Sharing With Steve
We are in the middle of a study of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3. There is some discussion on how to examine these churches. There is a viewpoint that these churches represent different ages of history with the church in Ephesus representing the ancient church and then moving up through time (as each church represents a different historical period) until you get to the church in Laodecia which represents the modern church. I personally struggle with that viewpoint because that would mean that the only church that I can relate to would be the last one. Yet we know that all scripture is to speak to us. It seems better to look at these churches as actual churches that we can learn from. They speak to us of their struggles and accomplishments. They speak to us of praise and correction. They speak to us of consequences for both good and bad actions.
So far we have looked at the first three churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum. Each speaks to us. Ephesus did all the right things. They were hard workers and endured hardship, but they did not have love. I looked at this as passion. They knew all the right answers, but they had lost their first love. They were going through the motions without any passion or zeal. It is easy to get caught up with doing the right thing and just go through the motions. We do things because we have to instead of because we want to. The Christian life becomes a series of actions to check off instead of a life full of joy and anticipation.
The church at Smyrna was a small church and appeared to be weak. They were probably poor financially and socially. The world considered them to be of no importance or value. But God knew different. This church was under constant pressure. They were being slandered by the Jews. They were being put into prison and some had been killed. Yet they remained faithful. Jesus Christ assured them that He had them covered. He knew their predicament and their real value. He was in control and would reward them. They were to remain faithful and live without fear. That message is still very viable today. Many Christians throughout the world are facing persecution. God is with them and in control. We must not forget that.
The church at Pergamum existed in a difficult place. The city was full of temples to false gods. These Christians saw the difference between truth and error. They had remained true to the Lord, believing and showing that belief in their actions. They had encountered persecution, even death. But something was happening in their midst that was causing the Lord to be concerned. They were allowing a false doctrine to be taught. This probably had enough Christian aspects that they did not see the full danger. The culture was encroaching. A little bit of sin won’t hurt; God will surely forgive. God loves everyone so it really doesn’t matter what kind of lifestyle you live. The Spirit says that you can’t compromise. You have to stay true to the Word of God. You may not like what the Scripture say, but to redefine it is wrong.
These are just a few of the lessons that we are learning. I am sure that more will come as we look at the rest of the churches throughout February. Pray that God will continue to speak to us to make us the Church that He wants us to be. We can learn from these ancient churches the foolish things that often cause us to stumble and the wise things that we can do to stay faithful. Enjoy the ride.
So this month is going to be a short one, I’ve just come to confess.
I am prideful.
Over the years, I’ve gotten better, either better at being humble or better at hiding my pride. Right now, I’m not sure which one it is.
Now, I’m not saying I openly pride myself in a lot of areas, sometimes I have a terrible self esteem, but that doesn’t mean I’m devoid of the sin of pride.
Pride means I believe I can do God’s job for him. Pride means taking matters into my own hands.
Pride is the American way of pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps and forging our own path.
Pride is written into our DNA as Americans with self starters, self advancers, and independent thinkers getting raucous applause.
But pride is the enemy of our Christian way.
“Shouldn’t I be able to handle my own problems?” You may ask.
The answer is yes and no.
Yes, we should be able to stand up for what we believe in. We shouldn’t rely on everyone else to tell us what right and wrong is.
But the answer is also no.
You see, when you refuse to let others help you, most times that also rules God out of the picture.
If we don’t allow God to help us, to provide for us, to lift us up, to heal us, we are removing God from our Christian walk.
How is our walk supposed to be Christian, or Christ like, if we remove God from it?
The answer is simple: It isn’t. We are then Christians only in name.
Instead, we have to learn true humility.
We have to ask for help, not because we couldn’t, but because We can do it better than I.
We need to rely less on our force of will or superior scheduling skills and more on God’s grace and foreknowledge.
We need to rely less on our savings accounts and more on God’s provision.
Agree? Disagree? Want to debate? Call me, Text me, or find me at church and we can set up a time to discuss. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Photo Scavenger Hunt
We will be leaving right from church to meet at Great Lakes Crossing.
Faith Promise Meets Special Needs for Missions
Our annual Faith Promise Missions Rally is coming in March (details in the March issue of the Messenger). Thirteen missions are supported through a combination of both the General Fund and Faith Promise Fund. While specific allocations are made to each mission, funds raised through Faith Promise over the allocated amounts are maintained in a contingency fund to meet special needs of our missionaries.
Last year the contingency fund was able to assist in many ways:
$500 to Kerala Christian Mission to compensate for some travel expenses for Rajan and Reni Ipe as they traveled here for Rally 2016; also contributed $258 toward the bore well project.
$600 to Asia Christian Services to purchase motorcycles that provide transportation for ministers.
$1,000 to International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES) – toward the Ecuador Earthquake fund.
$700 to His House Christian Ministries to meet a $41,000 matching fund challenge.
$700 to Training Christians for Ministry-TCM International Institute (TCM) to meet the financial needs for an exceptionally large number of new students.
$100 to Asia Christian Mission in memory of beloved, long-time Director LaVerne Morse.
$500 to Ninos de Mexico for student support due to an increase in the number of students.
$1,000 to International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES) for Matthew “storms” Disaster Relief.
$500 to TCM toward expenses for supplies for a $25,000 Winter Work Project.
$500 to Lake James Camp in response to a matching fund dedicated to an endowment fund.
$500 to Ninos de Mexico in celebration of their 50th anniversary as a mission taking in abandoned children.
And finally, we celebrated Christmas with each of our missions with a $200 gift.
It is through the generosity of those participating in Faith Promise that Meadowbrook is able to reach out to Christians around the world in their extreme time of need.
Anyone wishing more details about the missions we support can contact Missions Chairman Ron Meegan. Links to all of our missions that fully describe their work can be found on the Missions Page of our website.
Super Bowl Time Again
Join the fun on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m. for our Super Bowl Party. Kick-off is set for 6:30pm and will be shown on the big screen in the fellowship hall. Please bring snacks and food to share and a 2-liter bottle of pop. Come and cheer on your favorite team. If your team does not make it, come and cheer anyway. If you don’t like football, bring some cards or table games. There will be other football non-believers to share with you.
The theme for 2017 is “We are the Church.” We are spending the year looking at the different facets of the Church of Jesus Christ. We have started the year looking at the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3. In February, we will continue this examination. The sermons will concern the church in Thyatira, the church in Sardis, the church in Philadelphia, and the church in Laodicea. Each church speaks to us today. It may be a compliment or a criticism. Regardless, the praise or correction is still applicable to us today. This is proving to be an interesting study. Plan now to join us on Sunday mornings for our worship time.
A speaker from Crittenton’s Community Health and Education department will be present at The Sisters in Service meeting on February 27th. The topic is “A Matter of Balance”. Many older adults experience concerns about falling and restrict their activities due to this fear. “A Matter of Balance” is an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels.
This program emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls. You will learn to:
- View falls as controllable
- Set goals for increasing activity
- Make changes to reduce fall risks at home
- Exercise to increase strength and balance
Who should attend?
- Anyone concerned about falls
- Anyone who has fallen in the past
- Anyone who has restricted activities because of falling concerns
Please join Sisters in Service for this wonderful program which will follow our regularly scheduled monthly meeting which starts at 7:00pm. Refreshments will be served. Please invite your moms, aunts, neighbors and friends. Hope to see you there.
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall” Isaiah 40:30
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
March 11 – Men’s Breakfast – 8:30am
March 19,26 – Faith Promise
April 16 – Easter Breakfast – 9:30am
“From The Pew”
By Art Drake
On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.
Genesis 2: 2-3 NLT
We will continue this month with the concept of the “three-firsts” in terms of putting God first in our life. Last month we looked at giving God the first moments of the day. Now, let’s discuss the second of the “three-firsts” – giving Him the first day of the week.
I believe it is important to dedicate the first day of the week to rest and worship. This means the entire day, not just to attend church services and then off to our activities. In our modern, fast-paced life we have come to forget this and we are in danger of wearing ourselves out. As we read in Genesis, even God needed to rest after six days of work. Why do we think we do not need to do the same?
Our lives were not always like this. When I was growing up in rural Kentucky life was much simpler. We devoted every Sunday to worship and rest. Sunday was the only day my parents wouldn’t work.
Sunday mornings were devoted to getting dressed in our best clothes and attending Sunday school and then Church. After the service, everyone lingered to fellowship. Then, it was back to a big Sunday dinner (lunch was referred to as dinner at that time). Mother had mostly prepared the meal the night before so she did not have a lot of work to do on Sunday.
Dinner was served at the dinner table and we all ate together. After dinner, the afternoon was a quiet, relaxing, time spent either resting at home, or by sometimes visiting family. There was no evening meal so that Mother could rest as well, but there was always leftovers to snack on and we didn’t go hungry. When evening arrived that was the time to return to Church for what we called evening services. Sunday was a quiet, peaceful day devoted to worship and rest.
Also, at that time, all stores were closed on Sunday. If you needed something before Monday you made sure to obtain it on Saturday. Again, this was so employees could attend Church and rest like everyone else. We basically all took a break from everyday life.
I have watched all this change over the years to stores opening after Noon on Sunday, to staying open all day. Sunday has become a day to pursue activities instead of rest and worship. Often, by the time the weekend is over we are exhausted. While activities may not be a sin, I believe God gave us the Sabbath because he knew we needed a day of rest.
It is easy to fall into this pattern, but I believe making conscious effort to slow down, to devote the Sabbath to God, to worship, to rest, and to be with family will pay off in decreased stress and increased peace. It will allow us to recharge and to meet the work week energetic, refreshed, and focused.
Next month we will discuss the last of the “three – firsts” – the first fruits of our labor. Till then, may God bless and His peace be with you.
Lothar & Arleen Rossol (Ann.) – February 2
Leanna Thomas – February 3
Dave Deaton – February 5
Kaye Thompson- February 6
Nathanael Cox – February 15
Shalon Cox – February 22
Zain Cox – February 26