From the Pastor

Following Jesus Together - January 27

Dear Friends,

It seems like a strange time to talk about friendship. Yet friends, who have been transformed by Jesus, the perfect friend who sticks closer than a brother, are sorely needed. I came across this beautiful article that illustrates they way friendships are forged. It requires intentionality and time. Habits that bind us together.

For several years, Andy Gullahorn and his friend Gabe, determined once a week to walk a mile to give each other a high five. Fast forward to October 2020, Gabe comes down with an illness that affects his short term memory. Andy, who is there for him in the hospital, asks him for a high five, and the habit triggered his body remembering the friendship. Gabe unconsciously added a snap to his high five, not even remembering why he did that.

I know we are spread out, scattered, and solitary these days. But as we pray for a return to normal, let’s also continue to look for ways to be intentional in forming deep Christian friendships. We are placed in a local church to follow Jesus together. Consider these highlights from the New Testament:

We bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).

We are to comfort one another with the comfort we have received from Jesus (2 Corinthians 1).

We need others to help us understand the riches of the full understanding of the gospel (Colossians 2:2).

We need others to exhort us daily – that is preach the gospel to one another, because sin is deceitful. (Hebrews 3:12-15) Friends call us out on our un-Christ-like stubbornness.

The writer to the Hebrews encourages us to stir one another up to love, and do good works (Hebrews 10:25).

The Christian life is meant to be lived together, in deep friendships (Sermon on Friendship in Proverbs) So my prayer for us this year, as that God would use our habits to knit us together in the love of Christ. These days, friendship can begin with a phone call or even Zoom. May we grow in our intentionality and habits, in following Jesus together in 2021!

Saturday – Mike Mailloux’s Memorial Service – Details to Follow

Sunday – Daniel 9 – I wanted to send you this week’s reflection ahead of time. Daniel was a man of prayer. He shows us how to pray God’s promises that he found in the Scriptures. Listen to how one pastor applies this to us today:

“…in the midst of trials and difficulties…when you barely know how to pray…take a leaf out of Daniel’s book and search the Scriptures so that [you] can pray for the things that God has clearly promised!  For example, God has promised to complete the good work He began in us (Philippians 1:6).  Thus, in the midst of [your] trials, you can pray that God will use these trials to further His work in [your] heart and life, humbling you and breaking your pride, showing you how desperately you need him in your weakness and sinfulness!....

The Lord has promised to be your shepherd and to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with you (Psalm 23).  Therefore, you can pray that He will watch over your soul and hold your hand in the blackest hour of the night!...” ~Ian Duguid

See you Sunday! Grace and peace,
Nate Thompson

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Following Jesus Together - January 20

Dear Friends,

I want to start with a couple Scripture readings for inauguration day.

Psalm 97, calls the entire earth to celebrate God’s rule and reign. God is coming with mountain-melting justice and beautiful, blinding mercy for the saints. Though the Psalm looks forward to the day when God will come to earth to set His people free, it celebrates God’s coming as a present, right now reality! We can do that even more so now as followers of Jesus, for the Light of the World has dawned on us. Jesus followers are then sent as the light of the world, giving thanks, celebrating the good and hating evil.

We also find comfort knowing that every leader has an appointment with the God of justice. Wrongs will be made right when Jesus returns. Come Lord Jesus, Come!

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods! Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O Lord. For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

1 Timothy 2:1-4 commands us to pray for our leaders, for the sake of peace and the freedom to make Jesus known. Take time to pray for our leaders, that God would cause them to love the good and hate evil, and work for peace. 

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

From the Session -  Sunday School and Worship will be both in-person and virtual this week. Look forward to seeing some of you in the service and on Zoom.

Future Sunday School Plans – Pastor Nate is going to lead a study of the book of Esther, beginning in February 7th. Famously, it’s the only book of the Bible that never mentions the main character in the Bible: God. God is never mentioned. It’s actually a brilliant literary technique, that closely mirrors most Christians’ experience. Most of us haven’t had dramatic, supernatural, Exodus-like experiences with God. He’s at work, and we often struggle to see it. Esther helps us see God’s Hidden Hand at work.

Sunday – Daniel 8 – When We Don’t Understand God’s Plans

Chapter 8 is another apocalyptic vision given to Daniel. It’s full of strange and horrifying images. The chapter ends with Daniel feeling sick and not understanding, but he gets up after a few days and carries on.

This vision does help us persevere through hard times, even when we don’t know what God is up to. Come and see! 

See you Sunday! Grace and peace,
Nate Thompson

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