From the Pastor

Following Jesus Together - April 7

Dear Friends,

For this week’s gospel meditation, I’m going to refer you to Rev. Marc Davis’ great reflections on the “Then and Now of Easter.” For those who don’t know, Marc is a PCA minister and related to the Perkins family. He helpfully lays out how we continue to celebrate Easter! Here’s a quote:

Look at “what the writer of Hebrews calls, the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2) –  the anticipation that fuels Jesus’ courage as he suffers, the confidence that empowers his endurance:  an “on the other side” with you and me.” 

https://serge.org/we-will-feast-celebrating-the-then-and-now-of-easter/ 

Session Meeting Tonight: The elders are meeting together tonight for our monthly meeting. We are planning for our upcoming May 2ndCongregational meeting. We always covet your prayers for deeper joy and faith in the gospel and for the wisdom needed to serve Christ and you well.

Sunday School – 9:00am – “God’s Many Purposes in Providence” – We are continuing our study of this great doctrine of God’s providence, how He personally Fathers us and this world and governs all things. Our goal is to better understand the God who is ‘guarding us by His own power through faith in Christ (1 Peter 1:5).’

Worship – 10:00am – 1 Peter 1:3-12 – “Faith Grows in the Furnace” – Peter pastors us through suffering this week. How do we apply our imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance to our current agonies and sorrows? We are like gold in the fire, being tested and purified. Come and hear the good news!

May God’s grace and peace be multiplied to you this week, 

Nate Thompson
www.hopechurch.us

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Following Jesus Together - March 31

Dear Friends, 

Easter is fast approaching! Yesterday was Holy Tuesday. Traditionally, on the Tuesday before Easter, Christians have remembered Christ’s tears for rebellious Jerusalem.  And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41) We’ve often sung this passage, in a hymn by Henry Lyte:

He wept that we might weep,
Might weep over sin and shame
He wept to show His love for us,
And bid us love the same 

May you see the depths of Christ’s desire for our peace in Him this week, even as we seek to love as we have been loved!

Maundy Thursday – 7:00pm at Redeemer Reformed Presbyterian Church in Queensbury – What is Maundy Thursday about? It comes from the Latin word for command, remembering Jesus’ commands to love one another given at the Last Supper, the night before He died.

I will be preaching as we remember the wonder, truth and beauty of Jesus’ faithful love, which moves us to then love as we’ve been loved.

NO SUNDAY SCHOOL THIS WEEK – We will be back discussing the many purposes of God’s Providence on April 11th at 9:00am.

Easter Sunday Worship – 10:00am – I am looking forward to celebrating Easter with you this year! Many thanks to our musicians! Becca Loomis and Brandon Perkins will be playing violin, and Cojo Carl will be leading the singing. We had a rehearsal last night. They are a gift to our church!  

This year, from 1 Peter 1:3-5, we will be looking at the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection, for exiles. By way of preparation I’ve been reading Tim Keller’s great new book, Hope in Times of Fear. He points out that we generally have two main questions regarding the resurrection of Jesus.

1 – First, did it really happen? Did “the same valved heart that was -pierced- died, withered, and paused” start beating again? (John Updike) Did the Holy Spirit cause the “same blood that bought us peace with God to start racing through his veins?” (Andrew Peterson)

One place that helps us grow in confidence is Paul’s famous summary of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. #MemorizeIt! Bible scholars have concluded that this confession of faith, which Paul says he received from others, was most certainly formulated within just a few months of Jesus’ death!  

Meditate on that this Easter – the first Christians were telling their neighbors within a months of Jesus’ resurrection what happened: Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. And that there are plenty of witnesses, including more than 500 at a time!

Because this happened, Jesus’ disciples, having seen His resurrected body, reoriented and reconstructed their entire lives around this reality: Jesus walked out of the tomb alive!

As Paul said to Festus in Acts 26, about Jesus and the resurrection, “What I am saying is true and reasonable…this was not done in a corner.”

2 – What does it mean for me? This is what we are going to look at Sunday. 1 Peter 1:3-5 is a passage that applies the meaning of resurrection to us as Christians. In a life of suffering and various trials, Christians because of Jesus’ resurrection can sing, filled with joy and hope!

              I mentioned on Sunday that Psalm 34 is quoted all over 1 Peter. It’s more accurate to say Psalm 34’s content and theology are alluded to throughout this great letter. Here’s one place:

1 Peter 1:3-5 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
Psalm 34 – I will bless the Lord at all times! His praise shall continually be in my mouth!

Here’s another cool connection. Jesus’ and the writers of the Bible often use and quote the Septuagint (LXX), which is the Greek version of the Old Testament. The Septuagint gives a glimpse into what they thought the passage was teaching. It’s like a really old commentary on the Old Testament. So compare Psalm 34:3 with me.

Psalm 34:3 -I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Septuagint: I sought out the Lord, and he heard me, and he rescued me from all of my sojourning.

See it? Psalm 34 and 1 Peter are all about how God is rescuing us from our fears as those who feel like foreigners in the world (1 Peter 2:11).  They are about how to live by faith as sojourners, feeling like outsiders in the world, yet loved and honored by our good God.

It’s the resurrection of Jesus that makes us exiles. Which helps us stay afloat when we go through the storms of trouble.

May Jesus, our living hope, comfort and deliver you from all your fears and wanderings this week!

              Lord’s Supper – Come ready to have your faith nourished and strengthened by God’s grace to us in Jesus, as we eat and drink at the Lord’s table on Easter!

See you Sunday!

Grace and peace,
Nate Thompson

www.hopechurch.us

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