When family members hear “Road Trip”, everyone gets a bit anxious and excited at the same time; anxious knowing that they may be cramped up in a loaded vehicle for many hours; yet excited knowing that they will finally arrive at a desired destination. Despite these extremes of emotions, most road trips are designed to reconnect with distant family or to enjoy a notable vacation spot, while leaving behind, for what is perceived as a brief moment, the duties of life.
In mid-October my wife and I went on a road trip to North Carolina and then to Florida to reconnect with our family and we enjoyed together the sights, sounds, and cuisines notable to our destinations, while at the very least geographically leaving behind, for what was a perceived moment, our duties of life. As most know from experience, when we arrived home, we needed a vacation from our vacation. Road trips are fun and enjoyable, but they are also stressful and exhausting at the same time. As Dorothy on the Wizard of OZ said, “There is no place like home.”
As we go through this Christmas season, many families wanting to do a road trip to visit distant family and friends will not venture out to do so because of the existence of the COVID-19 virus. I have already heard about plans being scratched, large family gatherings curtailed, and flight reservations and hotel accommodations cancelled this year. There is an underlining angst about being out in the public square, around people we do not know, due to the growing reports of more people contracting this virus. Therefore, instead of doing a road trip, families are choosing the comfort and safety of their homes. They are hunkering down and planning to scale down the celebration of the Christ child’s birth with immediate family members only during the Christmas season.
Well, if this is the new normal, by a majority of people in our country, then we will experience an unprecedented time in our history as a nation. The reverberations of such decisions of inaction will impact us not only socially, but also economically, physically, and most importantly spiritually. There will be a significant disconnect among family institutions. There will be substantial declines of revenue in the marketplace. And there could be considerable reduction of spiritual vitality and growth among churches across our land.
With this in mind, we as believers, living in these present conditions, must be wise to take necessary precautions to ward off contracting and spreading the virus by practicing social distancing, washing our hands, and even wearing masks when deemed necessary. However, we as believers must not operate in a spirit of fear, but in the reality of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, remembering the wondrous story of the Christ of Christmas and take time to rejoice together as the redeemed Church of God in celebration of our Savior’s birth.
To the glory of God
Steven L. Myers
December Pulpit Schedule
6th – Live Worthy in Unity with Christ – Hebrews 2:5-18; Luke 1:8-23; Philippians 1:27-2:4
The Apostle Paul’s call to unity is not for unity sake; it is a call to unity rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church must stand firm and strive for the unity of faith amid opposition, conflict and suffering for the cause of Christ. As we live worthy in unity with Christ, we will discover we are secured by the love and joy of the Lord, to love and serve Him and one another.
13th – Jesus Christ Is Our Example! – Isaiah 53:1-12; Luke 1:26-38, 46-55; Philippians 2:5-11
Paul’s call to unity with Christ climaxes with a brilliant hymn exalting Jesus Christ as our supreme example through His humiliation, His sacrificial death and His exaltation at His Father’s righthand. The proclamation of Christ’s birth came by an angel from heaven; yet Jesus miraculous birth was in a lowly manger and his life on earth is portrayed by humiliation and by the final rejection leading to His sacrificial death on a cross. Yet, Jesus’ resurrection and exaltation proves His victory over sin; He whom all men will one day bow down. Let us follow in His steps in obedient faith with an assured hope of being with Him in glory.
20th – Shine as Lights in the World – Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 1:67-79; Philippians 2:12-18
God is working in believers His salvation and we are to work out what God is working in us. When we faithfully do, we clearly illuminate the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This working out of our salvation is not easy; in fact, it can be very costly and hard because we battle against a corrupt world, sinful flesh, and attacks of the devil. Despite this, we can rejoice that God is working in us to shine for His glory as witnesses of Christ’s saving work. Let us shine for Jesus, the Light of the world!
24th – Celebrate the Christ of Christmas – Psalm 148; Luke 2:1-20; Revelation 5:1-14
The eternal Son of God of glory enters an incarnate life by a miraculous conception of a virgin, Mary, to fulfill His glorious purpose of becoming the Savior of the world. The God who inhabits the praises of His people inhabited the world He created to rescue sinners selected for salvation. This is a cause for great celebration! Together, let us sing praises and give thanks to God for His gracious gift of love, who humbly came on that holy night, the Christ of Christmas.
27th – Spiritual Vitality Must Be Preserved – Psalm 51; Matthew 2:1-12; Philippians 2:19-30
When dealing with a major medical condition it may not be enough to have an invasive surgical procedure to correct the issue. Medically supervised antiseptic measures and rehabilitative treatments are required to promote healing to insure recovery. This is true spiritually as well. The vitality of one’s new life in Christ requires Spirit-led treatments to remain spiritually healthy. Paul knew believers needed such reinforcement to preserve the spiritual vitality of the church; so, he sends Timothy and Epaphroditus to model and minister for their welfare.
Sign Up & Get Involved!
December is the time when we encourage our members to voluntarily sign up and get involved in various committees that will be meeting in the new year. These committees do a tremendous number of things throughout the year. One evidence of a committee’s work is the beautiful decorations displayed around the church building during the Christmas season.
- Committee Sign-up Sheets listing the names and purposes of each committee, along with the assigned Consistory representative, are arranged on a table in the narthex. If you have any questions about the committee you may contact the Consistory man or contact the church office to receive more information about the committees, you are interested in joining. This is a great way to serve the Lord and get to know other members in the church while contributing to the overall health and welfare of the church and the community. Please sign -up and get involved! You will be blessed, and you will be a blessing to others as well.
- Meal Ministry – We need volunteers to provide nourishing meals to folks that have been in the hospital or who have had an occasion where a meal delivered gives comfort, love and help in times of need. A sign-up sheet is posted on the narthex bulletin board for folks wanting to assist having difficult times in life. Please consider using your culinary abilities to bless others.
- Flower Chart – Have you noticed the colorful fragrant flower arrangements each Sunday morning during the worship service? Well, these gorgeous flower bouquets are sponsored by individuals and families of our congregation. Sometimes they are given in memory of a loved one who died; other times they mark a milestone of wedding anniversaries or special birthdays or in thanksgiving to God for salvation. If you would like to sponsor a flower arrangement, please sign-up on the chart posted in the narthex.
- Prayer Chain – We do not have a sign-up for this exclusive prayer ministry. What happens is members led by the Lord to be prayer intercessors will contact the church office and request to be on the prayer chain. Prayer requests are submitted to the office and disseminated by the office to those active on the prayer chain list to pray.
Sunday School Teacher & Assistant
Did you know that each year Leidy’s is blessed with wonderful folks who come alongside families and help kids know and follow Jesus? They are called Sunday School Teachers, and we have the best. However, we have a few Sunday School teaching or assisting needs. Please consider joining the Sunday School teaching squad as they communicate the love of Christ to the kids of Leidy’s church. lease contact the church office to sign up as a teacher or assistant this spring.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
I am not much of a singer. I do not sing very often (not even in the shower), and when I do sing, it does not sound very good (just ask the people around me on Sunday morning). Yet, there is something wonderful about giving voice to truths of the gospel in song. I realize that as I begin this newsletter article about singing (and worship) I may well be headed for the deep weeds. After all, there are precious few things that are less agreed upon in a church than the style and content of the worship service. However, as God’s people it is critical that we find wonder and awe in our worship of God. As we do so, thinking deeply about the songs we sing and those who wrote them is necessary.
Consider John Newton. Remember, he was the English slave trader turned abolitionist pastor and writer of “Amazing Grace”. He wrote many other songs and hymns. My favorite is called “Let us Love, and Sing, and Wonder”. This hymn, which is not in our hymnal, is an excellent and visually powerful summary of the gospel. The first verse describes the work of Christ as hushing the Law’s loud thunder and quenching mount Sinai’s flame. In short, it describes the wonderful work of the Lord Jesus to free us from the death and destruction of our sin by perfectly satisfying the righteous requirements of the Law.
My favorite verse in my favorite John Newton hymn is verse three. It says, “Let us sing, though fierce temptations threaten hard to bear us down! For the Lord, our strong salvation holds in view the conqu’ror’s crown; He that wash’d us with His blood, soon will bring us home to God.” In this verse John Newton is describing redeemed sinners as they face temptations (a state all Christians can understand). As a remedy to the temptation which threatens to bear them down, Newton describes the Savior holding the conquering crown. This picture raises an interesting question. Why would the Lord Jesus hold the conquering crown?
You might think that the Lord Jesus is holding His own crown, but that does not really make sense. When Paul describes the Lord Jesus in Ephesians 1:20-23 he wrote that Jesus was SEATED AT THE FATHER’S RIGHT HAND, FAR ABOVE ALL RULE AND AUTHORITY, with ALL THINGS PUT IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET, and HEAD OVER ALL THINGS TO THE CHURCH. While it does not use the word crown to describe Jesus, it is clear that He is ruling and any crown that He might have is already upon His head. Again, why would the Lord Jesus be holding the conquering crown?
The conquering crown the Lord Jesus holds is for His people. It is for you and me. Remember Paul’s words in Romans 8:37. BUT IN ALL THESE THINGS (which include distresses which tempt us away from the Lord) WE OVERWHELMINGLY CONQUER THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US. When we look to Christ, we recognize that He perfectly satisfied the requirements of the Law and He overcame every temptation in doing so. He is also at work by His Holy Spirit in us. That means that because of the work of Christ, we overwhelmingly conquer all adversity and temptation. While temptation is not something we will be without this side of eternity, when it comes, we can look to the Lord Jesus and recognize that in Him we have the victor’s crown. As we reflect on that, let us love, and sing, and wonder the Lord who redeems us!
To the Praise of His glory,
Michael W. Nowling
Christmas Happenings …
The Advent season is upon us! This joyous season of the year helps us celebrate the first Advent of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The first Sunday of Advent is already past; for we assembled to worship and we shared in the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him. Likewise, on that same afternoon, we had our annual Advent Workshop; where people, young and older, made Christmas decorations and gifts and enjoyed slices of pizza and drinks together.
As we continue to celebrate the Advent season, climaxing on Christmas Day, Jesus’ birthday, there are several events slated to happen, which may pique your interest to get involved.
On Sunday evening December 6th at 5:00 pm our Consistory men with their wives will come together to celebrate the 1st Advent of Jesus Christ at our annual Christmas dinner, which will be held in the Fellowship Hall. There will be a delicious variety of foods and beverages to tantalize everybody’s palates as we fellowship around the tables, possibly sharing memorable stories of Christmases past with families and friends and then sing Christmas carols together.
On Sunday afternoon December 13th at 2:00 pm our Christmas Carolers will assemble in the Fellowship Hall to pray together and receive routes for singing Christmas carols to many of our shut-ins and those recently hospitalized and in recovery. Carolers need to dress appropriately for wintry conditions, since our singing will primarily be done outside. Hot chocolate, tea, coffee and cold drinks with pizza and other tasty treats will await us when we arrive back.
On Thursday night December 24th at 7 pm Leidy’s Church will have its Christmas Eve worship service. Pre-service special music highlighting the theme of the joys of the Christ of Christmas will happen at 6:30 pm. We will sing some of our favorite Christmas songs while being accompanied by musical instrumentation. Dressed in our Christmas outfits, we will listen to the lovely Christmas story recounting the promise of the Christ child, who came into this sinful world as a baby swaddled and lying in a manger, and picture the gathering of shepherds and hear the declaration of a heavenly host of angels. God became man to live among us and permits us to behold His glory as the one unique Son of the Father full of grace and truth. We will close the service by candlelight and the singing of Silent Night.
Well, there you have it! These are the Christmas happenings! Let us rejoice, sing praises and give thanks to our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ! He is God’s Awesome Gift to us!
Update, Wrap-Up, & Pump Up for the Erukulu People
It was one year ago that folk from Leidy’s Church began putting away One Dollar a Day each day. The program is called Gospel Gleanings. Intended to bring the gospel to a people group that have never heard of the gospel or the name of Jesus, the funding portion of the program concluded with the last Sunday of November. What’s happened in this past year?
First of all, individuals and families who signed up to participate in Gospel Gleanings have been faithful to set aside that dollar each day and then bring it to church on the last Sunday of the month. To fully fund the outreach to the Erukulu people requires $31,750. As this article is being written, the total giving through Gospel Gleanings is just over $33,000! And we still have the final Sunday of November’s giving to come in. Praise the Lord! The three-year outreach to the Erukulu people will be fully funded.
While we can keep accounting ledgers to show the dollars given, only God knows what the spiritual ledger shows with regard to the prayers that accompanied those dollars. When the dollar was “gleaned” or set aside each day, as it made its way into the silk purse there were prayers going up to God for His mercy and work among the Erukulu people. Just as each dollar put aside will have an impact over the next three years, so will those prayers. But while the dollars will stop accruing, the prayers will go forward unabated.
Prayers were needed for the Glad Tidings India personnel in India this past year. Covid 19 hit India too. The Bible Literacy Classes were supposed to have begun in March of 2020. That didn’t happen. It was not until October of 2020 that classes could get underway. For two hours a night, five days a week, for ten consecutive months 15 literacy teachers will each lead a class of 30 students. That adds up to 450 individuals who began October of 2020 not being able to read, write, or do basic math. The Lord willing, by next August those 450 individuals will be able to do all that and much more. They are leaning to read with Bible-content lessons. They are hearing the good news of Jesus. They are leaning about the salvation He offers. They also are learning how to keep personal finances. They are learning about personal hygiene. In short, these are life transforming classes. They are taking place because of our gleaning a dollar a day. Hallelujah!
Though we won’t be putting aside a dollar a day for the Erukulu people over the next two years, we do want to continue to pray for God’s work among them. The second year of this program will feature 10 church planters working among the Erukulu people. Each church planter will visit 1,000 or more homes. They also will be leading prayer cells and small church gatherings that developed from the Literacy Program. Finally, in the third year of this outreach, VBS programs for 1,000 children will take place. In addition, literacy classes for another 300 adults will take place. In three years the Erukulu will go from an unreached people group, to a people who have heard and, by God’s grace, received the good news of Jesus, the One who is the Light of the World.
We want to stay pumped up and faithful in our intercessions. Reports from India will continue to come in documenting what is happening among the Erukulu, how God is moving, and how we can pray. Let’s keep our eyes and ears and hearts attuned to what the Holy Spirit is doing among the Erukulu people.
Ladies of Leidy’s
All ladies, you are invited to attend The World’s Best Cooks Christmas Potluck Dinner, on Tuesday, December 8th at 6:30 pm, in the Fellowship Hall. Please sign the sheet in the Narthex so we can set a place for you, and you will enjoy a wonderful evening.
Our next Ladies of Leidy’s Meeting will not be until January 5, 2021. Goodbye 2020!
We will be having lots of laughs at our next meeting, because we will be sharing a joke that tickled our funny bone. This is a good way to start the New Year with a joyful heart.
Merry Christmas and Many Blessing to all our church family from the Ladies of Leidy’s Ministry.
New Precept Class
Galatians – Who Has Bewitched You? Why and How? We have freedom because Christ made us free. So stand strong, do not change and go back to the slavery of the Law (5:1). Galatians is a God-breathed book written with a confident hand. Paul was not shaken, he didn’t waver, and his belief didn’t falter. Neither should ours! Classes begin on January 6th from 9-11:30, leader, Marci Stunkard followed by video teaching. To order workbooks please contact Verna at 215-237-1370. Cost of the workbook is $16.
For A Job Well Done – Thank You!
On December 27th there will be an official change on Consistory; one man completing six years of faithful service, while another man is installed as a newly appointed deacon on Consistory for the term of 2021-2023. The man departing from Consistory is Ed Schmidt, who has faithfully served our church family with godly sincerity and truth. Ed was the Consistory representative of the Outreach Committee; he also faithfully shares in gospel outreaches and at the Men’s Bible study on Friday mornings. Ed facilitates a growth group for members and friends of our congregation and plans to continue ministering in these areas. On behalf of the men of Consistory, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Ed Schmidt, for a job well done!
The man newly appointed to Consistory is Aaron Vogelzang. He was introduced to the congregation in the July/August newsletter as a nominated deacon to Consistory. His wife Alisha serves on the Pulpit Committee. Aaron and Alisha are parents of four children, and they are active in a small group. We commend Aaron to his service as a deacon of Leidy’s Church and to God. May the Lord bless and guide him to be fruitful in His service as deacon.
Other men currently serving on Consistory and nominated for a second term are John DiLenge as an elder; Jim Kinney as a second term deacon; and Tim Leidy as a second term deacon.
May the blessings of God Almighty be with each of these men and their families as they serve of Lord on Consistory in 2021.
Gospel Gleanings has New Focus
Perhaps the most famous “Gleaner” in history is Ruth. You remember her. She is the great-grandmother of King David. Though born a Moabite, she became an Israelite when she made the decision to go with her mother-in-law Naomi to Israel. As two widows, Naomi and Ruth were virtually destitute. It was barley harvest season when they returned to Israel, so Ruth went into the fields and gleaned in the field after the reapers. [Ruth 2:3] Not only did she find food, in due time she was found by a redeemer who became her husband. His name was Boaz. They had a son named Obed who had a son named Jesse who had a son named David and several centuries later a boy named Jesus was born to that line. Gleaning turned out to be quite fruitful!
For the past year the Gospel Gleanings initiative at Leidy’s Church has been quite fruitful as well. It is leading folk in India among the Erukulu people to that boy named Jesus too! And such will be the case for a couple more years.
But Gospel Gleanings has a new focus as we have a new season of Advent. From December 2020 through November 2021 the countries of Chad and Niger become our focus. Partnering with the Lancaster-based mission organization Global Disciples, Leidy’s Church purposes to underwrite the planting of new churches among the unreached people groups in those two north-central African countries.
A dollar-a-day represents our gleanings, things in the corners of our fields that fall by the wayside. A dollar-a-day will not get you a large fountain drink from McDonald’s, but, as we pool our dollar-a-day gleanings, it will bring the lifegiving fruit of the gospel to unreached people groups in Chad and Niger. Our gleanings will lead to Jesus, the Redeemer each person needs.
Here’s what Leviticus 19:9-10 says: Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of our harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and stranger. I am the Lord your God.
Mission Project Explained
On December 6th, Galen Burkholder and Tim Bentch from the organization Global Disciples will be in the Issues and Answers class. They will explain how our Gospel Gleanings offerings this coming year will result in churches being planted among the unreached people groups of Chad and Niger.
Mr. Burkholder founded Global Disciples just over a decade ago. It’s been greatly used of the Holy Spirit to lead the way in a biblical-faithful, locally-led, sustainable planting of churches among people groups not reached with the gospel previously. It is an inspiring story and strategy. Everyone is invited/encouraged to come out and find out what God is doing and how we can be part of it.
March for Life 2021
On January 29, 2021, a Perkiomen Coach will transport pro-life supporters from the parking lot of Immanuel Leidy’s Church to Washington D.C. to join tens of thousands of other pro-life advocates converging on the National Mall to march together in protest against abortion on the 47th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion in all 50 states.
This is by far the largest gathering of U.S. citizens peacefully protesting the violation of human rights in defense of the unborn of humanity. The theme for 2021 is “Together Strong: Life Unites”! Other thematic mantras are: “Together, We Gather To Celebrate Life”, “We celebrate life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural birth, and every moment in between.”
The March for Life Rally starts at noon at 12th St. on the National Mall, and right after the rally, around 1:00 pm, the peaceful, energetic, protest march commences up Constitution Ave. and around to the U.S. Supreme Court Building, where, upon its honorable steps, testimonies by Representatives and Senators advocating for human life will speak.
In addition to the March for Life, participants gathering on the National Mall will have time to visit museums and take in memorable sights all around the area before and after the rally and March for Life.
To secure your seat on the Perkiomen Coach on January 29th, please make your registration by contacting the Leidy’s Church office or sign-up on the March for Life Sheet posted on the narthex bulletin board during the month of December. We plan to leave the Leidy’s Church parking lot at 6 am and should return between 8 and 9 pm. The cost per person is still only $12. Please do not delay to sign-up so that we can insure your participation in the March for Life event.
Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting
We have an unwritten motto at Leidy’s Church that most know about and participate in and that is “if you feed them, they will come.” Well, as most church family meetings take place, food typically accompanies the meetings. So, in keeping with our unrecorded motto, we are planning to have our annual Leidy’s Church Congregational Dinner and Business Meeting on Saturday, January 16, 2021. Registration forms for the meal will be in bulletins and placed at the Welcome Desk for your convenience.
The Kitchen Committee will spearhead the dinner by providing a hearty meal, but they will need an accurate count to help them prepare and plan a delicious dinner for all to enjoy. So please try to submit your registration form earlier rather than later to assist our folks.
After dinner we will commence with the Business Meeting by dismissing the children, aged 11 and under, to the competent hands of Pastor Michael and his team of youth volunteers to provide childcare. As the children exit and tables are cleared, the annual report will be distributed to all members for the business meeting.
This newsletter article should be considered as the official notification to all members of Immanuel Leidy’s Church of our annual Business Meeting.
On Wednesday, November 4th, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church met at 7:31 pm, and minutes were taken of the meeting, from which relevant notes are listed below.
- Nathan Kulp was scheduled to lead us in devotions but was absent. So, Dave Reich, President of Consistory, opened the meeting with prayer asking for God’s guidance and discernment of the meeting.
- Minutes from our meeting on October 7th were presented. Dana Gehman was requested to attend and he presented a detailed summary of General Fund giving and expenses for the month of October, highlighting some building expenses being higher than normal, which was potentially caused by I.T. Landis’ annual maintenance of the heating and cooling systems of the church building. Miscellaneous expenses for a new soundboard and other related installation charges were also identified as additional expenses.
- After the approval of the October financial report by Consistory, Dana presented the proposed budget for the year 2021. Dana stressed that 2020 was an atypical year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the 2021 proposed budget is based on a normal year. The series of budget line items were reviewed, with the elimination of the Worship & Technology Pastor Position and the addition of a part-time I.T. position, which was filled by Sam Im. A 2% raise was proposed for all staff, with a 20% added compensation for both pastors until the senior pastor’s position is filled. The total preliminary budget for 2021 was accepted by Consistory with these revisions and was voted on to be presented to the congregation for approval at our annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
- Items of business discussed were the wicking and steeple projects, the HUB window project, the HUB roof repairs and oil tank replacement quotes, the HUB assessment committee update, and the part-time IT position, and the pulpit committee and preaching schedule updates. It was decided by Consistory to remove the old oil tank and replace it with a new “double-walled new tank at the HUB.
- After reviewing the pastor’s reports and the various committee reports, we discussed three events that are being planned. First, the annual Consistory Retreat will be on January 29th-30th. Second, a Spiritual Leadership Retreat to be held at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference. The guest speaker will be Dr. Timothy Z. Witmer, author of the book, “The Shepherd Leader”. Third, the Consistory Christmas Dinner will be held in the fellowship hall on December 6th at 5:30 pm.
We closed the meeting with a time of intercessory prayers and the Lord’s prayer at 10:13 pm.
The New City Catechism – Question 3: How many persons are there in God?
There are three persons in the one true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. they are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Commentary – Richard Baxter
The great mystery of the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, being one God, is made necessary to us to be believed, not only as to the eternal unsearchable Inexistence, but especially for the knowledge of God’s three great sorts of works on man: that is, as our Creator, and the God of nature; as our Redeemer, and the God of governing and reconciling grace; and as our Sanctifier, and the Applier and Perfecter of all to fit us to glory . . .
God is one infinite, undivided Spirit; and yet that he is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, must be believed. . . .
How is it to be proved that the Holy Ghost is God? We are to be baptized into the belief of him as of the Father and the Son, and in that he doth the works proper to God, and hath the attributes of God in Scripture.
The doctrine of the Trinity is the most important Christian doctrine that most people never think about. It’s absolutely essential to our faith, and yet for many Christians it just seems like a very confusing math problem. And even if we can figure out what Trinity means, it doesn’t feel like it has much bearing on our lives, much relevance to us.
The word Trinity, famously, is not found in the Bible, but the word does very well at capturing a number of biblical truths. There are actually seven statements that go into the doctrine of the Trinity:
- God is one. There’s only one God.
- The Father is God.
- The Son is God.
- The Holy Spirit is God.
- The Father is not the Son.
- The Son is not the Spirit.
- The Spirit is not the Father.
If you get those seven statements, then you’ve captured the doctrine of the Trinity—what it means when we say there is one God and three persons.
Christians are monotheists. We don’t believe in many gods or a pantheon of gods but just one God, and this God expresses himself and exists as three persons. That language of persons is very important. The early church wrestled with the appropriate language, and persons aptly speaks to the personality of the three members of the Trinity and also their relationship with each other; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit coinhere as one essence, and yet there are distinctions. One is not the other, but they’re equal in rank, equal in power, equal in glory, equal in majesty. Just as Jesus sends out the disciples to go baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we see this doctrine of the Holy Trinity woven throughout the Scriptures.
Even more confusing to people is the question “Why does this even matter? Okay, I understand I got three in one, one in three. What difference does this make for anything in my Christian Life?” In good Trinitarian fashion, I think there are three important things that the doctrine means for us.
First, the Trinity helps us to understand how there can be unity in diversity. This is one of the most pressing questions in our world. Some folks focus almost exclusively on diversity, on the fact that people are so different. They don’t see any common ground. Others want to press for complete uniformity in thought, in government, and in expression. The Trinity shows us that you can have a profound, real, organic unity with diversity, so that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are working in complete union in our salvation. The Father appoints. The Son accomplished. The Spirit applies. We encounter God as fully God in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. And yet, their divine work is neither interchangeable nor redundant.
Second, when you have a triune God, you have the eternality of love. Love has existed from all time. If you have a god who is not three persons, he has to create a being to love, to be an expression of his love. But Father, Son, and Holy Spirit existing in eternity have always had this relationship of love. So love is not a created thing. God didn’t have to go outside of himself to love. Love is eternal. And when you have a triune God, you have fully this God who is love.
Finally, and most importantly, the doctrine of the Trinity is crucial for the Christian because there is nothing more important in all the world than knowing God. If God exists as one God in three persons, if the one divine essence subsists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, if we are baptized into this triune name, then no Christian should want to be ignorant of these Trinitarian realities. In the end, the Trinity matters because God matters.
Within the Fellowship
Congratulations to Nathan and Bekah Kulp at the birth of a son, Levi William. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Donna Weiss and family at the death of Norm. May God be with them at this difficult time.
iBLAST touching down
The fall semester of iBLAST has just finished and a huge thank you goes to the folks who help make this ministry possible! iBLAST is going to take a couple of weeks off so that families can enjoy the holiday season together. However, iBLAST will resume on January 13th. While we had a great time this semester learning about Daniel’s life in exile, we do need some help as we look to the spring. If you would like to help kids learn how to understand and apply God’s word to their lives, please contact the office to help. We have several different roles that need to be filled.
The Low Down on the Lock-In
Youth Fellowship: don’t be Left Out! The Lock-In is Lighting Up calendars on December 29th. From 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Youth Fellowship is invited to participate in the annual event. There will be food, games, food, fellowship, food, coffee for volunteers, and food. Did I mention there will be food? If you have any questions, please contact pastor Michael. Parents, please know that disobedient children will have a mandatory meditative prayer time at 3:00 a.m.
- Usher Captain Coordinator: Tony Wilwert
- Usher Captains: Kendall Musselman, Jeff Schatz
- Ushers: Bob Bugge, Dave Kirkpatrick, Sherman Focht, Doug Elliott, Bill Seiler, Steve Bandura, Dave Walbrandt, Dana Gehman, Bob Shafer, Delton Plank, Jerry Kulp, Stan Ott, Roger Jones, Justin Coale.