The start of this new year has proved to be a whirlwind of traumatic events. There is the growing spread of the COVID–19 virus, with the CDC reporting 423,859 deaths (as of January 26, 2021), coupled with the combined deficiencies to acquire and to distribute a vaccine to avert the proliferation of this infectious disease. Schools, restaurants, businesses, federal agencies and churches have remained closed or partially closed for nearly a year with no sustainable solutions. Widespread civil unrest erupts with rioting in our urban streets, with the looting and destroying of properties and injuring of our citizenry and law-enforcement officers, which has been outperformed by a so-called insurrection at the nation’s Capital Building, warranting the deployment of national guard troops to provide security for the presidential inauguration.
Government issued unemployment and stimulus checks seem to be the main stopgap to temporarily assist failing businesses and mortgaged households from going into bankruptcy or foreclosure. Can our nation overcome these escalating moral and economic problems? More importantly, how are these troubles affecting us? By what means do Christians overcome?
First, let us realize our Lord Jesus’ teaching to His disciples; that in Him “you may have peace.” “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Second, we must know that we are overcomers by saving faith in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. The Apostle John explains to us in 1 John 2:12-14 “… you have overcome the evil one.” Later John writes, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 Again John writes, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” 1 John 5:2-4
Third, as envoys of Christ in this world, we are to bless and not curse; to be at peace with others by overcoming evil with good. As the apostle Paul exhorts the church in Rome: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay”, say the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:14-21
Finally, we must claim God’s promise that nothing can separate us from His love in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:37-39 “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. These are some ways we, as believers in Christ, can live as overcomers in this present world.
Fighting Floods with Silver
During the Lenten season Leidy’s Church members put aside daily or weekly offerings for the Thirty Pieces of Silver offering. Bringing those collected funds to the church on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday, members know they will be used for a worthy benevolent ministry. But what is that worthy benevolent ministry in 2021?
The answer is: God’s Treasure House! This year those funds of silver (or cash or checks or stocks and bonds!) will help to fight the effects of a flood at God’s Treasure House.
To quote a high-ranking public official, “Here’s the deal:” On Christmas Eve of 2020 there was a tremendous rain storm late in the evening. It was quite memorable – especially if you were caught out in it. There was widespread flooding. That flooding included the basement of God’s Treasure House. There was extensive damage. The damage has not yet been addressed.
Hence, Leidy’s Church intends to help God’s Treasure House fight the flood with our own flood of funds from the Thirty Pieces of Silver offering. Included with this Newsletter is a zip-lock bag to be used to collect your offerings. Use it as you see fit. But each time you do use it, as you put in the offering also offer up a prayer to the Lord Jesus for the ministry of God’s Treasure House. They are our neighbors across the street as well as beloved sisters in the Lord.
More details of the flooding will be forthcoming in the March and April Newsletters. For now, let’s set our sights on fighting floods with silver, as it were.
February Pulpit Schedule
7th – Marriage Is What Brings Us Together – Malachi 2:10-17, Genesis 2:18-25, Ephesians 5:25-33
While marriage is often a time of great joy and celebration, it was not so for the people of Israel in the time of Malachi. In pursuing foreign wives, they also pursued foreign gods. Malachi offers a strong rebuke for those not seeking the Lord alone. Because marriage is a God given symbol of His love for His Church, from beginning to end, the Scriptures hold marriage in high regard and call Christians to as well.
14th – The Lord and the One Who Prepares – Malachi 3-4, Isaiah 40:2-6, John 1:6-8, Acts 1:6-11
Malachi closes the Old Testament and leaves Israel with great anticipation. Not only is the Lord going to come but also the Way Preparer is going to signal His arrival. People from Malachi’s time onward must have looked eagerly for this one possessing the spirit of Elijah to come and prepare the way of the Lord. We look back and celebrate the work of John the Baptist as he directed folks to Jesus. We too stand in anticipation of the Lord coming. This time, He will come as a thief in the night.
21st – The Gain, Gaze, and Guarantee of Trials – 1 Kings 3:3-14; Luke 21:5-19; James 1:1-18
People’s perspective on the meaning of life varies greatly from person to person. Some think the best way to go through life is to live in seclusion, much like those who choose to live alone. Others believe life at its best is engaging in as many life experiences as is humanly possible, much like those who travel the world over to discover various lands, cultures, cuisines, and traditions native to the locations visited. However, all of humanity faces life’s trials. James helps us to see that there is growth, discovery, and attainment from God through the trials of life.
28th – The Virtues & Vices in Trials – Isaiah 1:10-20; Matthew 7:13-29; James 1:19-27; 2:14-26
The trials we face are the proving ground for uncovering one’s true character of faith. Just as fire burns off the dross of mined gold or silver to refine it to its genuine alloy, so trials are one means God uses to refine us. This process of spiritual refinement exposes carnal waste, which must be filtered out so that the pure qualities of faith shine forth. We will examine how trials in our lives work to separate vices from virtues, to refine faith in God and make us fruitful for Him.
Ash Wednesday Service
On the evening of February 17th, Leidy’s Church will have a 7:30 pm worship service, which will include the Lord’s Supper. Ash Wednesday typically begins the Lenten season, roughly six weeks before Easter Sunday. It is a time of contemplation of the days leading up to the Lord’s Passion in preparation for His historic bodily resurrection from the dead. Lent is for Christians a time to pray, fast and exercise abstinence from routine activities of life to give time for acts of charity. The worship service will consist of singing hymns, concerted prayer led by individuals from our congregation for specific concerns, followed by the Lord’s Supper. We want to encourage you to attend this special service of worship.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
When I was an elementary student, comedians fascinated me. I did not want to be a comedian. I never even wanted to be the class clown. (They got into too much trouble.) But I just loved how comedians could stand on the stage in front of a group of people and make up jokes. I thought the manner in which they always seemed to have a comeback was thrilling to watch. I knew that any comeback I made usually ended with punishment handed down from my mom and dad. (Sarcasm and backtalk were outlawed in Peru, Indiana in the 1980s and 1990s). As I grew older and began to watch the news, I heard stories about one comedian stealing another comedian’s material, and I realized that comedians do not make up jokes on the spot. With disillusionment crashing around me, I realized that those men and women who want to appear witty and in possession of the perfect comeback spent years preparing and studying for the right opportunity. The same principle applies to Christian living.
Christians in the United States should recognize that they are living in a society that has little to no regard for the Scriptures or the God who revealed Himself in them. One clear example of this came on January 22. In the past month, our society has mourned and lamented the passing of Roe v. Wade. Christians mourn the deaths of so many babies before their birth. The wider society, including President Joe Biden, has mourned the “relentless and extreme attack” on the “right to choose” and has vowed to codify Roe v. Wade at the federal level.
Those committed to following Christ would do well to reflect upon the societal changes happening around them and consider how they might respond. The apostle Peter discusses this sort of discourse writing BUT SANCTIFY CHRIST AS LORD IN YOUR HEARTS, ALWAYS BEING READY TO MAKE A DEFENSE TO EVERYONE WHO ASKS YOU TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT FOR THE HOPE THAT IS IN YOU, YET WITH GENTLENESS AND REVERENCE. Christians should in all times and seasons be ready to make a defense. That means that we need to understand both the culture in which we live (so that any presentation of Christ would be intelligible to the hearer) and we need to understand the Scriptures (so that any presentation of Christ would be true and right). We should not simply wait for circumstances to unfold and make up responses on the spot.
As society continues to press in against Christianity, denying the truth of the gospel, let us be prepared that we might give an explanation for the hope that is within us. In this way, we might emulate the sons of Issachar. They were MEN WHO UNDERSTOOD THE TIMES, WITH KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT ISRAEL SHOULD DO. How might a Christian do such a thing? Grab your Bible and start praying. Saturate yourself in the truth of the Scriptures and spend time praying for opportunities to share the hope that is within you and for fortitude to follow the Scriptures even in the midst of uncertain times.
To the Praise of His Glory,
Michael W. Nowling
No Flights of Fancy Here
The Covid factor prevented some of the Mission Workers we support from arriving at their appointed serving points. Why? Because they couldn’t get Visas. Praise God, that changed earlier this year and January 20th saw them take flights to their designated work countries, something that seemed more and more fanciful as 2020 trudged on.
Steve and Kelly Marks, along with their two youngest children Anna and Joe, are now in Thailand. Steve is a veterinarian and will be working with farmers and the problems they may have with their animals. Kelly is a teacher and is teaching in-person now rather than remotely at the Chiang Rai International Christian School. Their kids are eager to engage with other students and families after being cooped up in the Poconos since early last summer. Pray for the Marks family as they assimilate to the life in Thailand and the ministry opportunities before them.
Joshua Jacobs also took flight on the 20th, but his flight was to Paris. Serving with Mission to the World, he is doing seminary work in Paris and will be assigned to work with a French church in the near future. He’s been marooned in the Philly area since last May, so he is re-engaging with evangelistic and discipling relationships previously established.
The Marks family and Joshua will be very grateful for our prayers for their language skills to continue to progress rapidly as well as for the flowering of their ministry opportunities. They would love to be able to speak adroitly enough in their target languages to engage in verbal flights of fancy and be understood! No kidding.
Pulpit Committee Update
The new year has begun and the pulpit committee has not slowed down. As we meet weekly, we continue to review applications, conduct interviews, watch sermons and check references. We currently have three applicants that we are conducting interviews with and we are very encouraged at the love for the Word and the desire to serve the church at large that these men demonstrate. God is at work preparing Leidy’s Church for the next man who will be called as our Senior Pastor.
We covet your prayers and do so appreciate when you tell one of us that you are praying. Please continue to pray for our clarity in discerning God’s will, our patience in His timing, and God’s work in the heart of us as a congregation and in the heart of the man called to serve here.
Spiritual Leadership Retreat at Harvey Cedars
One of the most profound passages of Scripture is in Matthew 9:35-37, where Jesus is going through “cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”Amid this crowd of people, we read, “He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”
Though Jesus was ministering to their physical needs, He perceived their spiritual needs as far exceeding these concerns. Jesus was so moved with compassion by their troubled and defenseless spiritual state, that He depicts them as “distressed and dispirited sheep without a shepherd.”
When Moses comes to the end of his tenure of leading the people of God, Moses inquires of the LORD to raise up his replacement in Numbers 27:15-23; we read, “Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd. So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; and have him stand before Eleazer the priest and before all the congregation, and commission him in their sight.” Later in this passage we read, “Moses did just as the LORD commanded him; and he took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.”
Throughout biblical history God has called and established godly men to assist in the shepherding care of His people, and so it is today. E.M. Bounds wrote in his book entitled “Power Through Prayer”: “The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”
On February 26-27, Leidy’s Church is hosting a Spiritual Leadership Retreat at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference to spiritually invest in the godly men of our congregation. God has raised up a team of men to lead this congregation forward in faith and to fruitful gospel-centered ministries by the power of the Holy Spirit with the Word.
Dr. Timothy Witmer will be the keynote speaker of this weekend together. He will encourage and challenge every man to become the servant-leaders of our church family. He is the author of a book entitled, The Shepherd Leader – Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church, which will be the main text for group learning and discussion.
Women’s Ministry: Ladies of Leidy’s
The Ladies of Leidy’s are off to a great start for 2021, but it is not too late for you to join our friendly group of ladies. We are still “social distancing”, so we are meeting in Classroom 123 so we can have more space to spread out. We meet the first Tuesday of the month, weather permitting at 7:00 p.m. We have a special guest speaker coming to our meeting on February 2, 2021, that you will not want to miss.
On Tuesday, March 8th will be our Potluck dinner, (postponed from December). ALL ladies of the church are invited and encouraged to come and have a wonderful meal and time of fellowship with us. There is a sign-up sheet in the narthex. Please sign up so we know you are coming, and we can set a place for you, also tell us what you would like to bring.
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 February 4th 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.
Usher Captain Coordinator: Jeff Schatz
Usher Captains: Kendall Musselman, Aaron Vogelzang
Ushers: Ken Ritter, George Frueh, Francis Weiss, Rod Shoemaker, Jim Smedberg, Jack Parry, Frank Bivighouse, Steve Radcliff, Mike Hughes, Leroy Gehman, Tom Kraus, Andy Tawney, Jim Eakins, Stan Radcliff, Tom Merritt.
Inflation and Reality
In This Time of Need continues to send funding to help Venezuelan families in dire straits. Pastor Dagoberto is the conduit through whom this funding flows. Several times a month he sends reports that give a glimpse of what is happening with the In This Time of Need funds.
First of all, inflation in Colombia is real. Here’s an example. If we send $550 to Pastor Dagoberto, according to the exchange rate as this article is written, it will translate into 1,977,536 Colombian Pesos. That’s almost two million pesos! Thus each dollar represents about 3,600 pesos. Inflation is even worse in Venezuela.
Pastor Jésus Ramon takes food and the gospel to some of the poorest areas of northwestern Venezuela. Among those folk a monthly salary starts at around 7,500 pesos. You can do the math and see that amounts to about two dollars in American currency. It’s impossible to buy sufficient food for a month on that income. The supplies sent through In This Time of Need are needed!
To help with the distribution and gospel ministry, Pastor Jésus has enlisted the aid of other pastors. We might pray for them and the ministry they are seeking to fulfill. Here are some of their names and the churches where they serve: Pastor Francisco Andrades, Iglesia Dios es Amor; Pastor Efraín Merche, Iglesia Cristo es el Camino; Pastor Tonny Muscarneri, Iglesia Diestra de la Majestad; and Pastor Mitchel Garcia, Iglesia El Hijo de Bendición.
[P.S. In case you’re wondering what the names of those church are, here are the translations: God is Love; Christ is the Way; Right Hand of the Majesty; and The Son of Blessing. You’re welcome.]
It’s not too late to sign up for iBLAST! Each week our kids (1st through 5th grade) assemble to eat, sing, learn about Jesus, memorize verses, play games, and do crafts. It’s a full night of awesome fellowship. If you are in 1st through 5th grade or know someone who is, please sign up (leidyschurch.org/children) and come on Wednesday nights. The family meal starts at 5:15 and the program starts at 6:00.
Newly Organized Rejoinder About Drama
It has been nearly two years since the JSOC committee gathered to plan the ministry formerly known as Judgement House. We have had a year’s sabbatical making many upgrades to the hell scene, but we need a script for our evangelistic dramatic gospel presentation. What a mouthful! Simply put, we need help planning and implementing “Judgement House” for 2021.It might seem like October is a long way off, but there is a lot of work to do and logistics to puzzle over. If you would like to help plan as we prepare to spread the gospel far and wide, please contact Pastor Michael. Lord willing, we will beginning reading through a script in late February.
The Word: Need It, Trust It, The End
The Youth Fellowship mountain-top experience is coming this February 19-21. All of the youth (6th through 12th grade) are cordially invited urged to go. We will meet at the church at 5:00pm on Friday evening and head to Refreshing Mountain in Stevens, Pennsylvania. Parents, you will be able to pick your youths up on Sunday afternoon and be reasonably assured of a peaceful evening after the fellowship, learning, praying, ziplines, and escape rooms they will enjoy. The cost is $100.00 and you can register at leidyschurch.org/youth.
The New City Catechism
Question 5: What else did God create?
God created all things by his powerful Word, and all his creation was very good; everything flourished under his loving rule.
Genesis 1:31 – And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good . . .
Commentary – John Calvin
God has given us, throughout the whole frame-work of this world, clear evidences of his eternal wisdom, goodness, and power; and though he is in himself invisible, he in a manner becomes visible to us in his works.
Correctly then is this world called the mirror of divinity; not that there is sufficient clearness for man to gain a full knowledge of God, by looking at the world, but that he has thus so far revealed himself, that the ignorance of the ungodly is without excuse. Now the faithful, to whom he has given eyes, see sparks of his glory, as it were, glittering in every created thing. The world was no doubt made, that it might be the theatre of the divine glory.
Sometimes I begin my personal time of prayer and devotion by reflecting on the mind-boggling size of the universe—that our own little galaxy has a hundred thousand million stars, that there a hundred thousand million more galaxies each with a hundred thousand million stars, that our galaxy and each of those galaxies is a hundred lights across, and that there are three million light years between each of those galaxies. Absolutely phenomenal and amazing.
The opening line of the Old Testament says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Now when it juxtaposes two words—heavens and earth—two opposites, it means he created everything. So you could read that as, “In the beginning he created the cosmos.” And then he said it was good, but he said even more than that. He said it was very good.
When we come to the New Testament and the fuller revelation of Jesus Christ, we learn that the cosmos is created by Christ himself. So the opening line of the Gospel of John says, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God, and without him was not anything made that was made.” And so what we have there is the cosmic Christ, the Creator of all things. In fact, the apostle Paul brings both together in 1 Corinthians 8:6 when he says that our existence is due to the one God and Father and the one Lord Jesus Christ. All our existence depends on them.
And then you come to that incredible, lyrical song in Colossians 1:16-17, which speaks of Jesus: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
I’ve often thought that if I could commandeer the Enterprise from Star Trek, and I could travel out to our galaxy and across the Milky Way, and then kick it into warp speed eight so the galaxies would fly by like fence posts, and finally come to the very backwater of the universe, make a right turn and find a piece of stellar dust, it would have been created by Christ and sustained by Christ. Everything is made by Christ. The fires of Arcturus, the fires that light a firefly, all textures, all shapes, things in heaven, things on earth, things under the earth, things under the sea, everything is created and sustained by him.
And that means that, as he’s the Creator of all things, everything is under his loving, benevolent care. We must also keep in mind that as human beings, the apex of creation, we were made in the image of God. But as regenerate people, we also have the image of Christ. Which means that we can rest in his goodness, in his great creation power, as he controls all of life, and we can flourish under him.
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Emma Coale and family at the death of her mother Margarita. May God be with them at this difficult time.