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Weekly Update from Pastor Hank – May 20

 

Dear Church Family and Community,

 

The last few days, I have had this song by James Huey in my heart:

 

When I Think about the Lord,
How He saved me, how He raised me,
How He filled me, with the Holy Ghost.
How He healed me, to the uttermost.

 

When I Think about the Lord,
How He picked me up and turned me around,
How He placed my feet on solid ground

 

It makes me wanna shout,
Hallelujah,
Thank you JESUS,
LORD, you’re worthy, of all the glory, and all the honor,
And all the praise

 

As much as I sing to myself, there’s nothing like singing together as community, body, and family. Singing together is one way the Spirit unites our hearts in worship of our God and King. Oh how I miss that! And I am just as sure that many of you miss this also.

 

What I have always appreciated the most about songs is how lyrics linger in our heads, even long after the music has come and gone. Music has power to not only return us to a place or moment, but to memories and feelings. So while I mostly sing my songs to myself these days, I am reminded and blessed by all the times we have sung together, and I am comforted by the hope we will sing together again.

 

This season has really kept the Psalms as songs in the forefront of my mind. I often forget that these scriptures were songs that were first sung in worship and not simply read. The Psalms represent not only a treasure trove of music, but of history, hope, and reminders of our God’s mercy, love, and goodness. Scripture tells the story of God’s goodness. Jesus reveals more fully God’s goodness to us. The Spirit illuminates our God’s goodness. But today, this week, I’m reminded of how the Psalms sing of God’s goodness.

 

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good? Blessed is the one who takes refuge in God. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor – no good thing does God withhold form those who follow Him. The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made. Surely God’s goodness and mercy will chase me down all the days of my life until I am captured; and I will dwell and remain in the house of the Lord God forever.

 

In this Growing Season, we continue to focus on the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus teaches that He is the Vine, and His Father is the Gardener. We are the branches, and we bear fruit when we remain in Christ our Vine. Remaining in Christ is following Jesus’ commands and living by the Spirit. Living by the Spirit produces fruit. The fruit of life by the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control.

 

This week during our service, we will focus on goodness. We will be reminded of how goodness is the very essence of who God is. Goodness is the fruit of what God does. Goodness is the blessing of each other. And goodness demonstrated in our lives reminds others that God is good.

 

Some questions to consider as you prepare to worship with us:

 

How has God been good to you in this season? What do you do to remember the goodness of God? How are you sharing the goodness of God with your world?

 

I started with a song, so it is only fitting I end with one as well. Jonathan McReynolds’ God is Good was very much a balm in Gilead for me during one of my most difficult seasons, and it continues to bless me today. God sent this song my way after I had learned of the passing of two good friends in a very short span; their funerals were on back to back weekends. This song has become a psalm to me, and I pray it is a prayer and gift to you as well:

 

May your struggles keep you near the cross
And may your troubles show that you need God
And may your battles end the way they should
And may your bad days prove that God is good
And may your whole life prove that God is good

 

Sisters and brothers, our God is good. Our God is good to us. Our God is good for us.

 

May God’s goodness be your refuge and strength. May the Spirit of God forever bless and keep you. And may Jesus always be in your hearts, on your tongues, and first in all of our lives!!

 

God bless you all.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Hank (Nahum 1:7)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104
E: pastorhank@harrisburgbic.org