Dear Church Family and Community,
Happy first day of spring, or as I like to call it free Rita’s Italian Ice Day! Some may prefer free Dairy Queen today, or perhaps even both. However, you celebrate the first day of spring, celebrate its reminder of our God who brings seasons and the changes that come with them. And as we experience life’s ongoing seasons and their accompanying changes, may we be reminded of and celebrate our God who also brings us new life, renewal, growth, and sunshine.
This past Sunday, we continued our After God’s Own Heart: Lessons from the Life of David series. We concluded the David and Bathsheba epic, with a startling reality check from the prophet Nathan. David’s sigh of relief (that accompanied his sweeping his sins under the proverbial rug) is dissolved into deep despair when Nathan’s parable reveals him to be the great rich man who was sinned greatly against the poor man.
Despite God’s many blessings, David coveted and took what was not his to have. Despite a God who loved him, and who could have and would have given him even more, David’s many steps in the wrong direction evidenced his contempt for God’s law, his forgetfulness of God, and his choosing personal lusts over even the Spirit of God that rested on him. When his sins are finally revealed, we begin to see the heart of David that God so adored – David confesses his sin and throws himself in the hands and mercy of God.
So we learn from David that God’s forgiving mercy is gracious, but our sin comes with grave consequences. We hold on to the reality that our sins (no matter how big) only reveal how small we are, and we praise God for being so big that where our sin abounds, his love, mercy, and grace abounds so much more. 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 week I find myself holding on to the simple truth that while calling us to bless others God has blessed us in so many ways. In his letter to the Christians in Corinth, Paul says: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Not only will we sow what we reap, but we are also blessed so that we can be a blessing to our world. There is a great tragedy when we can celebrate our blessings and ignore the call to be actively blessing others.
This Sunday, we will continue walking through the life of David, by visiting together an often overlooked or skimmed over story. In 2 Samuel 24, David is tasked with providing a census of all Israel and Judah yet chooses to only count his fighting men. God asks how many there are in Israel, and David’s response is: “Look how many are ready and capable of fighting for me.” Instead of thanking God for his blessings, David’s pride leads him to seek honor for himself.
We are blessed to be a blessing, but if we only desire to honor ourselves with our blessings we sin before God; with that sin comes grave consequences. This is another episode in David’s life of grace and consequences. We see grace in God sparing Jerusalem. We see grace in God granting David the opportunity to choose his consequence. The consequences here are grave too, but David teaches us that it is in God’s hands and to cry out to God for mercy. To help prepare for this week’s service together, please take time to read and pray through 2 Samuel 24:1-17.
Also, this Sunday during our services, our church treasurer, Rodney Sauder, will be providing a financial update to the congregation. I am very grateful for Rodney and the Finance Committee of our church for the good ministry and service they give to our church. I also look forward to these updates because Rodney really does do a good job of tying our giving to the ministry and work we do at HBIC, helping us see how we’re using our blessings to be a blessing locally and globally.
Lastly, we will also have a special testimony from one of our very own here at HBIC. I’ll keep the suspense, mostly because I don’t want to further terrify the person who will be sharing. Nevertheless, I think this sharing will be an incredible blessing to our church. It will remind us of our God who is able to meet us at our lowest points, and that when we fall, we have a loving and gracious God who is able to pick us back up and set us on the right path. I hope you are intrigued as I am confident that you will be blessed by this story of God working in awesome ways!
Praise God who begins and completes His good work in all of us! Praise God who graces us even during the consequences of our sin! And praise God for His mercy and love, that on this journey of life, we can always count on our God!
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you all!
Pastor Hank (Psalm 40:4)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104