Newsletter for May 2015
Pat posed an interesting question to me a couple of weeks ago: What distinguishes a civilized society from a barbarian society? The question was prompted as she read a book about Michael Rockefeller, the 23 year old son of Nelson Rockefeller, who disappeared off the coast of Dutch New Guinea in November of 1961.
The official version of his disappearance states that he drowned while attempting to swim some nine miles to shore from his overturned double dugout canoe. His body, however, was never found. That gave rise to much speculation. Over the years the rumor mill has churned out twoalternative scenarios of Rockefeller’s death for fascinated inquirers.
In Scenario One Rockefeller makes it to shore safely and is taken in by natives. They are very good people. He assimilates and acculturates and ends up “going native.” And so one can find pictures alleging to show a bearded white guy, naked and paddling a 40 foot dugout canoe in the midst of naked natives doing the same thing. The man is supposed to be Rockefeller.
A completely different tack is taken by Scenario Two. Again, Rockefeller makes it to shore safely. At the shore he meets up with a group of 40 or 50 native men, men who know him for he’s spent time in their village. But now he is exhausted and vulnerable. One stabs him with a spear; he’s loaded into a canoe, and taken away to a designated location. There, he is tortured, killed, butchered, cooked, and eaten. And all done according to a regulated, prescribed ritual.
The book Pat read was Savage Harvest and it purports to document why the cannibalism scenario is the accurate one. I read the book also and found it disturbingly convincing. How does a society come to the place where cannibalism is an accepted part of the culture? Is there a cultural continuum with a “tipping point” where cannibalism goes from forbidden to accepted?
I don’t know that I can answer that question. I do believe, though, the two alternative scenarios provide an interesting perspective on our human perspectives!
According to Scenario One Rockefeller found a society much more suited to the human condition than our western culture.Scenario One encapsulates a recurring human notion: that of an Eden-like primitive culture, free from civilized contaminations, and thus possessing a purity not possible for folk like us. Popularly, it is known as the ideal of the “Noble Savage.”
We’ve all dreamed of such a place, even longed for such a place! According to some, it is what the Americas were before the coming of Columbus. He and those who followed him ruined everything. Scenario One is confident of the inherent goodness of man. If kept free from corrupting (read: civilizing) influences, man can be what he naturally is: a noble savage.
The notion of the inherent goodness of man and the noble savage is not to be found inScenario Two. In this perspective man is corrupted and corrupting. The famous lines from Tennyson about “nature, red in tooth and claw” are most apt. Like the rest of the natural order, man in his natural state always ends in bloody degradation. It is truly the survival of the fittest!
In the second scenario, Rockefeller had the misfortune of landing among a tribe of people that lived with the misfortune of not having civilized laws to keep their inclinations in check. According to this perspective, societies need to encode laws, then impose and enforce those laws to keep man’s baser instincts under control.
Which of the two scenarios is more accurate? Obviously, Scenario Two! It is the only perspective in touch with real life, that is, life where there are no Edens. But, does that answer Pat’s question? Is it merely the encoding, imposing, and enforcing of civil laws that distinguishes civilized societies from barbarian societies? I think not.
The crucial question concerns the content of the laws. As I reflected on Pat’s question it slowly dawned on me that a society replete with civil laws can be an utterly barbarian society.
Think of what Jesus said in Luke 11:35, . . . watch out that the light in you is not darkness.When might something like that happen? Consider how the Lord describes the day in which Jeremiah lives: . . . they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one has turned back from his wickedness. [23:14] From verses such as this I take it that we humans can mistake darkness for light and encode, impose, and enforce laws that do not turn folk back from evil, but rather encourage them in doing evil.
As a matter of fact Scenario One is not possible at all. No such society exists now or ever has existed since the Fall.Scenario Two is partially correct, but fatally flawed finally. It is flawed because it takes no account of God’s Law.
In recent months I’ve been impressed again and again with how gracious God was to humanity in revealing His Law and writing it on the two stone tablets at Mount Sinai. Why? Because every culture and society will develop laws. Ultimately those laws will serve their societies well only if they are in agreement with God’s Law.
In the case of the society where Rockefeller came ashore, their laws condoned and encouraged the practice of cannibalism. The light they had was darkness. They needed to receive the revelation of God’s Law. It would prove to be a tutor to lead them to Christ.
What about Israel, the nation that directly received the Law of God? They were blessed by the Law, but not saved by the Law. The Law did not change their hearts, just revealed what was in their hearts, and thus was a tutor to lead them to Christ. Except they didn’t want to be led to Christ, they wanted to do what they wanted to do.
Much the same can be said about America in our day. America has received the Law of God; we’ve not been kept in the dark. What we have done, though, is reject the Law of God for our own laws. Now we have laws on our books that strengthen the hands of evildoers so that no one is turned back from his wickedness.
Back to Pat’s question: What distinguishes a civilized society from a barbarian society? I don’t think it is a question of having running water, electrical service, an intricate highway system, an advanced monetary system, a sophisticated legal system, or any of the other attributes we often associate with civilization. What distinguishes civilized societies from barbarian societies is the acceptance of God’s Law as authoritative. When a society rejects God’s Law as the basis for its moral order, then its genetic code is barbarian.
The first Thursday of May is the National Day of Prayer. We’ll have a congregational prayer gathering at church that evening. We’ve not conceded our country to barbarianism! We pray for the Law of God to be recognized so that we can come to Christ, the Redeemer. Come, join us in prayer.
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
May Pulpit Schedule
3rd – Bloody Hands – Ezekiel 3:16-21; Matthew 27:11-26; Acts 5:21b–32
God and man are always, it seems, on a collision course. God is purposing to do one thing and we humans are purposing to do another. But it’s more than that. One might better understand this by saying, “God is always jumping into the way, putting obstacles before man.” It’s God’s initiative that causes the divine/human collisions. God’s calling and commissioning of Ezekiel demonstrates that such is the case. These collisions are important for all involved. Regardless how they turn out, some will have blood on their hands.
10th – Wise Counsel – Proverbs 21:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28; Acts 5:33-39
When the Jewish leaders heard what Peter and the apostles had to say, they intended to kill them. The apostles were saying the Jewish leaders were responsible for the death of Jesus. Not liking the designation “murderers,” they decided on the strategy of murdering their accusers! One of their members had a different sort of counsel for them. It was sort of like a mother giving counsel to an adolescent child: “Oh, it will be OK. Just be patient and it will all work out just fine.” Sometimes that is wise counsel, but sometimes it is not.
14th – Keeping On – Psalm 110; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Acts 5:30-32, 40-42
OK, this date is not a Sunday, it’s a Thursday. It is not just any old Thursday, though. It is the Thursday that occurs exactly 40 days after Easter. There’s only one of those Thursdays. Such being the case, that means this Thursday is Ascension Day, the day specified in Acts 1 as the day Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father. For the disciples that made all the difference in the world – it cast into new colors all that happened to them. This Thursday gave them a vision to keep on keeping on, because of what Jesus is keeping on keeping on with.
17th – Why are we waiting? We are suffocating! – Exodus 18:13-27; 2 Tim. 3:16–17; Acts 6:1-6
The chant “Why Are We Waiting,” gets sung by a frustrated gathering of people waiting for someone to turn up, or it echoes through a stadium by fans of a sporting team hoping to see their team improve on the field. Maybe it was first sung by the early Church! The Apostles were “waiting” and it wasn’t necessarily for Christ’s return; no, they were waiting on tables. The men who had firsthand encounters with the risen Christ were now caught up in administrative duties. Sound the alarm, for the ministry movement is in danger of becoming a ministry monument
24th – Water! – Isaiah 55:1-13; John 7:37-52; Acts 6:7
Pentecost! What a great day! In working our way through the book of Acts we dealt with that great outpouring of wind and fire and the Holy Spirit recorded in Acts 2. Pentecost was Launch Day. Jesus anticipated Pentecost Day and all that flows from it when He made His proclamation about water at the great feast recorded in John 7. What He said caused some folk to reject Him. Jesus is the Word of God, however, and what He spoke was the Word of God. It would prove true, as we’ll see regarding a specific category of folk in our main text from Acts.
31st – It’s Blasphemy – 1 Kings 21:1-19; Matthew 26:59-68; Acts 6:8-15
The truth of God runs counter to all the prevailing orthodoxies based on fallen human wisdom. One could say that the truth of God turns the world upside down. The powers that be do not take being turned upside down lying down! Sometimes they pout, as we’ll see with King Ahab. Sometimes they argue with vehemence, as we’ll see with the Synagogue of the Freedman. The Jewish chief priests are no different. In each instance, fallen human wisdom charges that God truth is blasphemous. In each instance, nefarious steps are taken to prove such is the case.
From the Youth Pastor
The Fishbowl Perspective
I often say to people: I was born in Australia, live in America, but Heaven is my home. In this statement I’m recognizing the two national cultures that have significantly formed my life. I’m most strongly identifying, however, with the culture and eternal state of Christianity. This is what I believe all Christians should seek to do and be. We should all hold somewhat loosely to our ethnic/national cultures, after all, it’s just clothing for a season! I believe many Christians in Australia and the U.S. are in danger of being overtly focused on the national culture in which they live now. We could benefit from heeding Jesus’ comments to the Pharisees when He said,Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. (Mark 7:8) This criticism is hard for some to hear, but I’ve learnt from my own cross-cultural life-journey to question certain aspects of national tradition and culture. Not all of one’s national culture is good or helpful.
I’m not alone in my critique of ethnic/national pride. Prominent Pastor Tim Keller humorously asserts that “In the United States, Anglo-Americans’ public and private lives are lived in the same culture. As a result, they are often culturally clueless. They relate to their own culture in the same way a fish that, when asked about water, said, ‘What’s water?’ If you have never been out of water, you don’t know you are in it.”This is similar to when people tell me I have an accent. The clear implication is they don’t have an accent! It’s not that they don’t have an accent, it’s that they default into thinking that their way of pronouncing words is the way. This is not offensive to me but it does carry an unintentional air of arrogance and ignorance by the one who is asking the question. Just so you know, I would also put many of my patriotic Australian friends in this same situation with some of their own cultural fouls. The fact that if they were to read what I’m writing would make them defensive, serves as evidence that they also identify too much with their own cultural heritage and traditions.
There is much to be gained by experiencing a different culture from the dominant one you know firsthand. Many who have gone on the Stormer Lake mission trip can testify to this growing experience. The differences one experiences can trigger awareness of one’s own biases, including long-held traditions that may be good or bad. Having perspective that’s created by contrast helps you discern your own “fishbowl”, for you can now be aware that you are in water.
A good missionary is a third culture person, someone who creates a unique blended culture of their culture of origin and their culture of residence. This enables them to translate between the two. They can communicate to each culture about the other culture. This is what Dr. K. Black suggests as a goal for churches, namely that they … be a third culture for people of many cultures to be included and welcomed, through having culturally conscious worship that takes into consideration those cultures who are among us. However, we must take care because the pursuit of “diversity for diversity’s sake” can easily become an idol.
I say all this to encourage us all to be “translators” or “cultural guides” where we know the distinctions of our own culture, be it Anglo, South Philly, PA Dutch, Soccer Mom, Deer Hunter, or whatever. Such awareness allows us to communicate the gospel to a different culture or subculture without getting caught up in biases or traditions of men. Good translators who can discerningly reach out will always be needed, especially in these days where the world is coming to the United States and our local area is becoming more culturally diverse. Therefore, being a multi-cultural church and a third culture person are not only important for mission, but perhaps a necessity. May we be servants who, like Father Abraham, leave our first culture for the sake of God’s mission.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing. (Gen. 12:1-2)
Men-O-Lan in Sight – Again!
Last year there was a snafu and we did not have our usual All-Church Picnic. This year we’re not allowing any snafus, instead we’re looking forward to the All-Church Picnic at Men-O-Lan. It’s due to take place on the first Sunday of June. In 2015 that happens to be the seventh day of June. Mark it down: June 7th = Men-O-Lan picnic.
What’s the main thing you need to remember to do about the All-Church Picnic? Nope, not about signing up to bring some food. Nope, not talking signing up to help cook. Nope, not signing up to help serve or clean-up after lunch. Here’s the most important thing you must remember to do:
Sign-up on the sign-up slip provided in the bulletin!!!!!!
The food for lunch is provided by Men-O-Lan and they need an accurate number. You should plan to bring a dessert to share.
All the usual activities will be taking place, with an outdoor service of worship beginning at 10:30. If there are those who desire to be baptized by immersion, they should speak with Pastor Niederhaus to make the appropriate arrangements, if possible!
We will need some help with set-up at the beginning of the day and clean-up at the end of the day, as well as volunteers for pond duty and transporting items from the church to Men-O-Lan and then back to the church.
You and your family are welcome to stay all day and make the most of this wonderful time of fellowship by joining in a rousing game of softball or paddling around the pond or perhaps some excellent porch-sitting-and-chatting. You may sign up via the bulletin sign-up slips, or, call the church office and the friendly, efficient, always helpful office ladies will get you registered. See you there!
PA Primary Elections
Tuesday, May 19th is the date for the Pennsylvania Primary elections. Leidy’s Church serves as a polling place for two precincts in Franconia Township. That means the Fellowship Hall will be reserved for voting set-up and actual voting from mid-afternoon on the 18th through the evening of the 19th. If you’re at the church on Election Day, please remember the normal courtesies: park farther down in the lot so voters may have access to closest parking spots; limit your traffic through the narthex; don’t try to use the kitchen or Fellowship Hall; and greet folk with a smile and friendly greeting.
Of course, you are encouraged to vote. If you will not be able to vote that day, you should get an absentee ballot, for which we have applications in the narthex. You may want to know that May 12th is the last day one may apply for an absentee ballot.
The week of May 10th is when our Fellowship Hall and surroundings are 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 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. items are unpacked and arranged. On Wednesday (9 a.m.-8 p.m.) and Thursday (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) sale days we need friendly workers to bag items, serve as cashiers, and straighten items as many shoppers come to make their purchases. On Thursday at 6 p.m. 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.
Worship – What’s the Big Deal?
2015 is the third consecutive year when Leidy’s Church will conduct an Ascension Day service of worship. What’s the big deal about that anyway?
All Christian mission, worship, suffering, serving, and living takes place on the basis of what occurred on Ascension Day. It was a Thursday, the fortieth day after Jesus’ resurrection, the tenth day before the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Just as Presidents are elected in November, but the inauguration does not take place until the 20th of January, so Jesus rose triumphant on Easter morning as the King of all, but His official enthronement took place forty days later.
The service of worship on Ascension Day is about an hour, with the normal elements of praise, confession, scripture reading, preaching, and prayers. The singing, however, is special. We sing a couple of hymns reserved for that day, hymns not in our hymnal, but with wonderfully singable tunes joined to powerful words of proclamation and adoration.
So, yes, it’s a pretty big deal. You’re invited to come out and join in worship of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Within the Fellowship
Congratulations to Tom & Abby Feverston at the dedication of their daughter, Vanessa Abigail on April 19th. May God be with this family as they grow in Him.
Errands to run, activities, cleaning, shopping, cooking, laundry…and the list goes on and on!! Take a short break on Saturday, May 30th, from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Ladies of Leidy’s Mother-Daughter Tea.
All ladies and girls are invited to attend. Please complete the invitation which was delivered to your narthex mailbox by May 17, and place in the box provided on the narthex desk. Seating is limited. Don’t hesitate joining in on the fun and fellowship. We’d love to see you there!
Women’s Sunday School
On April 26, the ladies class began a study based on the book Move On: When Mercy Meets Your Mess by Vicki Courtney.
Life is often messy. God makes provision to help us move beyond our messes. Oftentimes our first instincts are to hide, deny, ignore, or run. In Move On best-selling author Vicki Courtney helps readers come clean with their muddy messes, revealing the deeper issues they must face, including:
· the need for approval
· struggles and broken dreams
· Christian snobbery
It is in the middle of our messes, Vicki says, that Mercy shows up and offers us a safe place to process our struggles, imperfections, doubts, and fears. Once we face our messes, God, with his sweet mercy, can help us to get real, deal, and truly move on. Then with Mercy by our side, we are able to break free and experience the grace and freedom God intends.
All ladies are welcome to join the class, held in Room 19 downstairs. If you have questions, please speak with Lorraine Kroesser.
Ladies of Leidy’s
The May meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5th, at 7 p.m. in the Conference Room. The program for the evening will feature Gina Stocker who is the founder and executive director of God’s Treasure House. GTH is a Christ-centered transitional living center for women and their children built upon a firm foundation of God’s love. Their goal is to minister to the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the women.
The business portion of the meeting will follow the program. All ladies are welcome to attend. If you have questions about Ladies of Leidy’s, please speak with President Alice Kraus.
Superheroes will save the world this summer. Some will be hulking, angry giants with magic purple pants that never fall off. Some will come from Asgard with hammers. Some will be experimental super-soldiers who don’t die easily. Each and every one will be extraordinarily super.
But what about real heroes? Christian heroes? Is that possible?
The Missions Committee has a challenge for us this summer: read about extraordinarily normal human beings. People like Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael, and William Booth, none of whom was extraordinarily talented or super intelligent or hulkingly strong. But each one said yes to God. They said yes to God and parts of the globe are changed. They said yes to God and impacted the world in an extraordinary fashion because of what God did through them.
Starting Memorial Day weekend and running through the weekend of Rally Day, the Missions Committee will have a book check out table set up every Sunday. Each of us will have the opportunity to read and learn about people who have taken up the Gospel in their neighborhoods as well as to the farthest reaches of the world.
We will read about men and women who said yes, and the consequent hardships and agonies they suffered, the triumphs God gave them, and the people whose lives were transformed because of their labors. They’ve left an indelible legacy to us as Christians. Indeed, they’ve changed for the better our world at large. We need to get to know them, or to know them better.
There will be books about missionaries available for all ages. Short books and longer books. See how many pages you can read. Like the Book-It® program, all participants will have the opportunity to compete for prizes based on the total number of pages read. What are the prizes: Ice cream? Cash? Trophies? Monuments? Well, get reading and you’ll find out!
We’re encouraged you to challenge ourselves and our children to learn more about people who dedicated their lives to serving Christ as they sought to be faithful to Jesus’ command in Matthew28:19, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .
Be part of the Missions Committee’s 28:19 Book Challenge.
Maybe people don’t need to be superheroes to save the real world. Maybe they just need to say yes to God.
SLMT ’15 Gearing Up
The Orientation Luncheon has been consumed, instructions spelled out, and team assignments made. SLMT ’15 is gearing up to head north for ministry in July. Part of the gearing up is the raising up of support, both monetary and spiritual. They hope you can help out.
Each team member is required to raise $480 in monetary support. That can come in all sorts of amounts. Some folk may be able to give $100 in support, while another person gives $5, and yet another gives $62.50. Each volunteer needs to raise a minimum total of $480 – there’s no objection to getting more support!
Even if a team member has one person who gives the entire $480, that team member still needs to find at least four persons who are willing to commit to provide spiritual support through prayer. Each team member will face challenges internally and externally that will require the Holy Spirit’s help. Having others who are interceding is crucial to the SLMT ministry.
So, when you’re approached about possibly supporting a SLMT ’15 volunteer, give them your ear. If no one gets around to asking you for support, but you want to provide some support, please let the church office know or contact Pastor Niederhaus. The situation will be remedied rapidly!
Congregational Prayer Gathering
Among the Christian community in America – and among many of those outside that community – it is agreed that our country is in need of prayer. There are matters on the domestic front and on the foreign front that cause us concern. We are beset with family issues, monetary issues, educational issues, media issues, faith issues, political issues – you name it! – and we are standing in the need of prayer.
Thursday, May 7th is National Day of Prayer. Leidy’s Church will host a congregational prayer gathering to focus our intercessions for our land. It begins at 7 p.m. and will conclude around 8:15 or so. While we will worship and give thanks to God for our land, we also will ask for His intervention in our wandering, foolish, rebellious ways.
Our congregation will join with others across the nation as we cry out to God for mercy for our land. You are each encouraged to be present for this night of lifting our hearts and voices to God.
The Laws, They Are A Changin
Though off the radar of most folk, Pennsylvania legislators passed and Governor Corbett signed into law Act 153 of 2014. It is legislation that significantly expands the persons working with children who are required to get background checks. It also is very specific regarding which background checks are required. This bill affects every church in the Commonwealth as well as many other community and volunteer organizations.
Leidy’s Church is affected by this new legislation. Currently we have a team working on how to comply with this legislation and how to communicate all it requires to members of our congregation. This little article is a first step in that communication process.
Please be on the alert for new information and opportunities to learn how your involvement in ministry is affected. Information that is forthcoming will include who is affected, issues of confidentiality, what must I do, how do I get this done, and similar sorts of issues.
Your patience and cooperation will be much appreciated!
Sheryl Derstine at B&P Breakfast
On Thursday morning, May 14th, BMCE will host its spring Business and Professional Breakfast. Beginning at 6:30, the breakfast is not just any breakfast, but a hot and hearty country breakfast with plenty of fruits and breads as well. It’s served family style, so dish out as much or as little as you prefer. It takes place at the Franconia Heritage restaurant.
Special speaker for the occasion will be Sheryl Derstine. Born and raised in Souderton, her family founded the original Family Heritage restaurant in Franconia. Beginning as a waitress, she worked her way through all the steps of the family business. When her parents retired in 1995, she began partnering with her sister, brother-in-law, and husband as the second generation in the family business. With that entrepreneurial background, Sheryl continues to search for ways to serve her customers and the community. She does so by what she offers in her stores – both in the items selected and in the service given. Hers is a fascinating account of God working in and through a family engaged in business.
Tickets for the B&P Breakfast are $12. Please contact the church office or Pastor Niederhaus to get your tickets. Invite a friend, neighbor, family member, or colleague to join you at this breakfast on May 14th.
Shout Out Needed!
It’s May. It’s the beginning of Graduation Season! If you have a graduate or graduates in your household undoubtedly you’ll be doing a shout out of some sort. How about letting us know that such is the case? Not the details of the party, but the name of your graduate, the institution from which the diploma will come, and any post-graduation plans the graduate may have. We’d appreciate it very much!
It is our desire to gather a list of all the students from Leidy’s Church who are graduating this year – or who graduated in December, as some are wont to do – and do our own little shout out in the June Newsletter.
Just call the church office, or shoot them an email, or drop a note on the desk and let the office ladies know details of your graduate. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Judgement House is Coming This Fall!!
That’s right! It’s a Judgement House year in 2015. So in order for us to pull off another great “dramatic gospel presentation” we need God’s help. And your involvement. So please be praying for this ministry.
Would you also consider being on the planning team? Pastor Andrew is looking for passionate Judgment House devotees who would like to have significant ongoing involvement and input in the planning and directing of this year’s presentation. If you would like to do this or if you have any related questions, please call or email Pastor Andrew.
The Westminster Larger Catechism
Way back in the day, we began printing in the Newsletter in sequential order various catechisms. Matthew Henry’s Scripture Catechism was the first one we worked our way through. Since then we’ve printed a variety of catechisms and confessions. This month we begin one of the longer ones, The Westminster Larger Catechism. It’s stated goal is to set out according to Scripture what man ought to believe concerning God, and once that’s done in 90 questions, then having seen what the Scriptures principally teach us to believe concerning God, it follows to consider what they require as the duty of man. That will take a little over a hundred questions. Guess that pretty much settles where we’ll be looking for the next couple of years! Let’s begin.
The Westminster Large Catechism
1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.
2. How does it appear that there is a God?
Answer: The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God, but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him to men for their salvation.
3. What is the word of God?
Answer: The holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.
4. How does it appear that the scriptures are of the word of God?
Answer: The scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty and purity, by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers to salvation; but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.
5. What do the scriptures principally teach?
Answer: The scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
What Man Ought to Believe Concerning God
6. What do the scriptures make known of God?
Answer: The scriptures make known what God is, the persons in the Godhead, his decrees, and the execution of his decrees.
7. What is God?
Answer: God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, every where present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.
8. Are there more Gods than one?
Answer: There is but one only, the living and true God.
With echoes of Easter Sunday morning’s Christ the Lord is Risen Today still lingering their hearts, the Consistory of Leidy’s Church convened on the third day after Easter – i.e. the 8th of April – to conduct the regular business of the church. Below are some of the matters covered:
√ Devotional thoughts were directed by Dave Doran who called the men to consider the call of God. The way we become Christian is through the call of God as He calls out a people to Himself. Dave then spoke of how God calls men out as men. He read from a dozen biblical passages illustrating God’s call to men. He concluded by urging the men to listen for and respond to God’s call on each one of them.
√ The financial report was presented by Dana Gehman. It was mostly good news since contributions exceeded disbursements. While significant headway was made in addressing our deficit, the bottom line remained red.
√ The audio-visual committee of the building project has met with two different vendors regarding the package cost for the new building. Each independently came in with options in the $250,000 range.
√ Discussions are ongoing with vendors concerning phone system, security system, wireless internet connection, and locks for the doors.
√ The stained glass committee is meeting with three different vendors in the next three weeks to review the committee’s rough schematic proposal in order to receive feedback regarding feasibility and costs.
√ The committee investigating the options regarding our current facility is continuing to meet and gather information. The goal is to explore all the issues associated with the sale, the leasing, the mothballing, or any other option regarding the present building.
√ Discussed further the job description for a part-time pastoral staff information specialist. Can a person be found who has the interest and expertise in both the technological and the pastoral parts of the job? The feasibility of funding this position remains problematic. Can it be phased in? Greg Nase reminded everyone that much prayer and divine guidance is needed for this matter.
√ Sherise Rittenhouse and Pastor Niederhaus attended a conference detailing requirements of the new PA law regarding anyone working with children. Information also was received from other sources to help understand and implement the legislation’s requirements.
√ Special Services committee is working on plans for the annual church picnic at Camp Men-O-Lan. It will take place on June 7th this year.
√ Dave Walbrandt reported the Worship committee is pleased with the implementation of new policies regarding coordination of worship activities and functions. With advancing technologies and complex programs, it’s hard to “wing it” any more!
√ The Property committee reported the cost to replace our existing boiler – in the event it would be necessary – is between $12 and $15,000. That will need to be taken into account when considering options for the current facility.
√ Consistorymen were reminded to begin praying about nominations for Consistory as that will be on the May agenda.
Following a time of directed intercessory prayer, the meeting was adjourned at 9:47 by the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.
Grounds for Marriage
by Jerri Thompson
In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to
find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage. – Robert Anderson
My husband and I have been married almost thirty years, and the above statement is definitely true for us. We are not soul mates. We would not star in a Hollywood movie or romance novel. While bemoaning these facts over breakfast with a friend one morning, she remarked that while her marriage was much the same, she had recently read a book that changed her perspective.
Because reading feels like breathing to me, I quickly purchased The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. Early on Mr. Keller acknowledges our need/desire for someone to love us, but he pulls no punches:
If I look to my marriage to fill the God-sized vacuum in my heart, I will not be in position
to serve my spouse. Only God can fill a God-sized hole. Until God has the proper place
in my life, I will always be complaining that my spouse is not loving me well enough,
not respecting me enough, not supporting me enough.
Well, I’ll be! This sounds like something I knew once, but it seems I needed a reminder. Keller suggests friendship as the basis for marriage. Friends share a common interest or passion outside themselves. Christians, even if they have nothing else in common [“are not soul mates”], share Christ and so can be friends stirring one another up to love and good deeds. Spouses should be “eagerly helping one another know, serve, love, and resemble God in deeper and deeper ways… marriage is designed to make us holy.”
Subsequently, Keller concedes that marriage brings out the worst in us. We want our spouses to encourage us and affirm our good deeds; yet they often end up hurting us by pointing out where we fall short. And vice versa. How in the world can we ever help each other? Back to that God-shaped vacuum…
Our only help is God’s grace. Jesus observed our sins to the very bottom of our heart, but still loved us beyond measurement. Fully grasping how much we have been loved and forgiven, we can then do the same for our spouse. Keller even mentions that while these principles work best when both spouses commit to them, the ideas still have great potential when only one spouse commits to them. Carl hasn’t read the book yet, but I have seen a difference not just in me, but in us as I have applied what I am learning.
So, instead of focusing on Carl and I not being soul mates, I am focusing on our traveling together toward maturity in Christ. Carl Sandburg wrote a poem that ends
Not always shall you be what you are now.
You are going forward toward something great.
I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.
Someday Carl and I will both be glorious new creatures standing before God. Hearing Him tell us “Well done, good and faithful servants. You have helped each other arrive here,” will be much more magnificent than any romance in a Hollywood movie. The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller has helped to reorient a woman veering off the track in the human traditions of the day. It has reminded me of the eternal purposes embedded in the marriage relationship.
3rd Beth Guntz
10th Sandy Cressman
17th Debbie Caserta
24th Jack Edling
31st Helen Hahn
3rd Ruthie Niederhaus
10th Ede Rupp
17th Deb Schatz
24th Lorraine Shoemaker
31st Marge VanOmmeren
Acolytes: 8:00 10:45
3rd Christian Rau Micah Griffith
17th Collin Radcliff Brian Lafty
31st Christian Rau Micah Griffith
Greeters 8:00 10:45
3rd Bob & Jill Ott Don & Dianne Nase
10th Stan & Judy Ott Mabel Neal, Ellen Pavie
17th Bob & Janice Peterman Bill & Wynne Parfitt
24th Doug & Karen Potts Jack & Karen Parry
31st Brian & Wendy Radcliff Ken & Nicole Peck
8:00 Dave Doran, Gary Brown, Jeff Kirkpatrick, Terry Leidy, Tom Leidy, Doug Roberson
10:45 Matt Harris, Seth Brunner, Isaac Inyang, Joseph Thompson, David Thompson, Mitchell VanDerbeek.
The A/V Booth technicians for May are Jim Foote, Joseph Thompson.
The Emergency Committee for May is Joe Sciacca, Randy & Cathy Annis .