Do you enjoy the changes of seasons? I know I do. Do you have a favorite season of the year? I sure do. It is Spring! Why? Because the Spring season overflows with abundant life! Life flourishes everywhere you look; from the ground sprouting flowering blubs and perennials; to the trees budding flowers and tender green foliage; to the nesting of birds, squirrels, rabbits, and various other furry creatures all priming for new life to be born. Abundant life surrounds us; it floods our senses with vibrant beauty and color, fragrant smells, and dynamic diversity of new life, lifting our spirits to new heights. For all of these reasons we can give thanks and praise to God, who creates and sustains all of this abundant life we enjoy during the spring season.
Likewise, there are seasons of new spiritual life. We can read about those seasons in books devoted to church history; but there are inspired accounts of spiritual life and growth found in the book of Acts. It ensues by God’s amazing grace, when the seed of the Gospel is proclaimed, sown in the fertile beds of human hearts, spiritually cultivated by the Holy Spirit, so as to germinate new spiritual life and everlasting fruit for God’s glory. When we see this happening to people once spiritually dead in sins, it lifts our spirits to new heights with thanksgiving and praise to God, who recreated them in Christ Jesus.
In Acts 4:32-35 we observe the reality of spiritual abundant life and fruit for God among those who believed in Jesus Christ. “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.” As Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”
The Apostle Paul shares about this new abundant life in Jesus Christ, as he tells us about his life before and after his conversion in 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Paul writes, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Our testimony may not seem as dramatic as Paul’s conversion. Yet, we are saved by “the grace of our Lord which was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus”; for we know “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.
Let us in all seasons of the year and at every season of our lives, lift our spirits to new heights of thanksgiving and praise to God for this inestimable gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ, and let us share our personal testimony with people we know or make contact with as God gives us grace.
To the glory of God
Steven L. Myers
April Pulpit Schedule
4th – Combat Alliances with the World – 2 Chronicles 14:9-15:7; Matthew 28:1-20; James 4:1-13
Why can’t we all just get along? When we see evidence of so much division and skepticism in our world, this question arises in the minds of many people. But for people to get along, there must be agreement of principles for that to take place. Forced alliances by coercion, collusion or compromise are untenable. For Christians, any attempt to live in agreement with worldly standards, or its lack thereof, is disloyal to our citizenship in heaven. We will see why this is so.
11th – Come You Who Say – Daniel 4:19-37; Luke 16:1-15; James 4:13-5:6
The attitude of self-presumption is something we all battle from time to time. It comes in the forms of setting life goals, making future plans, even buying on credit based on present health and income. What often accompanies this attitude are elements of self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Before we know it, we have dethroned God and enthroned self, as we forget that our life, breath, strength, and skills for living come from God, leading to more sinful practices.
18th – Be Patient for the Lord’s Return – Psalm 2:1-12; Luke 21:25-28; James 5:7-12
“Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, seldom found in woman, never found in man.” This catchy proverbial saying has been around for some time. However, being patient for the coming of the Lord is incumbent on all followers of Christ. All believers are to live in the blessed hope of the glorious return of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. How are we to be patient? Why are we to be patient? What conditions are we to be patient? We will seek to answer them all!
25th – Praying & Confessing to One Another – Numbers 21:4-9; Matthew 6:5-15; James 5:13-20
How do you know when someone truly accepts you as a close friend? Is it when you let them know all your blemishes, quirks, and flaws? There is great value in such a relationship built on honesty, disclosure, and trust; but there is also great responsibility. This communion moves beyond the surface to genuinely love and care for one another, as in family relationships, which aids in praising, worshiping, confessing, and repenting of sins together in prayer to God. Let us be receptive to such loving communion as the family of God.
News from Niger
Niger is one of the countries folk from Leidy’s Church is praying for day-by-day as part of the Gospel Gleanings initiative. Most of us know very little about Niger. On March 22nd, the New York Times ran an article that will give us some insight on the situation in Niger.
Armed attackers riding motorcycles killed 137 people in coordinated raids on villages in southwestern Niger on Sunday [the 21stof March], the government said, making it one of the deadliest days in recent memory in a country ravaged by Islamist violence.
The unidentified assailants struck in the afternoon, raiding three villages and other hamlets in the Tahoua region bordering Mali, the government said on Monday, revising the toll up from a previous estimate by local authorities of about 60 killed.
“By systematically targeting civilians, these armed bandits are reaching a new level of horror and savagery,” it said in a statement, announcing three days of national mourning.
As we pray for Gospel light to spread in Niger, we also might pray for mourning families, against intimidation and terror tactics, for remorse and the conviction of sin in the hearts of terrorist, and for the authorities to know how to deal with situations such as this.
SLMT This Year?
The question has come up: will there be any SLMT projects this year? The answer is: maybe! It could be that we will engage in some local projects, projects that would not require any travel. If things work out, we hope to be able to do two such projects this summer: one for particularly skilled persons and one for a mixed group in terms of age and skill. Please pray about this. We are the poorer as a congregation, the Church is poorer as a larger body, and ministry organizations are the poorer for want of Short Length Mission Trips.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
In my article for the month of March, I spent some time looking at the ideas of worship and a worship service as times when God’s people gather to come into the presence of God. That was the first in a series of articles on worship. They are not articles dedicated to style or sound. Instead, they are dedicated to explaining the parts of the worship service so that we might all think more clearly about what we do on Sunday morning and why we do it. For this month, let us consider the invocation. It is not part of some strange spell. That would be an incantation. Rather, it is humble plea that the Lord would be in the midst of the gathered people as they worship and a declaration of their intent to worship the Lord.
For full disclosure, I cut my teeth as a liturgist outside of the church oddly enough. Though I would not have known what the word meant, I served as a liturgist for the Navigators at Purdue University in my final years of study. I continued in that role while working for the Navigators at the University of Arkansas. Each time that I served in that capacity (an emcee as we understood it), I began each meeting by praying that the Lord would be present. I was so eager to have the Lord be present, the Bible Studies I led usually had some sort of similar prayer. One day when meeting with my campus director, he quoted Matthew 18:20 to me. It says FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, I AM THERE IN THEIR MIDST. He then posited a question to me. If this verse is true, why do Christians ask for the Lord to be present in their gatherings? I would add an additional question. Does this mean that our invocations have no meaning?
Invocations do not serve as requests that the Lord would be present as though He would not otherwise be. An invocation is nothing more or less than a humble plea for God’s help. Insofar as worship is coming into the presence of the Lord, we need help. We are fallen finite creatures. He is a holy God almighty. The only way that we can go before the throne of God is by the power of His Spirit in the name of His Son who is our Redeemer. It is for this reason that Paul describes the Spirit as interceding for us as we pray. It is for this reason that Jude ends his short letter with outstanding praise for the work of Christ.
As we look through the Scriptures, there are many examples of invocations. Consider Psalm 66. There the Psalmist begins with an invocation. It is a declaration of the glory and wonder of the Lord. It says, SHOUT JOYFULLY TO GOD, ALL THE EARTH; SING THE GLORY OF HIS NAME; MAKE HIS PRAISE GLORIOUS. As the Psalmist is coming to the Lord in worship these opening verses frame his purpose. Yet, this praise of the Lord is only possible because God is at work in His people. Verse 9 describes God working saying He is the one WHO KEEPS US IN LIFE AND DOES NOT ALLOW OUR FEET TO SLIP. Psalm 66 should help us to respond to my former campus director. In worship God’s people are to come and meet the Lord and praise Him. The only reason we can do such a thing is because He has worked within us to enable us to know Him and come before Him.
As we gather together in coming weeks to worship, may we all remember that the Lord has already promised to be present when we gather in His name. May we trust that He will make good on His promise and may the cry of our hearts be for the Lord to work in us by guiding and shaping us so that we might worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Amen.
To the Praise of His Glory,
Good Friday Service will be held on April 2nd at 7:00 pm, with pre-service music starting at 6:45 pm. The pre-service music will be played by harpist Joanna Mark and organist Nancy VanDerBeek. Hymns focusing on the Passion of Christ, with readings from the Gospels and a special anthem from the chancel choir will be presented during this service of worship.
Early Easter Sunday, we are hosting a delicious breakfast prior to our worship service on April 4th at 10:00 am. Pre-service music will begin at 9:50 am in the sanctuary, followed by our worship team leading us to praise and worship God together. Expository preaching of God’s Word and corporate prayer, along with a special anthems, on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, will be sung by members of our chancel choir. Finally, we will share in the Lord’s Supper and then joyously sing aloud a triumphant Easter hymn before concluding our worship service.
Thirty Pieces of Silver
During the Lenten season Leidy’s Church members have been putting aside daily or weekly offerings for the Thirty Pieces of Silver. We have designated Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday as the time period for you to bring in your Thirty Pieces of Silver offering.
As you are aware, this year’s funds will help to repair the effects of a flood at God’s Treasure House. It occurred on Christmas Eve 2020, when a severe rainstorm flooded the basement of God’s Treasure House causing extensive damage.
Leidy’s Church intends to help God’s Treasure House by raining down a flood of funds through the monies collected by the Thirty Pieces of Silver offering. Please use the zip-lock bag you received in the February newsletter for your donation. Please remember to pray for God’s Treasure House ministries as you collect and turn in your charitable gift.
Run, Spot, Run!
Remember your first-grade reader? It may not have been the old Dick and Jane and Spot reader that was prevalent for several decades, but your first reader was something. Were there any words that gave you particular difficulty? How about the word “enough?” But, in due time you were able to string words together to make simple phrases and then simple sentences. You mastered the most significant learning curve in your life.
There are 450 students in India learning to read and write. Each is part of the Erukula people group. A group that has not received the gospel. There are 15 classes of 30 students each. Three communities have five such classes. Each community is designated by a number. Let’s look at Group 4101 and see how much has been learned after five months of classes.
Group 4101 has 104 females and 46 males. Of these, 86 are over 35 years of age and 64 are between 15 and 35 years of age. At the beginning of March, 60 students could read fluently; 60 students could read average; and 30 students read but read poorly. You can do the math and see that 40% of the students are excelling! All are learning and making progress. What a difference that will make in their lives.
Of the 150 students, 112 are able to write simple words and sentences. Remember, writing requires a significantly higher language/grammar competency than reading. They are getting ready to begin their level three reader. It’s not quite Middle School level yet, but it’s getting there. Some 66 of the students can – with a little effort – read a newspaper now.
That’s reading and writing, what about rithmatic? According to the report we received, 102 of the students can do basic arithmetic. 80 of those are evaluated as “excellent” and can do division and multiplication as well as addition and subtraction. In other words, they can do business now!
Here are some other documented areas of progress: 18 report improved family relations; 20 have experienced change in their beliefs or superstitions; 16 have documented behavioral changes in health matters and 19 in general habits. 39 students are now able to keep track of their earnings and are saving.
Our dollar-a-day investment, along with our continued prayers, is bearing substantial fruit among the Erukula people in India. We need to keep them in our prayers. It’s easy to get discouraged when negotiating a new learning curve. We can pray for their physical protection, particularly from Covid. Each of the classes is meeting outdoors for that reason. And we can pray for the Good News to pierce into each one’s soul bringing light and new life.
Thanks for giving; thanks for praying.
Ladies of Leidy’s
A big thank you to all the ladies who came to our Potluck Dinner on March 9th. You are all great cooks which made for a fantastic meal.
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 6th at 7 pm in Room 123. Pastor Niederhaus will present the history and significance of the Parament.
On May 4th, our meeting will be held in the sanctuary; Ruth Niederhaus will tell us all that went into the choosing and making of the beautiful stained-glass window we have in front of our church.
The June 1st meeting will be our last one until fall. We will be meeting in the Fellowship Hall and having a strawberry and ice cream social before our meeting.
Women’s Sunday School
The Women’s Sunday School class which meets each week in Room 118 will continue the series entitled The Gospels – The Extraordinary Life of Jesus of Nazareth beginning on April 11th. This Drive-Thru History DVD series is hosted by Dave Stotts. Join the ladies as they resume this series.
Usher Captain Coordinator: Tony Wilwert
Usher Captains: Tim Leidy, Peter Martindell
Ushers: Brian Shoemaker, Jake Niederhaus, Frank Allebach, Randy Godshall, Bob Ott, Calvin Radcliff, Ken Godshall, Mark Kostishion, Joe Sciacca, Josh Heebner, Jeremy Smith, Jim Foote, Gary Brown.
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Janie Inyang and family at the death of her husband Isaac, and to the family and friends of Ede Rupp at her death. May God be with these families at this difficult time.
Blood Drive at Leidy’s Church
The Red Cross Mobile Blood Unit will be at Leidy’s Church on April 16th to receive blood donations from 2 to 7 pm from people who have registered as donors. There are two ways you can register as a donor. First, you can sign up for an appointment by going directly to the Red Cross website, which is www.redcrossblood.org and click on “Find a Blood Drive” and then go to the box type listed as leidyschurch. (no spaces or apostrophe). When you click on that link, you will see the times available to schedule your appointment. The second way to sign up is by calling the church office or signing up in the narthex before or after the worship service on Sunday mornings. Also, there are options of blood donation one can choose, from the normal red plasma to donating blood platelets. The amount of time may vary depending on the procedure, but the average completion time is between one and one-half to two and one-half hours.
Extra precautions will be in place to preclude the spread of the virus, such as:
- Pre-screening questionnaire to ensure donors were not in contact with the virus.
- Pre-donation temperature screening of donors.
- Disinfection of donor cots and sanitizing of all supplies between each donation.
- Social distancing protocols of donation space and waiting areas.
- Staff wellness and protection procedures.
We want to thank everyone who signed up to donate blood at the spring blood drive.
The Sunday School For The Post Confirmation Collection Of Individuals In the Direct Application of the Scriptures To All The Facets Of Life – Wow, that is an awful name for a Sunday School class. Instead let’s just call it LIFE. Life Interested in Faithful Endurance meets most Sunday mornings in the Youth Room and endeavors to present the Lord Jesus our Redeemer and Perfector of our faith. Further, we spend time examining how we are to live in light of that perfect work of Christ. In short, our prayer is that we would be faithful to the Lord in EVERY aspect of our lives. For more information, please see Pastor Michael.
Easter breakfast is coming, and it will be a sweet and sour affair. Do not fret; there is hope! The sweet part of the breakfast is being provided by Youth Fellowship folks from 8:30 to 9:30 under the direct supervision of Chef Tony. There will be mouth-watering egg casseroles served with potatoes alongside. Succulent simmering sausages and breathtakingly brilliant bacon will also make appearances alongside fresh fruit fixed for your morning meal. This culinary delight will be prepared and served buffet style by our able and smiling young folk (though masked and gloved).
The sour comes with difficult news. Leidy’s Church has supported Church Without Walls for a number of years. Church Without Walls has started a relatively new work in Lebanon for which we praise the Lord. Though people are coming to know the Lord through faithful preaching, they have difficulty finding the basic necessities of life like food and medicine.
Our brothers and sisters in Lebanon, like us, have set their sights on the Lord Jesus knowing that He will be faithful to care for them all the days of their lives. We, however, are going to take this Easter morning breakfast and do what we can to bless them. In short, we will take donations of pennies, nickels, and dimes (as well as tens, twenties, fifties, and hundreds); all proceeds from the breakfast will go to help brothers and sisters in Lebanon currently struggling. If you would like to know more about family life for folks practicing Islam or living in a Muslim majority country, Beyond the Veil, written by Anees Zaka, is a wonderful resource. Copies of Beyond the Veil will be available during the breakfast hour for a suggested donation of 15 dollars.
Vacation Bible School is coming back this June. Starting June 21st at 6:00pm kids from kindergarten through fifth grade are invited to come and join us as we dive deep into Jonah. Each night we will make a splash with a family meal starting at 5:15 and the VBS program will run from 6:00 to 8:30. As we look at Jonah, we will see how the Lord calls us to trust Him and His Word.
If we are going to have VBS, we are going to need a lot of help. We will need people to serve as guides, cooks, setters up, tearers down, and a whole bunch more. If you would like to help kids learn about the Lord, His Word, and His people, please contact the church office to sign up. If you have kids who can come, please sign up at leidyschurch.org/children.
On Wednesday, March 10th, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church was called to order at 7:31 pm, and minutes were taken of the meeting, from which relevant notes are listed below.
Ken Merritt led devotions on the topic human advice vs. divine direction. He said that it can be difficult to follow God’s will, noting that we can easily read God’s Word, but it is not always easy to know how to follow it. Ken mentioned OT examples in the lives of Joshua and Elijah as men who heard and followed the word of the Lord. He then summarized by saying, that for many, the problem is not hearing but heeding the Word. Ken advised us to yield to the Spirit, obey the Scriptures, and seek Christian counselors who are wise in the Word, remembering that God never contradicts His Word.
Minutes from the February meeting were reviewed and then approved. The financial report for the month of February was presented by Ron Moyer, who remarked that February giving was lower and expenses higher due to a service cancelation and a General Fund contribution of $10,000 to the Good Samaritan Fund. The disbursement and current balances of the Renovation Fund, Christmas Eve offering, and In This Time of Need were noted, with a proposal that a portion of the In This Time of Need funds be used to purchase Precept’s materials for students in Columbia and Venezuela. Miscellaneous project expenses like dead tree removal, snow removal and oil tank removal were also discussed. Then the financial report was approved.
Business items included Easter breakfast and worship service with Holy Communion, the HUB oil tank removal details followed by a HUB assessment, Pulpit committee, Inquirer’s class, and Wicking and Steeple updates. We were also informed about the hot water storage tanks needing repair or replacement; the parking lot cracking and needing repair.
We discussed an Eagle Scout project by a church youth to make two outdoor benches and Bethany Christian Service’s new adoption policy that would place children in same-sex and LGBTQ parental care, which was decided that we, as a church, can no longer financially support.
The pastoral staff reports were submitted and items highlighted included some AV punch list completions, iBlast’s good attendance, schedules for AV Tech volunteers and worship services praise teams and hymn selections through the month of June.
Other committee reports were submitted with Special Services, Property, Missions, Hospitality, and Christian Ed highlighting the plans for Strawberry Festival, Property maintenance, mission projects, and hospitality policies.
After a brief review of the Spiritual Leadership Retreat and the assignments for Holy Communion on Easter Sunday, Ken Merritt led a time of intercessory prayer for spoken concerns and the meeting was adjourned by us praying the Lord’s Prayer at 10:14 pm.
The New City Catechism
Question 7: What does the law of God require?
Personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience; that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves. What God forbids should never be done and what God commands should always be done.
Matthew 22:37-40 – And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Commentary – John Wesley
Loving the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength is the first great branch of Christian righteousness. You shall delight yourself in the Lord your God; seeking and finding all happiness in Him. You shall hear and fulfill His word, “My son, give me your heart.” And having given Him your inmost soul to reign there without a rival, you may well cry out in the fulness of your heart, “I will love You, O my Lord, my strength. The Lord is my strong rock; my Savior, my god, in whom I trust.” The second commandment, the second great branch of Christian righteousness, is closely and inseparably connected with the first: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love—embrace with the most tender goodwill, the most earnest and cordial affection, the most inflamed desires of preventing or removing all evil and bringing every possible good. Your neighbor—not only your friends, kinfolk, or acquaintances; not only the virtuous ones who regard you, who extend or return your kindness, but every person, not excluding those you have never seen or know by name; not excluding those you know to be evil and unthankful, those who despitefully use you. Even those you shall love as yourself with the same invariable thirst after their happiness. Use the same unwearied care to screen them from whatever might grieve or hurt either their soul or body. This is love.
When you ask, “What does the law of God require?” the short answer is perfect obedience. Now, that sounds dauting, but we have to understand the context in which the law was given. It was given in the context of grace, God’s saving initiative. When God rescued Israel from Egypt and brought them to Sinai and declared, “If you obey my voice and keep my covenant,” he essentially then said, “I will be your God and you will be my children.” So the context of the law is God’s saving initiative. The perfect obedience that the law demands is a response to God’s saving initiative, and it is a wholehearted devotion.
The way that the Old Testament puts it is: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5). The context of grace motivates a response of wholehearted devotion to the God who saves. It is a response of faith that is called love. And that love flows to love of neighbor as well.
There is only one problem. We cannot obey perfectly. But there is good news. In Jeremiah 31 God says that he will write the law on his people’s hearts. In Ezekiel 36 God further explains: “I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes” (vv.26-27). These promises are linked to a new covenant that God would initiate through a promised king from David’s line. The New Testament reveals that the promised King who inaugurates this new covenant is Jesus.
Jesus came to do what we ourselves could not do. While remaining fully God, Jesus came from heaven and took on our humanity in order to save us (Heb. 2:14-18). As our human representative, Jesus fulfilled the law of God by perfectly obeying God’s commands and by paying the penalty of death that all lawbreakers owe. The gospel is an announcement that all who confess that they are guilty of breaking God’s law and turn away from their sins and trust in Jesus have their sins forgiven and Jesus’s perfect obedience accounted to them.
Through his life, death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus inaugurated the new covenant with its promises of a new heart (Jeremiah 31) and the indwelling of God’s empowering Spirit (Ezekiel 36). Our only hope of fulfilling what the law requires is the new birth that was promised in the new covenant. Those who are born again to new life in Christ have been granted a new heart and God’s indwelling Spirit, which empowers obedience.
The good news is that under the new covenant, God’s people are empowered to obey God’s law. Once again, we see that the commands of God don’t establish a relationship with God. Obedience is our response to God’s saving work. It is a loving response of faith. God has saved us in Jesus Christ, and we respond by trusting him in loving obedience.