand, sit when we sit and no kissing in the back row—that kind of thing. If they manage to stay long enough to hear and respond to the gospel, then they can believe in Jesus and, at that point, we baptize them, which is when we say they belong and are part of the Church family”. It appears that we want to catch fish without the mess of cleaning them, so we require them to “behave, belong and then believe”.
My conviction is that the Church at large needs to get better at the “belong” aspect in this process. We often say that beliefs are the most important thing in ministry, but more often we are content if people are simply behaving well. Many young people are growing up in ministries where the strongest message they receive is “behave for us and you will therefore belong to us”. This creates and contributes to what is called “Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism”. This is a term coined by researcher Christian Smith after evaluating his findings on evangelical American teenagers. He discovered a dangerous set of beliefs were rampant where “God blesses and takes to heaven those who try to live good and decent lives (the “moralistic” belief). The central goal of life is not to sacrifice, or to deny oneself, but to be happy and feel good about yourself (the “therapeutic” belief). Though God exists and created the world, he does not need to be particularly involved in our lives except when there is a problem (that is “deism”). Have we as the Church contributed to a false belief system  by perpetuating a “behave first” paradigm to our young people?
            Over the years many have said to me I will come to Jesus or church after I get my life in order. These people have bought into the lie that they must “behave first” in order to be loved by God or others. What these people and many young people don’t understand is that “The church isn’t a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken”. As the hymn Rock of Ages suggests, “Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die”. Jesus graciously pursues us (belong) receives us through faith (belief) and cleans us up (behavior).
I’m challenged by the following paragraph about discipling Muslims by missionary Jerry Trousdale. He writes: “But Jesus’ example of making disciples takes a different approach: in fact, it works almost in the reverse. Jesus chose some ordinary men and had them walk with Him as He revealed truths of God and asked them to live their lives according to those values. Eventually, they began to do what He did, and they also began to experience God’s power and blessings in their own lives. Then they came to a point of understanding that a decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ would cost them everything. Eleven of them said yes, and they changed the world. This kind of discipleship model—one that begins with discipleship and moves toward the point of conversion—is how many Muslims are becoming Christ followers.” (Miraculous Movements)
What messages are we being known for? Are we so wrapped up in defending beliefs and behaviors that we are losing the greatest apologetic we have? Jesus tells us, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). I’m glad that God loved me in Jesus first and I didn’t have to clean myself up to come to Him. Let’s together be people who seek to have “belong first, believe second, behave third” approach to ministry and we may just cause a revolution.
In Christ,
                                                                                    Pastor Andrew

March is Missions Month

            Sometimes we take the heartbeat of the gospel for granted. That heartbeat is missions. When the gospel is living and doing well that heartbeat is steady and unstoppable. Missions is reaching out in the name of Jesus Christ with good news of redemption, transformed lives, and life everlasting. March is set aside as Missions Month at Leidy’s Church.
            Though one could say our entire budget is meant to support mission work in one form or another, still a significant portion of our budget specifically supports mission work beyond our local church mission. Each Sunday in March we’ll hear from different missionaries, each with a different area of mission ministry.
            During the Sunday School time, all adult classes will meet in the Fellowship Hall to meet and greet and hear from the featured mission speaker for that week. An enticing assortment of edibles will be served each week by the Mission Committee to enhance the camaraderie of the morning. Here’s the line-up for 2017:
   v March 5th will feature Bob Wendt whom we have supported for many years, first in Alaska and now here in PA. Bob works with Peaceful Living doing ministry among the disabled and handicapped community. Bob and wife Jane have experienced many changes over the years, especially since Jane’s severe head injury. He has helped us with the setting up of our special needs Sunday School class, among other things.
   v March 12th will find Iryna or Steve Yagilnicky sharing about Love Cradle International. We may think we know all about the ministry to Ukrainian orphans carried out by Love Cradle because of our close association with them. There are some facets of that ministry, however, of which we know little. What we do know is that God has used Love Cradle to bring hope and help to orphans in Ukraine.
   v March 19th we will meet a missionary couple we’ve not met before. Brian and Barbara S. (pronounced like George) work among folk from South Asia. Their ministry is a work of helps and evangelism as Brian is a doctor and Barb has skills to offer as well. Though their family is not directly supported by us, indirectly they have been through living a few months in the Mission House.
   v March 26th we’ll get to hear from David and Sonya DeFazio. We first met them in 2015 when they were added to our mission budget. Sent out by World Team, their field of work is the Philippines. They are involved in evangelism and church planting, though they are just getting their feet wet as they learn the language. We’ll find out what it’s like to move from the USA to another country to spend a lifetime there in outreach ministry.
      March is Mission Month! Even if you ordinarily are not a Sunday School attender, make it a point to come out during March in order to meet the missionaries, expand your understanding of what God is doing among His people, and enjoy some Mission Munchies in the process.

Thirty Pieces of Silver & Bill Scott

            Thirty Pieces of Silver is an offering we ask each household to gather during Lent and then bring to church on either Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday. It always goes to a particular mission or ministry. This year the mission is Glad Tidings India as it celebrates the life and ministry of Bill Scott.
            Bill Scott is the founder of Glad Tidings India (known in India as India Bible Literature) and he will celebrate his 90th birthday on May 5, 2017. Plans are underway to have a celebration in India where 200 to 300 church leaders from all over India will gather. But Bill Scott does not want any gifts for his birthday. His vision for over 65 years has been to “place a Bible in every home in India.”
            As a consequence, Glad Tidings has established a goal of printing 25,000 Bibles as a gift to Dr. Scott. Projected cost of this gift is $125,000. We don’t expect to raise that much in our Thirty Pieces of Silver offering, but we can join with other congregations and individuals across the country and around the world in raising enough funds for the 25,000 Bibles.  Every $5 given will print at least one Bible in an Indian language, hence the $125,000 goal.
            In his 65+ years of ministry in India, Bill Scott has touched millions of lives. He has lived in remote villages among the Indian people, regularly has gone into remote regions to bring the gospel to folk for the first time, has experienced opposition from humans (think violent Hindus) and animals (think scorpions, for starters), and founded the means by which thousands of Indian evangelists have been raised up and sent forth. Though now living in York, PA, he still travels to India three times a year as a consultant/advisor to India Bible Literature.
            During the 2017 time of Lent, please make Bill Scott’s vision for India (a Bible in every home) part of your daily prayers. Also set aside a certain amount each day to be part of your Thirty Pieces of Silver offering that’s collected during the Easter season. Included with this Newsletter is a small plastic bag you may use when you bring in your Thirty Pieces offering.

Something Different:

Get a Form and Sign Up Now!

            Every night it’s the same old thing. You always know who’s coming to dinner. Wouldn’t it be fun and surprising if you didn’t know where you were going to dinner or who you were going to dinner with? Well, do we have the event for you.
            Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner is back at Leidy’s Church! On the evening of March 25th, you’ll be dining with . . . who knows? We certainly don’t! But we can guarantee that there’ll be lots of great food and good company. Take a signup sheet, found either in your church mailbox or in the narthex, fill it out, and get it in the box labeled “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” right by the hutch in the Narthex. On Sunday, March 19th you’ll receive an envelope – not to be opened until Saturday, March 25th! – listing the address to which you are to go. Don’t worry, you’ll be asked to bring some food as well, so you know there’ll be something you like!
            This is a great time to meet new people in the congregation, or to meet those folks you’ve always wanted to meet but never had the chance to. Sign-ups are due by March 12th.

Women’s Ministry

Ladies of Leidy’s
            We will be welcoming Ian Burley, the advisor for the Souderton High School group SAVE. With its main campus area right in our backyard on Broad Street, come hear what the kids and group are doing and about the positive things they are doing in and around our community. We will also have an opportunity to hear about other ways and items that we can learn to recycle. Come join us on Tuesday, March 7th at 7 p.m. in the Conference Room.
Ladies Monday Night Bible Study
            March 6th at 6:45 in room 118. Crucible: The Choices that Change Your Life Forever.  This is a 6 week no homework DVD, workbook and discussion study by Walk Thru the Bible. Your life is full of moments of decision, and how you respond can have lifelong impact. Israel’s shepherd king faced critical choices in the same areas we do, and we can learn a lot from how he handled them.  Explore the life of David as he battles between:
  Ÿ Image vs. Character
  Ÿ Fear vs. Faith
  Ÿ Deception vs. Integrity
  Ÿ Arrogance vs. Humility
  Ÿ Circumstances vs. Truth
  Ÿ Disappointment vs. Expectancy
Awaken Women’s Conference
            Join us for the Awaken Women’s Conference on Saturday, April 22nd, hosted by Leidy’s Church. Our speakers will be Verna Bowman, Cherie Leatherman, and Kristi Wile.
            You’ll experience passionate teaching from God’s Word, authentic worship music, personalized break out sessions, and a focused time of prayer. The cost is $30 and lunch is included. Register by April 1st and receive a $10 discount. Use the code AWAKEN10 when you register. Scholarships are also available. Send your request via email to ilc.wmm@gmail.com.
            Doors open at 8 a.m. and the program begins at 8:55 a.m. For more information and to register for the conference go to  www.awaken2017.org. You can also “like” us on Facebook @awakenwomen2017.
            If you have questions or would like additional information, please email us at ilc.wmm@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you on April 22!
From Women’s Ministry
            Women’s Ministry began meeting as a team back in the 1990’s. The purpose was to be a ministry wherein women are encouraged and enriched by studying and applying God’s Word, and to provide a place where they can connect with other women in prayer and fellowship. The goals: to teach and equip women to draw closer to God and find their biblical purpose; to reach out to one another and serve in Christ’s name as we seek to love, serve, and submit to one another in the fear of the Lord; to work together with each one’s scriptural giftedness. That is still true today. Can we pray for you? Feel free to email any concerns to ilc.wmm@gmail.com or place in the box located on the narthex hutch. Join us on Thursday, March 23rd from 6:00 to 7:00 pm for a time of prayer. We will meet in room 111. Come anytime and then join us as we gather for Realm in the main sanctuary. Brochures on Women’s Ministry may also be found on the hutch.

Inaugural Concert

            There was an inaugural concert for our organ back in September. In the rush of activities we were not able to schedule a similar inaugural concert for our new concert grand piano. That is about to change.
            On Sunday evening, April 23rd, Leidy’s Church will host an inaugural concert featuring pianist Karen Burgman. She is well-known to many students and families through her time as the director of the Sola Gratia Musicians Choirs. Beyond our community, though, she is known as an accomplished pianist of international reputation.
            A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory with a degree in piano performance, she has performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist in the USA, Canada, and Europe. Among the venues where she’s been featured are Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall in Boston, the Center for the Performing Arts in Toronto, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Karen is one of the founders of the Hilltown Creative Arts Academy.
            Karen has a vibrant Christian faith which finds expression in her piano playing. This inaugural concert will feature a variety of genres of music, some lighter and some heavier. Throughout the program she will intersperse comments illustrating how music enhances teaching and worship.
            More details will be forthcoming, but let your friends and co-workers know about this celebrative event that’s open to the public on April 23rd. Invite them to join you for an evening of giving thanks to God for the blessing of music.

Living Hope Banquet

            Living Hope Native Ministries is having its annual PA banquet on Friday evening, March 31st. It will take place at a place renowned for tasty food in substantial portions: Yoder’s Restaurant in New Holland. Starting time is 6:30 pm.
            The banquet is free and will feature stories of hope from the North. Of course, Living Hope Native Ministries is the organization with whom Leidy’s Church has worked for over 20 years. While we have been most concerned with summer ministry at particular Reserves, the ongoing ministry is much broader. This is an opportunity to discover some of those broader aspects.
            To make your reservation for the banquet you may email banquet@LHNM.org or call toll-free 855-367-8199.

Love Cradle Banquet

            The second Saturday of this month – i.e. the 11th – the annual Love Cradle banquet takes place in the fellowship hall. Doors open at 5 pm with the meal served at 5:30. Because Love Cradle works with Ukrainian orphans, you can expect good Ukrainian food on the menu.
            Everyone is invited to attend this banquet, but you do need to make a reservation. You may do so by calling the church office at 215-723-8707 or send an email to lovecradleint@lovecradleint.org. There is no cost for the meal, but an opportunity to support the ministry will be presented.
            On the other hand, if you would like to help the cause by serving at the banquet in some capacity, then Juliana Kapusta would like to hear from you. She will find a place where you can be of much help. You may contact her at 215-721-4327.

Kids Musical is Go, Go, Going!

            During this winter season a group of young folk have been hard at work preparing for the return of the hit biblical musical Go, Go, Jonah! It will be presented on April 8th and 9th, a Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
            Originally put on as a Leidy’s Church Kids Musical in 1997, the songs and message remain relevant and telling. Jonah was the reluctant prophet who needed special intervention by God to motivate him to fulfill his prophetic calling. Themes dealt with in the musical include God’s call on our lives, obedience to the word, missions to folk even like the Ninevites, unconditional love, truth of God’s Word, and God’s sovereignty in all things.
            All this is presented in a series of scenes and songs that will capture your imagination and stir your soul. In fact, there are folk still humming some tunes they first heard in the 1997 production!
            Mark your calendar and plan to invite some friends and family to join you to see Go, Go, Jonah! The kids are looking forward to sharing this powerful story with a big crowd.

Hear the Call & Come

            Hundreds of folk from Leidy’s Church have heard the call and come over the years. That call is going out again now. That call is the opportunity to be part of our summer mission outreach to First Nation Reserves in northwest Ontario. We call it SLMT ’17 this year.
            Our departure date this year is Thursday evening, July 13th. Ministry with children on the Reserve begins on Sunday with VBS. The children are divided in two groups: Lower Elementary and High Elementary, and then each group is further divided into three or four sub-groups. Those groups will then rotate through the respective ministry centers.
            In 2017 the VBS curriculum is called Hidden Things. It is designed to use the parables of Jesus to teach foundational life truths to the students. That theme will be followed in the crafts the children make, the games they play in rec, and the Bible accounts they study in class.
            We also hope to have a contingent of workers to address various maintenance and repair needs. Colleen Estes always has a ready-to-go list of projects that will be of significant benefit to have addressed.
            Regardless of your age or experience, the call goes out to you. We need those with lots of experience and we need those who have more exuberance than experience. We need some skilled craftsmen and we need some mere muscle folk. What we need are those who can hear the call of God to come and serve.
            A sign-up sheet is posted in the narthex. March is the month to sign up. If you have questions, please speak with Pastor Andrew, Mary Beth Musselman, or Pastor Niederhaus.

Time to Get Registered

            Finding Sexual Sanity When All Around is Chaos happens at Leidy’s Church this month! Now is the time to register for this Friday evening/Saturday morning seminar. The best way to register is by going to www.sanity2017.eventbrite.com and click on the tickets tab. Cost is $10 per person. You may pay by credit/debit card at that site, or you may choose the pay-at-the-door option. Regardless of which you choose, you will be able to register for the event.
            We live in a time of much sexual confusion. We’re not sure how to respond. Sometimes we wonder if there’s anything that can be said with certainty about sexuality. Sometimes our own struggles with sexual issues are perplexing and discomfiting. When we talk with others, we’re not quite sure how to navigate our way through the conversation. In other words, we experience regularly the sexual chaos of our culture. Hence this seminar to help us find some sanity regardless of the nature of the chaos confronting us.
            Ellen Dykas and Mark Sanders from Harvest USA are the presenters. They’ll have sane and sound words of hope, experience, and biblically grounded truth. Let others know about this remarkable opportunity. Last month’s Newsletter details the specific content for each session of the seminar.
            Oh yes, snacks will be available as well as a continental breakfast on Saturday morning. Doors open at 6 on Friday with the first session beginning at 7. On Saturday, doors open at 7:30 and the first session begins at 8:30.

2017 Spring Auction!

            Spring is just around the corner and Christian churches in our area and around the world are preparing for Easter and summer outreach ministries such as short-term mission trips all over the world.
            We, too, are preparing for our mission trip to Ontario, Canada, slated for July 13-23 by planning for this year’s SLMT Auction. A bulletin insert will be distributed to the congregation this month, which may help you think of ways you can donate to this year’s benefit auction.
            If you’re having difficulty figuring out what to contribute, here are some practical suggestions. You can donate gift cards to places such as restaurants, supermarkets, or stores such as Cabela’s. You can provide a valued service such as: landscaping, indoor and outdoor painting, automobile repairs and inspections, haircutting and beauty salon care products and services. You can make crafts and baked goodies. Donations that focus on sports, gardening tools or plants, crafts, vacation and recreational activities always generate new interest. A variety of donations geared to a broad range of ages allows all ages to engage in the bidding process on auction night.
            There are plenty of ways you can take part in the 2017 SLMT Auction. You can help with the auction set up. You can assist in the kitchen. You can bake homemade cakes, cookies, and pies to be sold during the meal time as dessert items. We need volunteer youth to assist with babysitting before and during the auction event. All donations and services will be gratefully received and appreciated.
            Please pray and ask the Lord if He wants you to go as a summer missionary this year and if you can’t go please pray and support those God calls to go. Now is the time to mark your calendar for April 29th and plan to participate in this year’s SLMT auction. Together we can reach many First Nations people with the Good News of Jesus Christ in northwestern Ontario.
            All of the funds help finance this summer mission’s trip.  A tax-deductible letter will be issued to everyone making donations to the auction. If you have any questions or want to volunteer in any of these areas please call the church office or talk with Pastor Steve Myers.

Where Do I Belong?

By Jerri Thompson
            All my life I have been searching for a place to belong. Born into a family with pockets of alcoholism and sexual abuse and separated by nine years from my closest sibling, I never felt I belonged there. I was a nerd in school with no athletic, artistic, or musical abilities. I never fit with any group. I tried to remake myself in college with alcohol, a bit of drugs, and a few sexual relationships, but after college, my classmates and I all scattered our separate ways.
            So I met some Christian friends, and through them I met Jesus. Yet I struggled with singleness and still felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. God blessed me with a husband, a good man in many ways, but we often didn’t see life the same way. Soon after the wedding, I realized I didn’t really belong here either. Nor did having children help. Those little rascals had ideas of their own. They were sometimes disobedient, sometimes just different, but I didn’t seem to belong with them either.
            And, no, I never felt I belonged at any church I ever joined. What if they knew not just my past failures and sins, but my very real present struggles and sins?
            Yet, I do belong. Jesus began teaching me this in 1991 when I had a nervous breakdown. Healing came through the Lost Sheep and Lost Son parables and through Isaiah 40:11. I am the lamb found, carried, and led by the Shepherd. I am the sinner returned and welcomed home. I am the ewe whom He is leading with her young. Over the years these stories and verses have become more vivid to me as I have waded through other depressed periods.
            Yet, I still don’t really feel like I belong at any church. We all come on Sundays in our best clothes and attitudes. We ask one another, “How are you?” We reply, “Fine,” even when the real answer is anything but. Many times everyone, except me, appears wonderfully fine at church; my Bible and devotional reading at home can then be my lifelines.
            In case anyone else ever feels this way at all, let me recommend two favorite books. They are designed for children, because children’s books often have the clearest, quickest reminders of God’s love. The first one is Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago. This one has cool pictures as well as encouraging words. I like to stare at the sheep in the shepherd’s arms on page 95. It accompanies the devotional, “Close to His Heart.” It’s based on Isaiah 40:11, which I need to hear over and over again.
            The second one is Exploring Grace Together by Jessica Thompson. Subtitled 40 Devotionals for the Family, it can still encourage one person. A devotional on “The New Baby” using I John 3:1 as its springboard reads, “God loves us so much that he made us his kids….you are forever his kid….Jesus is your Brother and God is your Father. These two amazing facts can help you if you ever feel a little lost in your family.” Your biological family, your adopted family, or your church family.
            You can read these books with your children. No kids the right age? Then you can read them to yourself. They will remind you that you are God’s child. You belong to him. Forever. And ever.

Consistory Notes

            On Wednesday evening Feb. 8th while awaiting a snowstorm scheduled for the next morning (it did happen) the Consistory of Leidy’s Church convened for the monthly meeting. Below are some highlights of that pre-storm meeting.
  • Pastor Steve Myers shared devotional thoughts on the theme of “consistency.” We love consistency in all facets of life. Sometimes Christians can be inconsistent, behaving one way in one environment and another way in a different environment. Referencing Phil. 2:12-16, Pastor Steve indicated we should strive for consistency in all areas of life as we consistently grow in the Lord. Our goal is that of Jesus, to do the Father’s will. Consistently. To our life’s end. Or, as Paul told the Philippians, to shine as lights in a world darkened by sin and rebellion.
  • Dana Gehman gave the financial report. We are holding our own, but Dana suggested we may have to tighten our straps for 2017 as we get a handle on our new expenses.
  • Received with joy the announcement that an anonymous gift of $325,000 from a couple outside our congregation to be applied to our mortgage principal. Such has been done and our principal is now below $950,000. Thanks be to God.
  • Acoustical corrections are in the process for both the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. The sanctuary should be completed in a month or so, while the Fellowship Hall will be done immediately following. Sounds panels will be installed in each space as well as speakers in the sanctuary.
  • An inaugural piano concert was approved for Sunday evening, April 23rd. The pianist will be Karen Burgmann, a well-known and respected musician.
  • Approved a request from the Mission Committee for this year’s Thirty Pieces of Silver offering to be designated for Glad Tidings India to help underwrite the distribution of Bibles in honor of Glad Tidings India founder Bill Scott’s 90th birthday.
  • Appointed a committee to design an occasional after-service informational luncheon for new attendees.
  • Received information that the elevator must be inspected regularly according to mandated guidelines. Dave Doran was authorized to execute a service contract to do so.
  • Discussed at some length the stoves and ovens in the kitchen. Because they are fueled by natural gas, there has been concern about having pilot lights on all the time. It was decided to have the pilot lights lighted continuously as what we’ve been doing has not accomplished our goals. Dave Doran will adjust them for maximum efficiency and informative warning signs will be placed strategically.
  • Two additional sub-tenants have been added to the old church facility, Transforming Minds, a counseling ministry, and Brunks Services. This will help with the bottom line for building expenses.
  • Other reports were received, initiatives discussed, actions reviewed, and after a time of directed intercessory prayer the meeting was adjourned at 10:09 by the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.

The Westminster Larger Catechism

            We’re in the part of this catechism where the Ten Commandments are explained. This month we will finish the remaining half of the catechism’s explanation and application of the Fifth Commandment concerning honoring one’s father and mother. Look out; the terminology is offensive to contemporary sensitivities.
What the Scriptures Principally Require as the Duty of Man
            Question 129: What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
            Answer: It is required of superiors, according to the power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body; and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God has put upon them.
            Question 130: What are the sins of superiors?
            Answer: The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, and inordinate seeking of themselves their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favoring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonoring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behavior.
            Question 131: What are the duties of equals?
            Answer: The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honor to go one before another; and to rejoice in each others’ gifts and advancement, as their own.
            Question 132: What are the sins of equals?
            Answer: The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of duties required, the undervaluing of the worth, envying the gifts, grieving at the advancement or prosperity one of another; and usurping pre-eminence over one another.
            Question 133: What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, the more to enforce it?
            Answer: The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words: “That your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you,” is an express promise of long life and prosperity, as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good, to all such as keep this commandment.

Hosting Program for 2017

            Love Cradle International is planning another summer hosting program. It is an eight week program that runs from the latter part of June to the latter part of July. Often it is referred to as a “Reverse Mission Trip” since you don’t need to leave home to be involved. Instead, the mission field comes to your home.
            It’s called a hosting program because you will host an orphan from Ukraine for these eight weeks. A full slate of programing and activities is provided by Love Cradle. This year two sibling groups will be coming, one group of three sisters and another group of two sisters and a brother. They are great kids who have a developing, growing relationship with the Lord Jesus. None of these children are available for adoption, however, so if your hope would be for an adoption, then you should reconsider.
            If you would to consider being a part of this hosting program please contact Love Cradle at lovecradleint@lovecradleint.org as soon as possible in March, certainly by the 10th.  Or, you may call the church office for more info.

March Ministries

Lay Visitors:
5th       Esther Davis
12th     Shirley Clemens
19th     Helen Hahn
26th     Mabel Eisenhauer
Tape Ministry:
5th       Deb Caserta
12th     Shirley Clemens
19th     Sandy Cressman
26th     Esther Davis
Greeters:
5th       Rob & Tracy Shelton
12th     Brian & Gina Shoemaker
19th     Harvey & Lorraine Shoemaker
26th     Rodney & Yvonne Shoemaker
Usher Captains: Dave Reich & Francis Weiss
Ushers: John DiLenge, Jim Foote, Kevin Godshall, Josh Heebner, Jake Niederhaus, Bob Ott, Joe Sciacca, Brian Shoemaker, Jake Shoemaker, Jeremy Smith.
 
The Emergency Committee for March is Randy & Cathy Annis.