April 2019 Newsletter

News and announcements from the Immanuel Leidy's Church community.

April Pulpit Schedule

7th – Circumcision – Jeremiah 4:3-10; Mark 9:42-48; 2 Timothy 4:1-5           
We are each required to decide to whom we will listen, that is, whom we will believe. Today’s text is from fairly early-on in Jeremiah’s ministry. He is confused. He thinks the Lord has deceived the people of Israel. There were prophets declaring peace to the people, while Jeremiah saw only disaster coming. To whom do you think the people listened! Jesus speaks to this matter when He warns about putting stumbling blocks in the way of others. That’s not a good deal for either side! What’s needed on all sides is a circumcised heart. Without it, deception is inevitable.

14th – What God Can Do! – Jeremiah 32:16-28; Luke 19:29-44; Colossians 1:1-14           
This is Palm Sunday! A day for singing Alleluias and praising God for sending the Lord Jesus who is the Son of David, the King of Israel. Of course, it’s also just five days out from the darkest of all the days of humanity, even darker than in the days of Noah’s flood. Good Friday will happen, but Good Friday is not the Final Word. Jeremiah, the prophet of dark forebodings of disaster for the nation of Israel, has a particular task assigned to him by God. He sees that it is done but cannot begin to imagine how it can be meaningful. He needed to learn what God can do.

21st – The New Covenant – Jeremiah 31:31-40; John 20:1-23; Ephesians 2:1-10           
The term “new covenant” occurs in the OT only in our text from Jeremiah. It was spoken in a time of great despair for the people of God. Nebuchadnezzar had taken away many Israelites into exile in 597 BC. Our text comes sometime after that, at a time when Jerusalem is threatened with a final and thorough destruction. In the midst of such discouraging times, God proclaims news of the new covenant! It’s hard to believe. Similarly, when Jesus appeared to the disciples that first Easter, it was a dark time, and hard to believe. Yes, we too, were dead in our trespasses and sins.

28th – Beloved Refugees – Jeremiah 29:1-14; Matthew 28:16-20; Hebrews 6:9-20           
One of the most frequently quoted verses of the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans that I have for you . . . plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. What great words to hear. We often forget their context. Jeremiah is writing to refugees carried captive to Babylon from Jerusalem in 597BC. They were as discouraged and beaten down as a people could be. They felt abandoned by God. After Jesus’ ascension, it would have been easy for the early Christians to feel the same way. They didn’t. Nor should we. We are beloved refugees. 

From the Pastor to Youth & Children              

It was coming down to the wire. I was dreading the email. . . .Hold on, perhaps I should provide some context. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the summer of 2016 enacted laws which required all volunteers and employees working with or having responsibility over children to complete a background check. These background checks are valid for 5 years. So I thought I was covered until 2021. However, anyone who is going to Pikangikum has to have a background check every 3 years. This meant that my checks were out of date. I knew it was only a matter of time before Denise emailed to remind me that I needed to get my clearances in. With as much speed as I could muster, I completed the necessary and relatively painless forms. [I will admit, trying to recall addresses from 13 moves in 16 years was not easy. I just did the best I could.] As I submitted my paperwork to the office, I felt my dread of the looming email subside.

More than likely, you all are thinking that I was over-reacting to a relatively minor issue.  After all, why should I even care about background checks at all? Why are they necessary? Certainly, there are reasons to object to them. First, aren’t background checks a way to put trust in the forms of the government instead of in the Lord? Second, we all know background checks do not prevent people from doing bad things. What’s more, in the third place, Living Hope ministry would surely be okay if my clearances were just a little late.              

As I think about clearances in general, my stress at having mine submitted in a timely fashion, and the various objections to getting them in the first place, a number of thoughts swirl through my head. First, background checks are now required by the law of the Commonwealth.  Paul teaches about Christian civic mindedness in Romans 13:1. There, he asserts that social structures, including governments, have been put in place by God. Rejecting those structures is akin to rejecting the authority of God. This does not mean that governments are perfect. It also does not mean that God is responsible for poor laws. Rather, Paul wants Christians to recognize that God desires His people to follow the laws of the land (provided they do not contravene the laws of God). If we are dissatisfied with the laws of the land, we must use the structures in place to change them. This is to say, we solicit representatives to change laws. The law says I need to have clearances to work with or volunteer with children, and I need to renew those clearances every five years. We, as a church, should resolve to keep these statutes.              

Second, we have had the enormous privilege of partnering with Living Hope Native Ministries for a good number of years. We should not abuse any trust they might have in us or put them in a precarious position. Instead, we need to honor our commitments to our brothers and sisters in Christ, get our background checks in, and help share the gospel.Third, while it is true that we should continue to pray that the Lord would protect kids and youth in our midst, this is not the only course of action. We should also take advantage of the benefits of our justice system in order to make wise decisions about our childcare. Further, we should not assume that clear background checks mean that individuals are sinless. Instead, we should utilize all of our assets, both spiritual and secular, to seek a secure and stable environment for our children.              

One final thought for those who have refrained from volunteering in children’s ministries or youth work because background checks are required. We ought not let the sins of the past prevent fruitful gospel ministry in the present. While there may be roles of service that are not always ideal for all people, all Christians have to acknowledge that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Further, there is no sin so great that Christ cannot atone for it.              

If you have any questions about what is required for submitting background clearances, please come and see me or talk to one of the ladies in the office.                                                                                   

To the Praise of His Glory,
Michael Nowling

Usher Meetings Scheduled           

All those who serve as Ushers at Leidy’s Church are asked to attend one of the two upcoming Usher Meetings. The purpose is to give an orientation to the Emergency Plan of the church which requires active participation of the Ushers in the event of an emergency.           

One meeting will be held on Tuesday evening, the 30th of April, beginning at 7pm. The other meeting is scheduled for 9am on Saturday the 4th of May. Each will take place in the Fellowship Hall with refreshments available.

Holy Week/Easter Schedule at Leidy’s Church           

Holy Week reflects the best of times and the worst of times. The Lord Jesus receives due adulation as He descends the Mount of Olives to enter Jerusalem, but the holy city is cast into deep darkness later that week as the Father turns His face away from His Son. Finally, a light that cannot be extinguished breaks forth from a tomb in a garden near Golgotha as Jesus is raised from the dead. We catch something of that rhythm through the flow of services that week. Here’s the schedule for 2019:

  • April 14thPalm Sunday, our service of worship will begin with the hymn Palm Branches. In line with the theme of the vocal acclamation, the sermon will focus on the great things God can do. This also is Prayer Card Distribution Day and an overview of our Christian Education program will be highlighted. On Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday the 30 Pieces of Silver offering will be received in special receptacles in the narthex.
  • April 19thGood Friday, we gather for Scripture readings and worship at 7 pm. We’ll read one of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ passion beginning with the departure from the upper room and culminating with the rolling of the stone across Jesus’ tomb. During the course of the service the lights will gradually be darkened. Hymns and music appropriate to the events of that time will be sung as well.
  • April 21stEaster Sunday Sunrise Service is on the schedule again! It begins at 6:30am at the top of the cemetery hill. We hope it is warm by then! Those gathered will sing hymns, share in the Lord’s Supper, and hear a different sermon than the one at the 10 o’clock service. Attendees should dress appropriate to the occasion, including sunglasses since the congregation faces due east.
  • April 21stEaster Sunday Breakfast will begin filling up plates at 8 am and continue to do so until 9:45. This is an activity of the Youth Fellowship and there is no charge for the breakfast — it’s on a donation basis. Be generous. Proceeds are part of the 30 Pieces of Silver offering that will help persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
  • April 21stEaster Sunday Worship Service takes place at 10 o’clock. This service will have special music, the Lord’s Supper, and a sermon this year that focuses on the New Covenant confirmed on Resurrection Morning. During the course of the morning Thirty Pieces of Silver offerings may be placed in the designated receptacles in the narthex.
  • April 21stSunday School classes will not meet. It is hoped that families will gather with others for the Breakfast. Nursery and Child Care will be available during the Breakfast and the service of worship.

You and those whom you would like to invite are encouraged to be a part of each of these Easter activities.

Red Cross Blood Drive           

The 2019 Red Cross Blood Drive happens at Leidy’s Church on Tuesday, April 23rd. The unit will be drawing blood from 2 to 7 pm. There’s always a need for blood, so your donation will not be for naught.           

There are several ways for you to secure an appointment to give blood. The quickest and easiest way is to go directly to www.redcrossblood.org and in the “Find a Blood Drive” box type in leidyschurch. Click on the link and you’ll be able to see what times are still available. Choose the time that best fits your schedule. Or, you may register before or after church on Sundays at the table in the narthex. The church office also will take calls from folk who want to register to give blood but keep forgetting to do so on Sunday morning and don’t want to go to the website.           

If you go to the Red Cross site, you’ll find there are several options for giving blood. The one most folk select is just the regular blood donation. One of the other options is called Power Red. A Power Red donation collects the red cells but returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor. These donors must meet specific eligibility requirements and have type A Neg, B Neg, or O blood. The final option is to donate Platelets. This type of donation collects the platelets and some plasma and returns the red cells and most of the plasma back to the donor. The donation takes approximately one and-a-half to two and-a-half hours. Again, the bulk of folk choose to make a simple, regular blood donation.           

Thanks in advance for your participation.

How’s the Seeding Going?           

If this is April, then it is seeding time. On the last Sunday of March – which was also the last day of March – everyone who was in attendance at Leidy’s Church received a $20 bill. Whoopee!           

That $20 bill was a seed. A seed for each of us to grow over the next 12 weeks. Then, on June 23rd to bring in the harvest from the seed to help support the ministry of In This Time of Need.           

What if you’re not a farmer and don’t know much about seeds? Or, more straightforwardly, you’re not sure how you can take $20 and make it grow. You’re not alone in that situation. But don’t be flummoxed unnecessarily. Here’s what to do.   

  • Pray. Ask God to guide you.   
  • Talk. To others and see if something someone else is doing strikes a spark for you.   
  • Listen. Be alert to hear something that resonates with you.   
  • Act. Go ahead and do something. If your $20 become $5 or $0, just talk to Bill Teate or Pastor Niederhaus and they’ll get you going again!   
  • Pray. Ask the Lord to bless your labors and investment. And ask Him to provide food for the bodies and for the souls of the Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.

Women’s Ministry   

Women’s Conference
The Word Alive Conference with Lysa Terkeurst is scheduled for Friday, October 11th and 12th in the Lancaster area – however, seating is limited at LCBC so please register early at life way.com/WordAlive(800.254.2022) Also the She Leads Conference is partnering with LifeWay for a pre-conference leadership training (Oct 11th) at Manor Church in Lancaster, ten minutes from the venue. For information go to: moreofhimministries.org, Jessie Seneca.           

An informational gathering will be held at LCBC Church in Manheim April 30th at 7 pm. LifeWayWomen.com/LeaderGathering.  Contact Verna 215.237.1370 for more info.   

Ladies of Leidy’s           
Ken Walters will be the guest at our Ladies of Leidy’s meeting Tuesday evening April 2nd at 7:00. He will speak about a small but mighty group of special needs adults within our area, the Perkasie Leo Club. All ladies, young or old are invited to come find out how this club gives these individuals an opportunity to give back to and remain involved in their local community.   

Women’s Sunday School
Restless, Because You Were Made for More by Jennie Allen is the title of the new study that will be offered in the Women’s Sunday School class beginning April 7th in Room 118. We will discover a practical plan to identify the threads of your life and how to intentionally weave them together for God’s glory and purposes. We have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit in order to find out what we should be doing. Come and explore with us.

After-Service Luncheon for April           

The after-service luncheon for April is being done by a small group, one that’s been meeting for over twenty years. Over that time this group has perfected some specific culinary skills. It promises to be a tasty, well-produced, and timely served luncheon. Everyone is invited to pull up a chair and stay a spell!           

The date for the luncheon is Palm Sunday, April 14th.

Don’t Forget . . .

  •     Trip to the Bible Museum on April 2nd.
  •     Faith and Freedom event on April 5th at Valley Forge Baptist.
  •      Love Cradle Banquet in Fellowship Hall on April 6th.
  •     British Brass Band concert at 6:30 in the sanctuary on April 7th.
  •     Lunch Bunch Luncheon in Fellowship Hall at noon on Wednesday, April 17th.

For details on each of these events, please see the March Newsletter.

In This Time of Need           

Have you been listening to the news? If you have been, then you know there is much going on in Venezuela! It’s the new “red line in the sand” area for the United States and Russia. Over the last several years over 3 million Venezuelans have fled their land. Many go right through Cucuta, Colombia. And Cucuta is where Leidy’s Church has established the In This Time of Need program.           

Since the beginning of March, the Luz y Verdad [Light and Truth] church led by Pastor Dagoberto Angarita has been feeding 50 Venezuelan refugees every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. With funds provided by our Mission Committee they have rented a house for this outreach program, which they are calling The Good Samaritan project. Usually the families who come to the program consist of three of four generations, all uprooted from home and looking for something to eat while they try to find a place to live and work.           

Each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday it is 50 different persons who are fed. Pastor Dagoberto and his volunteers go to the places where the refugees are living in the streets and give out numbers 1-50 to those who are in need of food. They bring those numbers to the house at the designated time and receive a good, nourishing meal.            They also receive God’s Word. The Iglesia Luz y Verdad distributes Christian literature and Bibles to all who come. They have times for testimony and sharing. Most who come do not have an evangelical Christian background. Many come from a nominal Catholic environment, and many others have a variety of cultic and/or occultic spirituality as their frame of reference.           

The only funds Leidy’s Church has in her budget is the $150 p/month to rent the feeding house. All the rest of the financial undergirding comes from voluntary gifts from the congregation or through some fund-raising project – such as the Chili Cook-Off.           

This is a time of need in the lives of Venezuelan refugees. We are thankful for how God has providentially arranged for our congregation to be able to respond on-site to this deepening humanitarian crisis. Join in praying for the Lord Jesus to provide for the refugees in body, soul, and spirit. And that He who determines the times and boundaries of nations would resolve peacefully the red-line crisis in Venezuela.

Within the Fellowship           

Congratulations to Alex and Ally Hager at the dedication of their son, Drake Alexander, and to Allen and Kemoye Kraus at the birth of their sons, Julian Eli and Tristan Levi.  May God be with these families as they grow in Him.           

Our sincere Christian sympathy to the family and friends of Nancy Swenk on the occasion of her death. May God be with them at this time.

Going Once, Going Twice . . .           

Yep, don’t forget to get your calendrical device loaded with the date of the SLMT Auction. That would be Short-Length-Mission-Trip Auction as has been rebranded. That date is Saturday, April 27th. The doors open at 4:30, with dinner items available soon thereafter, and bidding beginning at 6:30.           

Auctioneer Len Walter is looking forward to seeing what is up for auction this year. He will not be surprised to know that some Phillie tickets are available – after all, who wouldn’t want to say they saw the 2019 World Series champs play! There will be vacation opportunities, some work hours that you can purchase, a good variety of frivolous stuff that we all are prone to – did I mention Phillies’ tickets – and a few good home-made pies for sure. A unique item this year is a German language hymnal from 1884 with Leidy’s Reformed Church written in 19th century florid penmanship style in the front cover. It may have a name in it, but we cannot be certain.           

When you come, come with the expectation of bidding. Not necessarily with the expectation of buying! Without bidders there can be no Auction. If only one person bids on each item, it won’t be much of an Auction, nor will we provide much funding for our Short Length Mission Trips. Bid freely, bid often!           

Don’t forget there always are lots of good items on the Silent Auction tables as well. While enjoying a robust roast beef sandwich accompanied by baked beans and potato salad, you can get up occasionally and see if your bid on that item that caught your eye is still the highest.           

Help get the word out to your family and friends and neighbors. They can enjoy a good meal at a good price with good company and maybe find a good deal too.           

We’re always in need of good items to auction off. Have you given your auction item yet? If not, Pastor Steve wants to talk to you!            Going once, going twice, sold to . . . you!

Kids Musical Slated for Two Presentations

Back to the Cross is the musical the Sonshine Players will present on Saturday, April 13th at 7pm and on Sunday, April 14th at 4pm. It the Spring Kids Musical and it’s about Time-travel.           

It will be a fascinating time going back through eras such as the Wild West, the Roaring Twenties, and the Hip Sixties. The main stop, however, will be just outside the walls of Jerusalem. The year is AD33 and the exact location is a garden named Gethsemane. What happens in that garden at that time will affect all the other times, including our time. Come and see what happens.           

As always is the case, friends and neighbors and relatives and school mates are welcome to come out and join you for this trip through time. If you need more information, the person to speak with is Donna Frueh.

Clarion Call from Pastor Steve: It’s Time to Spring into Action!

As I write this article it is supposed to be the case that Spring has sprung. However, when I woke up this morning to let our pup out it felt like winter because the temperature was only 27 degrees.           

Though the temperatures are far from Spring-like, the evidences of Spring’s arrival abound. Bulbs are bursting out of the ground in the sunny areas around the house; soon they will be blooming flowers. The trees are budding. In the morning you can hear birds chirping loudly. Of course, a sure harbinger of Spring are those pesky weeds poking through the cracks of our pavement as the perennial grasses awaken from wintry sleep.           

All these evidences are sure signs that Winter is over, and Spring is on its way! With Spring upon us, we know that it is time to spring into action to get our yards and flower beds cleaned up, fertilized, and mulched so we can enjoy all the fragrant beauty of our floral landscaped yards. Likewise, this is the time to spring into action to use our time, talents, and treasures to invest in the lives of others needing to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.           

One way we can spring into action is through our 2019 SLMT ministries. There are so many ways for us to participate. We can sign up to go as a summer missionary to reach the First Nation’s people in Ontario, Canada. We can support the mission team going there by giving to the SLMT Auction on April 27th. We can sponsor one of the team members going this summer. We can give toward our outreach to the refugees on Cucuta, Colombia, South America. We can be witnesses to our neighbors, co-workers, fellow students, and the stranger we meet at the market. As we often say, “Spring has sprung!”           

Just so, may we all spring into action and get involved in sowing, watering, and harvesting of souls and watch the Lord give the increase so that we may see and smell the fragrant aroma of God’s harvest through our efforts this spring.

SLMT-Pik Orientation Luncheon           

One of the great benefits of volunteering to be part of the team that takes the Christian gospel and Christian good cheer to the children and families of Pikangikum is the Orientation Luncheon! It is a great meal, with a lunch meat table, a salad table, a soup table, and a dessert table. Varieties of options abound on each table! And your family (no third cousins-twice-removed included!) is invited to attend as well and get filled in on what is planned for ministry at Pik.           

Sunday, April 28th, is the date for this year’s SLMT-Pik Orientation Luncheon. All those who are signed up to be part of the team should plan on being present for the feast and to receive specific assignments within the team.

A Bazaar Twist of Events for VBS           

Kids, do not fret. Even though iBLAST is over for the year and the fall seems so very far away, VBS is coming and it is going to be Bazaar. Is that bizarre or what!           

Well, more accurately, this year’s VBS will be a bustling, busy Marketplace. Children who have completed Kindergarten through 5th Grade are invited to come and step back almost 2,000 years in time. What was it like to go to a market place in Israel in AD 30? How about in AD 35 soon after Jesus had lived, was crucified, and had been raised from the dead?           

This year’s full sensory market place will take place June 17 through June 21. That’s a Monday through Friday. It will happen in the evenings from 6-8 with family dinner at 5:30.           

For anyone who has never spent time in a marketplace, they are crowded and busy. All of that means that we are going to need lots of help for our crowded, busy, and energetic market to succeed.           

If you would like to be a merchant, tax-collector, guide, helper, leper, or friend, we would be happy to find a place for you! Come, join the team of volunteers committed to communicating the gospel to the kids of Franconia, Souderton, Telford, and beyond.

Easter BreakfastCome & Enjoy – & Bonjour!           

Always eager to allay adult apprehensions, the youth of Leidy’s Church plan to serve a bounteous Easter Breakfast. Serving will begin at 8am and continue through 9:45. This is an effort to keep stomachs from rumbling between the 6:30 sunrise service and the 10:00 service.           

A contingent of youth have been in consultation with Monsieur Anthonie Kapusta, our chef de cuisine. That collaboration has resulted in a menu of oefs, saucisses, and pommes de terre served with fruit frais. Beyond doubt le atterrissage à plat will be on the table as well. In case your French has lapsed since high school, that means the menu will include eggs, sausages, and potatoes, served with fresh fruit. And, of course, pancakes!           

Serving the food with a continental élan will be the extremely helpful junior and senior high students. Cost for the breakfast is a simple donation. All donations received will go to provide support and provisions for persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

Small, but Revealing Window           

Each year Leidy’s Church supports the ministry of India Bible Literature to the tune of a little over $5,000. The monies are used to underwrite the training of indigenous evangelists and church planters throughout India, with our funds specifically helping one or two students each year. In any given year India Bible Literature will have about 20 such training schools with 12 students each. Here are the statistics from the past year for the training school where our two church planters were students:

  • 10,948 adults contacted § 8,023 children contacted
  • 546 outreach meetings held § 6,410 individuals attended the meetings
  • 2,118 of those individuals now identify as seekers
  • 430 of those individuals now identify as believers
  • 56 new prayer cells/house churches have been formed

One cannot but be awed at the persistence and faithfulness of the church planters. From 11,000 contacts they had a return of 4% in terms of new believers and about 20% in terms of seekers. That could be discouraging.           

But they pressed on and had the outreach meetings, usually small affairs of 8 to 12 persons. Those meetings supplied much encouragement as almost 40 percent of those who attended became either seekers or believers.           

If we multiply all those stats by 20 we begin to get some idea of how the gospel is being spread in India. May we learn something from their example. May we be persistent and faithful in our outreach efforts. And may God grant an abundant increase. Hitting the Links Can Help!           

April is a great month for golf. That’s true not only for Augusta, Georgia, where the prestigious Masters Tournament takes place, but for southeastern PA too. If you like to golf, then you should plan to participate in the Pastors Master Charity Golf Tournament. This year it will take place on Monday,April 22nd at the Indian Valley Country Club in Telford. This annual fundraiser for Love Cradle International is quite popular with the crowd that chases that little white ball around.           

Leidy’s Church hopes to have a foursome or two representing her at this event. Registration begins at 11 with lunch available. There is a shotgun start at 12:30 with a reception at 5:30 followed by dinner and awards at 6. Complimentary refreshments and amenities throughout the course are provided by generous sponsors. Grab a brochure from the narthex hutch for full details or go to the website at http//thepastorsmasters.org.           

The beneficiary of this tournament – Love Cradle International – conducts a vital ministry among orphans in Ukraine. 100% of the proceeds will go to this work that brings tangible goods to orphans as well as the good news of the gospel of the Lord Jesus. Your hitting the links here will help orphans over there.

One Result of Praying & Fasting       
by Jerri Thompson           

My favorite sections of the Bible are the Gospels and especially the parables of Jesus. I love stories. The following should not come as a surprise: Satan knows how to tempt us humans.           

It started slowly. I was tired of dealing with family squabbles and homeschooling issues. So, after dinner I began to turn the TV on. Soon I had three or four one-hour shows I was watching every week. Sometimes I also watched the show after the one I had really wanted to watch. Then I discovered episodes of my shows from past seasons ran all day long some days on other channels. And so, sometimes, I would watch a few of those. I justified that because I only watched four hours out of a possible 12 or 18 hours!           

Watching TV was easier than dealing with the rest of the family. All the messes depicted on television were solved in one hour; they were not ongoing messes. Now God let this go on for several weeks; well, actually it was two months. Yes, I just counted it. It was that long. Ouch!           

Then Leidy’s Church had the day of prayer and fasting. Among other things, I prayed about those family issues. Over the next few days God answered those prayers, though not at all in the way I expected           

Our family gets emails from Harvest Ministries, a ministry for those struggling with sexual issues whose founder, John Freeman, has spoken in our Issues & Answers class. Soon after Ash Wednesday I was mildly interested in an article titled “The Post Addiction Wilderness”.  There was a paragraph on the sex addict switching to another more socially acceptable addiction like watching television. Why? Because any addiction numbs some prior pain in the addict’s life. Very quickly I stopped thinking this article did not apply to me; I began having questions about my current TV habits. “Numbing pain…avoiding issues.” Is that what I was doing? Is that what God desired for me and my family?           

My Lenten devotional began with the topic of giving things up for Lent and thus reorienting life God-ward – giving things up “to be awakened to how much we miss God and long for his life-giving Spirit.” It continued with Lent being about not only giving up things, but also adding things. It even suggested, among other things, giving up television to spend more time with family and friends.           

God now had my full attention. I gave up watching TV for Lent. I found myself praying more, especially when I started to think, “I’ll just go watch a bit of TV: NOT.” One evening I took a longer walk with my husband. I played games one evening with my son, who had been asking me about that for quite a few days/weeks. I scheduled things without checking the television schedule first.           

It’s true, those family thorns are still there, and I pray that God will help us deal with them. My hope is in Him, not the escape of the cable box. My daughter asked me if I was going to return to watching TV after Lent. I told her I wasn’t sure, but I’m leaning toward “no.”           

Satan knows our weaknesses and how to tempt us. But – praise be to God! – the Lord knows our weaknesses too, and how to bring us back to His embrace.

Consistory Notes           

It was a clear and chilly evening when the Consistory of Leidy’s Church met on March 13th. Though the Secretary of Consistory was off angling for trout in Argentina, an adequate replacement was found to keep minutes of the meeting. Salient points are summarized below.

  • Devotional thoughts were brought by John DiLenge using portions of Romans 8 and Psalm 139. Anxiety is always crouching at the door, many times barging in. We need to know our Heavenly Father invites and hears our cries to Him. He sends the Spirit to us, confirming His care. As spiritual life goes on, entropy can be as much a danger as anxiety! We lose our sense of wonder. Hence the cry of the Psalmist to “search me and try me . . . and lead me in the way everlasting.”
  • During the financial report it was noted the basketball goal in the gym has been fixed after many months of disfunction. It was also noted that the last payment to Penn Builders has been made. All that remains now is the mortgage of $137,535.76. Perhaps soon!
  • The final site work application for payment must be completed before the escrow funds being held by the township are released. This is all in process and should be completed in the next month or two. Bureaucracies are not known for alacrity. Escrow funds are estimated at $185,700.
  • Penn Builders will be on site to try and determine the reason for the wicking in rooms in the CE wing. They will dig down to the drains and do evaluation work. We hope it can be remediated. This should not be a cost to the church.
  • Replacement of the windows in the sanctuary at the HUB should begin in the latter part of March. Pastor Saleem Wright’s congregation [Household of Faith and Deliverance Worship Center] has begun renovating the front of the sanctuary per Consistory’s previous permission. A new tenant seems to be in the offing, though it is not certain yet.
  • The Emergency Plan was discussed at some length. It was agreed that Tim Leidy will make a general announcement about it during services once dates for Usher meetings are established. Since Ushers are an essential element in execution of the Plan in the event of emergency, it is deemed important for them to be aware of their responsibilities.
  • Several requests for using our building were discussed and decided. That brought up a possibility regarding the Night to Shine program offered nationally through the Tim Tebow Foundation. Ed Schmidt will get more info and this may be revisited later in the year.
  • The overhaul of our website is well underway. It is to be hoped that it will be in place by the end of March – we’ll see! Discussion was renewed concerning on-line giving. It was agreed that we need to make that available. As it turns out, having such a service available for free is not feasible for a church. It seems as though a 3% to 5% fee will be necessary. Pastor Michael was authorized to work with the web designers to get the most reasonable and secure service.
  • The Fellowship Committee (formerly Lay Ministry Committee) is in need of committees or small groups or organizations or whomever to do the monthly after-service luncheons. We’re good through May but need help beyond that.
  • Various other committee reports and ad hoc items were received and discussed.

Following a time of intercessory prayer for requested concerns, the meeting was adjourned at 9:29 by the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.

Second Helvetic Confession           

This month we begin chapter nine of this historic 1566 Confession that is a standard among the Continental Reformed Churches. It’s an important chapter, the one that treats the subject of free will.

Confession and Simple Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
Chapter 9: Of Free Will, and thus of Human Powers           

[1] In this matter, which has always produced many conflicts in the church, we teach that a  threefold condition or state of man is to be considered. [2] What Man Was Before the Fall. There is the state in which man was in the beginning before the fall, namely, upright and free, so that he could either continue in goodness or decline toward evil. However, he declined to evil, and has involved himself and the whole human race in sin and death, as has been said already. What Man Was After the Fall. Then we are to consider what man was after the fall. To be sure, his reason was not taken from him, nor was he deprived of will, and he was not entirely changed into a stone or a tree. But they were so altered and weakened that they no longer can do what they could before the fall. For the understanding is darkened, and the will which was free has become an enslaved will. [3] Now it serves sin, not unwillingly but willingly. And indeed, it is called a will, not an unwilling.            

Man Does Evil by His Own Free Will. Therefore, in regard to evil or sin, man is not forced by God or by the devil but does evil by his own free will, and in this respect he has a most free will. But when we frequently see that the worst crimes and designs of men are prevented by God from reaching their purpose, this does not take away man’s freedom in doing evil, but God by his own power prevents what man freely planned otherwise. Thus Joseph’s brothers freely determined to get rid of him, but they were unable to do it because something else seemed good to the counsel of God.           

[4] Man Is Not Capable of Good per se. In regard to goodness and virtue man’s reason does not judge rightly of itself concerning divine things. For the evangelical and apostolic Scripture requires regeneration of whoever among us wishes to be saved. Hence our first birth from Adam contributes nothing to our salvation. Paul says, “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God,” etc. And in another place he denies that we of ourselves are capable of thinking anything good. [5] Now it is known that the mind or intellect is the guide of the will, and when the guide is blind, it is obvious how far the will reaches. Wherefore, man not yet regenerate has no free will for good, no strength to perform what is good. The Lord says in the Gospel: “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” And the apostle says, “The mind set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot.” [6] Yet in regard to earthly things, fallen man is not entirely lacking in understanding.            

Understanding of the Arts. For God in his mercy has permitted the powers of the intellect to remain, though differing greatly from what was in man before the fall. God commands us to cultivate our natural talents, and meanwhile adds both gifts and success. And it is obvious that we make no progress in all the arts without God’s blessing. In any case, Scripture refers all the arts to God; and, indeed, the heathen trace the origin of the arts to the gods who invented them.

Chili Cook-Off Results           

Late in the afternoon of March 9th the Leidy’s Church Fellowship Hall was filled with folk anxious to taste some chili. Over twenty entries were on-hand for the gathered assemblage to taste and grade. Those in charge had thoughtfully arranged to have small tasting cups available so folk could take samples of all the various chili offerings back to their tables. There they could leisurely taste and grade each entry. Using provided grading forms, each person graded the various entries, not knowing who made what since each chili had its own pseudonymous name. For example, Make Chili Great Again and Fire in the Hole and Class of 61 and Walk the Line. You get the idea.           

Here are the three top places as determined by the votes cast that evening: Wendy Kapusta took first place; Susan Slack was not far behind; and Ben Shafer’s entrant was graded third best. It was noted that only one Leidy’s Church member finished among the top three! Each winner received a noteworthy trophy to display at all future family functions.           

Everyone agreed, the entire event was a real gas! The best part, though, was that over $1,000 was raised for In This Time of Need.

April Ministries

  • Tape Ministry:
    • 7th       Mim Weigner
    • 14th      Donna Weiss
    • 21st      Phyllis Allebach
    • 28th      Deb Caserta
  • Lay Visitors:
    • 7th       Roger Jones
    • 14th      Tom & Judy Leidy
    • 21st      Ron & Kathy Moyer
    • 28th      Ed & Darlene Schmidt
  • Greeters:
    • 7th       Patricia Martindell, Julia Martindell
    • 14th      Peter & Bambi Martindell
    • 21st      Ken & Connie Merritt
    • 28th      Tom & Susan Merritt
  • Usher Captains: 
  • Tim Leidy, Stan Ott
  • Ushers: Jim Foote, Kevin Godshall, Josh Heebner, Jake Niederhaus, Bob Ott, Joe Sciacca, Brian Shoemaker, Harvey Shoemaker, Jeremy Smith.
  • The Emergency Committee for April is  Joe  Sciacca.