Dear Church Family and Community,
I recently saw a post online from Punxsutawney Phil reminding all who would have ears to hear that we will have an early, not instant, spring. As many of you, I did not know that Punxsutawney Phil was a burgeoning social media presence. I also did not know how much I needed that blessing! Nevertheless, I was glad to receive it.
I do hope that our snowy days find you each warm and safe. Perhaps they have even given you opportunity to slow down a bit to enjoy extended time with family and loved ones. Maybe, just maybe, it has even encouraged you to serve a neighbor or two with your shoveling, smile, or warm sentiments.
This past Sunday, we continued our After God’s Own Heart: Lessons from the Life of David series. We revisited the Valley of Elah and Israel’s most famous standoff with the enemy Philistines. We learned about David and Goliath and were reminded that God prepares us for battle so that we too can slay our goliaths.
David’s humility and time spent alone with God, his gifts and use of them to serve God and others, his obedience to God, his faithfulness and loyalty to God alone, and his boldness in trusting the work God had done for Israel and in his own life were all fundamental in preparing him for the battle with Goliath. In much the same way, we too can prepare for the goliaths we face. Like David, with God on our side, we are never the underdog, for the battle belongs to the Lord! If you missed hearing this message, please be sure to check it out here on our website, or through our podcast on SoundCloud, Google Play, or iTunes.
This Sunday, we will meet Jonathan, the crown prince who chose loyalty to God and his friend, David, over his own father, King Saul, and his own chance to someday be king. Emily Dickinson once wrote, “My friends are my estate.” In many ways, God used David’s friendship with Jonathan to make possible the “estate” of David today. To help prepare for this week’s service together, please take time to read and pray through 1 Samuel 18-20. In reading, I encourage you to reflect on ways that God has called you to be a Jonathan, a friend who is loving and loyal, and who lives so that others might also live. I also hope to see you on Sunday as we learn that God can use our friendships for His glory and purposes.
Also this week, Lanette Johnson will be sharing on behalf of the Prayer Ministry Team about an upcoming Prayer Retreat at our church. This event will be such a blessing to our church, and I hope you can make it! In addition, please contact Lanette and watch for other Prayer Ministry events throughout the year.
We will also be having Child Dedication in both services. I love this practice because parents and families stand before the congregation to pledge and invite the church family’s help to raise up their children in the Lord. What a wonderful reminder of our work as a body and community, to be members of one another, and to pray for and encourage one another. We often have some visitors from these extended families who are present as well – so let us come together on Sunday ready to greet and shower love upon our neighbors in the seats.
Thanks again for taking the time to read. One of the great blessings of this church is the love God has nurtured in our hearts and for each other. Shell and I love HBIC; this would be our church even if I wasn’t called to pastor here. Much of this is because of the people, relationships, and love present within our church family.
Be encouraged my sisters and brothers. God loves you and is using you to make His kingdom come, and His will done in our congregation and community. One way He does this work is through you and your relationships. Give thanks to God for friends this week. Perhaps you can even call an old friend and encourage them by sharing how they have been a blessing to you.
I love you all!
God bless and take care.
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. – 1 John 3:16