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Praise God for His Mercy & Grace!

 

Dear Church Family and Community,

 

I pray this finds you all doing well. Personally, I’m already rejoicing over this warmer weather. Spring doesn’t officially start until next week, but after our snowy last few weeks, I’m celebrating this sunshine – almost as much as the many people who frequent the car wash across the street from our church when there’s any sign of sunshine!

 

This week I also find myself rejoicing in the mercy of our God. A friend and mentor once said, “We don’t repent to receive the kindness of God. We repent because God has already been kind to us.” Mercy is more than God not giving us what we deserve. Mercy is God’s loving-kindness, God’s agape, and covenant (chesed) love that always is available to us. Praise God, for His mercies for you and for me are new every morning. Great is our God’s faithfulness!

 

This past Sunday, we continued our After God’s Own Heart: Lessons from the Life of David series. We revisited an older and more established David, who had it all – God’s hand on his life, the Spirit resting upon him, and the many blessings of being God’s chosen king for God’s chosen people. Yet we were reminded that none of this made him (and we as well) immune to sin. The story of David’s deep sin against his God, against Bathsheba, and against Uriah was made possible by his intentional steps in the wrong direction – serving his flesh and forgetting about his God.

 

David’s sins here serve as a warning to us. They remind us that we are no better; we just have God’s mercy, and our sins are not written in Scripture for all to see. They call us to examine our hearts and lives. They implore us to not blame victims or use our power, position, and privilege to victimize others. They show us we must turn from sin and temptation and run straight into the arms of our God.

 

Praise God for mercy. Praise God for forgiveness of our confessed sins. And praise God that sin does not have the last word on any of us. In Christ, the place of our fall is not a place of accusation or condemnation, but the entry point to our salvation and God’s grace. Praise God that we are all much more than the worst things we have done – and praise God, praise God, praise God…that we are all…always perfectly loved by God. If you missed hearing this message, please be sure to check it out here on our website, or through our sermon podcast on SoundCloud, Google Play, or iTunes.

 

This Sunday, we will continue walking through the life of David, by looking at the aftermath of David’s sins against God, Bathsheba, and Uriah. We will meet Nathan, the prophet chosen and sent by God to rebuke David. Nathan’s boldness in speaking truth to power is strengthened by his faithfulness to God. This episode in David’s life is a story of grace and consequences. We see grace in God’s forgiveness, healing, and eventual blessing. However, we also see consequences, because as we learned last week when temptation leads to enticed evil desires, it gives birth to death. To help prepare for this week’s service together, please take time to read and pray through 2 Samuel 12:1-25.

 

As you read this text, please make a note of the dual themes of grace and consequences that are evident throughout. How is God being gracious? What are some of the consequences of David’s sins? This can also serve as a reminder to us of where God has graced us, and that though there are consequences to our sins, God’s grace and mercy is always available to us – and it often comes wrapped in love.

 

Also, this Sunday during our services, we will welcome back Jonatán and Jen Cordova (along with Sara and Daniel), an HBIC missionary family that serves among the Zapotec people in Mexico’s Oaxaca region. Jen is a daughter of Wanda and Glen Heise and of this church, so it’s always a homecoming when her family is here with us. They will be sharing about their work and ministry during each service. Also, on Sunday afternoon from 3-5:30 pm in the open area at our church, there will be a gathering for you to come and learn more about the Cordovas’ work with Wycliffe Bible translators for the Zapotec people and our Father’s kingdom.

 

Lastly, we will have a team of Jr. High youth and leaders, led by Pastor Nate, out at Kenbrook Bible Camp this weekend. They will be attending Jumpstarta Jr. High retreat for BIC youth across the Atlantic Conference. Please be in prayer for our youth – that they may experience God in new and powerful ways, that the Spirit will continue to open their eyes and grow their faith, and that this weekend is a step closer to God and closer to one another as well. Pray too for Pastor Nate and his team of leaders – that the Lord may strengthen and sustain them and use them to continue to bless our youth.

 

Alright, alright, alright, you’ve made it to the end once again. Congratulations! ? Seriously, thank you all for reading. My prayer is that we who have been graced and forgiven by God, will continue to be people of grace, mercy, compassion, and love. May the forgiveness God has blessed you with be evident in how you live and in how you love God, others, and the world around you.

 

May the Lord continue to bless and keep you all!

In Christ,

Pastor Hank (Psalm 51)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104
E: pastorhank@harrisburgbic.org