Sharing with Steve
Note: This is the second in a series of three articles that follow the founding of the New Testament Church and how it was affected by change.
The Church was going so well. Changes had been made and people were coming to understand that when Jesus said to go into the whole world that is exactly what He meant. The Church had spread to Samaria and even to Ethiopia. Everything was going so well.
Well, not exactly. There was still a man out there by the name of Saul. He had a great passion in his life: to persecute Christians. He headed to Damascus with the full authority of the high priest to arrest Christians and bring them to Jerusalem. On the way he was confronted by Jesus Christ and a miracle happened. Christ had a different plan for his life. Christ made it very clear that Saul was His chosen man to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. Saul began to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. People were amazed and the Jews, his former conspirators, were not amused. They planned to kill him, but he escaped from Damascus and went to Jerusalem. As a fellow believer he thought that he would be accepted by the disciples, but no. How can we allow this man to fellowship with us? Do you not know that he persecuted Christians? Barnabas, a man of vision, love, and encouragement took Saul under his wing. He explained to the apostles what had happened to Saul. If Saul was going to be an effective minister there had to be a change of attitude from the apostles and disciples in Jerusalem. They accepted him and Saul began to preach fearlessly the message of Jesus Christ. The Jews sought to kill him and the brothers sent him off to Tarsus for his protection. The scripture says, “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord” (Acts 9:31). Things were going well.
Well, not exactly. God had a new plan: the Gentiles were worthy of saving grace. God sent a vision to Peter and he was confronted with the stark reality that God was no respecter of persons. All men were eligible for salvation. Wait a minute! The Gentiles were pagans. They were conquerors. They had no business being apart of the Kingdom. They were unclean and uncircumcised. But God showed Peter that they had been granted repentance unto life. Peter explained his actions to the apostles and disciples in Jerusalem. They realized that God was bigger than all of them. They praised God and had no further objections. Gentiles would now become part of the Kingdom of God. What a move; what vision; what faith. The Lord was blessing His Church. Things were going well.
Well not exactly. Persecution struck again. King Herod had James, the brother of John, put to death. He also arrested Peter. The Church, seeing the need, earnestly prayed about the situation. God worked in miraculous ways and freed Peter from prison. God is a God who answers prayers if the Church will but move forward in faith. Barnabas and Saul went to Antioch and ministered to the disciples there. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first called Christians. The Christians there had so much faith that they decided to send Saul and Barnabas into other regions to proclaim the gospel. They went boldly into regions where Christ was not known. The Church was growing and changing. Paul and Barnabas faced persecution from jealous Jews, but they kept proclaiming the Word. New people groups were being touched. People who had only known idolatry now knew Jesus Christ. The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. The Church was growing. Everything was going well…..?
After the service on Sunday, February 2, we will have a congregational meeting to vote on Zach Schewe becoming our new associate minister with the intention of him becoming our next senior minister when Steve retires in August. There will be a time for questions and discussion before the vote. Please see Mike Tingley or Jaysun Thomas for more information.
We will be starting a new sermon series on Sunday, February 2nd. This series will be taken from the book, The Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller. This is a new and refreshing look at the parable of the prodigal son. Because of previous calendar activities, the series will go through the end of April. The series will consist of a video of Timothy Keller retelling the parable and then a sermon from each of the seven chapters in the book. The video will be played on Sunday, February 2. The next three weeks will be chapters 1-3. March 1, 8, & 15 will be our annual Faith Promise Emphasis. The series will continue for two weeks with chapters 4 & 5. There will be a two week break for Palm Sunday and Easter and then the last two Sundays in April will conclude the series. We want each family to have a copy of this book. They are available in the back of the auditorium. If we run out we can get more. If you have any questions please see Steve or one of the elders.
Super Bowl Party
We will gather at 6 pm on Sunday, February 2nd, to watch the 2020 Super Bowl. Bring food and drinks to share. The kick-off is at 6:30 pm. There will be games for those who do not want to watch the game. Come for the food and the fellowship and stay for the game, commercials, fellowship, etc. This is always a fun event. Plan now to attend.
Please join us for the Ladies Breakfast on Saturday, February 22, at 9:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. There is a sign up sheet in the foyer. The menu is being planned by SIS and details will be provided in the Sunday Bulletin.
Church Calendar Has a New Look
When you look at the church calendar you will see that it is now in a Google format that makes additions and updates easier for Theresa and Stephanie to make than the old format. Details of events, other than regularly scheduled events, can be seen by simply clicking on the event, such as “Feb. 2 Super Bowl Party”. Please see either Theresa or Stephanie if you would like to schedule a date on the calendar.
Lothar & Arleen Rossol (Ann.) – February 2
Leanna Thomas – February 3
Kaye Thompson – February 6
Shalon Cox – February 22
Zain Cox – February 22