Dear Church Family and Community,
I remember my first trip to the old Yankees Stadium years ago. I was shocked by how amazed I was. This is remarkable because I hate the Yankees, and not in an emotional way. I hate them in a biblical way. I hate them with the Old Testament “hate” meaning to not think highly of. It’s not emotional; it’s just practical. Mets are good. Yankees are bad. Simple. As a Mets fan, this is a birthright. The Yankees are older, more successful, and are an iconic franchise, so our response is to hate them.
This is why I couldn’t believe just how excited I was to be at Yankees Stadium. This was where Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle played. This was where Reggie Jackson truly became a star, and where Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera were now beginning Hall of Fame careers. It really was breathtaking. As I finally sat down in my seat, I felt a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit. I remember it clear as day. The Spirit said me: “I’m glad you’re this excited to be in Yankee Stadium, but why are you never excited to be in church!”
This was honestly a life changing moment. Now, we can articulate quite well that the Church is more than brick and mortar; it’s about the people and not the building. We can wax poetic about how the Church is universal and an expression of the beautiful diversity of our God. But this moment reminds me that on most days we can tend to be more excited about a sporting event, a movie, a book, a night under the stars, a national park or natural wonder than we are about coming together with our sisters and brothers to worship the Lord. This should not be so!
Essentially, we should prepare our hearts, consecrate ourselves, surrender to the Spirit and come excited to celebrate the Lord together…for who God is, what God has done, what God is doing, and what God will do. In his letter to the Ephesians and also to us, the Apostle Paul also reminds us that God’s intent was that now,through the church, the manifold wisdom of God be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. As the Church, we are God’s chosen people destined to bring God ultimate glory and representatives of God’s ultimate purpose in history. All that is much better than a night under the stars or watching the stars at Yankee Stadium.
This past Sunday, we continued our current sermon series on The Beatitudes entitled Blessings: Promises of the Kingdom. We focused on Jesus’ seventh Beatitude: blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. The peacemakers are those who live to bring God’s shalom into this world. They have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and work to make and keep harmony between them and their sisters and brothers. Peacemakers want God’s peace, and not simply their own, and are willing to make good trouble to usher it in.
Peacemakers are God’s children because they look like God as they do God’s work of peace in their everyday scenes. Blessed are the peacemakers, who have peace with God, who live to bring shalom into their world, and who bless others by making peace where Satan desires conflict, separation, and death of relationship. Our Lord Jesus made it possible for us to have peace with God. How dare we not live to make peace with one another! God brings peace through Jesus, and desires to bring peace to our world, through each of us. 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, I am very excited that our brother Chris Book will be sharing the message with us. Chris and his wife, Marlys, have been back serving at Macha since 2010. I was shocked when he told me they just finished their ninth year there. Wow, how time flies! Chris and Marlys have always blessed me. Their love for our God, deep willingness and desire to serve God and His people, and the light of Christ that shines in them both make them a treasure to our church and God’s church as a whole.
Please take time to read and pray through John 1:35-50. As you read, reflect on how God called each disciple and then how God called you. Perhaps you can even take time to learn what each of these disciples were able to do in God’s name, and where God was able to send them. As you do this, pray and take time to ask God: “What are you teaching me now?” and “God, where have you sent me or are you preparing to send me next?”
Lastly, in our services this week, Rodney Sauder will provide a Treasurer’s Update. We are very blessed and grateful for the work of Rodney and our Finance Committee. On this Father’s Day, we can celebrate this update and how our God and Father continue to use this community and body to provide for His work and ministries at HBIC.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you all!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (John 1:1-5)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104