When was the last time you thought about God’s hand? Maybe it was when you heard someone humming the song He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands. Or, maybe it was when you saw a picture of Michelangelo’s painting of the creation of Adam on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. Perhaps it was while reading from the Bible and the hand of God was mentioned. Then, again, maybe you’ve never thought about the hand of God.
We need to think about the hand of God. His hand is crucial in the lives of individuals, in the history of nations, in the life of the Church, and the life of churches. You know, of course, that we’re not talking about a literal hand. The term “hand of God” is representative of the power of God, the authority of God, and the judgment of God.
First and foremost, we must know the hand of God is irruptive not eruptive. Now don’t be put off by my use of words. Pay attention. Those two words are almost exactly the same. Both have ruptive as their main part. That root means “to break.” Think of the word rupture – as in ruptured relationships – and you’ll get the idea. But our first word has a prefix that begins with an “i”, while the second has an “e” for a prefix. We need to think of the “i” as “in” and think of the “e” as “exit.” Hence, irruptive means to “break into”, while eruptive means to “break out of”.
That’s why we must know the hand of God is irruptive and not eruptive. God breaks into the created order from outside. He does not erupt out of the created order. He stands over and above it.
The first time the actual phrase hand of God appears in Scripture is 1 Sam. 5:11. The Philistines have defeated the Israelites in battle, captured the ark of the covenant, and retained possession of it for seven months. But a variety of calamities befell them during those seven months, so much so that they send the ark of the covenant back to Israel. What was going on? 1 Sam. 5:11 explains: The hand of God was very heavy there.
What the people of God could not do, the hand of God did: namely, take care of the ark of the covenant. The Israelites had carried the ark into battle as a sort of magic token to give them success in what they were doing. It’s as if they thought they could carry God into battle and He would erupt from the ark to give them victory. Instead, God irrupted into the lives of the Philistines and they wanted to get rid of anything associated with Him.
Our tendency over time is to take things pretty much for granted. We forget that it is the hand of the Lord that holds things in place and makes things happen. Hence the Psalmist sings, You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. [Ps. 145:16] The point to be understood is that God takes action; things don’t just happen as if on programmed assembly line. God didn’t just push a button and walk away.
The apostles understood this quite clearly. After Peter and John were arrested and charged not to speak anymore in Jesus’ name, they went back to the gathering of believers and together they prayed. In their prayer we hear their understanding of God’s hand. They lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “. . . truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.” [Acts 4:24-28]
Jesus’ crucifixion and death did not erupt from the swelling Jewish crowd clamoring, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” No, it was the hand of God irrupting into our world to accomplish redemption for His people!
The apostles know it is only the hand of God that can accomplish what needs to be done. That doesn’t mean they do nothing, but it means they know where to look for power and authority. They conclude their prayer this way: And now, Lord . . . grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. [Acts 4:29-30]
I’ve needed to be reminded about God’s hand many times over the years. Sometimes it’s been wonderfully powerful; sometimes it’s been painfully powerful.
1 Peter 5:6 tells us to humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. Have you experienced that? I have. I was going to play pool with a fellow. He had developmental challenges. In my arrogance I knew I would win the game easily. Since we were in his home, he gave me the opportunity to break the racked balls. I smoothly moved the cue stick back and forth a couple of times, eyed-up the path the ball would take, then moved my arm forward adeptly and waited to hear the solid thwack of the cue ball smashing into the racked balls. Instead, I watched in dismay as the cue ball somehow hopped off the pool table, bounced across the floor, and didn’t hit a single ball! That had never happened to me. What hit my cue stick?
My friend graciously allowed me to have a do-over. The same thing happened! Soon the cue ball was bouncing across the floor while the racked billiard balls remained in a tight triangle – still! I was embarrassed and ashamed and humbled.
What hit my cue stick was the hand of God! As Nebuchadnezzar put it long ago, The King of heaven . . . is able to humble those who walk in pride. [Dan. 4:37]
We humans are prone to walk in arrogant pride. We Christians are prone to walk in arrogant pride. We forget the hand of God. Praise God for His reminding us of His hand. We want to let our light shine in such a way that folk may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Our light shines most brightly when we’re under the shade of His hand.
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
February Pulpit Schedule
2nd – One Another – Psalm 133; John 17:17-23; Romans 12:1-5
David once wrote, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” That sounds quite lovely, doesn’t it? But when the rubber meets the road how does that work itself out in practical situations with practical applications? This week we will explore several of the One Another verses found in the New Testament. Maybe – just maybe! – they will guide us into healthier relationships within the church. And, who knows, maybe the Lord Jesus will help us improve our relationships at home and at work as well! Wouldn’t that be great!
9th – A Trumpet Fanfare – Psalm 18:6-15; Jeremiah 51:24-29, 41-44; Revelation 8:1-13
When the Lamb broke open the seventh seal of the book that contained the purpose and will of God there was silence in heaven. It was a holy silence, signifying something remarkable. Into that silence is brought the prayers of the saints. With much incense added, the prayers of the saints ascend to the presence of God. What follows is a violent reaction. Fire from the altar of God is hurled to the earth. What does this mean? It means the judgment of God is about to break forth in a terrible way. The judgments are depicted in the form of a trumpet fanfare, as it were.
16th – Hell Unleashed – Proverbs 26:2; Matthew 12:38-45; Revelation 9:1-12
Do you remember when the judgment of God begins? It begins when God lets a person or a city or a nation or a culture do whatever it desires and, here’s the judgment, without suffering any negative consequences. At the opposite end of that spectrum is when God’s judgment reaches its final culmination. We know when that is: at the great white thrown on the day of God’s final judgment. But what about in between those times? Our text from Revelation provides a horrific view of what happens in the interval. All hell breaks loose as the gates to the abyss are opened.
23rd – Lesson Not Learned – Exodus 30:1-10; Jeremiah 6:14-19; Revelation 9:13-21
God is a God of mercy. The most significant element in the temple was the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. It was to provide a means of forgiveness to the people. It was not a carte blanche to sin indiscriminately because there is a Get Out of Jail Free card in one’s pocket. The Mercy Seat was to forgive sins as the people of God sought to follow Him and honor Him with growing faithfulness. Not all learn the lesson of the Mercy Seat. That was true in Jeremiah’s day; that was true in the days of John the Apostle as well. People turn everywhere but to God.
26th – No Blushing Here – Proverbs 15:8; 25:26; Jeremiah 8:4-12; Romans 1:18-32
This is Ash Wednesday. We want to consider the ability to blush during this service of worship. It is a blessing from God to be able to blush because of shame. Of course, it also is humiliating, embarrassing, and painful. But, what are the other options? Our texts from Proverbs give good insights about that. There are those who call evil good, while calling good evil. Such a nation or person, according to Proverbs, is like a polluted fountain. The classic text that speaks of this is Romans 1. Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry accused the Jews of not being able to blush.
Thirty Pieces of Silver Offering
Among the traditions of Leidy’s Church is the setting aside of monies during the time from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. It’s called the Thirty Pieces of Silver offering. It always goes to a designated benevolent concern.
Along with this Newsletter you should receive a small plastic zip-lock bag to use when you bring in your offering on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
Recently, I had the joyously frustrating opportunity to wear a cast. The required frustrations of wearing a cast were obvious. For a period, I was not able to tie my shoes, wash the dishes, wrap last-minute Christmas presents, or a number of other household chores that just a little bit of two-handed dexterity would have made a breeze. While I was grateful that my cast was not on my dominant hand, I still found it irksome that I could not do everything I wanted to do. Most unfortunate was I often needed to ask for help.
While wearing a cast brought certain frustrations, it also brought a certain amount of joy. When I was being examined, the doctor went through the possible treatment options (brace or a cast). Upon learning that I was a Youth Pastor and had a new baby on the way, he said he did not trust me! So, he prescribed a cast. At first, I grumbled in my heart. How was I going to help my wife around the house, how was I going to play with my daughter, what would happen if the new baby was born and I was still hindered and held back with wearing a cast? All of these questions swirled around in my head.
As the month of cast-wearing slowly went by, I found much to my surprise that I was grateful for the doctor’s wise counsel. Because the cast offered more support than any brace, I was still able to work. I realized that I could do things without fear knowing that my arm was protected while it was healing. I also rejoiced that a day would come when my cast was taken off and I could celebrate the full use of both arms.
This whole process has reminded me about our responses to God. Sometimes we forget that God has all things in His control. Sometimes we forget that God is not surprised by circumstances in our lives. Sometimes we forget that God uses all circumstances in our lives to discipline us for our own good. My cast, like the Lord’s discipline, did not seem pleasant. However, Hebrews 12:6 says that Those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. Because God knows that we only experience an abundant life when we are in a right relationship with Him, He disciplines His people and helps them cast away any hindrance that prevents them from following God. Often that discipline is unpleasant, but its purpose is to help us live with the Lord.
Just as my cast was not permanent, so also the discipline of the Lord is not eternal. God’s anger and wrath at our sinful actions and thoughts was removed when Christ died upon the cross. As a result, we are disciplined in this life so that we may know the Lord more personally. However, at the return of Christ there will no longer be any need for discipline as we are all transformed into His image as we see Him face-to-face. John the apostle tells us: Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He [Christ] appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. [1 John 3:2] Because we know that is the reality for all who hope in Christ, we are able to rejoice when hardships and discipline come into our lives knowing that we will have an Eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. [2 Cor. 4:17]
To the praise of His glory,
Launching a Day of Prayer & Fasting
For some time there has been a sense of urgency to seek God for His intervention on our behalf. The times we live in are such that prayer and fasting seem required. Acting upon a suggestion from the Spiritual Council, Leidy’s Church is setting aside a 24-hour time for prayer & fasting.
The launch takes place on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:30pm. We begin with an informal service of songs and intercession. Getting ourselves oriented – i.e. facing toward The Son – is the purpose of this meeting.
The launching service will begin a time of purposeful, directed intercession. From that point forward our sanctuary will be open for prayer until the Ash Wednesday service at 7:30 the next evening. It is hoped there will be a series of three or four persons praying in the sanctuary from the conclusion of the launching service until the start of the Ash Wednesday service. A sign-up sheet will be on the narthex wall for those who would like to designate a time or times when they will commit to pray in the sanctuary.
Not everyone will be able to commit to a time to pray in the sanctuary. Everyone, though, is encouraged to make special efforts to pray at home or wherever it is practicable. Information sheets and prayer guides will be available. Pick some up. Those sheets will help focus your prayers, suggesting what sorts of things to pray for and what sorts of things to pray against.
We need to ask God to stretch forth His hand and help our nation, to protect and propel His people in faithful ministry, to heal and help families, to work in and through our congregation, and to refine and purify us as individuals.
Every person connected with Leidy’s Church is encouraged to participate in this Day of Prayer & Fasting. Each person should feel free to choose the level at which he or she will participate. But do pray. Do fast, even if for one meal. Seek God. Seek His mercy. Seek His work in our land and in our midst.
Culmination Service: Ash Wednesday
February 26th is Ash Wednesday. On that evening Leidy’s Church will have a 7:30 service of worship. The service will include the Lord’s Supper. For those who’ve been participating in the Day of Fasting and Prayer it will mark the end of their fast.
In the Church year cycle, Ash Wednesday ordinarily is a beginning or launching service. It launches the period of Lent, the six weeks when Christians particularly reflect on the events of Jesus’ Passion. It leads up to Easter.
This year, that will still be the case at Leidy’s Church, but our Ash Wednesday service also will be a culmination service. Our Day of Prayer & Fasting will culminate in the Ash Wednesday worship time. The sermon will be much like last year, a sermon of concerted prayer with designated individuals from the congregation leading in intercession for specific concerns.
We hope you make it a point to come out for this service of worship.
Just the Bible Book Club
A new book club is forming. Hosted by Karen Parry, it will meet on the second Thursday evening of each month. It’s called Just the Bible Book Club because the intent is simply to go through one book of the Bible at each session. Start time is 7pm, with the first meeting taking place on February 13. The address is 527 Hunsicker Road, Telford.
This is women’s book club. Many of us (women and men!) spend time reading novels or historical fiction, but why not spend some time reading God’s Word? The first book of the Bible is the first book to be read, that is, the book of Genesis. Read through it and you’ll find all sorts of interesting material: acts of power, deceit, murder, shrewd trades, true love, sibling rivalry, gracious hospitality, lecherous behavior, wicked betrayal, and all those elements that make human beings human beings.
You’re invited to pass this info along and bring other interested women with you. It’s a new year and a new decade. Just the time to make a new commitment to read the Word and engage in Christian fellowship.
You may call or text Karen at 267-446-8367 with any questions, or to let her know you’re coming.
Night to Shine
It’s Time Your Light Shines for Christ!
On February 7, 2020, Immanuel Leidy’s Church and Ridgeline Community Church are hosting the Night to Shine (NTS) event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. We have had a ground swell of support and enthusiasm from local churches and their members who have signed up as volunteers and contributed resources for the Night to Shine event. On January 19th and 20th Leidy’s Church hosted two volunteer training sessions with the NTS registered volunteer attendance exceeding three hundred people.
Additional logistical measures are being done to finalize volunteer paperwork, volunteer assignments, volunteer legal background checks and liability release forms so that all persons wanting to participate are sufficiently vetted and approved for the Night to Shine evening.
Though the volunteer sign up has been filled, we still need everyone to continue to pray for the Night to Shine event: that the pairing of each guest with a specific buddy would be providentially ordered by the Lord; that the coordination of the various duties of volunteers would work seamlessly throughout the night; that both the guests and those serving as volunteers would have a genuine sense of God’s grace and love; and that everything said and done would be ultimately for the glory of God, the edifying of His church, and the understanding and acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ladies of Leidy’s
Our next meeting is Tuesday February 4th. We invite all the ladies of the church to our monthly meeting. In addition to our regular meeting Judy Leidy will be presenting some of the history of Leidy Church.. Whether you are older or younger or a lifetime member or new to our church fellowship; you are sure to find this a fun and interesting evening.
At the suggestion of some of our ladies, we are hosting a women’s breakfast on Leap Day–February 29th. Beginning at 9 am, we will serve breakfast, have a devotional thought shared by our own Verna Bowman, and have everyone on their way back home well before lunch. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the wall in the narthex. Join us—God gave us an extra day in 2020 and we would love to spend part of it with you!
Women’s Sunday School
Join us on Sunday mornings for a Sheila Walsh study, The Storm Inside, trade the chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are. Constantly teetering between daily chaos and life-changing crisis, women often feel storms brewing, are in the middle of a storm, or are facing the aftermath of a storm. Through Scripture and the sharing of personal stories, Sheila shows how heartbreak can become strength, shame lead to love, restoration undo rage, and courage overcome insignificance.
Meet Our Newest Missionaries
At its January meeting the Mission Committee voted to support a new missionary family. It is Andrew and Megan Nairn who will be serving in Tokyo. The Nairns have four children: Kyle, Anika, Jeremy, and Mabel. They live in nearby Delaware and will be serving with the PCA Mission to the World.
They are not your stereotypical missionaries. Rather than going deep into the unreached jungles, the Nairns will be going deep into the huge metropolis of Tokyo. Focusing on reaching millennials and younger, they are part of a team seeking to connect people to each other, to the church, and to God through the arts. It’s a new sort of mission endeavor using media an the arts to facilitate church-planting alongside local pastors and artists.
Both Andrew and Megan have extensive backgrounds in mission work. Megan grew up on the mission field in Latin America where her parents were missionaries. As a couple, they served for four years in Central Asia, have studied multiple Asian languages, and feel called by God to reach the Japanese people.
Looking a bit ahead, the Nairns will be part of our March is Missions Month, as they will be our mission presenters on March 8th. They look forward to meeting you.
Colleen is Calling
In 2019 all our plans for SLMT-Pik went up in smoke! Literally! Because of forest fires and dense smoke the Pikangikum community was evacuated during the time when our Mission Team was due to be ministering there. As a result, our team ended up going to the Weagamow community. It worked out quite well.
So, where should we go in 2020? It was a question considered at some length by the Mission Committee. The decision is to go back to Pikangikum. That’s where we’ve invested time and labor, building relationships over the past couple of decades. Additionally, Colleen Estes eloquently asked us to consider trying Pik again in 2020. Her call prevailed! The intention is to do VBS as well as some construction/repair work.
What about Weagamow? Well, if we have sufficient volunteers, perhaps we can send a team to Weagamow as well Pikangikum. We’ll see.
The dates for the 2020 SLMT-Pik undertaking are July 9-19. Our team of volunteers will leave from Souderton on Thursday evening, the 9th and plan to return to Souderton on early Sunday morning the 19th. Having learned our lesson last year, the bus will NOT be taking the scenic route across the Mackinac Bridge and around the northern part of Lake Superior. Nope, right back to circling south of Chicago and heading due north for Baraboo and the Dells of Wisconsin and the Miller Mall at Duluth!
From the outset our trips to the North Country of Ontario have been intergenerational. No one is too young, no one is too old. Likewise, no one is too skilled and no one is too unskilled. You simply need to be a ready and willing worker either with VBS materials and kids or with maintenance projects and tools.
The sign-up sheet will be on the narthex wall. Prayerfully consider adding your name to the list. If you have questions, speak with Tony Kapusta, Mary Beth Musselman, Vangie Niederhaus, Pastor Michael, or Pastor Niederhaus.
Seek the Lord, perhaps He wants to use you in the North Country in 2020.
February Fellowship Meal
It’s been awhile since we’ve had an after-church Fellowship Meal. In fact, November was the last month one of those delightful Sunday afternoon repasts was enjoyed by our congregation.
There will be such a meal in February – Hooray! The Youth have decided to take responsibility to feed everyone. Scheduled to happen on the last Sunday of the month, February 23rd, the youth are wanting lots of folk to hang around and relax in the shade of their hospitality and culinary contributions.
Clear your decks and your calendars to take up our Youth on their offer. They will be glad if you do. So will you.
Are You Paying Attention!
How observant are you? Are you the type of person who notices change happening around you? Well, if you have not been aware of changes in the Leidy’s Church sanctuary, you probably are not an observant person.
The fact is, there have been some significant changes in our sanctuary, and there are more changes yet to come. These changes are primarily happening in the AV technical areas of responsibility. First, a new camera has been installed and an additional camera will be in place soon. The purpose of these additions is to improve video quality as we record the worship services.
Secondly, a new speaker is now in place to enhance sound quality of those persons sitting in the chancel area. Up to now, anyone sitting in that area would hear distorted, jumbled words that might or might not be decipherable.
Third, we are planning to mount a reverse projector in the rear of the sanctuary to assist our praise and worship teams in viewing the lyrics of songs, so they do not need to look down at the musical papers on the music stands.
Taken together, these improvements in audio and video means we are going to need additional volunteers to be trained as AV technicians. Would you prayerfully consider being one of those volunteers? You do not need to be skilled, for we will train you. We are looking for mature, responsible individuals that understand the importance of this role of ministry and will work well together as an AV team member. Also, you must be available and reliable to fulfill your scheduled times of AV ministry on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. Please pray with us, that God graces us as AV team members to carry out these AV roles with excellence.
Baby Bottle Boomerang
Have you gotten your baby bottle yet? If not, please feel welcome to do so. There is a good supply of them in the narthex. Just pick one up and take it home with you.
If you don’t have any infants in your household, why would you want to pick up a baby bottle? Because this is fund raising effort on behalf of North Care Women’s Clinic. We want to support their efforts to provide sound, reliable, godly, and compassionate help and advice to women and families who struggle with the reality of a difficult or unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. We want a clear alternative to abortion explained and available.
We are in the process of dispersing the baby bottles. They are designed to be used by individuals and families to collect change or checks or twenty-dollar bills. It could be that a family will put all their loose change each day in the bottle. Another person might include putting some money in the bottle as part of their devotional time. Whatever those options might include, all are meant to be done between now and February 23rd.
On Sunday February 23rd the bottles are programmed to boomerang back to the church. We’ll have special receptacles to catch them. Actually, of course, we are each meant to bring our bottle back to the church; they won’t make it on their own. Our thanks and prayers go out to the faithful folk ministering at the North Care Women’s Center.
Here’s the Process
When Pastor Niederhaus announced his retirement at the Congregation Dinner on January 11th, he gave a brief summary of the process the Leidy’s Church Constitution directs to be followed on such an occasion. The process is detailed in Article X, paragraphs 1-5 in particular. Since not everyone has a copy of that Constitution lying around for perusal, it seems like a good idea to give a brief summation for everyone in this Newsletter.
Our Constitution gives the responsibility for appointing a Pulpit Committee to the Consistory and Spiritual Council. On the 18th of January those two bodies met to begin that process. At that meeting it was decided the Pulpit Committee would consist of nine church members plus the Consistory President [who is a member of all Committees ex officio, that is by virtue of his office]. It is hoped that by February 1st or soon thereafter a Pulpit Committee will be in place. It will a group of folk representative of our congregation, including both men and women.
It will be the job of the Pulpit Committee to determine which avenues to pursue in soliciting applications to serve as our Pastor. While the Constitution gives some direction regarding means they might utilize, it does not restrict them to those means only. One restriction the Constitution does make is this: This church understands the Scriptures to teach that only qualified males are to hold the office of Pastor. [Art.X,1]
Then the hard work of discerning whom the Lord might be sending to serve as our Pastor begins. So, pray for the Pulpit Committee to have discernment. The Committee will report its progress regularly to the Spiritual Council, to the Consistory, and to the congregation. Eventually, they will arrive at a decision regarding one particular fellow. When that happens, they will present him to the Consistory and Spiritual Council. Those bodies will have opportunity to interact with him, ask questions, etc.
When both those bodies concur with the Pulpit Committee about the person to be nominated, then arrangements will be made to introduce him to the congregation. Eventually the man nominated will preach a trial sermon at one of our normal services of worship. At the conclusion of that service of worship, a Congregational Meeting will convene for the purpose of voting on his nomination. If the vote is favorable, a Call will be issued to the candidate to serve as Pastor of Leidy’s Church. It will be the candidate’s prerogative to accept or decline.
That’s the bare bones of the matter. Lots of other details will become clearer when things are in motion, as it were. It is the intention, however, to keep the congregation well-informed throughout the process.
A Banquet Date to Consider
Way off in the future – namely, Thursday evening, April 30th – the Associates for Biblical Research [ABR] hosts its 2020 Annual Banquet. It takes place at the Shady Maple Banquet Center in East Earl, PA. Special speaker for the occasion is John Stonestreet of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
Leidy’s Church has supported ABR for over two decades. It is the only evangelical organization specializing in biblical archaeology. Their goal is to demonstrate the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological and biblical research. They have ongoing archaeological dig-work taking place in Israel.
John Stonestreet is known to many through the daily Breakpoint commentary heard by podcast and on radio as well as read on-line. He is the president of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Founded by Chuck Colson, the Center seeks to equip Christians to live out their faith with clarity, confidence, and courage in this cultural moment.
Tickets for this banquet are $35 for adults and $25 for children ages 12-17. You must pre-register for this banquet. If you register prior to March 30th the ticket prices are $30 for adults and $20 for children ages 12-17. Registration deadline is tax-day, that is, April 15. Call the ABR office at 800-430-0008 to register. The office is open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 9am and 3pm.
Mozart in Paris (and Souderton)
The date is Saturday evening, March 7th. The location is the Leidy’s Church sanctuary. The starting time is 7:30pm. The occasion is a concert titled Mozart in Paris. Mark it all down.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra [SPSO] is presenting that concert in our sanctuary. Why here? Because we are blessed with a great organ and this concert features a great organist: Colin Howland, the renowned organist of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. A native of nearby Huntington Valley, for six years he served as Organist at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale and then at the Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas before coming to Tenth Pres. in Philly.
Among the pieces he’ll be playing is French composer Francis Poulenc’s Organ Concerto, a work that draws on the church music of Bach, but also has interludes in a breezy, popular style. This piece will bring out some of the outstanding and exciting features of our Walker Organ. Mr. Howland also will present Poulenc’s Sinfonieta and Mozart’s grand Paris Symphony. One critic commented that Poulenc’s “melodies are simple, pleasing, easily remembered, and most often emotionally expressive.” Colin Howland will bring out the best in them and the best of our organ. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.
Tickets may be purchased on-line at www.spso.info or at the door on the night of the concert. Tickets prices are $25 for adults, with Senior tickets at $20, while students are admitted free.
SLMT 2020 Auction
As you should recall from the events and trips of last year, the acronym SLMT is rebranded by the mission’s committee as Short Length Mission Trip. This designation reflects an expansion of support to varied missionary projects. Funds raised by the SLMT Auction and other fundraising events may support short-term missionary teams slated to go to as diverse locations as Colombia, India, Kenya, Ukraine, and the USA as well as in Canada. Such remains the case in 2020.
Our key fundraising event is the SLMT Auction. This year it is scheduled for April 25th. The SLMT Auction has been and continues to be a church family and friends supported auction, fueled by your creative donations and your generous donations. It’s on Auction Night that all comes to fruition.
Yes, there are several strategic roles in the preparation and implementation of this event. Many of these roles are filled by people who have specific skills and talents not shared by many of us. One crucial role is the auctioneer. Fortunately, we have already heard from Mr. Len Walter who has agreed to be our auctioneer on the night of April 25th.
The Ladies of Leidy’s and members from other committees have agreed to help by making homemade baked goods, potato salad, barbeque and other delectable goodies.
The SLMT Auction Committee is working on creative ways to make this year’s auction more exciting and enjoyable. They welcome your suggestions or involvement!
Ron & Kathy Moyer have volunteered to head up the kitchen team, which is planning to serve hot roast beef sandwiches, hot dogs, and other delicious side dishes and desserts to complete the meal.
However, all of these plans are contingent upon your participation in this year’s SLMT 2020 Auction. Your involvement might be to donate gifts, services, crafts, and talents. There can also be donations that are thematic to attract interest in sports, gardening, hunting, fishing, vacation, and recreational activities. The wide variety of donations aids to engage all ages to participate in the bidding process.
The entire church family can contribute in some way at the 2020 SLMT Auction.
We can all give of our time. Others can volunteer to help with the auction set-up. Some can assist with the tear-down and clean-up at the end of the night. We still need our youth to volunteer as babysitters before and during the live auction event. Please pray for this year’s SLMT Auction and for the missionary projects it will help underwrite this year.
A tax-deductible letter from the church is made available to everyone donating to the auction. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer in any of these areas listed above, please call the church office or speak with Pastor Steve Myers.
The first meeting of the new calendar year with a newly organized Consistory took place on a cold and windy night with the temperature falling from 25 degrees to . . . ? Among the items discussed at that meeting were the following:
- Devotional thoughts were shared by Dave Reich. His theme was Offences. He considered both being offended and being the one who offended. Matt. 18:15-20, Galatians 6:1, Matthew 5:39-40, Prov. 19:11, Psalm 103:8, and 1 John 4:10-11 were cited during the devotion. Among suggestions were not to repeat a matter, to know it is a glory to overlook an offense, purpose not to be litigious, and the discipline of turning the other cheek. Each must be applied with a certain spontaneity given particular circumstances. Christ is our model and our teacher in all such matters.
- It was noted in some detail how blessed the congregation is to start the new decade on a fairly positive financial footing. Praise be to God!
- Tony Wilwert was present to go over his work in developing the Usher Captain Coordination (UCC) position. Though Tony has filled this position for the past couple of years, he has developed a team of men to serve as UCC on a monthly basis. The duties and responsibilities of the position were presented, discussed, and affirmed.
- Meetings are planned with appropriate construction personnel to address the steeple issues and the wicking issue. Some things just take time, it seems.
- Made final plans for the Congregational Dinner and Business Meeting.
- Received information regarding Pastor Michael Nowling’s ongoing work toward ordination. He has completed his paper and other tasks, so the Spiritual Council will call an Ecclesiastical Council in the near future.
- Pastor Niederhaus announced that he will retire as of June 30, 2020. Citing creakiness of bones and lapses of mental acuity, he indicated it is time. The Consistory reviewed Article 10 of the church Constitution. The Article lays out the process to be followed for seeking and calling a new Pastor. The Consistory and Spiritual Council will appoint a Pulpit Committee in the next couple of weeks.
- Received a report on the Night to Shine preparations. There is a huge need for huge numbers of volunteers. Response has been good thus far, but it needs to keep building. At this time 143 guests were registered, 13 more than originally planned. Registrations are now closed. Appreciation was expressed for all those working hard on this project.
- Using funds given explicitly for this purpose, two new cameras, a rear-wall projector, and a fancy gizmo to coordinate it all from the sound booth have been purchased. Installation is in process. This will enhance our services on-line, as well as our in-house video feeds, and help the worship teams.
- The Fellowship Committee is looking for small groups or families or other organizations to fill the 2020 calendar for monthly after-church Fellowship Meals.
A variety of other reports and information was received. At 9:35 the meeting adjourned following a time of intercessory prayer and the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.
Second Helvetic Confession
During the age of the Reformation, the meaning of the Gospel was debated. It follows, then, that any statement of faith must give great attention to stating just exactly what the Gospel includes and entails. The Second Helvetic does so in its thirteenth chapter.
Chapter 13: of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Promises, and of the Spirit and Letter
- The Ancients Had Evangelical Promises. The gospel is indeed opposed to the law. For the law works wrath and announces a curse, whereas the gospel preaches grace and blessing. John says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Yet notwithstanding it is most certain that those who were before the law and under the law, were not altogether destitute of the gospel. For they had extraordinary evangelical promises such as these are: “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” “The scepter shall not depart from Judah . . . until he comes.” “The Lord will raise up a prophet from among his own brethren,” etc.
- The Promises Twofold. And we acknowledge that two kinds of promises were revealed to the fathers, as also to us. For some were of present or earthly things, such as the promises of the land of Canaan and of victories, and as the promise today still of daily bread. Others were then and are still now of heavenly and eternal things, namely, divine grace, remission of sins, and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
- The Fathers Also Had Not Only Carnal but Spiritual Promises. Moreover, the ancients had not only external and earthly but also spiritual and heavenly promises in Christ. Peter says, “The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation,” Wherefore the apostle Paul also said: “The gospel of God was promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” Thereby it is clear that the ancients were not entirely destitute of the whole gospel.
What is the Gospel Properly Speaking? And although our fathers had the gospel in this way in the writings of the prophets by which they attained salvation in Christ through faith, yet the gospel is properly called glad and joyous news, in which, first by John the Baptist, then by Christ the Lord himself, and afterwards by the apostles and their successors, is preached to us in the world that God has now performed what he promised from the beginning of the world, and has sent, nay more, has given us his only Son and in him reconciliation with the Father, the remission of sins, all fullness and everlasting life. Therefore, the history delineated by the four evangelists and explaining how these things were done or fulfilled by Christ, what things Christ taught and did, and that those who believe in him have all fullness, is rightly called the gospel. The preaching and writings of the apostles, in which the apostle explain for us how the Son was given to us by the Father, and in him everything that has to do with life and salvation, is also rightly called evangelical doctrine, so that not even today, if sincerely preached, does it lose it illustrious title.
Reaching the Erukulu People Group
The Erukulu people group will be blessed by the Christian workers sent into their midst by India Bible Literature [IBL]. The initial material used will be mostly literacy materials, that is, materials used to teach folk how to read. All those materials used are connected to biblical materials in some way. Praise God that IBL has those materials available in 16 different languages! What a blessing.
None of those 16 languages though is the Erukulu language. But the Erukulu people know the Telegu language, so that’s what will be used. Some of those workers sent among them will be Bible Women, women who simply teach reading skills from the Bible. They are very effective.
The launch date for the beginning of the three-year outreach period is March of 2020. We’re laying the undergirding for that now. Your dollar each day combined with your daily prayers will fuel the spread of the gospel among the Erukulu. And you won’t have to learn Telegu.