Let’s talk about the kindness and severity of God, on the one hand, and the greatness and fallenness of man on the other hand. As you can see, we’re looking at both of ends of the spectrum in a couple of ways: God and man are at opposite ends, and then the best and worst of each. An incident from my childhood provides just the glimpse we need to encompass all this in one fell swoop.
It was a hot summer day and my older sister and I were playing outside. We were probably five and six years old respectively. I’m not sure what we were doing, but I am sure we were boasting to one another of how we knew something or could do something the other couldn’t. That’s the fallenness of man! But it gets worse. I boasted to my sister that I could swim. That was big fat lie. I couldn’t swim a lick. I’m certain that in my little pea-brain I had a notion of what it was like to swim and how one should go about it, but the most swimming I had done was splashing around in a full bathtub!
My sister knew such was the case. She challenged me to prove that I could swim. The only place I knew that had water deep enough for swimming was our cistern. The home where we grew up didn’t have a well, only a cistern, a big tank in the ground into which the rain from our roof drained. Most summers we would have to have several loads of water hauled in to help with our water supply. The top of the cistern was a concrete pad about four feet by four feet. In the center of it was a round opening to the cistern. This opening had a lip into which a heavy iron lid fit just perfectly. At one point in the lip there was a little notch so that a prying tool could be inserted to pry up the lid and gain access to the cistern.
You’ll never guess what my little, crooked, fallen heart devised next. Yep, let’s pry up that lid and I’ll jump in the cistern and prove that I can swim! What an audacious plan! But it was plan for disaster and death. [I didn’t jump in and I didn’t die – just in case you were worried.]
I got a stick or a screwdriver or something to pry up the lid. Though it was very heavy for my five-year old muscles, I did get it raised somewhat, just to the place where I could squeeze my fingers under it in order to lift with all my arm strength. But God . . .
God caused the lid to slip from my tenuous grip and slam down on a couple of my fingers. It hurt! I cried big-time. You could have heard me a mile away. My sister was scared. Our mom came running out of the house. It was obvious something bad had happened. If I had been able to express it with my five-year old brain, I would have said I experienced the severity of God. That iron lid was a significant judgment, from my perspective and from God’s perspective. He didn’t like what I was trying to do. He said “NO” to me in a clear, unmistakable way.
My mom, I suspect, saw the slamming lid as a particular kindness of God. It prevented a horrible tragedy that was unfolding from coming to pass. I’m sure she prayed prayers of thanksgiving later that day.
So, let’s examine this incident a bit more closely. The fallenness of man is clearly exhibited. First, there is boasting. Fallen man is prone to boast. My boasting to my sister was for the purpose of showing my superiority to her. It was a signifier of my proud, arrogant heart. More than that, my boasting was a lie. I could not swim. I was seeking to deceive my sister. That element of fallenness was compounded since I also ended up deceiving myself that I would swim if I jumped in. Finally, the fallenness of man inevitably leads to death: the soul that sins shall die. That’s where all would have ended up.
Less clear, but present, is the greatness of man. In the midst of all my fallenness I had a desire to excel. That’s a good desire; we should all strive for excellence. Also present was the resolve to back up my words by my actions. This also is good; we don’t want to be hypocrites who only speak and never do. Finally, I was willing to try to do what I had never done before, both in lifting the cistern lid and trying to swim. It’s a good thing to accept challenges and go forward; this is the basis of all progress.
The kindness of God was extended to me that day. It was a severe kindness, to be sure, but a kindness that saved me from death. It required me to cease doing what I had been doing, that is, it required repentance. As Romans 2:4 puts it: . . . do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? I repented of seeking to lift that lid; I didn’t try it again. In due time I did learn to swim and to lift the cistern lid in a responsible fashion. [But I never did jump into the cistern!]
What’s the point of all this? That we might have hope! As His people, we should know that no matter how severely God deals with us, it is undergirded by His kindness. He knows our bent to sinning and that we are prone to wander. In His kindness He can deal with us severely to lead us to repent of our bent. As He does so, and as we submit to His discipline, we find He is shaping us for His use. This is encapsulated in Ephesians 2:10: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. His workmanship encompasses the chipping away of elements of our fallenness and the polishing of things that mark our greatness, that is, our ability to reflect faithfully the image of God.
As we reflect on our lives, we should be able to see His workmanship. It makes us realize that our hearts really are factories that keep producing idols for us to bow down to and singing songs to lead us astray. But we also come to realize that if God be for us, who is against us?
Remembering and reflecting on things from our childhood can help us in our adulthood – even when one is as old as me! We can look back and see the hand of God, give thanks to Him for His severity and His kindness, and trust Him to continue that good work which He has begun in us. To God be the glory, great things He hath done! He sent us His Son!
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
P.S. Here’s a good verse to put in our hearts and minds on this matter: The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. (Ps. 138:8)
January Pulpit Schedule
5th – Horsemen of Reality – Isaiah 10:5-19; John 19:1-11; Revelation 6:1-8
Have you heard of the four horses and horsemen of the Apocalypse? Today we read the Bible text from which all allusions to those figures find their source. We need to remember these four horses and their riders are what come forth as each of the first four seals of the book in the hand of the One who sits on the throne is opened by the Lamb. There is conquering and war and famine and death. Not one presents an attractive feature. Yet each has been part of reality since man took up dwelling east of Eden. Isaiah will speak to this, as will Jesus to Pilate. Let’s listen.
12th – Victorious Reality – Acts 4:23-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; Revelation 6:9-11
Those who keep track of such things tell us there were more Christian martyrs in the 20th century than all the previous centuries combined. The 21st century seems to be following that same pattern. Martyrdom has marked the Church – the people of God – since the beginning. Jesus spoke of the blood of Abel and of Zechariah, while we well-remember the blood of Stephen. The fifth seal opened by the Lamb presents a scene of the holy martyrs crying out to God. We must understand that Christian martyrdom will always be a part of earthly reality. It proclaims victory!
19th – Sad Reality – Isaiah 13:6-19; Matthew 3:1-12; Revelation 6:12-17
When the sixth seal is opened a sad reality is exposed. Down through history God has called men and nations to repentance and faith. Many have refused, insisting on going their own way and doing their own thing. Their own thing inevitably leads to God’s judgment. That judgment is described in our text from Isaiah and Revelation using much the same imagery. It is calamitous. It reflects the sad reality we memorized in Psalm 2:10-12. Kings of the earth should do homage to the Son that He not become angry and they perish in the way. For His wrath may soon be kindled.
26th – The Promise – Psalm 27:4-6; Ephesians 1:3-14; Revelation 7:1-17
Psalm 103:17 says the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him. In Lamentations 3:22 we’re told the Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease. The first six seals John has seen opened might lead some to question those scriptural assertions. The entire 7th chapter of Revelation, therefore, is a gracious reaffirmation for John (and those folk of the seven churches and for us!) that God’s Promise is always true. In this world we may have tribulation, but Jesus tells His people to take courage for He has overcome the world.
SonShine Players Doing News
Here’s a breaking news flash! On April 18th and 19th there will be a LIVE broadcast by the crew of Faith News, Inc. This station is looking for persons looking to join its cast of angel reporters. The task of this cast will be to share some of the top news stories of the people of Faith throughout the ages. Some of the most noteworthy people from the Bible, at some of the most defining moments of their lives, are set to be interviewed by these roving angelic reporters.
What we’re talking about here is the Spring Kids Musical. The theme this year is the importance of having faith, of learning to trust in God’s promises. All young persons are invited to come out and be part of this production. Practices are usually on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11. They begin January 4th. There always is a need for older teens and adults to fill some important roles as well.
Faith News, Inc. is a production of the ILC SonShine Players. To get more information – or full information – see Donna Frueh or Laurie Plank. Or, the friendly ladies in the office can always point you in the right direction.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
We live in God’s world. This is a fact we cannot forget. We live in a world that operates according to God’s laws. Things like gravity or the way that planets dance across the heavens all reflect God’s laws which he has put in place and continues to enforce and by which He governs this world. God’s law extends far beyond the natural order around us. They also apply to our worship and our reverence for him. Though there are times when we do not see this, we must always remember the Lord who orders all things and demands our obedient worship.
Psalm 73:2-3 says, But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling; my steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant, as I saw all the prosperity of the wicked. We live in a time where good and right faith in God is denied and rejected. Historical virtues are now termed prudishness. Historical vices are now termed artistic, individual freedoms of expression, and are to be celebrated rather than lamented. All this gives the appearance, at times, that the wicked and the arrogant are prospering. They appear to grow successful while those who follow the Lord do not. In this Christmas and New Year season, which often carries with it time away from school or work, it is helpful to reflect on the nature of our lives and the way we view the Lord and those around us.
As we look at those around us, we likely will find a mixture of those seeking to follow the Lord, and others who are intent on denying His existence. As we see what they have in life it is easy to become bitter. We must not do this. We must instead remember that we live in God’s world. God’s world operates according to God’s laws.
In the book of Daniel, king Belshazzar was wicked. He did not lead a God-honoring life. And, certainly, he did not worship God in any right sense. It would have been easy for Israelites living in Babylonian captivity to look at individuals like King Belshazzar and say, “Why am I following the Lord? Wouldn’t it be better to just have some fun?” We need to remember that king Belshazzar was judged for his arrogance and for not living according to God’s laws. We need to remember that the Lord destroyed Belshazzar because he dishonored the Lord.
As we see folks around us who do not honor the Lord but continue to prosper, we need to remember that only those who rightly honor God as the creator and sustainer of this world will have “success” when Christ returns. To put this another way, apart from faith that the Lord Jesus came to redeem us from our sins, we have no ability to worship the Lord, honor him, or live in a way that is pleasing to him. As a result, if we do not have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, an eternity in hell is all we can expect. If life seems to have fallen to us in pleasant places but we don’t honor the Lord it will amount to nothing. On the other hand, if our life is difficult but we belong to the Lord we will experience unending Joy when he returns or calls us home.
At the close of this Christmas season and the turning over of a New Year, take a moment and reflect upon your life. Don’t just think of what you have or what you’ve been able to accomplish. Reflect upon the Lord who has redeemed you from your sin. And as you look at the world around you, and you see those who do not honor God succeed, do not become bitter. Instead, remember that your heavenly Father has given you the Lord Jesus Christ to redeem you from your sins. This is a far more valuable possession than any material good. As you think about those around you who do not know Jesus, share the hope and joy you have in Christ with them.
To the Praise of His Glory,
WHAT IS LADIES OF LEIDY’S someone recently asked….
….we are a group of ladies (from Leidy’s Church) who strive to help and encourage each other, the church family and those in need. We raise money through the Rummage Sale and the Gift & Craft Show each year to meet those needs.
We meet once a month on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 in the evening and try to keep the meeting to an hour and a half. We have a short devotional, prayer time, a guest speaker, and then discuss the upcoming events of the church and volunteer to help out wherever we can. During our meetings we discuss a need that we may be able to meet, (we call this “A Golden Deed!”).
In September 2019 we sponsored The Senior Saints Luncheon and all who attended enjoyed a marvelous lunch, great fellowship and awesome entertainment.
In December we sponsor the Advent Workshop for the entire church.
On May 16, 2020 we will sponsor a Ladies Tea, (please put this on your calendar). This will be a great opportunity to invite friends and neighbors out for a fun afternoon and become more acquainted with Leidy’s Church.
Please come and “Check us out”. If you can’t come every month, come to the meetings you can attend.
Try us; you’ll like us! You will be a blessing and receive a blessing for being a part of Ladies of Leidy’s.
A Ladies Breakfast is being planned for Saturday, February 29th. We are inviting ladies of all ages to spend some time with us enjoying good food and fellowship. The plan is to have everyone on their way home in time for lunch with their families. Details will be shared soon, but save the date! A sign-up will be posted in the Narthex so we can know how many to prepare for.
Bethany Christian Services of the Greater Delaware Valley is presenting an informational seminar at Plains Mennonite Church on Wednesday, January 22nd. It is scheduled to begin at 7pm and end around 8:30.
The event provides information for hosting Unaccompanied Minors through their Refugee Program. Janet Panning from Bethany Christian Services will be the speaker. You may remember her from almost 20 years ago when we hosted some Sudanese young men as she was our facilitator for that program.
Plains Church is located at 50 W. Orvilla Road, Hatfield. The meeting will be held in the lower fellowship area. For more information, you may contact Janet directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 267-421-1984.
One of the organizations Leidy’s Church supports is the North Care Women’s Clinic – known more familiarly to us as the North Penn Pregnancy Resource Center. Their clientele is women, obviously, but especially those with “problem” pregnancies. We hear increasing voices in our culture urging women to get an abortion. It seems each year there are more avenues by which abortions can be procured or induced. The pro-abortion forces have decided that abortions are something of which one should be proud, that it is a badge of honor.
The North Care Women’s Clinic is just the opposite. They deeply appreciate that pregnancies can be difficult – whether it be relationally, physically, or socially. But they do not believe abortion is a good solution, so they provide sound, safe, and encouraging advice and help for women in such situations. They provide an essential link in the life-choices of such women. Because their services are free, they exist from donations from like-minded organizations and people.
Leidy’s Church is such a like-minded organization. Such being the case, there will be fund-raiser for the North Care Women’s Clinic taking place from January 19th through February 23rd. We’ve done it before: it’s called the Baby Bottle Boomerang. On the 19th representatives from the North Care Women’s Clinic will be present to distribute baby bottles. The purpose is for each of us to take a bottle home and use it for the next month to collect change or checks or twenty-dollar bills with which to fill the baby bottle. Then allow that baby bottle to boomerang back to the church on Feb. 23rd. It, along with others from our congregation, will be used to undergird the critical ministry of North Care Women’s Clinic.
Nope, it’s not too late to sign-up for the Oberammergau Tour this coming September. The dates are September 15th through September 24th. It’s a ten-day tour that begins in Rome and works its way up the Italian countryside, crosses into Austria, and then into the Bavarian section of southern German where Oberammergau is located.
The trip from Rome to Oberammergau is a fascinating tour of some of Italy’s most renown cities and sites. From Florence where the art museum houses some of Michelangelo’s best works, such as his celebrated David sculpture to scenic Assisi to the city of canals, Venice. Spectacular Brenner Pass is the means through the Alps with a stop in Innsbruck with its picture postcard views. Eventually, though, the tour finds its way to the old world, woodcarver’s village of Oberammergau.
Back in the 1600s that village prayed and asked God to spare them from the Black Death. If such were the case, then they would present a play depicting the passion of the Lord Jesus every decade. Since 1634 the villagers have kept that promise and now it is a world-renown event that lasts from May to mid-October as folk from all over the globe come to view this unique presentation.
If you’re trying to think ahead; if you’re wondering what to do in September of this year; then you might want to consider the Oberammergau tour hosted by Pastor Niederhaus. Information sheets are available in the narthex hutch, or, speak to someone in the office. In fact, feel free to inquire about with Pastor N himself.
There’s Room for You a Few More!
The 2020 March for Life takes place on Friday, January 24th. As has been the case for 25+ years, Leidy’s Church is sending a travel coach down to ferry faithful witnesses to our nation’s capital to make the case for life. At the latter part of December there were plenty of open seats on the coach. Help spread the word about the trip and consider taking a seat yourself.
Cost for the trip is $12 per person. That is a genuine bargain! We thank the Church and Community Committee for a generous donation to help make this an affordable trip for all, including families.
The coach pulls out of the church parking lot at 6 am, so plan to be at the church by 5:45 to get your gear aboard and find a seat. There will be a breakfast stop on the way down, but we hope to be in DC by 9:30 or 10, so it won’t be long. That will afford folk time to visit some of the many museums, monuments, and other special attractions. The Rally begins at noon on the mall, and the March is slated to start around 1:30. Notable speakers this year included some members of Congress as well as two abortion survivors.
Our coach will drop us off at Union Station and then come back at 4 to pick us up. No worries about getting on the MetroRail.
On the way home we plan to stop at a mall food court to allow a more relaxed time of eating with a broad selection of food types from which to choose.
The sign-up sheet is on the narthex wall. Those under the age of 18 will need to identify the responsible adult they will be with.
Greet, Eat, Meet, & Vote
The headline sets out the parameters of the Annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting of Leidy’s Church. It’s always a good time of fellowship, food, business matters, and voting to adopt a budget for the new year. In 2020, that meeting takes place on the second Saturday of the year, that is, on the 11th of January. Greeting may begin as early as 5:30, though eating will not begin until 6pm. Usually the business meeting happens around 7 or so, and the voting wraps up by 8:30 or thereabouts.
The Kitchen Committee has decided on a basic, tasty, satisfying menu. There will be Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Stringbeans, Applesauce, Dinner Rolls, and a Sheet Cake for dessert. There will be plenty for all, but the Committee needs to know who the “all” are! Otherwise they won’t know how many potatoes to mash or beefs to roast. Registration forms will be in the bulletin, but also at the Welcome Desk and in the church office. Turn yours in sooner rather than later.
The Annual Report will be gone through line-by-line at this meeting under the thoughtful and expert guidance of Dana Gehman. Of particular note, we’ll see how the mortgage was eliminated in 2019. It is always fascinating to see the many facets of our church budget: from costs for paper to support given to missionaries to how much we spend on utilities to the extravagant expenditures of the choir! Maybe we’ll have an update on how the online giving is going.
Childcare will be available for the business part of the evening, though young persons 12 and older are expected to stay in the meeting unless part of the childcare corps.
Mark the date and clear your calendar so you can be present for the feast followed by the figures. It’s 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 11, 2020.
This Newsletter article should be considered the official notification to all members of Leidy’s Church of the Annual Congregational Dinner and Business Meeting.
Stones 🡪 Hearts 🡪 Tablets 🡪 Grace . . .
It will be an iBLAST
January the 8th will spring upon us before we know it. We should note that January the 8th is when the spring semester of iBLAST is set to spring to life.
It is written in stone that we will be learning about the Ten Commandments during this spring semester. God did write His Law upon tablets of stone. We are praying that He writes on our hearts of stone and turns them into hearts of flesh.
Now is the time to spring into action and get registered for iBLAST. It is a program for kids in first through fifth grade. Every Wednesday evening it happens right on the campus of Leidy’s Church beginning at 6pm. For those who desire to enjoy a family meal, iBLAST has one each Wednesday at 5:15pm. The way to register is through the Leidy’s Church website at www.leidyschurch.org/children.
During the course of the semester we plan to examine the Ten Commandments and learn how God’s laws are gracious. Yes, they are! We also plan to see how Jesus kept the whole Law of God and, thus, can make us righteous.
Please spring into action by praying for the Lord to search out any hearts of stone in our midst, turning hard hearts toward Himself, and writing His Word upon us!
Let Your Light Shine! At the Night to Shine!
On February 7, 2020, Immanuel Leidy’s Church and Ridgeline Community Church are hosting the Night to Shine event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. This extraordinary prom night focuses on people with special needs, ages 14 years and up, in our community and beyond.
This event has great traction or street-cred among the Special-Needs community. For more than five years this event has taken place across the nation and around the world. It’s been done well. The Special-Needs folk love it. The volunteers who make it all happen love it.
We’ve determined we can host up to 130 Special-Needs persons for this event. Already the registration list is almost full. Their caregivers will be here as well enjoying a night of respite.
What is not completely full is the list of volunteers necessary to let this light shine! What might you volunteer for? The most pressing need is for volunteers who each will serve as a Buddy to one Special-Needs person for that evening. We need 130 such volunteers! But we also need volunteers in areas such as these: coat check; flowers; food service; guest registration; parking; respite room; transportation; sensory room; set-up; tear-down; and many more.
There will be training for all volunteers. One session will be held on Sunday afternoon, January 19th at 1pm and the other option is Monday evening, January 20th at 7pm. Volunteers may attend whichever session fits their schedule best, but each volunteer will need to attend one such training session.
Go to www.bucksmont.nighttoshine.com for a full account of the Night to Shine event. You may register as a volunteer at that site or talk to the ladies in the office and they’ll help you get registered. Background checks are mandatory, so check with the office to make certain your background check is up to date.
The Night to Shine prom night will not only be a tremendous way to show the love of Christ to our guests, their families, and their caregivers, but it will prove a fantastic night for all the volunteers as you build a growing appreciation for people with Special-Needs as well as lasting friendships with everyone involved with the Night to Shine event.
If you have any questions, please speak with Pastor Steve Myers or Denise Kulp.
Let Your Light Shine – Gospel Gleanings
We’re one month into our twelve-month commitment to pray each day for the Erukulu people and give a dollar each day to underwrite a three-year gospel outreach initiative to them. A dollar a day is not a lot, nor is one prayer a day a lot. But it is something. And if each is consistently done, then God will multiply the prayers and gifts exponentially.
Why should we do something like this? Because we, as part of the Church, are commissioned by the Lord Jesus to be His witnesses to all the world. It’s been 2,000 years since that commission was given to the Church. Much has been done! Much has been accomplished! After all, here we are on the other side of the world from where Jesus gave that commission and it reached us.
But there are many places where the light of the gospel has not yet penetrated. Here are some statistics from The Joshua Project about the task still before the Church:
- The total number of people groups in the world: 10,429.
- The total population of the world: 7.67 billion.
- The total number of Unreached people groups in the world: 4,605.
- The total population of Unreached people groups in the world: 3.19 billion.
Those statistics indicate that 41.6% of the world’s population has no gospel witness. Do you know where the greatest concentration of Unreached people groups is located? India. Here are some stats about India:
- India has 159 people groups of over 1,000,000 persons.
- Of those 159 people groups, 133 are Unreached people groups.
- There are hundreds more people groups of less than a million persons that are Unreached.
- The Erukulu people group is one such Unreached people group.
Each day as we pray and as we set aside our Gospel Gleaning, we are helping fulfill the commission Jesus gave to the Church.
We know that Jesus was slain and purchased for God with [His] blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. [Rev. 5:9]. We praise God that included in that list are folk from the Erukulu people group and that we can play a part in bringing the light of the gospel to them.
Excited to Be Men!
In the age in which we live, it can be challenging to be a man. It seems there are as many different opinions of what it means to be a man as there are floats in the Rose Bowl Parade! It can be confusing. How is a fellow to get clarity about all this?
If you want to cut through the muck and clear the fog, then come out to the Men’s Breakfast scheduled for Saturday, January 18th. It will begin at 8am with a hearty, hot breakfast prepared by Tony Kapusta and crew. Tony said it will not be a good breakfast; it will be a great breakfast. He invites you to try it out.
Special speaker for the morning is Nate Sims. He is husband to Virginia, and together they are parents to two children. Nate is also involved in college ministry. He is the CRU leader on the campuses of Lehigh University, Kutztown University, and the Penn State Lehigh Campus. He knows what it’s like to juggle responsibilities, trying to fit all that needs to be done within an already crammed schedule. On top of it all, how does one maintain an ongoing, vital relationship with the Lord? He will share some points of wisdom applicable to all men, whether students, fathers, sons, husbands, etc.
Get excited about being a man, and about being a man of God. Come out for the Men’s Breakfast on January 18th. You’ll find food for your body and for your soul.
It was a rainy and chilly (36 degrees) evening on Dec. 4th when the Consistory of Leidy’s Church met for the last time in 2019. Here are some salient points from that meeting:
- Speaking about Being Judgmental About Addictions, Ed Schmidt led a time of devotions. He explained the connection between addictive behavior and idolatry. Utilizing passages such as Luke 9:59 and 18:22 and Joshua 24:15 he spoke about what appropriate Christian judgment looked like. Elevating anything to a place beside or higher than God is idolatry. Addictions become masters and prevent our following the greatest command, namely, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- Dana Gehman, our Church Treasurer, was present to present the proposed 2020 church budget. After going over each line item and discussing areas of interest or concern, adjustments were made so that the 2020 budget is not too much different from 2019. A copy will be posted in the narthex sometime around the New Year.
- Continued the discussion about the various building project issues, particularly the wicking issue on the Christian Ed level.
- The Nominating Committee (Stan Ott, Matt Harris, and Pastor N) met for a pre-dawn breakfast confab at a fancy greasy-spoon spot in Schwenksville to develop a slate of Consistory officers for 2020. The Committee nominated Dave Reich as President, Peter Martindell as Vice-President, and Shaun Permar as Secretary. The slate won in a landslide.
- At one point a significant break in the meeting occurred with the arrival of five large pizzas of various denominations and a select group of teas and juices and soda drinks. It was a celebratory send-off for Stan Ott and Matt Harris whose terms end this year. A hearty round of applause – to go with pizza-induced heartburn – was given to those two men as an expression of gratitude and brotherly affection.
- Usher Captain duties were discussed. A new format for assigning Ushers will be ushered in in 2020. There will be 6 teams of 15 men, with each team assigned to cover two months approximately six months apart. This will give greater flexibility to individual Ushers but will place more responsibility on Usher Captains to sort out which 8 men will be serving a given week.
- The practice evacuation is postponed until the spring. Usher Captains will seek to have their team of Ushers trained to know what is expected of the Ushers on any Sunday when such an emergency occurs. Coordination of training among the various teams would be an option.
- Our kitchen ranges and ovens as well as our deli slicer were serviced in recent months. A metal shield by the washing station is due to be fabricated soon. The purpose is to prevent water from splashing on the floor near the doorway, making for hazardous conditions.
- The Consistory Retreat is Jan.31/Feb.1 in 2020. Denny Barger will be the speaker/leader.
- A variety of other reports and information was received and noted.
After a time of specified intercessory prayer, the meeting was adjourned at 9:38 by the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.
Second Helvetic Confession
As we work our way through Henry Bullinger’s Second Helvetic Confession, we begin the New Year with the section on the Law of God. It is a foundational section.
Chapter 12: Of the Law of God
1) The Will of God Is Explained for Us in the Law of God. We teach that the will of God is explained for us in the law of God, what he wills or does not will us to do, what is good and just, or what is evil and unjust. Therefore, we confess that the law is good and holy.
The Law of Nature. And this law was at one time written in the hearts of men by the finger of God, and is called the law of nature (the law of Moses is in two tables), and at another it was inscribed by his finger on the two tables of Moses, and eloquently expounded in the books of Moses. For the sake of clarity we distinguish the moral law, which is contained in the Decalogue or two tables and expounded in the books of Moses, the ceremonial law, which determines the ceremonies and worship of God, and the judicial law, which is concerned with political and domestic matters.
2) The Law Is Complete and Perfect. We believe that the whole will of God and all necessary precepts for every sphere of life are taught in this law. For otherwise the Lord would not have forbidden us to add or to take away anything from this law; neither would he have commanded us to walk in a straight path before this law, and not to turn aside from it by turning to the right or to the left.
3) Why the Law Was Given. We teach that this law was not given to men that they might be justified by keeping it, but that rather from what it teaches we may know [our] weakness, sin, and condemnation, and, despairing of our strength, might be converted to Christ in faith. For the apostle openly declares: “The law brings wrath,” and, “Through the law comes knowledge of sin,” and, “If a law had been given which could justify or make alive, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture (that is, the law) has concluded all under sin, that the promise which was of the faith of Jesus might be given to those who believe. . . . Therefore, the law was our schoolmaster unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
The Flesh Does Not Fulfill the Law. For no flesh could or can satisfy the law of God and fulfill it, because of the weakness in our flesh which adheres and remains in us until our last breath. For the apostle says again: “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin.” Therefore, Christ is the perfecting of the law and our fulfillment of it, who, in order to take away the curse of the law, was made a curse for us. Thus he imparts to us through faith his fulfillment of the law, and his righteousness and obedience are imputed to us.
4) How far the Law is Abrogated. The law of God is therefore abrogated to the extent that it no longer condemns us, nor works wrath in us. For we are under grace and not under the law. Moreover, Christ has fulfilled all the figures of the law. Hence, with the coming of the body, the shadows ceased, so that in Christ we now have the truth and all fullness. But yet we do not on that account contemptuously reject the law. For we remember the words of the Lord when he said: “I have not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them.” We know that in the law is delivered to us the patterns of virtues and vices. We know that the written law when explained by the gospel is useful to the church, and that therefore its reading is not to be banished from the church. For although Moses’ face was covered with a veil, yet the apostle says that the veil has been taken away and abolished by Christ.
The Sects. We condemn everything that heretics old and new have taught against the law.
Within the Fellowship
Congratulations to Justin and Courtney Lepping at the birth of a son, Phoenix Michael. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Paul Wile and family at the death of his wife, Lois, and to Linda Stretch and family at the death of her mother. May God be with them at this time.
Here’s an update on the status of three of our supported missionary families. [We thought you’d like to know about these adjustments!]
- Steve & Kelly Marks [and Anna and Joe] are fully commissioned and on their way to Thailand as of December 28, 2019. Serving under the auspices of the Christian Veterinary Mission, they will be in northern Thailand. They appreciate your prayers.
- Chris & Kelly Kulp [and son Judah] end their mission work with 100Fold Studio as of December 31, 2019. They are relocating to southeastern PA where Chris will do architectural work and, perhaps, formulate a plan to help train interested third world workers in technical drawing and architectural skills.
- Andrew & Ann Edmonds [and Felicity, Hudson, and Verity] have relocated from Kingston, CA, to Melbourne, Australia. Andrew has accepted a call to be Director of Youth Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in Victoria, a state in southeastern Australia. Start date for Andrew’s new position is January, 6, 2020.
- 5th – Alice Kraus
- 12th – BJ Kulp
- 19th – Denise Kulp
- 26th – Donna Moyer
- 5th – Tom & Judy Leidy
- 12th – Ed & Darlene Schmidt
- 19th – John Schilling
- 26th – Ron & Kathy Moyer
- 5th – John Schilling
- 12th – Ed & Darlene Schmidt
- 19th – Joe & Karen Sciacca
- 26th – Phil & Renee Shafer
Usher Captains: Nathan Kulp, Ken Merritt
Ushers: John Caserta, Larry Frederick, Dave Freed, Doug Guest, Dave Guntz, Isaac Inyang, Tony Kapusta, Brett Keeble, Mike Kehs, Ken Murphy, James Mylin, Anthony Sciacca, Phil Shafer, John Vasey, and Aaron Vogelzang.
The Emergency Committee for January is Joe Sciacca.