Dear Church Family and Community,
My true introduction to Elijah came years ago, when I heard Rich Mullins sing on my cassette tape:
“But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire”
Growing up in the church, Elijah was a name I learned along the way. However, it wasn’t until I heard Rich’s lyrics that I went looking for myself. Elijah presented such a treasure trove of life and adventure with God.
Elijah was a prophet and a miracle worker. He was God’s voice to the people, and through him God did some incredible things. Elijah was faithful, bold, and through his life and work, God was made known. Elijah pronounced drought in the face of an Israel turning to a false god (Baal) of rain, dew, lightning, and thunder. God fed him through ravens, and later through a widow’s mite (small offering). Through Elijah, God easily triumphed over Baal while calling Israel back to Himself. And in the end, Elijah really did get taken up to heaven in a whirlwind with a chariot of fire.
But there is one story about Elijah that I have really come to appreciate and love. It is the story of what happened after Mt. Carmel, the humbling of the false god Baal, and the reprieve from the drought as the rains finally come. It is the story of Elijah on the run. On the run from Jezebel (and Ahab), fearing for his life, and feeling all alone and overwhelmed with darkness and despair, Elijah is distressed and overtaken by severe depression.
I appreciate this story because it reminds us that none of us are immune from feeling abandoned. I appreciate this story for it teaches us that depression is not a result of us not loving God enough, or God not loving us. We are not even immune to the pangs of despair because of what God has done in us, or even through us. Genetics and family history, the settings we occupy and how we interact with them, or simply life itself can leave and keep any of us where Elijah was. But I love this story, because God shows up, makes Himself known, and shows great compassion on Elijah.
Last week in our Miracle: Making God Known series, we learned about God the Compassionate. Compassion is foundational to who God is, and how God’s people have always seen Him. Compassion is how God reveals His heart and gifts His love to us. God’s compassion fulfills promises and makes Him known to us. It is God’s compassion that reaches, feeds, strengthens and gives Elijah purpose. God’s compassion can do the same for us, and it can help us (with the Spirit as guide) to do the same for others. 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, iTunes, or Stitcher.
This week in both of our services, we will be celebrating the payoff of the mortgage on our building (almost 7 years early). This has been an incredible effort by our God and through we, His faithful people here at HBIC. There will also be a special time to view stations around the church building that will help you either recollect or learn for the first time about the reformation of our building from an empty, grimy car dealership facility to an expansive worship, discipleship, and fellowship space dedicated to the Lord! We hope you’ll join us on this special Sunday as we celebrate God’s goodness and the generosity and hard work of our congregation!
As always, thank you all for reading. I hope and pray this finds you doing well.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you all!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (Psalm 34:1)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104