A huge thanks to all of you who have made Sarah, the children and me feel so welcome here over the last two weeks. We could not have wished for a warmer reception, and you have set such an example in your open-hearted kindness towards us in the cards, gifts, offers of help and prayers. We have really enjoyed meeting you and look forward very much to getting you know you better over the coming weeks and months.
Though Sarah and the kids are American citizens I am not, but as the proud new holder of a Green Card, I am now legally classified by the US government as a “resident alien”. What this somewhat unflattering title means, is that though I don’t yet fully belong in America yet, I am, nevertheless permitted to live in this, your great nation. I am by birth a British national, but this is now the place I live and work. I am an alien! The word “alien” comes from the Latin work “alius” meaning “other” and “aleinus” meaning “belonging to another” and it is in these terms that the apostle Peter chooses to speak when he describes the believer. In 1 Peter 2:11-12, Peter writes: Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
For every expat there will be a degree of culture shock from the cuisine, to which side of the road to drive on, to dress, to music, to vocabulary. Winston Churchill, (himself born to an American mother) once quipped that “Britain and America are two countries divided by a common language”! As Christians we are citizens of Heaven. Our home is there. We have been born again into a new hope. One day we will be with God in His kingdom forever. But now we are expats. We are living abroad, in another country, part of a society we do not belong to. Yet the temptation for the Christian in every generation is to settle down in the world; to be conformed to it; to adopt its zeitgeist, to become worldly. In 597BC when the nation of Israel was scattered and many were taken into exile, the Babylonian strategy was to assimilate the exiles to the culture of that pagan culture through the educations system, the literature, the values of their new society. We face the same pressure today. As we seek to win the world, we forget that the world is seeking to win us. As we evangelize the culture, the culture is ‘evangelizing’ us. The example of Daniel and his friends in exile was to live in Babylon, yet refuse to bow to its values. They would not settle down. They refused to make it home. Instead they ached for the land of promise, Jerusalem, the kingdom of God.
This is the pattern we must follow. J C Ryle put’s it like this: “It is not open sin, or open unbelief, which robs Christ of His professing servants — so much as the love of the world, the fear of the world, the cares of the world, the business of the world, the money of the world, the pleasures of the world, and the desire to keep in with the world. The world is the great rock on which thousands of young people are continually making shipwreck. They do not object to any article of the Christian faith. They do not deliberately choose evil, and openly rebel against God. They hope somehow to get to Heaven at last; and they think it proper to have some religion. But they cannot give up their idol — they must have the world. And so after running well and bidding fair for Heaven, while boys and girls — they turn aside when they become men and women, and go down the broad way which leads to destruction. They begin with Abraham and Moses — and end with Demas and Lot’s wife.
It is only the power of the Holy Spirit through the gospel of God’s grace that can keep us from this. As we begin 2022 and look forward to a new season of ministry here at Leidy’s together, let’s refix our gaze on Christ and on His Kingdom, and re-commit our lives to His service alone.
For His glory,
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Patty Kendall at the death of her mother, to Sarah Nowling at the death of her grandmother, to John Brockwell at the death of his wife Miriam, to Ginna Foote at the death of her father, to Susan Leidy-Slack, and Tim and Rachel Leidy at the death of husband and father, Lorne. May God be with them at this difficult time.
We welcomed new members to Leidy’s Church, please take time to greet them: Sam & Sarah Im, Walt & Linda Gehman, Zigrida Gift, Jim & Kathy Payne, and Byron & Dottie Rimmer.
February Pulpit Schedule
In a recent survey it was revealed that one in four young Americans felt depressed or hopeless. Despite the political promises made on the Hill, our material affluence and educational and medical progress, the great American dream leaves many feeling empty and a great sense of fear pervades. Far from progressing, our society seems to be worsening, and our nation grows darker and narrower.
This month we begin a new sermon series in the gospel of Mark, entitled Hope for a Hopeless World. In Mark 1 Jesus bursts onto the stage of human history with the life-changing good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand. In chapters 1-8 Mark shows us that the long-expected Messiah, God’s Son and anointed king has come with grace and power to restore a lost world. But His kingdom is unlike any other. From chapter 8, we learn that this is a suffering Messiah, whose kingdom will come not through political pressure, cultural hegemony, or military jihad, but through his own humiliation and substitutionary pain as the Suffering Servant is forsaken by the Father to pay for the sin of a guilty world. Join us each week as we marvel afresh at the good news of the gospel.
February 6 – Mark 1:1-11 – Hope for a Hopeless World
February 13 – Mark 1:12-39 – Power over a Frightening World
February 20 – Mark 1:40-2:17 – Forgiveness for a Guilty World
February 27 – Mark 2:18-3:6 – Restoration for a Broken World
In each of these sermons I will aim to preach as accessibly as possible so that those outside the Christian faith might understand the gospel, so each of these Sundays will be great opportunities for us to bring guests. Let’s pray for gospel opportunities and why not invite your colleagues, friends, family and neighbors to join us! Let’s pray that many may join us over these next few weeks and have their eyes opened to the great good news of the Kingdom.
Go East Young People
Groundhog Day has not happened yet, but summer is coming. With summer will come the annual trips to favorite vacation hotspots. Always seeking to get ahead of the game, Youth Fellowship will be going on a Spring Retreat at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference Center on March 18-20. We will not spend our time sunbathing (thank goodness). Instead we will dive deep into God’s Word, find the grace that He has revealed, and worship Him for all He continues to do in us and through us. Not only that, we will enjoy raucous fellowship and an inordinate amount of Oreos! If you are interested in coming on the retreat (or sending your junior high and high school students on the retreat), please contact Pastor Michael and be on the look out because more details will follow.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
Just a few days ago it snowed. This wasn’t the blizzard of ’78 (or whatever its southeastern Pennsylvania equivalent is). Rather this was a microscopic 1/32 of an inch dusting. The result for just about everyone was predictably nothing. Life continued. People went to work, kids went to school, and even the squirrels went about their winter foraging. I want to bring up this snow not for its impact on the day but for the 5:00 a.m. impression it left.
That morning, among other tasks, I let out the dog. He, like normal, bounded around the yard looking for a place to do his “business”. I in turn encouraged him by throwing balls hither and yon. This particular snow dusted morning I looked down the way and saw the rather beautiful snow reflecting the light of streetlamps, cars, and signs. As I walked forward admiring the beauty, I remembered (fortunately) that this beauty was not all it seemed. You see, somewhere out in all the snow dusted beauty, I realized that there was likely a rather squishy pile of digested food left by the dog. It turns out that the beauty of the snow cover was only surface deep.
The Scriptures use a slightly different metaphor to describe this phenomenon. When Jesus was engaging with some Pharisees He said FOR YOU ARE LIKE WHITEWASHED TOMBS WHICH ON THE OUTSIDE APPEAR BEAUTIFUL, BUT ON THE INSIDE THEY ARE FULL OF DEAD MEN’S BONES AND ALL UNCLEANNESS. Clearly Jesus was not speaking particularly gentle words. He described these Pharisees as whitewashed tombs. A tomb was not a particularly nice place. How could it be as it was filled with the bones of dead people? Yet, with a coat of paint even the smelliest and most awful tomb would not become an eyesore. To state the obvious, this in no way changed the fact that the “pretty” looking tomb was still a tomb full of death and decay. Even more unpleasant for us to realize, Jesus was calling people (Pharisees) dead tombs with a veneer of acceptability.
Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, presented a different picture for life in the kingdom. Instead of merely discussing the external behavior of individuals, Jesus called folks righteous whose hearts were equally sinless. Herein was the trouble for the Pharisees (and everyone else). Our hearts have been conceived in sin. We have been born with the sin of our father Adam, and we have added our own sins to his all the days of our lives. Thanks be to God that He has not left us in that state of death and despair.
God’s Spirit has removed our hearts of stone and given us hearts of flesh. For Christians down through the ages, this work of the Holy Spirit has been the way by which they escape the epithet of Pharisee. The Heidelberg Catechism expressed this well when it said that God BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT, HE ALSO ASSURES ME OF ETERNAL LIFE, AND MAKES ME WHOLEHEARTEDLY WILLING AND READY FROM NOW ON TO LIVE FOR HIM. For Christians, the Holy Spirit has been at working guiding them and directing them so that they would seek from heart to follow the Lord Jesus wherever He has led.
As we now think about our life before the Lord, it is tempting to raise Jesus above our heads and yell out, “Anything goes!” If we search the Scriptures (or even casually glance at them), this is not how we are to live. Instead, out of gratefulness for the salvation which Jesus purchases for us, we should be wholeheartedly devoted to Him. We should seek to follow Him. This should not be with lip service only. Instead seek the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, and also, watch where you step!
To the praise of His glory,
Michael W. Nowling
Ladies of Leidy’s
Our next Ladies of Leidy’s meeting is Tuesday evening, February 1st at 7:00. We will be meeting in room 123. All ladies of the church are invited to join our monthly meetings.
We as a congregation are glad to sponsor Night to Shine. There will be a preview of the event.
Also, Wendy Murphy and Gina Shoemaker who are teachers in the Friends Special Needs Sunday School class will speak on how to help and support those amongst us with special needs.
“Mark your calendar” the famous Ladies of Leidy’s Potluck Dinner will be held Tuesday, March 1st in the Fellowship Hall. Look for sign-up sheet posted in the narthex. Sign up and bring a dish to share and an appetite to taste the delicious foods.
Come out to the meeting for a time of information and fellowship.
Precept Spring Semester
On February 3rd we will begin 2 Samuel – The Life of David, a Man after Gods Own Heart. Watch a “man after God’s own heart” ascend to the throne, then descend into sin. See how a covenant-keeping God turns a man from the worst sins to a victorious finish. This study continues through mid-May. (It is not necessary to have been part of 1 Samuel to attend). Class begins at 9 a.m. in classroom 123. Workbooks $17. Contact Verna 215-237-1370.
Breakfast with Julie
Women’s Ministry of Leidy’s Church is pleased to announce a special event is being planned for Saturday, March 12th, from 8:30 am to noon. Julie Henning, who shared her “Rags to Riches” story with our ladies in 2008, has agreed to share with our ladies once again. Breakfast with Julie will feature breakfast prepared for the ladies by Chef Tony and his crew, followed by some special music and a presentation by Julie. Sign-up either in the narthex or use the link provided in the Weekly Leidy’s newsletter. Friends welcome!
Usher Captains: Kendall Musselman, Aaron Vogelzang
Ushers: Ken Ritter, George Frueh, Francis Weiss, Steve Radcliff, Jack Parry, Frank Bivighouse, Mike Hughes, Ed Schmidt, Tom Kraus, Byron Rimmer, Stan Radcliff, Rod Shoemaker.
Winter SLMT Auction Alert!
In case you have forgotten, the S.L.M.T. is an acrostic for Short Length Mission’s Trip. Last year we participated in a construction project for a ministry called Worthwhile Wear located right in our community.
Our hope is that you will be stirred up to think of ways you can support the SLMT Auction this year. You can intercede for those planning the mission’s trip. You might ask the Lord if you should plan to go. You can pray for God’s guidance for the mission’s project in 2022. And pray for the assembling of the team of volunteers and support staff for this year’s SLMT project.
Please pray for all of the preparations to come together for the benefit auction scheduled on April 30th. We are beginning to collect items for this year’s auction. We want to encourage you to submit quality items and services that can be auctioned off. The earlier you make your donations, the more we can inform the congregation about what will be auctioned off on Saturday evening, April 30th.
If you’re having difficulty figuring out what to donate, here are some suggestions. You can donate gift cards to restaurants, Cabala’s, and supermarkets. You can provide various services such as; landscaping, indoor and outdoor painting, automobile repairs and inspections, haircutting and beauty salon care products and services. You can make crafts and baked goodies. Donations that focus on sports, gardening, crafts, vacation and recreational activities always trigger new interest. A variety of donations geared to a broad range of ages enables all ages to engage in the bidding process on auction night. All donations will be gratefully received and appreciated.
We all can participate in the 2022 SLMT Auction. You can help with the auction set up. You can assist in the kitchen. You can bake homemade cakes, cookies, and pies to be sold during the mealtime as dessert items. We need a bunch of youth to assist with babysitting before and during the auction event.
Remember to pray and ask the Lord how He wants you to be involved in and mark your calendar to attend this year’s 2022 SLMT Auction.
All of the funds raised go directly to help defray the cost of this summer mission’s trip. A tax-deductible letter will be issued to everyone making donations to the auction. If you have questions or want to volunteer in any of these areas please call the church office.
We are having a BLAST, you should too
iBLAST has started, but it is not too late to join in the fun. Each Wednesday through the middle of March children in 1st through 5th grader are invited to come and join us at 6:00 as we hear about The Call of God. If you are thinking that 6:00 makes dinner difficult, do not worry! We HAVE you covered. Each week there is a family meal at 5:15. If you haven’t already registered, head on over to leidyschurch.org/iblast to get signed up. If you are already in on the fun, be sure to bring a friend or two…dozen.
On Wednesday, January 5th, 2022, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church met at 7:32 pm, and minutes were taken of the meeting, from which relevant notes are listed below.
Tim Leidy opened with prayer and led devotions on the topic of “girding your loins” in the context of Job 4:1 and 38:3. Tim explained that “girding your loins” prepares a man for either battle or heavy labor. Tim emphasized this theme in light of the command in Ephesians 6:10 for spiritual battle and hard labors, and cited examples of how we need to endure hardships and stand strong in the Lord through the battles in the world with God’s truth and strength.
Minutes from the December 8th, 2021, meeting was reviewed and approved. The financial report was presented, and it was underscored how December’s General Fund resulted in a healthy balance. Financial items of disbursement and designated accounts were discussed, which included the Jones family moving funds and car fund balances. All authorized disbursements for the 2021 budget year were paid in full. And the financial report was approved by Consistory.
The steeple sealing project as outlined was completed. However, some of the track lighting around the steeple needs be replaced by Bergey’s Electric Company. The interior wicking remediation by Penn Builders continues to progress slowly with Penn Builders not meeting their proposed timeline to finish this project. Further conversation by Consistory with Penn Builders will be done to determine a new timeline to complete the remediation of the church wicking issues. Suggestions to consult other contractors in the industry was made and will be pursued and reported on at the next Consistory meeting.
A meeting on the separation of the HUB property is scheduled for January 13th to review official property documents and present them to an advised attorney. The process for completing the sub-division of the church property deed is estimated to take one year.
A part-time custodial person was hired to assist the maintenance supervisor with janitorial tasks so he could dedicate more time to carpet cleaning, painting, and other special projects. Updates on the playground project and homeschool groups tax status inquiry are being worked on, with additional reports to be presented at the next Consistory meeting.
Pastors reports and committee reports were submitted along with pertinent church events in January, which included the Congregational dinner & business meeting and 2022 budget approval. Tim Leidy led a time of intercessory pray for spoken concerns and our meeting was adjourned with praying the Lord’s prayer at 10:02 pm.
New City Catechism
Question 16: What is sin?
Sin is rejecting or ignoring God in the world he created, rebelling against him by living without reference to him, not being or doing what he requires in his law—resulting in our death and the disintegration of all creation.
1 John 3:4: Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
Commentary – Oswald Chambers
Sin is a fundamental relationship; it is not wrong doing, it is wrong being, deliberate and emphatic independence of God. The Christian religion bases everything on the positive, radical nature of sin. Other religions deal with sins; the Bible alone deals with sin. The first thing Jesus Christ faced in men was the heredity of sin, and it is because we have ignored this in our presentation of the Gospel that the message of the gospel has lost its sting and its blasting power.
One very important way of understanding sin is that sin is rebellion against God’s law. It’s not doing what he requires of us, not living as he has called us to live, and, therefore, never fully being who God created us to be. Sin is living without reference to God, not viewing him to be the defining reality of our lives around which our entire lives need to be centered. And when we don’t live as if God is who he is, we violate his law and all the good, loving, protecting guidelines that he’s provided to us for how to best and most fully live.
Think about it this way. If you were to walk off a cliff saying, “I don’t have to live by the law of gravity; I can live by my own rules,” you would, on the one hand, be disobeying a very specific rule and commandment—namely, “Don’t walk off a cliff.” But on the other hand, you would also not be living in reference to gravity. You would be living as if gravity were of no consequence or importance in your life. You would never say the law of gravity is arbitrary, or that it is unreasonable that you have to obey it. You would never say that, because you understand that gravity is sometimes what we must live in reference to. Of course there are guidelines to honor and boundaries to acknowledge. You know the result of walking off a cliff and trying to break the law of gravity: death and disintegration.
This illustration might help. Our solar system exists harmoniously when all the planets orbit the same center: the sun. If, however, the planets all decided on their own what to orbit, or if some of the planets chose not to orbit anything, what would happen? Death and disintegration. The solar system as we know it would unravel and fall apart because the planets would not be orbiting the correct center. They wouldn’t be living in reference to the sun. And therefore everything would fall apart and be destroyed.
Not living in reference to God not only leads to our personal death and disintegration; it’s the reason why the entire cosmos is subject to death and disintegration. God created Adam and Eve to be the centerpiece and the pinnacle of creation. When they sinned, their disobedience of God’s loving law not only had implications on their lives, it also had implications on the entire cosmos.
Paul writes that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Sin leads to death. And yet the gospel is that Jesus Christ experienced death so that we could live. In some ways he was disintegrated on the cross, spiritually torn apart, so that we could be made whole. He died for our sin, so that we could be made alive. He experienced death and disintegration. He paid the penalty for our sin, so that we would not have to.