My dentist growing up was Dr. Chester A. Rycroft. He was a compassionate man. He didn’t like to hurt people. He had a tender place in his heart for little boys in pain. I liked him. Upon further reflection – just this week – I’ve determined Dr. Rycroft really was not a truly compassionate man. He was a sensitive and caring man, but not truly compassionate.
You need to remember that I was raised a long time ago. As a boy when I went to the dentist’s office and he did drilling on my teeth, it was not done with one of the super-fast drills of today that makes that high toned whizzing sound. When I was a kid the drills were grinding drills. They made loud, grinding noises and caused one’s mouth (and the chair and the office and the building, so it seemed!) to vibrate.
When Dr. Rycroft was grinding away at the cavities in my teeth, he felt my pain. I think I was in the 8th grade or so before he began using novocaine. That means there was pain. Because he was a seemingly compassionate man, he sought to minimize and limit my pain. He did so by getting the worst of the decay out, but he did not grind deeper and wider to establish a for-certain-decay-free perimeter. It was only a matter of time before I was back at Dr. Rycroft’s office for deeper drilling on teeth he’d worked on before.
Up until this week I assumed Dr. Rycroft was a compassionate man. I was wrong. I had defined the word compassion incorrectly. I don’t think I’m the only person who has gotten that definition wrong.
You remember that I’ve taught for years that the most important discipline in the world is that of lexicography, that is, the writing of dictionaries, of defining words. What we most need is to get our definitions of words to line up with God’s definition of those words. To not do so lands us in a world of trouble.
I thought compassion meant feeling sorry for someone and alleviating that person’s pain. That’s probably what you think also. There is crucial component missing in that definition. It only addresses the feeling of pain, not the cause of the pain. Compassion properly defined is to feel sorry for someone and to alleviate whatever is the root source of the pain. If one does not address the root of the problem, then all is for naught.
Here’s a classic biblical example. The first time the word compassion appears in the Bible is Genesis 19:16. This is where Lot and his family are being led out of Sodom by the two angels because of God’s impending judgment on that city. You can imagine the pain experienced by Lot and his family at suddenly having to leave the place where they’ve been living. They had to leave all their possessions and all their friends. Lot hesitated to leave so the angels seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the Lord was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. [Gen.19:16]
What Lot needed most at that point in time was to leave Sodom. It was painful, but it was necessary. Compassion wrongly defined would have sought to find a way to let him remain there. But you notice the text says the compassion of the Lord was upon him. It was true compassion that insisted the pain of leaving the city of Sodom was necessary.
Compassion is giving what is most necessary to someone who is in distress of some sort. For instance, Jesus attracted crowds wherever He went. People came to Him for a variety of reasons, but there was a bottom line reason that Jesus saw. In Mark’s gospel it is described this way: When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So what does Jesus do? He began to teach them many things. [Mark 6:34] The teaching ministry of Jesus was one of compassion. People needed the truth. What they were being taught by their leaders was wrong. They needed truth. In compassion, He taught truth.
That doesn’t mean Jesus paid no attention to distresses in everyday life. He knew folk had to eat and sleep and pay their bills. Once, when He had been teaching a large crowd for three days, He was moved with another sort of compassion beside compassion for teaching them the truth. Jesus called His disciples and said to them, “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now for three days and have nothing to eat.” [Mark 8:1,2] What follows is another teaching lesson for the disciples as they explain they have only seven loaves of bread between them, hardly enough for a crowd of over four thousand. You know what happens, of course. Jesus multiplies the loaves and the crowds are fed and seven baskets of leftovers are collected!
We live in a day when compassion seems to mean allowing individuals to determine their sex, whether they will be male or female. Drugs are prescribed and surgeries are performed to help males become females and females to become males. All is done out of compassion.
Likewise with marriage. It has been determined that anyone can marry just about anyone else, regardless of gender. Not to allow this would cause pain and show a remarkable lack of compassion.
This same line of reasoning is used to validate our doing whatever we want to do. Not to be able to do what we want to do is a painful experience. To have to do what we don’t want to do is painful as well. People of compassion, we are told, would do whatever is possible to alleviate either situation.
And that brings us back to Dr. Rycroft. He was a caring and sensitive man. But he did not have true compassion. We can be caring and sensitive as well, yet be lacking in true compassion. It is compassion that compels us to teach that we are a binary race: male and female. It is compassion that compels us to teach that one’s sex is determined by genetic makeup at the moment of conception and is unalterable. It is compassion that compels us to teach that marriage can only be between a man and a woman regardless if others attach the name to other arrangements.
One cannot but feel the pain in all these situations. We as a society are caught up in them. How we’re handling them, however, will not resulting in a lasting alleviation of the pain. For true relief from the pain we must go back to the definitions God has written into the fabric of the universe.
May your trips to the dentist be filled with true compassion!
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
May Pulpit Schedule
May 7th – Exposing Hidden Idols in Our Lives – Psalm 115; Matthew 28:18-20;
The exposure of political corruption has dominated the news since the surprise elections of 2016. Coverage of political figures has reached a fever pitch, so that some in the Congress are saying newscasters are on a “witch-hunt”. Not all forms of exposure are identified in this way. In fact, we are relieved when political corruption is uncovered, just as we would be if cancer was exposed and then surgically removed from our bodies. Today we want to expose potentially hidden idols in our lives and eliminate them, so that we can truly live and glorify our God.
May 14th – God Said – Genesis 2:1-4; Isaiah 44 & 45 s.v.; Colossians 1:15-17
How do you think the world came to be? That’s not a question we answer reflectively. Most folk (if and when they actually consider it) answer it reflexively. One says, “I’m a creationist,” while the other says, “I’m an evolutionist.” Often, neither reflects on the implications of the answer given. Today we want to give our attention to the doctrine of creation. If you’re a creationist, how do you account for the suffering, injustice, and evil in our world? If you’re an evolutionist, do you really believe all that you see came about by fortuitous happenstance?
May 21st – The Mission of Jesus – Isaiah 52:7; Luke 10:1-8; John 1:35-50
Is your mission the mission of Jesus? After meeting Jesus, Andrew went on a mini-mission to bring his brother to Jesus. What an example for us. Once we have been reached with the good news of Jesus, we should become missionaries. John 1:41-42 says, “Andrew first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah!’ And he brought him to Jesus.” After finding treasure in Christ, he went straight out and brought others to discover this treasure as well. This is the great calling: to know Jesus and to make Him known to others.
May 28th – Angels and Demons – Psalm 148; Matthew 26:51-54; 2 Peter 2:4-11
A particularly thorny, but interesting, element of the doctrine of creation concerns angels and demons. The Bible is full of angels and demons. The vast majority of us, though, have never seen an angel or a demon. In fact, the vast majority of humans have never seen an angel or a demon. Nonetheless, we see and experience the effects of angels and demons regularly. It is important that we have a clear understanding of these created spiritual beings. Man was made a little lower than the angels, yet Christians in due time will judge the angels. Could be interesting.
From the Youth Pastor
Trusting Jesus with What’s Next!
Christians tend to talk about trusting Jesus when we are explaining the gospel or talking about how someone can be saved. This trusting doesn’t stop there though, at least it shouldn’t stop there. We need to keep leaning in and listening to the Shepherd’s guiding voice at every step of the journey. But like little kids traveling in the back of a family minivan we often care more about getting to the destination (ARE WE THERE YET?) than knowing what the next mile marker number is (WHERE ARE WE NOW?). We are impatient sojourners who are always wanting to know the big pieces of God’s will (jobs, marriage, education etc.), rather than being faithful in the little things that are His will for our lives (things like emptying the dishwasher, being kind, praying daily etc.). We need to be trusting Jesus in the big, medium, and small as we step forward in the “now” and “not yet” of our lives.
Trusting Jesus with what’s next is easier said than done, right? Especially at present when things are unknown. At Leidy’s Church we have some big unknowns like, “who will fill the staff positions” or “what will happen in the future with children’s and youth ministries?” We can spend time contemplating possibilities, but the truth is we just don’t know! As of this moment only so much has been revealed to us by God, but what is revealed is the step right in front of us, and we can take that step. It’s like a flashlight on a night hike providing just enough light on the path for us to get to our destination, but we won’t get there unless we act on the light we are given by faithfully taking the next step so that eventually we end up at the destination. Psalm 119:105 reminds us that God’s Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path, but will I trust and obey it? As the Sixers Basketball team say, “TRUST THE PROCESS”, or my more lengthy version for us is, “TRUST JESUS WITH THE PROCESS”.
Personally, I’m facing some big next steps while trusting Jesus to guide me into the great unknowns of doing mission work in the Wild West. As I write this I’m anticipating great changes for me and my family very soon. Right now not much has actually changed. My bags and belongings aren’t packed. Our house is not sold. In other words, it’s a pretty typical day as I plan and prepare for our move. In my head I’m asking “where are we going to live?” and “will our kids adjust to new schools and to life in a small town?”
I’m constantly telling my family the way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time. That’s all well and good but I don’t know if I want to eat Dumbo! Chances are I’ll get arrested for trying!
Jokes aside, I need to put the classic Proverbs 3:5-6 text on repeat in my head and heart. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. It was the great missionary Hudson Taylor who said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” Therefore, what on earth do any of us have to worry about! As Psalm 34:10 says, He is going to provide for where He guides. All this to say that we all need to be trusting Jesus with what’s next.
Before I head out to California I want to say “THANK YOU” Leidy’s Church! The years of life and ministry in your midst have been some of the most significant thus far in my journey and I’m poised well for the next mission I’ve been assigned. The Edmonds family has had an amazing ride over last 9 years. I will leave with rich memories of mission trips, countless retreats, services, education, and loving Christians who supported my family and I through the ups and downs. I’m thankful to think that the Lord has brought us through heart surgery, pregnancy bed rest, and glaucoma during this time. I have been extremely blessed to serve at and with Leidy’s church and I am grateful for the opportunity. My prayer is that Jesus will continue to be glorified in and through this church. Thanks be to God.
As I finish up my time as Youth Pastor at the end of May, I would ask that we don’t finish up! What I mean by this is to say, “Can we still be friends?” I would delighted to have you on my team (from afar) as I enter into a new season of youth ministry with high school kids in Kingsburg. Please pray and partner with me as we all trust the Lord with what’s next. Amen.
A new photo directory is in the offing! The Care Committee is busily laying the groundwork for a new Leidy’s Church photo directory. They would like to have all those who are part of our fellowship, members and non-members, be in the new directory.
Though the actual photo sitting times are not until June, now is the time to schedule your photo session. If you can do it online, that would be the quickest and easiest. Here’s what you do:
Go to: http://www.ucdir.com
Enter: PA725 in the church code field
Enter: Church in the church password field
Follow the prompts to schedule your appointment time
If you cannot register online, then come to the Photo Directory Table in the narthex before or after services on a Sunday morning. There will be friendly, knowledgeable folk there to get you signed up!
The days in June when the photos will be taken are Tuesday through Friday, June 13-16 from 2 to 8:30pm. On Saturday, June 17th, photo slots are available from 10am to 6:30pm. OR you say: ‘But I’m going to be on vacation at that time’ or ‘My child isn’t home from college yet’. No problem!! We’ll have a list of churches in the area who are also having photos done at a different time. You’ll be able to have your photo taken at that location instead. We’d like to have every family included in our newest directory. Don’t delay! Sign up earlier rather than later in order to get the time slot your family prefers.
If you have questions about what to wear, how long it will take, is there retouching, what will it cost, what will we get, and all sorts of other details, just stop by the table in the narthex and get one of the brochure available.
Share Your Faith Workshop
Are you prepared to share your faith in a simple and understandable and accurate way? Often we think we are, until the opportunity is in front of us, then we get a bit flustered and unsure of how to go about saying what we want to say.
There is a workshop taking place at Leidy’s Church on May 19 and 20 that will help you be prepared to share your faith. You’ll never guess what it’s called: that’s right, Share Your Faith Workshop. Here are the details.
It takes place on Friday night, from 7 to 9pm and then on Saturday, from 9am to 3:30pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on Saturday for all in attendance. You’ll be glad to know that child-care will be supplied through Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Bucks-Mont area.
There is a cost for the workshop: $10 p/person. That will cover materials and registration. A free-will offering will be taken to help cover other costs.
This workshop will give you a comprehensive tool to share your faith. You will be equipped as you:
- Learn a method of sharing the Gospel you will not easily forget.
- Be given a tool you will use the rest of your life!
- Receive a tool that never leaves your side.
- Catch a renewed vision and enthusiasm for winning others to the Lord.
- Renew your passion for witnessing with a glimpse of the heart of God.
- Discover ways to cultivate friendships into opportunities to share the Gospel.
One of the main reasons believers don’t share their faith is that they feel ill-prepared. Through a Share Your Faith Workshop, the hand becomes a simple memory tool you use to share a Gospel presentation that has proven effective in every nation of the world. Each finger represents a key point of the Gospel.
Registration forms are in the bulletin, in the narthex hutch, or available from the church office.
God is on the Move!
Some mature saints are issuing a call for 18 to 45 year-olds at Leidy’s Church. Their desire is to help design ministries to address your spiritual and practical needs in the context of our church life.
Questions to be addressed include:
1) What are your needs?
2) How can Leidy’s Church be helpful?
3) What forms might this help take?
You’re invited to join the conversation and let your voice be heard. Here’s when and where:
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2017
Time: 11:45 am
Place: Youth Room, adjacent to the gymnasium
No child-care provided, but children are welcome.
SLMT Itineration Begins
It looks like we’ll have twenty three persons comprising our SLMT ’17 team. We’ll introduce them next month, but they are beginning their mission work already this month.
A major component of their work as part of the team is to develop individual support networks. Each team member is asked to recruit six prayer partners and to raise $480 in financial support. Sometime the prayer supporters and financial supporter are one and the same; at other times they are different folk.
You may be asked to support someone in either or both ways, so be prepared with an answer! If you want to support someone, but no one approaches you, speak with Pastor Niederhaus and he’ll get you connected to a SLMT member.
Ladies of Leidy’s
The May meeting takes place on Tuesday, May 2nd at 7:00 p.m., and meets in the Conference Room. Our guest speaker this month will be Jack Parry who will speak to us, tell us about how we can take care of our bodies, and concerns specific to women. All ladies are welcome.
Be Our Guest! What could be more fun just before the rush of summer, than to treat yourself, family and friends and be our guest at this years’ Ladies Tea? After sampling the delectable treats, Sheryl Derstine of the Family Heritage Gift Shop and Shekala’s will provide a lovely fashion show (featuring some of the top local models!) Invitations are in your mailboxes for this fun event which will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 3rd. Also, do you lament not being able to use your fine china you received as a shower or wedding gift? Has it been locked away in your china cabinet? Or does your knack for decorating not seem to ever be fulfilled? Well, why not consider hosting one of the tables? Please look for the Table Hostess sign up sheet posted on the bulletin board.
We’re Taking Names
It’s May. That means we’re on the cusp of graduation season. If you have a graduate or graduates in your household we’d like to know. The ladies in the church office are ready to take names and details. For instance, the name of schools/colleges, post-graduation plans, special awards, etc. This would include those who graduate this past December as well.
Your help is much appreciated. We hope to publish a list in the June Newsletter.
Catching a Sneak Peak
June is sneaking up on us, as are some of the events of early June. Here’s a brief reminder of a couple of events you’ll want to make note of:
- All Church Picnic at Men-O-Lan is June 4th. Service of worship at Men-O-Lan at 10:30. There will be an 8 am service of worship in our sanctuary.
- Strawberry Festival is slated for Saturday, June 10th. This is the first time in the new building, so much help needed. Some interesting new twists will be added.
You Can Help
During May the Care Committee intends to introduce afresh its Warm Hearts & Willing Hands ministry. The intention is to allow each of us the opportunity to help each other with needs that are not always visible or obvious or known to us.
The purpose of the ministry is to allow us to give time and/or talent to those who are in a stage of life of needing someone to come alongside to be a listening ear or helping hands when life or tasks become overwhelming.
There are two ways one may participate in this ministry. First, by volunteering your time and/or talents to helping others. Second, by alerting the pastors of needs within our congregation of which they may not be aware.
Please look for an information sheet in your church mailbox. If you hear God calling you to this ministry, please fill in the sheet and place it by May 28th in the box provided in the church office.
The information sheet will give you an opportunity to indicate specific days, times, and numbers of times you are available to help in whatever capacity you are called to serve. Thank you in advance for your Warm Hearts & Willing Hands.
Last Call for All
A favored featured yearly event at Leidy’s Church is the Music & Dessert Night fundraiser for the summer SLMT Missions trip. The one taking place this month on the 13th will be the last one. Dessert & Music Nights will be a favored memory, but no longer a rich reality.
So, get your ticket to the final Music & Dessert Night. It happens on Saturday, May 13th. Starting time is 6 pm. We anticipate a few musical surprises even during the eating time. Jim Carling and Gary Filson always seem to have something up their sleeves that provides a marvelous complement to the customary scrumptious culinary confections.
Music for the evening will include the Three Tenors, a conglomerate of sisters whose maiden names were Wilwert, a Lockman or two will be around, and all working together to provide a diverse, entertaining, and finally inspiring evening of music.
Contact the church office to get your ticket. Cost is $20 p/person. What better way to have a good evening out and help provide support for the SLMT mission trip.
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Mark Kostishion and family at the death of his mother, and to Laurie Plank and family at the death of her sister. May God be with them at this time.
Congratulations to Shaun and Meghann Permar at the birth of a daughter, Ava Grace. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Exploring Faith & Science
During the month of May, the Issues & Answers class will be offering a discussion about Christianity and the Nature of Science. We will explore a variety of questions including:
- What is science and why do many people claim it is opposed to faith in God?
- What principles of investigation do all scientists assume when doing “science”?
- What are the limits of the scientific enterprise?
- Was the ‘March for Science’ really about science?
- Are those Washington, DC Cherry Blossoms really blooming earlier and earlier each year as determined by the “science” of global warming/climate change?
- Are we facing an impending environmental disaster from CO2 emissions?
Drawing upon God’s word, general revelation, and leading authorities in the scientific community, we will try to offer biblical and truthful answers on this “heated” issue.
Faith & Food
An opportunity to be encouraged and informed in your faith while enjoying good food happens on Thursday, May 11th. It’s the spring edition of the BMCE Business and Professional Breakfast featuring a family style full country breakfast at the Franconia Heritage banquet facility.
Featured speaker is Dan Emr, founder of Worthwhile Wear, a ministry that helps women in India who’ve been rescued from the terrors of sex trafficking by providing employment opportunities making simple jewelry and clothing items. The ministry provides them long-term housing and a program of life restoration on an 82 acre tract of peaceful Bucks County farmland. It’s the story of a ministry that will encourage you and give you new vision.
The breakfast begins at 6:30am and will conclude by 8am. Tickets for Leidy’s Church folk are $10. You may contact Jack Parry or Pastor Niederhaus for tickets, or call the church office. It’s a good deal for your faith and for good food.
Thirty Pieces Offering a Celebration
On May 5th in Chennai, India, [formerly known as Madras, India] there will be a joyous birthday celebration. Hundreds of church leaders from all over India will gather together to honor their friend and mentor Bill Scott on the occasion of his 90th birthday!
Bill Scott has had an apostolic ministry in India, overseeing church planting missions that stretch from the deepest jungles to the heart of frenzied cities and all places in between. But his friends will not be giving Bill Scott any gifts. He doesn’t want any. Instead, he wants more Bibles printed to fulfill his vision of “placing a Bible in every home in India.”
Leidy’s Church will not have a representative at the party in India, but we will join in giving what Bill most wants: Bibles. The Thirty Pieces of Silver offering this year was designated to head to India for the printing of Bibles. Our offering came to $3,551.19. That translates into 710.2 Bibles printed and distributed in India!
Happy Birthday, Bill! May God continue to bless your labors and multiply your fruit!
Ocean Commotion is Coming!
Welcome to Ocean Commotion! That’s the title of this year’s VBS curriculum. Every day our kids are challenged to stand up for God in their schools, among their friends, and in our culture. They are bombarded with the lie that God’s Word isn’t true and can’t be trusted to guide their lives.
Noah experienced the same challenges during the time of the great Flood thousands of years ago. Yet, by God’s grace, he was able to Stand for God, Obey God, Trust God, Thank God, and Fear God . . . no matter what.
This year Leidy’s Church VBS takes place Sunday, June 25th through Thursday, June 29th in the evenings. There is an Ocean Commotion VBS information table in the narthex where you can find out more about this exciting event.
During Ocean Commotion VBS our kids will dive deep into the account of Noah and the flood. They’ll uncover facts about the Flood: how all the animals fit on the Ark, how the Flood covered the whole Earth, and how we can still see the effects of this Flood today. They’ll also learn to apply the spiritual lessons from Noah’s life to their own.
We anticipate record attendance, so we need lots of volunteers! Come out and help out. Contact Laura Heebner (215-872-9834 or email@example.com) for more information.
Happenings at Mahiga
Mahiga is the orphanage to which Leidy’s Church support goes through our support of Chariots for Hope. The Manager of Mahiga is David Mbugua and in his monthly report he included the following items. They are listed for our information and our prayers. Items big and small are reported and provide a fascinating view of an orphan’s life in Kenya.
o The chickens have begun laying eggs! The kids enjoy them for breakfast each morning.
o Term I of the school year is finished. Hooray, say the kids. All are doing well, some are excelling.
o Solomon, the young fellow with the brain tumor who could not have a follow-up CT scan because the doctors were on strike, was able to have the scan this month. Results are not back yet.
o One of the college girls, Edith by name, has been diagnosed with ulcers and is receiving treatment.
o Purity, who broke her arm while playing on (or, rather, falling off) the swings, now has the cast off her arm and she is back to normal.
o Pray for staff members as they receive training on how to help children deal with and be healed from trauma.
Thanks for keeping the children and staff of Mahiga Home in your prayers.
The week of May 7th is when our Gym will be transformed with all the donated items we receive, and our community is invited to shop for their family wardrobes, linens, jewelry, books, toys, household items, and much more!
Many workers are needed. On Monday and Tuesday from 9am to 8pm items are unpacked and arranged. Wednesday (9am to 8pm) and Thursday (9am to 6pm) are sale days and we need friendly workers to bag items, serve as cashiers, and straighten items as many shoppers come to make their purchases. On Thursday at 6pm we need willing hands and strong backs to transform our facilities back for ministry before Sunday. Mary Beth Musselman has a schedule she needs to fill, so be sure to speak with her if you can be plugged in at any time to help.
The funds raised at the Big “R” are disbursed where needed at Leidy’s Church and in our community by Ladies of Leidy’s. It’s a big undertaking, and with your help we can make it another great event.
Going Coast to Coast
One of the most exciting feats in contemporary basketball is for a player to go coast to coast. What that means is he grabs a rebound at one end of the court and proceeds to move the ball swiftly all the way to the other end of the court and score a basket.
Pastor Andrew Edmonds is a devoted basketball fan – yes, he even likes NBA basketball. We learned in early April that Pastor Andrew and his family will be executing a coast to coast maneuver in early June. They will be moving from Harleysville, PA, on the east coast to Kingsburg, CA, on the west coast.
Yes, Pastor Andrew has accepted a call to serve as the Area Director for Young Life in the Kingsburg vicinity. The fellow he’ll be replacing has served as the Area Director for 37 years! They have one of the premier Young Life programs in the country. Their committee conducted a nation-wide search and settled on our Pastor Andrew. We are excited for Andrew and his family and the folk at Young Life, while lamenting our loss.
Kingsburg is about thirty minutes south of Fresno, located in the central valley of California, a fruitful area known for its agricultural production. It has a heavy Scandinavian ethnic background and promotes itself as a western town with midwestern values. So far as we know, though, none of them speak with a down-under accent – yet.
Andrew has been on the staff of Leidy’s Church since January of 2008. He and wife Ann came here with one child, but will be leaving with three. It’s fruitful in our area as well. They came here not owning a home and now they have one for sale. He came here unknown to us and he leaves here beloved by us.
We wish Andrew, Ann, Felicity, Hudson, and Verity God’s blessing as they go coast to coast.
A Small God Thing
by Jerri Thompson
Sometimes one of my children would ask me, “How do you know for sure that you know Jesus?” I did not often have an intelligent theological answer, but now I have a comforting story.
Last summer, two of our kids, my husband, and I attended a Reading Phillies baseball game. When we were in the parking lot getting out of the car, I had a book in my hand. Planning to read it when I got bored with baseball seemed reasonable to me. My husband Carl frowned at me, “You’re not planning on bringing that into the game, are you?”
Now it seems my brain moved into lightning speed here, because I know I answered him relatively quickly, but here’s the rush of thoughts in my brain.
“Yes, this is my husband, the one who plays by the rules. The rule is ‘We do not take books to ball games. We watch the ball game even if we are not diehard sports fans.’”
Which he is not.
Words were on the edge of my lip: “Well, yes, I was planning to take the book in; and I have a perfect right to do so.”
But then, “poof”, those words never came out. I did not swallow them with a resigned sigh. They just evaporated.
It seemed as if some angel whispered in my ear, “If you take the book in, Carl will not have a pleasant time.”
I gritted back, “So! That’s not my problem!”
In my mind’s eye, the angel’s response appeared to be a raised eyebrow. (Do angels have eyebrows?) My thought was suddenly, “Okay, Jesus.”
My out loud words to Carl were, “No, I’m not.”
Genuinely smiling, I set the book back on the seat in the car.
We four Thompsons headed into the stadium. Walking along beside me, my fifteen-year-old daughter murmured, “I would have brought the book in.”
I replied, “I know.”
I paused. “But God wanted me to do it this way.”
I paused again. “I want to please Him.”
For part of the game time, I reflected on what had just occurred. In my human nature, I would have brought the book in; or, I would not have brought the book in and been moody. Instead, I had been surprised with the words that came out of my mouth, with no complaints or recriminations.
I had laid down a small portion of my life to make another happy. Amazing grace: not only was I saved from my wretched self, I was being changed from my wretched self to someone better. God had been at work in my heart, probably for quite a while, and I was just now understanding it.
Bookless, I actually enjoyed the baseball game. So did Carl. And God smiled because one of his children grew a tad bit more like Him.
Mirabile dictu! Or, Hard to believe, Harry. Of what remarkable and unbelievable event are we speaking? The April meeting of the Leidy’s Church Consistory. If you can believe it, not a single member of Consistory was absent. First time that’s happened this year. Below are some highlights of that meeting:
- Our use of time was the subject of Rich Kapusta’s devotional thoughts. How do we allocate that precious commodity? There are all sorts of right and good calls on our time, but we need to order our time according to the teaching of Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Citing several biblical examples, Rich opined that we should not fear God’s calls on our time, rather be seeking His calls. His calls will make the best use of our time.
- The financial report indicated we need to make more progress at meeting current expenses. Discussed ways to do by cutting down on costs. Ways of conserving electrical costs will be investigated, among other things. It is hoped April will bring better news.
- Received an acoustical update. Pastor Chris noted that front-fill speakers are now installed which should be a significant improvement for the front pews. Plans were reviewed for acoustical panels to be installed on the back wall of the sanctuary as well as on the back wall and two side walls of the Fellowship Hall. Costs should be well within the amount approved earlier this year. Installation by Scott Rittenhouse most likely will occur in June.
- Signage was discussed at some length. There is a need for both indoor and outdoor signage. The Hospitality Committee is requesting a number of signs to direct congregants to various venues inside the building, and for all rooms to be visibly numbered. A consensus favored installing a flat screen monitor that could be programmed to list events and locations for activities on any given day. With regard to outside signage, there is confusion among delivery people and others as to which property is 273 and which is 275 and which is 276. Attractive outdoor signage should alleviate this problem.
- We received notification from the Township Engineering office that after surveys were taken six of our retention basins were short of the capacities that the approved drawings require. Some investigation is required to determine how this will be addressed and who will be responsible for the costs incurred – though it should not be the church.
- On the staffing front, a new job description has been finalized for the newly named Director of Children’s Ministry position. Also, official word was received that Pastor Andrew Edmonds is resigning from his position to become the Area Director of Young Life in Kingsburg, CA.
- June 4th will be Camp Men-O-Lan Sunday, but we do not want to be in the position of having no services here that day. Hence, there will be an 8 o’clock service for those who won’t be able to make it to the camp.
- Property Committee reported two new benches are now under the canopy. Also, a bid will be gotten to replace the ac/heat pump unit for the apartment above the parsonage.
- The Kitchen Committee indicated a carbon monoxide/natural gas detector is now installed in the kitchen. Additional electrical outlets are to be installed as well.
- Special Services Committee announced the Strawberry Festival and Three Fat Guys Chicken Dinner will be a combined affair this year. Logistics to be determined.
- The Care Committee has chosen a vendor to produce a new church photo directory. Details are forthcoming.
Following a time of directed intercessory prayer and the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer, the meeting was adjourned at 10:20 pm.
The Westminster Larger Catechism
The main reason this is called the “Larger Catechism” is the thoroughness with which the representatives at the Westminster Assembly dealt with each element examined in the catechism. Certainly that’s true for how they handle the Ten Commandments. This month we’ll see what they do with the 8th commandment.
What the Scriptures Principally Require as the Duty of Man
Question 140: Which is the eighth commandment?
Answer: The eighth commandment is, You shall not steal.
Question 141: What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the eighth commandment are truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof; giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others; moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods; a provident care and study to get, keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition; a lawful calling, and diligence in it; frugality; avoiding unnecessary law-suits, and suretiship, or other like engagements; and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.
Question 142: What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment besides the neglect of the duties required are: theft, robbery, man-stealing [i.e. kidnapping], and receiving any thing that is stolen; fraudulent dealing, false weights and measures, removing landmarks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man, or in matters of trust; oppression, extortion, usury, bribery, vexatious law-suits, unjust inclosures and depopulations; ingrossing commodities to enhance the price; unlawful callings, and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbor what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves; covetousness; inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods; distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them; envying at the prosperity of others; as likewise idleness, prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate, and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God has given us.
Open House & Ribbon Cutting
The Hub Community Outreach Center is having an Open House on Saturday, May 20th. Where in the world is this Hub place located, you might ask. Well, The Hub is the name chosen by the cooperating ministries that are renting the old Leidy’s Church. That means the address is 276 W. Cherry Lane, Souderton.
Festivities begin at 10am and continue until 5pm. There will be free food, face painting, games, ice cream, and plenty of opportunity to find out what is happening at that location.
You’re invited to come when you can and stay as long or brief a time as you can.
Primary Elections in May
After a turbulent election season in 2016, things will likely be much calmer in 2017. The Primary Election in PA takes place on Tuesday, May 16th. Leidy’s Church is a polling place. The voting takes place in the Fellowship Hall from 7am to 8pm.
This year the races are for School Board, Township Supervisors, and whatever offices are up in your municipality. Election of Judges for various levels of the court system will take up most of the ballot.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the candidates/issues and exercise your right to vote on May 16th.
7th Beth Harbon
14th Dorothy Kehs
21st Shannon Kehs
28th Alice Kraus
7th Marge VanOmmeren
14th Norm & Donna Weiss
21st Pearl Walter
28th Randy & Cathy Annis
7th Thelma Spitzkopf, Linda Stretch
14th Justin & Desiree Steve
21st Ken & Velva Stevenson
28th Andy & Joan Tawney
Usher Captains: Dave Doran, Dana Gehman
Ushers: Frank Allebach, Gary Brown, Isaac Inyang, Terry Leidy, Tom Leidy, Chase Mahoney, Doug Roberson, David Thompson, Joseph Thompson, Mitchell VanDerbeek.
The Emergency Committee for May is Joe Sciacca.