Dear Church Family and Community,
It’s not uncommon for children to mimic their parents. One adage I have learned and held on to is, “There’s more caught than taught.” The idea being that children quite possibly learn more from you in the natural flow of life than when you sit them down and formally explain a topic to them. Sorry teachers, I’m sure it gets better as they age. However, with our 5 and 3 year old we have found that there is almost always more caught than taught.
In light of mimicking and learning from the flow of life, I’ve noticed that our five year old loves to go study when I go to study and write my sermons. She joins me in the office and is often very focused. So last week, I asked her what she was working on. She shared that it was her “God” book. With my interest piqued, I asked her to tell me about it. Turns out she’s been drawing out Bible stories as she can remember them…accompanied by songs she writes (but can’t remember later).
There is this great line in the Psalms that Jesus quotes in Matthew: “From the lips of children and infants, You, Lord, have called forth Your praise.” It’s great that children will mimic and catch more from you, just from the everyday flow of life. However, it’s also a great blessing to be able to learn from your children. My “God” book is always open as I store up treasures in my heart. However, I have been struggling to actively journal some of the amazing things God’s been teaching and showing me. Perhaps our 5 year old can also inspire you to open up or begin your “God” book today?
This past Sunday, we began our new sermon series on The Beatitudes entitled Blessings: Promises of the Kingdom. In returning to this teaching of Jesus, we are reminded that Jesus calls us blessed and that He is faithful to fulfill every promise He has made. Jesus calls us to live out these beatitudes as not a way of salvation, but as a way of life. Holding on to our blessedness means submitting to the Spirit and leaning on the Body of Christ, for we are God’s and we belong to God and not our world or even our selves.
We began with the foundational opening Beatitude, blessed are the poor in sprit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We are called to be poor in spirit, emptying ourselves of all this world’s poisons, to receive all of God’s blessing with open hands. Being poor in spirit is being humble enough to realize our utter helplessness apart from God, and knowing that God alone is worthy of all of our trust!
When we are willing to leave behind the things that will surely pass away, God fills us with Himself. We are the poor in spirit who inherit heaven by saying: “Jesus is my Lord. I will look to Jesus. I will submit to the Spirit to become more like Jesus. And I will also lean into my sisters and brothers in Christ to help me rely on 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 Blessings: Promises of the Kingdom by looking at the second Beatitude: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. This Beatitude assures us that God is with us in our suffering and mourning. It reminds us that there are things that break God’s heart. And it reminds us that comfort is promised by God and will be realized by us – despite our season of grief and despair.
Please take time to read and pray through Matthew 5:1-12. As you read this week, perhaps you can write down a few ways God has comforted you over the years. Or perhaps, a few ways that you don’t feel God’s comfort right now. Perhaps there is someone God has placed on your heart that needs God’s comfort and grace. Please pray for them. And pray for yourself – that God’s grace and mercy may be experienced and felt in peaceful and comforting ways this week.
Lastly, in our services this week, we will be welcoming Messiah College’s Gospel Choir, the United Voices of Praise. Every spring that we can welcome them here at HBIC is such a blessing. I am excited for them to help lead us in worship. We will also be celebrating and praying for college and grad school graduates as well. We are grateful when God helps our people to not only meet their goals while growing but to also call them to step out into our world, ready to shine for God’s glory.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you all!
Pastor Hank (Matthew 5:14-16)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104