Christmas Is Christ!
It is hard to believe that we are less than a month away from celebrating Christmas Day. I am sure that many of you are feeling the pinch as I am over the preparations and purchases that happen before we gather together as families for this joyous celebration of our Savior’s birth. To be honest, I do not think I will get everything done. How about you?
But as we reflect on these assumed weights of responsibilities, we need to ask ourselves the question, which annually comes to mind at this special time of the year: Why are we doing this anyway? Is the motive behind our hustle and bustle drawing us and others we love to an attitude of gratitude and worship of God for the precious gift of His Son? Or are we once again being caught up in the materialistic constructs of holiday media frenzy which drives a sense of urgency to spend, that either depletes our bank balances or raises our charge accounts.
Christmas is Christ! Christmas is not necessarily the giving and receiving of gifts, but the grateful receiving of God’s Gift! This concept may not sit well with many of us, and it may mean that our focus is more on giving and receiving gifts, then on celebrating the Gift God has given to us. As the angelic messenger spoke to the shepherds long ago: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Christmas is Christ! Christmas is remembering God’s love for the world that sent His Son into the world to become the only Savior for sinners. It meant that the Son of God, miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit of a virgin, Mary, was born a man, Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life, and sacrificially died to atone for sin on a bloody cross, and who rose again from the grave, never to die again, for those He came to save.
Christmas is Christ! Christmas is recalling the true story of Jesus Christ who died and rose again for our redemption, who is exalted in heaven at His Father’s right hand, and who is coming again to receive His redeemed people unto Himself, so that where He is there we will be also.
To the glory of God
Steven L. Myers
December Pulpit Schedule
5th – “Know & Love God? Obey His Word!” – Leviticus 19:13-19; Matthew 19:16-30; 1 John 2.3-17
Most people you come in contact with today would tell you that they know God exists, and if they had any Christian roots, they would tell you that they love God too. However, if you pressed further about what they know of God and how they demonstrate love for God, your conversation might come to a respectful end. In order for us to know and love God we must know, love, and obey Christ as revealed in His Word. This is a proven truth we all must heed.
12th – “Beware of the Spirit of Antichrist” – Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43; 1 Timothy 4: 1-11; 1 John 2:18-27
John tells us that the spirit of antichrist is coming and has come into the world. Our archenemy, Satan, is the chief antichrist in Scripture; for he deceives the nations with his lies in direct opposition of God and God’s truth of Scripture. We are told to beware of the diabolical seeds sown by the devil, which appear as expressions of light, but are odious lies of treachery and defeat for those who succumb to them. We will learn more about why we must beware.
19th – “Live Purified as Beloved Children of God” – Psalm 51:1-19; Matthew 1:18-25; 1 John 2:28-3:3
The truth that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary cannot be overlooked or overstated; for the incarnation of the Son of God is contingent on the miraculous truth that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and born a man. Jesus’ sinless life, sacrificial atoning death on a cross, and resurrection from death, all point to the salvation of His people. Believers in Christ are called to live in newness of life. Let us see how crucial this is for life now and for eternity.
24th – “God of Light & Life Gifts His Son on Christmas” Genesis 1:1-3; Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 2:1-12 John 1:1-14; 3:16-21; Luke 1:26-2:20; Revelation 5:9-14; 21:1-7; 22:22-24
As we gather together on this Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, may we be challenged by His glorious purpose of coming into this world to be the Savior of sinners. As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” Jesus is the Light of the world. He came to seek and to save those who were loss. Together, let us rejoice, sing praises, and give thanks to God for His incalculable Gift of love and grace.
26th – “Practicing What We Preach” – Jeremiah 31:31-34; 2 Corinthian 5:12-20; 1 John 3:4-24
The title of this sermon you heard before. It ties to another truism: “Your actions speak so loudly; I cannot hear what you are saying.” People are watching to see if our Christian walk matches our talk. Some conclude that Christians are hypocrites because conduct does not match Christian claims. Though we might be defensive or dismissive about such criticisms, we must not think that godly qualities, such as righteousness and love are not being granted us by God’s Spirit, so we live worthily of the Gospel. God calls us to put into practice what we preach.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
Psalm 34:8 says O TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD; HOW BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO TAKES REFUGE IN HIM! Here David couples a wonderful declaration with a sweet invitation. The Lord is good is altogether good. There is no shadow of turning with Him. This goodness is not an ethereal goodness. David, in this Psalm invites people to experience the goodness of God. This is to say that you and I are encouraged to critically engage with the Lord in all the circumstances of life. As we do so, we will learn and enjoy the goodness of God.
As I reflect upon Psalm 34:8, I rejoice because God is good. At the same time, a portion of my thoughts wonder if this is so. Even more, I wonder how I might be able to evaluate this sort of assertion. God is not an experiment. The Scriptures declare that YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST. This means in part that we should not seek to quantify the Lord as if mixing chemicals in a laboratory.
Naturally, as I seek to examine whether the Lord is good, I look at those around me. How do people determine if the Lord is good? Increasingly, this world and culture have determined that the Lord is not good (and indeed not real). How are Christians to understand that God is real and good when seemingly rational people all around us have abandoned any measure of faith in the Lord?
The answer is twofold. First, we must rightly understand the world and its assumptions. To say it another way. Christians must understand the definitions in the conversation with folks who are opposed to Christ. Too often we fail to understand the way in which others use words we know in unfamiliar or incorrect ways. In a lighthearted example. I might say that hippopotami can fly. In the face of your deep skepticism, I would assure you I have indeed witnessed hippopotami flying across the sky. I might even express significant shock that you had not also seen such a wonder. Both of us might well be wondering if the other was in serious need of medical attention. At least, you would until you ask, “What sound does a hippopotamus make?” I would respond by saying, “Thump, thump, thump. Can’t you hear it on the traffic report as the hippopotamus is flying over the city?” At that point you realize that we are both using the same word but in radically different ways. A helicopter and a hippopotamus are hardly interchangeable.
We live in a world that is obsessed with being real, knowing what is real, trusting what is real. However, not everyone uses the same definition of real. Nonbelievers usually think that in order for something to exist or be real it must be quantifiable. That is to say, a thing must be able to be seen, heard, touched, tasted, or smelled. In order for a thing (or person) to be real it must conform to the laws of nature as man defines them. Of course, this idea shows the problem. Man is defining the terms of what is real. The Lord does not conform to the definitions of man. He does not have to. Instead, we are to accept His definitions for what is real. This includes, among other things, the evidence of His creative work which the heavens declare with unceasing beauty, might, and majesty.
Second, we must take the Lord at His Word. We should taste and see that the Lord is good. We should honestly and with as much objectivity as we can muster examine the way in which the Lord loves us, cares for us, sustains us, pursues us, redeems us, and calls us friend. As you do so, may the Lord encourage your heart and may you always and forever find refuge in Him.
To the Praise of His Glory!
The Advent of Christmas …
This joyous season of the year is a celebration of the first Advent of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We already assembled to worship and share in the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him on the first Sunday of Advent. That same afternoon, we had our annual Advent Workshop; where people of all ages 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 lined up, which may rouse your interest to get involved.
On Saturday evening December 4th, starting at 6:00 pm our Consistory men with their wives will come together to celebrate the 1st Advent of Jesus Christ at our annual Consistory Christmas dinner in the Fellowship Hall. A delicious variety of foods, desserts, and beverages to satisfy everyone’s palate will be served as we fellowship around the tables, sharing memorable stories of Christmases past with families and friends and then sing Christmas carols together.
On Sunday afternoon December 12th at 2:00 pm Christmas Carolers will gather 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 some singing venues will be done outside. Hot chocolate, tea, coffee and cold drinks with pizza and Christmas treats will await us on our arrival back to the church.
On Friday night December 24th at 7 pm Leidy’s Church will have its Christmas Eve worship service. Pre-service special music on the theme of the joys of Christ’s birth on Christmas will begin at 6:30 pm. The corporate singing of our favorite Christmas songs will convey our gratefulness to God for sending us the greatest Gift of His Son, Jesus. Dressed in Christmas refinements, we will listen to the Christmas story recounting the promise of the Christ child, who through miraculous conception was born into this sinful world as a baby swaddled and lying in a manger and imagine the portrait of shepherds hearing the heavenly angelic host. God became man to live among us and to behold His glory as the one unique Son of the Father full of grace and truth. We will close our worship service by serving Holy Communion followed by the lighting of our candles and the singing of Silent Night.
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!
Christmas Parade in Souderton
Souderton Borough’s Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, December 4th, starting at 11:00 AM. This annual event is full of excitement for the young and the young at heart. The Care Committee of Leidy’s Church will have a float at the parade, and members are encouraged to volunteer by handing out Christmas candy and gospel tracts to the crowds in attendance.
Here are ways you can help the Care Committee make this year’s Christmas float the best ever:
We still need some people to volunteer to ride on the float in costume.
We still need other folks to walk alongside the float to hand out special goodies and church invitations to the crowds lining up and down the street route.
Everyone involved will let their light shine for Jesus as they meet and greet the people in our community and share the love of God through the message of the Christ of Christmas.
If you would like to join in the fun for this special event, please contact Ken Merritt, Sarah Nowling, or call the church office. Someone from the Care Committee will get in touch with you and fill you in on all the details.
God bless us all as we reach out in the name of the Christ of Christmas!
Mark your calendars. 2022 will be here before you know it. With the coming of the new year is a brand-new full semester of iBLAST. The semester will begin on January 19 at 6:00 and will run for 10 weeks. As always there will be family dinners starting at 5:15. If your 1st through 5th grader registered in the fall, they are all set for the spring. If you know of someone in our fellowship, neighborhood, or community who would like to join us, they are able to sign up at Leidyschurch.org/iblast.
Within the Fellowship
Congratulations to Tim and Rachel Leidy at the dedication of their son, Jonas James. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Ladies of Leidy’s
Our December meeting of Ladies of Leidy’s will be held on Tuesday, December 7th at 7pm. We will be meeting in the Fellowship Hall. All ladies of the congregation are welcome to attend. We will have our regular business meeting and also enjoy some time of fellowship.
Ladies, please remember that we are collecting food items for the Souderton Beanbag feeding program. You can bring any food donations to church and place in bin located in the coat room area. You can also bring any donations to our December meeting. There are sheets with list of suggested items in the coat room near the collection bin.
Seasons of Change
A ministry for any level of widowhood will be meeting Tuesday, December 21st. If you (or know of someone) in need of connection, comfort and also a challenge at this time, please join us. We meet in the sanctuary from 6:30-8:30 pm. Contact Verna (email@example.com) or Donna (firstname.lastname@example.org) if questions.
Brass Band Concert
The Penn View Brass Band will again be performing at Leidy’s Church on Sunday, December 12th at 7:00 p.m.
The British-style brass band will perform seasonal favorites, classics, popular tunes and well-known Christmas carols.
The band is made up of 25 brass players playing cornets, a flugelhorn, tenor horns, baritone horns, euphoniums, trombones, and two sizes of tubas. Three percussionists provide the pulse and punctuation, and the organ will round out the majestic sounds of the season.
The audience will be invited to sing along with the band for several Christmas carols.
Admission is free but a free-will offering will be taken and will be going to Night to Shine.
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, will be 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.
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.
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.
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.
March for Life 2022
Friday, January 21st is the date for the 2022 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Leidy’s Church will be sending a bus (maybe two?) to the March again this year. A sign-up sheet is posted in the narthex. Cost will be $15 per person for the round-trip ride in a comfortable Perkiomen tour coach. It’s a steal of a deal that can’t be beat.
The theme of the 2022 March for Life is Equality Begins in the Womb. That’s another way of stating what is in the Declaration of Independence, namely, that among the unalienable rights with which we’re each endowed by God is the right to life. That right is in place from the moment of conception.
The tour coach will pull out from the Leidy’s Church parking lot at 6am on that cold Friday morning. There will be a stop for breakfast on the way down at one of the rest areas on I-95. It is hoped we’ll arrive at Union Station in D.C. early enough to allow for visitation of museums or other sites of interest prior to the beginning of the March.
At 4pm everyone is to be back at Union Station to board our coach and begin the trek home. We plan to stop at a mall food court for dinner. Our anticipated arrival time back in the Leidy’s Church parking lot is between 8 and 9 that evening.
Sonshine Players Are Back
Broadway’s Back and the Sonshine Players need to get back on stage too! Join us Saturday December 11th at 10 am in Room 123 for a Kick-off Celebration of Faith News! Everyone from Kindergarten on up is invited. Even if you weren’t part of the cast before…you can still join us. We’ll play some games, have some snacks and watch the movie again to see how much we remember! Cast from 2019: watch your mailbox for a questionnaire as to whether you are still available to come back in your old role or be considered for a new character (cause we’re all a few years older)! Practices will be Saturday mornings starting in January. Performances the end of March. If you love singing or being on stage…then Faith News Network needs you to help spread some Good News! For more information contact Donna Frueh or Laurie Plank.
Monument Unveiled for Henry Appenzeller
On November 3rd the Methodist Church of Korea held an unveiling service at Leidy’s Church. Being unveiled was the monument they had placed in the Leidy’s Church cemetery honoring Henry G. Appenzeller, a son of Leidy’s Church who was the first Protestant missionary to Korea and the founder of the Korean Methodist Church. He died at sea in 1902 and his body was never recovered. Pastor Niederhaus was invited to give a brief welcome and encouragement during the course of the service. Below is the text of his remarks:
Warm greetings in Jesus’ name. My name is John Niederhaus. From October of 1984 to July of 2020, I served the Lord Jesus as Pastor of Immanuel Leidy’s Church. I am now retired, but still very active in the life of this local congregation. On behalf of this congregation and her leadership, I welcome you to Souderton, Pennsylvania, and to Immanuel Leidy’s Church.
Souderton, Pennsylvania, and Immanuel Leidy’s Church were both “home” to Henry Appenzeller. He was born less than a mile from where we are sitting right now, just a little way up Cherry Lane. The same year he was born (1858), this congregation was founded. His parents were among the charter members. He grew up attending this church, was confirmed here, and came back to visit – and, on occasion, to preach – even after he was living in Korea. Like all of us, Henry Appenzeller had a place in his life he called home. For him, this church and this town were home.
Early in his college years Appenzeller heard the call of the Lord Jesus to leave all – including home and family – and follow Christ. He did so without reservation. While visiting his parents in December of 1884 (just up the road from here), he received the letter telling him his prayers had been answered and he was to go as a missionary to Korea, a land that had not yet heard or received the gospel of Jesus Christ. On April 5, 1885 – Easter Sunday – he stepped for the first time onto the land that became his home, namely Korea. You know the rest of the story better than I do. His apostolic labors bore rich and abundant fruit, fruit that continues to be fruitful to this very day.
Unfortunately, by 1985 – one hundred years after Rev. Appenzeller arrived in Korea – to our shame and spiritual poverty, Henry Appenzeller’s name and labors had been forgotten in this, his hometown, and this, his home church.
We praise God for the great remembering He brought to us in the early 2000s. An academic from southern California contacted me asking for information about Henry Appenzeller. I told him I had never heard of the man. He told me a little bit about him. That launched me into research mode. Soon, I became aware of the wonderful work God had done through Rev. Appenzeller’s life and ministry. During a Thanksgiving Eve service of worship, I was telling our congregation about this remarkable man. My desire was to foster a similar mission-minded, gospel-sharing life attitude among us.
Suddenly, a young woman in the second row cried out with a gasp of surprise. She was a Korean exchange student staying in the home of one of our families. She was visibly undone. I stopped the service and asked what was the matter. Do you know what she said? She said her brother attends the Appenzeller School in Korea! Then the entire congregation, including me, gasped in surprise! It was a glorious moment! It was an unveiling to us of the extraordinarily faithful and fruitful labors of one of our own men whom we had forgotten. We were thankful and blessed to learn all about Henry Appenzeller.
Since that time, we as a congregation have undertaken to support mission activities among unreached people groups – just as the Koreans were in 1885. Right now, we are actively supporting such work among unreached people groups in India as well as in the African countries of Chad and Niger. May those labors be as fruitful as those of Rev. Appenzeller.
So, I welcome you to Rev. Henry Appenzeller’s hometown and to his home church. Thanks to the strikingly beautiful and informative memorial monument you have placed in our cemetery, which will be unveiled today, succeeding generations will not forget the life and labors of Henry Appenzeller. Our prayer is that his life and example will continue to be a challenge and encouragement to us as we seek to follow the Lord Jesus faithfully and fruitfully.
Welcome. Thank you. God bless you.
Gospel Gleanings – A Report
Two years ago, in December of 2019, Leidy’s Church began the Gospel Gleanings program. We saved a dollar a day, and prayed each day, for God’s work among the Erukula people in India. How has that gone? What, if anything, has happened?
Well, the first thing that happened was Covid-19! The initial Literacy Program that was supposed to begin in March of 2020, didn’t get rolling until August/September of 2020. Thus, the first year of outreach ended almost two years after we began. Bummer, right?
Not really. It was a late start, but it proved to be a blessedly fruitful year of ministry. As you know, there were 450 students enrolled in the program via 15 meeting places with 30 students each. Here are some numbers:
- Of 450 students enrolled, 422 completed the course which ran 2 hours per night for five nights per week for 10 months. That’s called commitment. Also, a 94% completion rate!
- Included in that number were 66 children between the ages of 9 and 14 who enrolled and completed the program.
- 240 are reading God’s Word.
- 269 are taking baths regularly and wearing clean clothes.
- 104 have promised to stop child marriages.
- Average daily wages increased 100%.
- 248 students asked the Lord Jesus to be their Savior.
- 75 students were baptized.
- 271 are attending services.
Year two of the program began in October. For the next year there will be 12 Church Planters working among the Erukula people. Each will call on 1,000 homes or more. They have a good foundation to build on, the foundation put in place by the literacy program. We will want to keep them in our prayers, daily.
We praise God for allowing us to have a part in His reaching into the Erukula people and raising up a people to Himself!
Usher Captains: Dave Reich, Jeff Schatz
Ushers: Bob Bugge, Dave Kirkpatrick, Sherman Focht, Doug Elliott, Bill Seiler, Steve Bandura, Dave Walbrandt, Dana Gehman, Bob Shafer, Terry Leidy, Delton Plank, Jerry Kulp, Roger Jones, Justin Coale.
Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting
We all love to eat good food and have great fellowship around the table. Well, this congregational event is no exception! On Saturday night, January 15th, at 6:00 pm, Leidy’s Church will be hosting its annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting in the Fellowship Hall. Registration forms for the meal will be inserted in the bulletins and copies placed at the Welcome Desk so everyone can easily sign up.
The Kitchen Committee traditionally plans the dinner by providing a delicious meal complete with a variety of sweet desserts along with hot and cold beverages for us to enjoy. So please try to sign up as soon as possible, so the committee has an accurate count to prepare the meal and make all of the necessary arrangements.
After the dinner time is over, 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 budget reports 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.
Consistory Calls a Congregational Meeting!
The Consistory of Leidy’s Church has called for a congregational meeting on Sunday, December 5th, immediately after the worship service, for the purpose of electing a Consistory man for the 2022-2024 term.
The Spiritual Council had nominated two elders to replace two elders completing their terms as elders on Consistory. The two elders nominated for the 2022-2024 term were Joe Sciacca and Brian Shoemaker. The two elders going off are Ron Moyer and Dave Reich. However, Joe Sciacca is not available to serve on Consistory, so the next elder selected is Dana Gehman, who has agreed to serve as an elder on Consistory for the 2022-2024 term.
Dana Gehman is the husband of his wife, Barb, and father of two adult daughters and an adult son. Dana recently served as the chairman of our Pulpit Committee and serves on Spiritual Council, Shepherding, Missions and Financial Committees. Dana and Barb are active in a small group and have volunteered in a number of ministries of this church. We welcome and give thanks to God for Dana Gehman accepting this call to serve as an elder on Consistory.
Night to Shine 2022
Leidy’s Church will be hosting Night to Shine 2022, but due to wanting to consider the well-being of the guests, once again the Tebow Foundation decided it should be celebrated virtually. Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs, age 14 and older.
On Friday, February 11th, the virtual event will take place, but there will be a curbside pick-up for those who register to participate at Leidy’s Church on Saturday, January 29th, from 3 to 8 pm for guests to pick up their guest experience kit and experience some of the elements of the Night to Shine event.
How can you help? We will need volunteers to decorate outside earlier that day, parking lot attendants, greeters, red carpet cheerers, food prep helpers, and floaters, to name a few. Once sign-ups begin, we will share the website info so you can see where help is needed. Stay posted!
New Sunday School Class
Raising kids is hard. I know because I watched a documentary on it, and it looked like it was hard. Well, I think it looked hard. I am not really sure; I was also trying to listen to a podcast about the rise and fall of the Fort Wayne Tincaps. The podcast was riveting until I started to get text messages from my friends….
We live in a world that is more semi-connected than ever before. That oxymoronic statement is made possible by an overabundance of new technology. Right now I can talk “face to face” with people all around the globe; yet research polls show that people have never felt more isolated and disconnected from real fellowship. How are we to navigate these waters in which we are swimming? How are we to raise kids to engage meaningfully with the world and culture without being swept along with its distractions?
Starting Sunday, December 12th, Leidy’s Church will be offering a Sunday School class designed to address these current cultural trends. Those interested should contact the office (we want to make sure we have enough materials for everyone) and come to the Youth Room at 8:45 on the December 12th.
On Wednesday, November 10th, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church met, and minutes were taken during the meeting, from which salient notes are listed below.
Pastor Steve led devotions on the way God graced various kings in the OT, which had a direct bearing on how they submitted and ruled the people of God in accordance with God’s Word. We read about the rise and fall of Joash, king of Judah in 2 Chronicles 24. How God restored Judah during Joash reign with renewal, reform, and a sweeping revival, under the guidance of a godly priest named Jehoiada; but when Jehoiada died, Joash received evil council from ungodly men and did not listen to God’s prophet’s reprimand. Instead, Joash ordered the killing of the prophet Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, which led to a national revolt and rebellion against God, and God judged His people. Unless we stay on the godly course of the Lord, revolt, rebellion ensues which leads to God’s recompense. We can give thanks God for His grace and mercy through Christ that leads us to repentance and restores us on His righteous path in accordance with our new life in Christ.
Minutes from the October 6th, 2021 were reviewed and then approved by Consistory.
Ron Moyer presented the monthly financial report for October 2021, General Fund has a healthy balance and contributions to the Renovation Fund exceeded expenditures. Short Length Mission Trip balance remains robust with the expenses of the Worthwhile Wear project all paid to date. Funds accrued in the Ministry Outreach Center account will be applied to HUB roof repairs in 2022. The financial report was approved by Consistory.
Dana Gehman presented the preliminary budget for 2022, highlighting changes from the 2021 budget. The mission’s budget had an overall increase of $2,600.00 or 2.29%. Budgeted office and computer, Christian Ed, Conference/Workshops, Property line items projected expenses all decreased. Senior Pastor salary rose 4.57%, and all other staff salaries increased 3%. Total preliminary budget with revisions increased .79%. Dana will present the revised 2022 budget at the December Consistory meeting.
Dave Reich reminded everyone that last month we reviewed and gave feedback on the work description and timeline provided to us by Penn Builders. He explained that he shared our feedback with Jon Swartley, and he understood the revisions that we requested. He informed us that a sample test has been conducted on the interior walls of the Sunday school room closest to the air handlers. This wall still leaks whenever we have above average rainfall. The grading has also been completed by the gymnasium and the Sunday School Classrooms facing the main parking lot. The next step will be setting up scaffolding in order to properly remediate the leaks in the steeple.
Jim reported that Rich Kapusta met with the township zoning board to discuss the properties noncompliance and what we should prepare for if we go to hearing. Rich recommended that we hire an attorney to advise and represent us through the process. He has recommended a reputable attorney and is in the process of getting us a quote from them. Once the attorney is hired, with their council, we will proceed with completing the zoning hearing application. Once the application is submitted, it is estimated that it will take 5 to 6 weeks before our hearing.
Pastor Steve shared that the new 6-month lease (that reflects the increases made to cover the operating costs at the HUB) has been signed. He noted a few variations in the agreement mainly due to Brunk’s business not renewing their agreement and CEF doubling their occupation space. The overall shortage of $150 a month that will be subsidized by Leidy’s Church. He reminded us that the 6-month lease terminates in March 2022 and asked for suggestion on when and how to tell the current tenants of our future plans.
Kendell Musselman secured a contractor to remediate the cracks in the church parking lot. The estimated cost will be $3,000.00. The work is to be completed before cold weather settles in.
Inquirer’s Class has started with Jeff Schatz facilitating in class. We have 9 people in attendance.
Dave reported that Justine followed up with him and shared that Classical Conversations is a for profit organization. However, it was reported that we investigated this several years ago and at that time it was determined that the laws in PA are different than those in California and therefore it was a non-issue for us. As a precautionary measure, we will proceed to investigate the viability and associated costs with having Classical Conversations apply for 501c3 status. Pastor Michael is also checking into Veritas to confirm if they are incorporated or not. Once information is acquired, we will proceed.
Pastor Steve met with the various leaders who are responsible for coordinating worship services. They recommended that we conduct one Christmas Eve worship service this year instead of two. The service would be held at 7:00 on December 24th with communion being served (meeting the requirements of our current constitution). Consistory agreed. John Dilenge noted that under this format, children will not be performing during the service.
A special fund has been set up for the purpose of off-setting the costs associated with Pastor Tony’s family relocating from the UK to the US. Pastor Michael will announce this to the Congregation on Sunday, and it will be listed in the bulletin.
Pastoral staff submitted reports, both thanking everyone who participated in the “Controlled” Gospel outreach, and Pastor Steeve encouraged Shepherds to contact their sheep over the holidays.
Mission’s Committee reported that the Yagilnicky’s will be using the Mission House until the end of this year.
Other committee reports and items of business were discussed, but nothing noteworthy.
We concluded the meeting with intercessory prayer for certain requests and concerns and adjourned after praying together the Lord’s prayer at 10:58 PM.
Thank You for a Job Well Done
On December 26th there will be an official change on Consistory that will be implemented at the beginning of 2022 and end at the close of 2024. Two elders will have faithfully completed their terms of service; those two men are David Reich and Ron Moyer. Both of these men have honorably served on Consistory with excellence and personal sacrifice. David Reich has served as President for five of his six years on Consistory through the transition periods of moving from the old to the new church building, the retirement of our former senior pastor, the COVID pandemic, and aiding as an ex-officio member of Consistory on the Pulpit Committee in search for our new senior pastor. In like manner, Ron Moyer served during many of these transitional challenges by managing the church finances and offering wise council to the men of Consistory as we prayerfully addressed many challenges by God’s grace and under the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit with the Word.
The two men newly appointed to Consistory are Brian Shoemaker and Dana Gehman, subject to congregational approval. Both of these elders have served on Consistory in the past. Brian Shoemaker is married to his wife, Gina, and they are blessed with two adult children. Dana Gehman is married to his wife, Barb, and they are blessed with three adult children and four grandchildren. Brian serves on the Outreach Committee and as a shepherd. Brian and Gina also serve together on the Missions Committee and are members of a small group. Dana and Barb team up to serve on the Mission Committee and as members of a small group ministry. Dana is a shepherd and is involved with the church’s accounting system.
We are grateful to God for all of these men who have accepted the call of God to serve our church on Consistory. May the blessings of God Almighty be with these men and their families as we serve the Lord together for His glory.
Question 14: Did God create us unable to keep his law?
No, but because of the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, all of creation is fallen; we are all born in sin and guilt, corrupt in our nature and unable to keep God’s law.
Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
Commentary – Abraham Booth
I believe, that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, with all their numerous inhabitants. Last of all, and nobly conspicuous amongst the amazingly diversified productions of his almighty power and infinite skill . . . he created man, and constituted him lord of this lower world. Male and female created he them, after his own image and in his own likeness: upright, innocent, and holy; capable of serving and glorifying their bountiful Creator.
On the same warrant, I believe, that man did not long continue in these holy and happy circumstances; but, being left to the freedom of his own will, he transgressed the law which his Maker and Sovereign had given him; in consequence of which he fell into a state of guilt, depravity, and ruin. And as he was not only the natural but federal head and representative of his unborn posterity, he sinning, all his offspring sinned in him and fell with him, the guilt of his first sin being imputed, and a corrupt nature derived, to all who descend from him by natural generation. Hence it is that all men are by nature the children of wrath; averse to all that is spiritually good, and prone to evil; dead in sin, under the curse of the righteous law and obnoxious to eternal vengeance. From which state of complicated misery there is no deliverance but by Jesus Christ, the second Adam.
Being a parent is a wide-open window into the human condition. For example, I’m constantly having to remind and encourage and cajole my young children to “please” and “thank you” and to share. But I never have to encourage them to say “mine!” or to grab things that don’t belong to them or to hoard toys from one another.
Now where does this self-centered impulse come from? The Bible is helpful here because it gives us a vocabulary to talk about why we seem to be born with this self-centered disposition. You see, we’re told that when God created Adam and Eve, he created them in his image. that means, among other things, that they reflected his goodness. God affirmed their goodness when he looked at his creation, including Adam and Eve, and said, “It is very good.” So Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God. They were able to love and obey him perfectly. But then we’re gold that Satan tempted them with a lie that God isn’t good, that he can’t be trusted, that real freedom is found apart from God and his law. And so when Adam believed and acted on that lie, Paul tells us in Romans 5, sin entered the world the way a virus enters the body, infecting all mankind from that time on. That is why from my earliest days, and my children’s earliest days, and, in the future, their children’s earliest days, we all say, “Mine.”
Now this doesn’t mean that people are devoid of all goodness. We’re made in God’s image and therefore we’re still capable of doing good and beautiful things. But sin has corrupted our ability to love and obey God with our whole hearts, strength, and minds. Sin has infected every part of us, so that we’re all born in sin and guilt, corrupt in our nature, and unable to keep God’s law.
Consider one example. Imagine a hungry lion, and imagine putting two plates of food in front of him—one a plate of raw red meat, the other a plate of perfectly cooked string beans. The lion can choose either one, but because of his nature he’s always going to choose the red meat.
See, when Adam sinned as our representative, our nature became enslaved to sin so that we no longer want or seek God. But when Christ came, he was the second Adam, and where the first Adam failed, the second Adam succeeded. Where the first Adam brought death through his disobedience and selfishness, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, brought life through his obedience and sacrifice on the cross.