From the Pastor

Following Jesus Together - April 28

Dear Friends,
This week’s good news mediation comes from Psalm 41:1-3. 

Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him; the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

The word for poor in vs. 1 is an interesting word – it describes those vulnerable to being taken advantage of, the weak, or the sick. The NASB calls them the helpless. 

Who comes to mind here? Who are the weak and helpless in your life? To consider them is to think of their needs, their concerns, with the intention of getting involved. Do you?

Why should you? Well, look at vs. 3:

The Lord sustains the lover of the weak and helpless when they are weak– by restoring them to health. There’s more detail packed into the original language. So try listening to this paraphrase, “most carefully You (the Lord) make his bed when he’s sick.” 

Do you see God like this? The God who sees to the cleanliness of your bedsheets? The God who sustains you, who is by your side, giving you what you need. 

              For all who are sick and weak, let that picture of God, the Great Physician lift your spirits!

There’s a beautiful symmetry here. It turns out that the one who considers the helpless is simply imitating the Lord. Blessed are the merciful as Jesus would say. For they shall receive mercy.

Why are we blessed with God’s mercy? We receive mercy because Jesus, the lover of the poor, was NOT delivered from the cross on the day of his trouble. He was put to death, given over to the will of his enemies. All so that we might be sustained in both life and death, in sickness and in health. God sees to every moment. He even sees to our resurrection from the dead!

Sunday School @ 9:00 am – Rabbi Harold Kushner in a well known book asked some famous questions, “Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is good, why does He allow Christians to go through awful things?” We are looking at the section of the Westminster Confession of Faith that gives a Biblical answer to some of those questions. God, in his infinite goodness and providence and almighty power, is works through the bad, using the sin of men and of angels for His good purposes.

Again, we are meeting in the lounge. We can always spread out into another room if needed. The handout is attached.

Worship – 10:00am – We are studying 1 Peter 1:22-2:3 – We are born again to love one another. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Pastor in the 1940s wrote, “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”

It's a simple idea – God put you in a family – the church is God’s laboratory to teach you how to love, deeply and sincerely. No pretending. No faking it. – Easy to talk about, impossible without the grace of God in the gospel. 

We get to taste that God is good by partaking in God’s family meal, the Lord’s Supper – We eat with those Jesus calls us to love and forgive! (Matthew 5:21-26)

Congregational Meeting @ 12:00pm – Looking forward to seeing you all!

Right now the weather is looking good for Sunday! We are planning to meet outside under the pine trees, near the gaga pit. Pack a lunch or a snack while you wait for the meeting to start. Feel free to bring your own chair if you like. The church has plenty of cold metal chairs if you forget 

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Following Jesus Together - April 21

Dear Friends,

“For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. (Psalm 31:4-5)

For this week’s gospel meditation, spend some time thinking about Jesus, on the cross, crying out this Psalm. He trusts God’s leading, guiding, protection and help while nailed to a tree. Amazing faith – by grace accounted to us! 

We get to live every moment this week, with our times in our loving Father’s hand. 

Sunday 9:00am in the Lounge – “Fathered and Responsible” – Followers of Jesus in every generation have wrestled with how God can be in control of every detail great and small in every moment, working all things according to His pre-ordained plan. We have questions: What about our role in God’s world? Are we truly responsible if God’s in control of all things? 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is extremely helpful in deepening our trust in our Heavenly Father’s preordained plan (“Into your hand I commit my spirit…my times are in Your hand” – Psalm 31) and in motivating faithful obedience as Jesus’ ambassadors here on earth. 

The gospel teaches us that when God wants to accomplish His unchangeable will on earth, He doesn’t need us! Yet, due to His good pleasure, mercy and grace, He ordinarily chooses to work through human decisions. 

I hope you can join us!

10:00am – Worship – We are looking at 1 Peter 1:13-21 – I’m calling this sermon “Grace, therefore Holy” – because after laying out the truth and beauty of the good news of Jesus and all that we have received through faith, Peter tells us how that grace changes our behavior. 

              Here’s an interesting picture of what changes when you are born again and become a Christian:

                           1:12 - the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.  

                           1:14 - As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,

              Peter uses the same word for longing in vs. 12  and for passions in vs. 14. You remember the word from Sunday? It’s epithumia – it’s a word that describes intense longing, like the craving of a thirsty man in a desert.

Before we knew about the good news of Jesus – we all had different things we loved too much, passions of our former ignorance: sports, relationships, what other people think, fun, work, money, retirement, travel, our own freedom. We devoted our time, talent, money and affections to these things. 

But now – we are to be holy – part of holiness is to have our passions changed – as we grow in holiness. The goal of being in the fiery furnace, those testing fires, is to form us into obedient children – those who look like their Father in Heaven.

Come and hear how God’s holiness is good news for us!

See you Sunday!
Nate Thompson

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