Dear Church Family and Community,
One of my favorite things about revisiting people and stories in Scripture is learning new things you just happened to miss before. Today’s person and story is Nehemiah. I knew that he was in the Persian king’s court and asked to return to his native Jerusalem. Nehemiah, a follower of God, living and working in a foreign land, heard about God’s people in distress. The people of Judah were vulnerable and susceptible to enemies all around. So, Nehemiah went home to help.
The first time I heard about Nehemiah was in one of the worst (or best) Bible jokes ever. Who was the shortest person in the Bible? Knee-High-Miah. I told you it was bad. Thank God Nehemiah was much more than that too. The man whose name means “God comforts” brought comfort to his people by using his privilege and position in the foreign king’s court to help rebuild Jerusalem. In so doing, God through Nehemiah also rebuilt the community as well as the people’s faith and allegiance to himself.
The witness of Nehemiah, his faithfulness to God and rebuilding a home for God’s people is why I love that he serves as the namesake for our building fund, the Nehemiah Fund. In September, we celebrated God’s goodness and His people’s faithfulness as one fruit from that partnership led to the paying off of our mortgage 7 years early. Praise God! However, there are ongoing needs in our building and property that warrant our continued faithfulness and focused giving. This fund is designed to be a place where you can give to help us continue to make this a home for God’s ministry and work through our church and community.
Last week, we continued our Miracle: Making God Known series by learning about Jesus the Just. We celebrated that Jesus’ justice will come in the end, but is also the work we are to be doing today. Justice is us partnering with God to make things right in our everyday scenes. We have been saved to serve, graced to grace, loved to live, and given life to give life. Jesus lived a life of justice, anointed by the Holy Spirit to proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, sight for blind, to set the oppressed freed, and to proclaim that the kingdom is here! Jesus invites us to do the same, living and loving as He lived and loved. 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 coming Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year, Missions Sunday. Please plan to join us as we celebrate, pray for, and hear about God’s wonderful work throughout the world. Part of our vision is to share Christ’s love and serve the needs of our local and global communities. Missions Sunday is an opportunity to learn more about that. I am also very excited about our speaker and know that we will be blessed and inspired by her and her story.
Each year we also take a special offering that provides support to the missionaries (19 adults currently, along with their 11 children) sent from our church. Please prayerfully consider what you might give to help us reach our goal of $10,000. Jesus, before ascending to heaven, told His disciples then and us today, to be His witnesses locally, globally, and to the end of the earth. This is part of the call we are blessed to do, support, and pray for.
Praise God for the Spirit that teaches and empowers us, Jesus who loves and prays for us, and the Body of Christ which partners and inspires us to do this blessed work.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (Acts 1:8)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104