Our Faith Promise Rally focused on Ninos de Mexico this year. This is a mission in Mexico City that takes in orphans and street children and raises them in a Christian environment with loving house parents. Meadowbrook has been supporting this group for years. I decided to preach a sermon using the scripture from James about the widows and orphans. I got more than I bargained for. Let me share a few thoughts. James 1:26-27 (CSBBible) If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself. Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James uses the term, religion, which we really do not like to use. It has a connotation of a general non-specific belief system that is often watered down with personal preferences or man made rules and regulations. James probably had a different idea. The Bible Speaks Today commentary on James describes it this way: Religion is “a comprehensive word for the specific ways in which a heart relationship to God is expressed in our lives” (p74). What does my heart relationship with God look like? James describes it as the way we treat widows or orphans and keeping oneself unstained from the world. I want to focus in on that last phrase.
I believe that we (myself included) have allowed the world to intrude on our Christianity and we have justified it or excuse it. The rival to my favorite college athletic team is caught up in a scandal. We rejoice. They got what was coming to them. They deserved it. The same thing happens to our favorite college team and it is a miscarriage of justice. We make excuses and are quick to forgive, but for the wrong reason. Winning does matter, sometimes more than integrity. We invite stuff into our homes by way of shows, movies, music, etc. and then expect it not to affect us or slowly callous us to sin. We support a certain political party and justify it because we are Christians when all of the major parties show signs of moral corruption and seem to take greater joy in causing pain to one another than caring for the people. To use the “lesser of two evils” argument doesn’t seem to hold a lot of water. That is like giving your son the choice of dating Delilah or Jezebel and telling him to pick the lesser of two evils. Maybe he should not date either one.
If I am to be unstained from the world that includes everything that I do. That is my social life, my spiritual life, my family life, my work life. My spiritual life is to affect every part of my life. I cannot compartmentalize my relationship with the Lord. It must come into play in all aspects of my life. These thoughts may just raise questions, but they are questions we need to honestly ask ourselves. Am I honestly seeking to keep myself unstained from the world? Only you can answer that.
THE REAL GOD SERMON SERIES
Most of the month of April will be used for Palm Sunday, Easter, and a free sermon. We will return to our series on Sunday, April 28. We will be starting The Sovereignty Of God. We will have a video on that Sunday and Steve will be doing a short story for all of the children. We will then have three sermons on this topic. If you do not have a book we still have several available for $10. Everyone seems to be enjoying this series on God. Please be keeping this in your prayers.
Easter is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar, and has been observed from the earliest days of the Church. Easter Sunday celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead, following his crucifixion. The resurrection represents the triumph of good over evil, sin, death, and the physical body. While Easter does not have a fixed date, it is always on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. You may wonder why it can be so different from year to year. This year it is on April 21st, last year it was April 1st, and next year it is on April 12th. Per the Old Farmer’s Almanac (2019), the date of Easter is related to the full Moon. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the paschal full Moon on or just after the vernal equinox. The equinox is considered to be March 21 (a fixed spring date set by the Church), although in astronomy, it’s not always that day. The paschal full Moon always falls on the 14th day of a lunar month, although ancient calculations made in AD 325 did not take into account certain lunar motions, so it may differ from the actual full Moon date by a day or two.
To start our celebration of Easter Sunday, Meadowbrook will once again have a breakfast during the Sunday School hour, 9:30-10:30 pm on April 21, 2019. Sign up sheets are on the bulletin board. All are welcome.
ADULT BIBLE STUDY
For the month of April we will be meeting on Wednesday, April 10 and April 24. We are in a good study of the Gospel of Mark. It is not too late to join and catch up. At our next study we will be finishing chapter 2 and starting chapter 3. This is a great way to learn about the life of Christ.
Ladies: Save the date for our annual Ladies Luncheon . You, and your invited guests, are invited to attend the luncheon which will be held on May 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Watch for more details in the coming weeks.
GOD’S HELPING HANDS PROJECT
The month of April has been designated as a month that we will be collecting cleaning supplies for the clients of God’s Helping Hands. Carol Howell has been in touch with GHH and this is a need. Please bring cleaning supplies (spray cleaners, cleaning wipes, rubber gloves, toilet cleaners, etc.) to the church building during the month of April. Everything will be collected and taken to GHH. Thanks in advance for your help.
Sisters in Service will be meeting on Monday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. for a Salad Supper. Everyone is asked to bring a salad to pass. This is the last meeting for the season, and there will be an election of officers for next season.
Wednesday morning, April 3rd, and Saturday morning, April 13th, the ladies will be cleaning the church building at 9:30am on both days. The downstairs will be cleaned on the 3rd and the upstairs will be cleaned on the 13th. Bring your cleaning supplies, rubber gloves, buckets, mops, rags, vacuum cleaners, and any other supplies and equipment needed to clean.
Now that Spring has arrived, it’s not too soon to be thinking about…CAMP!
Lake James Christian Camp and Retreat Center is one of the missions supported by Meadowbrook Christian Church. The camp is located in Angola, Indiana (about a 3½ hour drive from Meadowbrook). It is a beautiful location, offering many opportunities to enjoy God’s creation in a peaceful setting, and grow in your spiritual walk with Him.
“Lake James Christian Camp promotes community and spiritual transformation in a natural setting through physical activities, Biblical teaching and life testimony.”
This year, Lake James is “Celebrating 90 Summers!”, having conducted their first camp meetings in 1929. In those years, thousands of lives have been transformed in Christ. In 2018, 50 campers gave their lives to Christ and 11 campers committed their lives to Christian ministry.
Besides the summer youth program, the camp offers many other programs for youth, adults and families. The facilities are used year-round. From September through May two retreat facilities are available for church groups to schedule their own programs. New programs this year include: Boys and Girls Pre-teen Wilderness Camps, Girls Horse Camp, and Boys Survival Camp!
If you (or a child or grandchild) would like to register for one of the many camp or retreat opportunities, please contact Mike Tingley. Registration can be done by mail or on-line. The early registration deadline is May 1st, with final balances due by June 1st. You can visit www.ljca.org for more information about any of this year’s camp programs.
Theresa Meegan – April 12
Denis Couture – April 14
Ed Parrett – April 16
Sylis Cox – April 17
Traci Thomas – April 22
Ruth Lindhagen – April 25
Laura Urteaga – April 28
Bill & Patti Bradford (Ann.) – April 28
Nicholas Kapusta – April 30
Norm & Kathi Tope (Ann.) – April 30