From the Pastor

Following Jesus Together - June 23

Dear Friends,

I neglected to mention two things in yesterday’s email.

First - Pastor Nathan Detweiler will be leading music for us again while on sabbatical. And he will be teaching us another new song – “God is For Us”

I’m always looking for songs that help us sing the Bible into our hearts. The title of the song comes from those great words in Romans 8:

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The chorus of the song refers to places in the Psalms like Psalm 62 -  “He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

When we face injustice, the many ‘unfair’ things and words in life, we need this assurance. 

Check it out here - CityAlight - God is For Us 

Many thanks to Pastor Nathan 

Second – “Gospel Hospitality” - Bethany and I want to invite you to bring your lunch and hang out with us after the service this outside if you are able and weather permitting! Kids can run around outside!

See you Sunday! Grace and peace,
Nate Thompson

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Following Jesus Together - June 22

Dear Friends, 

First, many thanks for the love and care expressed to our family at the congregational meeting this past Sunday. Our housing allowance raise was approved, which sets us free to purchase a home. We are in process and will let you all know when we have a closing and moving date.

Second:  I’ve said this before, but one of the books that has helped my understanding of Jesus immensely in the last year is Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund. In August, the church will be receiving a case of 50 to give away (free from Crossway!) So be ready for that gift when it arrives!

As we get ready to look at how gentleness wins people to Christ in the context of marriage on Sunday it’s helpful to meditate on this great quote by an old English pastor Thomas Goodwin. He writes that our imagination is apt to have a distorted view of what Jesus is actually like, especially after we sin and fail, yet again. List to this meditation on Matthew 11:28-30. Because some of it is older, it’s helpful to read out to yourself.

“Men are apt to have contrary conceits of Christ, but he tells them his disposition there, by preventing such hard thoughts of him, to allure them to him the more. We are apt to think that he, being so holy, is therefore of a sever and sour disposition against sinners, and not able to bear them. ‘No,’ says Jesus; ‘I am meek; gentleness is my nature and temper.’” (Goodwin)

We need a Bible because we naturally think of Jesus as one who approaches sinners like a young boy touches a slimy slug for the first time – with a grossed out look on his face, squealing in disgust and pulling away. That is not who Jesus is. He is perfect in his gentleness, pursuing sinners, unashamed to call us brothers.

Ask Peter. One of the first acts of the risen Jesus was to tell the ladies at the empty tomb to go tell the scattered disciples, those who bailed on him and left him to die alone on the cross, “go to my brothers.” (John 21:11-17) The Holy One of Israel pursued Peter and the disciples who were wallowing in their guilt and shame fear. Resurrected Jesus hunts them down to give them grace and peace, forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit.   And gives them grace and peace. 

May you be gentle witnesses of the gentle and lowly Jesus this week!

Sunday June 27th – 10:00am – 1 Peter 3:1-7 – Context matters! Get ready to hear how the gospel forms husbands and wives into gentle, understanding servants, for the purpose of winning the husband or wife to faith in Christ. How we love our spouses is a testimony of God’s grace to them and to our neighbors who are watching us. Our marriages are to be a reasonable defense for the power of the gospel.

One interesting note on the passage. When Peter writes in vs. 4 - let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 

              The word gentle is a word that only appears in the New Testament three times as an adjective and once as a noun. 

                           Matthew 11:29 – I am gentle and lowly in heart.
                           Matthew 21:5 – Jesus comes gentle or humble on a donkey.
                           1 Peter 3:4 - the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit

Do you see the obvious connection? Wives are called to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, bearing the fruit of the spirit, being gentle in order to win their unbelieving husbands. It’s a high calling.  

See you Sunday!

Grace and peace, 
Nate Thompson

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