Not Just Another Resolution!
Another year is past, and a new year is upon us. Typically, people take time to reflect on what has gone before in order to make a new start, which often involves making changes in their lives as they press forward into a new year. Many people have already made resolutions. Some of these resolutions can be petty, such as getting organized or cleaning out the garage, car, attic; still others are weighty, such as losing weight by eating healthier, getting more exercise, and spending more time with God, family, and church. All of these resolutions are made in the hope that one’s life will see a marked improvement.
However, statistically, we know that most resolutions will not come to fruition because those who make them have short memories, or they lack the self-discipline to see them through to the desired goal. If the garage, car, or attic does not get cleaned up, well it really does not have any direct impact on the person, though it might make things inconvenient and messy in the future. Yet, if the weightier resolutions are not carried out, they could have a direct impact on our physical health and spiritual wellness as the people of God.
In light of the seriousness of weighty resolutions, may I suggest that we take stock in understanding the importance God places on our stewardship and relationships in life. We are all called to be good stewards of everything God gives to us. This includes not only the material blessings God bestows, but also our physical health and welfare. Likewise, we are called to cultivate relationships that are Christ-honoring, which are prioritized as loving God, loving our family, neighbors, strangers, even enemies God places in our lives. Finally, we are children of God, members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and as members of Christ’s Church, we are blessed to assemble together to worship God, by using our God-given spiritual gifts, talents, and resources to bless and be a blessing, and reach out to others with the Gospel of Christ and make disciples among all nations.
In this case, Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 3:12-14: “I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
This is not just another resolution, but it is the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ – Matthew 28:18-20. May God grant us His grace and power to faithfully live out our Lord’s mission for His Church in this world, even more than what was done in the past and may it be all for the glory of God.
To the glory of God,
Steven L. Myers
March for Life 2022
Let’s Get Basic
When does life begin? That’s a basic question that needs to be answered. Think of it: first there is nothing, then there is life. A baby is conceived. That’s the finger of God. Regardless of the particular circumstances, it is God who gives life. No one else. That’s basic.
When the life God has given in the womb is deliberately destroyed and taken away, that is a grievous sin. It is saying NO when God has said YES. It is basic to understand this point. It is basic that we should desire to agree with God, not dispute with God.
That is why the March for Life is a basic event. The March has one purpose: to declare that babies in the womb are fully human, given the gift of life by the finger of God. This basic truth has been forgotten, denied, contradicted, and maligned by our national leaders for decades. This year, of course, is the year the basic truth about life may be acknowledged again via a Supreme Court ruling. If such a decision comes through, it will affirm the theme of this year’s March for Life: Equality Begins in the Womb.
Another basic truth about the March for Life is that Leidy’s Church sends a busload or two of folk down to participate in the March. This year’s date is Friday, January 21st. A sign-up sheet is on the narthex wall. Cost is a mere $15 p/person. Can’t beat that price with a hammer! The Perkiomen coach is slated to roll out of the Leidy’s Church parking lot at 6am, so if you’re going you should roll into the parking lot by 5:45 or so.
There will be a breakfast stop on the way down – breakfast is basic, you know. We’ll also stop on the way back for dinner, usually at a mall food court. This year the video we watch on the way back will be particularly apt. You’ll like it. You’ll be encouraged by it. You may shed a tear or two. Don’t worry, it’s a sports movie, not an afternoon soap opera. We hope to return to the parking lot between 8 and 9 that evening.
One wonders: will this be the last March for Life if Roe v. Wade gets overturned?
January Pulpit Schedule
2nd – Test the Spirits of Truth & Error – Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Matthew 24: 23-28; 1 John 4:1-6
Does it really matter what we believe about God, so long as we have faith and love Jesus? The short answer is Yes; it does matter what we believe about God, though we say we have faith and love Jesus. The reason why is clear; there are those teaching about Jesus but in error, and because it’s in error, it’s wrong and must not be trusted. John tells us to test the spirits to see if what is being said is from God, and that too means we must know what we believe about God.
9th – God’s Love from First to Last – Exodus 34:1-9; John 15: 12-17; 1 John 4:7-21
True fellowship with God is evidenced by a love for God because God first loved us. John explains why this is so by giving reasons why Christians are to love. A main spiritual quality of believers is love, love for God and love for one another. We will examine John’s explanation for this truth and its implications for all believers desiring to live for Christ in this world.
16th – Born Overcomers of the World – Psalm 19:7-13; Matthew 11:25-30; 1 John 5:1-4
All believers are challenged to live in the victory we have in the Lord Jesus. Books and devotional materials have been written and widely distributed among Christians on the subject of the victorious Christian life. However, there does not seem to be unity over what validates victorious living. We will look at what are elements necessary for us to be overcomers of the world by living victorious in Christ Jesus.
23rd – Testimony of the Triune God – John 5:30-47; Hebrews 6:9-20; 1 John 5:5-12
There are so many uncertainties in our world today. We all are receiving conflicting reports and advice from “professionals” in the fields of medicine, finance, investment, health, nutrition, that we do not know what to believe or what course to pursue. This has accelerated since the pandemic. How grateful we should be that the testimony of God is certain and unchanging even through the uncertainty of our everchanging world. We have confidence in the witness of God!
30th – Certainty of Eternal Life – Psalm 27:1-14; John 6: 26-40; 1 John 5:13-21
There are five means Christians have certainty about eternal life which we need to know. It is essential that we understand them because they together form an ironclad assurance in our eternal life relationship with God in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we grow to learn these ironclad assurances, faith is made strong, confidence in God’s love and faithfulness is achieved, and we are more focused on devotion to God and dedicating ourselves to God in all areas of life.
Leidy’s iBlast program is starting up again on January 19th and will be open to all children in 1st-5th grade. This semester Leidy’s kids will be learning about The Call of God — who God calls, how He solves the problem of sin, how we can recognize His call, and what happens when we try to run from His call.
Each Wednesday (January 19th-March 16th) we’ll start with a light meal at 5:15 p.m. followed by a large group meeting with singing at 6:00 p.m. From there, kids will rotate in small groups through teaching, games, workshop and craft. The program will conclude at 7:30 p.m. Our end of the semester family dinner party will take place on Wednesday, March 23rd starting at 6:00 p.m. Register at leidyschurch.org/iblast.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
I am not overly taken with Greek mythology, but I always think the story of Sisyphus is most interesting. Sisyphus is a man who tried to cheat death. As a punishment for his hubris is forced to roll a boulder up a hill. The real punishment is in his perpetual lack of satisfaction. Let me explain. Each day he toils by pushing and pushing and pushing the rock up the hill. Depending on the account, one of a couple of things would happen. Either the boulder would be enchanted to swerve away from him (and back down the hill), or the boulder would reach the top of the hill only to roll down the other side. The conclusion for Sisyphus is an eternity laboring in a meaningless task WITHOUT ANY END.
The story of Sisyphus has had an endearing quality for many. No doubt, since its creation (indeed since the fall) man has had the ability to identify with the difficulties Sisyphus faced. There are not many of us who have escaped much of life without difficult and meaningless tasks. Many of these tasks are never ending. Sometimes we endure such things because we know that it helps us feed and care for our families or works to the benefit of another. However, there are times of particular distress when our labors seem to have been wasted. They have not helped anyone else, they remain unfinished, and they have caused us daily distress. In short, many have an uncomfortable comradery with Sisyphus lifting the boulder up the hill.
One of the blessings of the Christian life resides in its value. Christians have been able to accomplish many great and wonderful things through the ages. Even in the lifetime of Leidy’s Church, the Lord has used this local body to proclaim the gospel around the world. That requires the time and resources of many. Yet, in times when we are honest with ourselves, we acknowledge that our labors often seem to have little effect. From time to time we put our effort, time, financial resources, and all mental effort into bringing about a program, service, or initiative that seems to fall flat. In those moments, we hear the Sisyphus boulder rolling back down the hill, and it is easy to wonder whether we have the strength to roll it up again.
First, the bad news is that none of us has the strength to roll the stone up Sisyphus’ hill any more than we possess the power to roll the stone away from Jesus’ grave. Such action requires the life transforming grace of God poured out upon us by His Spirit. We need to have hearts of stone exchanged for hearts of flesh, and we need to have the perfect righteousness which only comes through faith in the Lord Jesus who lived, died, and rose again on our behalf. In short, we are not and have never been able to accomplish anything pleasing to the Lord in our own strength. The good news is that in Christ, by the power of His Spirit, our minds are transformed, and we are enabled to follow Him all the days of our lives.
This may not remove the difficult times. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, helps us in times of great labor when things are not going as expected. He writes THEREFORE, MY BELOVED BRETHREN, BE STEADFAST, IMMOVABLE, ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD, KNOWING THAT YOUR TOIL IS NOT IN VAIN IN THE LORD. As much as we like to think, “Well then, I know everything is okay because Paul said so…” We also recognize that there are times when our labors seem to be in vain even when we know the Lord and that He is at work within us. How do we understand our efforts then? We understand that God is working through us in the midst of our present circumstances. Whether our labors are easy and light or difficult and heavy the Lord is working within us. In those times when we labor without an obvious end, we continue to trust that the Lord is continuing to work. We trust that He is building character in us. We trust that He is working out His purposes in us. While we might not understand those purposes until He calls us home, we are still able to trust Him remembering His great love for us.
To the praise of His glory,
Warm Welcome to the Jones Family in January 2022
We as a congregation want to announce and warmly welcome the arrival of Rev. Tony Jones, with his family to the United States of America and to the Immanuel Leidy’s Church family as our new senior pastor.
As many of us know, this has been a long, arduous process, which began back in January 2020, when our former senior pastor announced his intentions to retire later that year. The news of Pastor Niederhaus’ retirement instigated the forming of a pastoral search committee, whose members worked tediously and tirelessly as they reviewed hundreds of resumes, listened to numerous recorded sermons, and interviewed a selection of pastoral candidates for our senior pastor position. Through the faithful prayers and support of God’s people, this pastoral search committee submitted a candidate to our congregation, which we believed and affirmed by congregational vote, as God’s servant to become our next senior pastor, the Rev. Tony Jones.
We are grateful to God for His grace, guidance, provision, and strength, which enabled us, as a church family to remain spiritually united and passionate in our worship of God and service to one another, and through the faithful giving that enabled us to support missionaries all around the world to broadcast by teaching and preaching of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. All praise and glory belong to God alone for His great faithfulness.
As we move forward by faith with great hope in our living and risen Savior, we, as the congregation of Immanuel Leidy’s Church, want to officially install Pastor Tony Jones to his called position as senior pastor. Pastor Tony will be installed on January 30, 2022, during our regular worship service, with a fellowship luncheon to be held in the Fellowship Hall in celebration of this historic and special occasion.
Let us agree to rededicate ourselves to God and His purposes of working in and through us, as we join together with Pastor Tony Jones and his family, in the glorious work of proclaiming Christ’s salvation as we fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission. And may we continue to pray and seek to love and follow our Lord Jesus Christ by becoming in greater degree His grateful, faithful, fruitful, and worshipful people all through the coming new year, to the praise and glory of our Almighty and most gracious God!
Within the Fellowship
Congratulations to Courtney Lepping at the baptism of her son, Phoenix Michael. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Karen Alderfer and family at the death of her sister, and to the family and friends of Margaret Finley at her death. May God be with them at this time.
Business Not As Usual
“You can’t beat something with nothing” may be an old saying, but it is a true saying. While much of the world was awash in catastrophic economic news in 2020 and 2021, such was not the case with a certain people group in India: namely, the Erukula people.
In 2020 and 2021 a Literacy Program was put in place. 450 persons of all ages were involved. Students learned to read via classes held five days a week for two hours each night over the course of ten months. 422 of the 450 students completed the course. That’s an astounding 94% graduation rate.
But, not only did those students learn to read, they also learned to do math, they learned basic truths about hygiene and good health, they learned about personal responsibility, they learned about personal initiative, and they learned about providing for one’s household. One could say they learned to apply all the Bible to all of life.
Soon there were consequences. Lives were changed. Students no longer went about their normal course. They had new ways of thinking and envisioned new ways of living. There was a powerful burst of economic activity and entrepreneurship.
Here’s some of the new businesses in place as a result of the Literacy Program:
- 18 new tea stalls
- 43 new vegetable/fruit stands
- 12 new laundry services
- 30 new tailoring shops
Each of these represents a person and a family with a new vision of living. It’s grounded in the biblical truths taught and caught through the Literacy Program. We do not know how each of these businesses will fare, but we do know the individuals that began them are no longer going about with business as usual. Life has purpose. There is work to be done. There are services to render. There are salaries to be gained. The future is filled with hope.
That’s part of what our dollar-a-day offerings as part of the Gospel Gleanings program in 2020 helped underwrite. While we’re no longer giving a dollar a day, we should be continuing to pray day by day for the Erukula people, for God’s work among them, and for that work to expand exponentially. That should be our pattern of business as usual.
Ladies of Leidy’s
All the ladies of the church are invited to gather up their favorite joke(s) and join us for our monthly Ladies of Leidy’s meeting. We will kick off the year sharing jokes and having our normal business meeting. We will be meeting on Tuesday, January 4th at 7pm in Room 123.
Annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting
The annual Leidy’s Church Congregation dinner and business meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2022. We have so much to be thankful to God for His faithfulness and grace toward us in 2021 and so much to look forward to in 2022 through the gospel ministries at Leidy’s Church.
This congregational meeting will be a special one as we anticipate our new senior pastor and his family most likely joining us for this time of fellowship as we enjoy deliciously prepared foods as a church family. We give thanks to God for calling Pastor Tony Jones as our senior pastor and we are praying that the Lord will continue to guide and direct as forward in faith and obedience as we serve together.
The tasty meal will be prepared by the Kitchen Committee and one thing is for sure, all of our palettes will be fully satisfied with an assortment of savory dishes that will include a selection of desserts, drinks, and hot beverages.
The Leidy’s Church Annual Report will be presented to the congregation in written form with thoughtful explanations under the competent guidance of Mr. Dana Gehman. Dana will explain the ways the Lord provided for the gospel work and ministries through the faithful giving of our members and friends. He will also share how funds were expended to support missionaries all around the world, and how through benevolent giving we financially undergirded local ministries as well throughout the year of 2021.
Childcare will once again be made available for the business portion of our meeting through youth volunteers selected and supervised by Pastor Michael.
Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this special night of feasting, fellowship, and thanksgiving to God for the work He has done and will do in and through our lives as we join together to serve and worship Him in 2022.
This article is to be considered the official notification to all members of Immanuel Leidy’s Church of our Annual Congregational Dinner and Business Meeting.
Gospel Gleanings Report
For just over a year Leidy’s Church through her Gospel Gleanings project with Global Disciples provides financial undergirding for training events in Chad and Niger. Below are some of the reports received from events that took place in those countries in 2021. Get ready to praise God for His goodness!
DJIMADOUMYA, Program Director, reports: I started training in December 2020. During the training and the outreach, 23 people were baptized in water. We organized door-to-door outreach where 23 gave their life to Christ. During evangelism organized in another village, 123 came to accept Christ. We went to many villages and in total 700 accepted Jesus in their life. 181 took water baptism. Four churches were planted. It’s really a harvest of the souls!
BLAISE, Program Director reports: I was looking for just 15 disciple makers to be trained but 21 came. In the outreach, 18 were baptized. Many healings happened, and many people brought out their fetishes and gave their life to Christ. A pastor came for the training very discouraged and ready to abandon the ministry but at the end of the program, he was ready to continue serving GOD. Four churches were planted.
Those were two of the reports received from Chad. Here are two reports received from trainings held in Niger:
Program Director reports: I blessed the Lord for His hands in our ministry. May all the glory belong to Him. We train disciples in a region under terrorist threats. Some became evangelists, others are working aside the pastors. The training was a challenge, but we were able to plant six churches in that region. We went to one place and by the grace of God a family welcomed us, and we stayed there. During our time there, many sick people were healed and many who had problems received solutions and help.
Finally, the chief of the village agreed to give us permission to plant a church in the village. In the mission, we encountered financial challenges but in collaboration with another GDT director, we started a garden to help in local sustainability. Our great expectation is to see thousands of people making disciple-makers in Niger.
Program Director reports: I give glory to God for he spoken to me during our Directors Training and communicated the place where I should start my training. He also said, “One pastor, one village.” I understood that I am in front of a challenge to see one pastor in every single village of Niger. I was a burden on my shoulders. The place where we held the training is far from the capital city where I live. So, the Lord opened the door by making the pastor in charge of that region to give the permission to come and train. He told me that this is the result of their prayers.
The two teachings on the first day brought transformation in the life of the participants. People were broken; they started confessing their sins, asking for forgiveness to one another. Some participants even phoned people against whom they have issues and confessed. The power of the Holy Spirit was moving and bringing healing and restoration in the participants’ lives. After the training, six new churches come out of this.
Let Your Light Shine for Night to Shine!
Registration for guests to participate in the virtual celebration on February 11th opened in early December at the website leidyschurch.nighttoshine.com.
This is the second time that Leidy’s Church has hosted this curbside event for special needs people, and as you can imagine there are numerous volunteer positions needing to be filled in preparation for the event. The biggest need is for volunteers to help out at several stations. We are anticipating as many as 130 special needs guests participating in the Shine-Thru event.
Volunteers are needed at Leidy’s Church on Saturday, January 29th, to help out with the Shine-Thru event for registered guests to drive through and be celebrated and receive their guest experience kit prior to the 11th. We need volunteers to decorate along the route, greet guests as they arrive and check them in, hand out their gifts, and cheer them on as they drive along the red carpet area. Anyone who wishes to help out can volunteer at the website above, or contact the church office for details.
We are excited to announce the LIVE broadcast of Faith News, coming to our church March 26 & 27. It’s not too late to be a part of our cast of angel reporters as we prepare to share some of the top news stories of the people of Faith throughout the ages. You can still join our roving reporters as they interview people from the Bible during the most defining moments in their lives. You’ll learn how important it is to have faith and trust God’s promises. Practices are most Saturday mornings from 10:00-11:00..starting January 4th. “Faith News” is a production of the ILC Sonshine Players. See Donna Frueh or Laurie Plank for more info.
On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church met at 7:34 pm, and minutes were taken of the meeting, from which relevant notes are listed below.
Shaun Permar opened in prayer and led a devotion on the topic of thanksgiving to God. Shaun pointed out that thanksgiving is a gift given to us to offer praise to our good and gracious Heavenly Father, and in doing so, we experience hearts of joy and renewed minds, which are grounded in God’s truth. He cited Psalm 69:30-31; 100:4; 103:2; Ephesians 5:20 to challenge us to daily times for prayer, worship, and fellowship with thanksgiving to God, through the good and bad times in life.
Minutes from our meeting on November 10th were reviewed and approved. In Ron Moyer’s absence, Dana Gehman presented the monthly financial report and the proposed 2022 budget. The monthly financial report was reviewed, with discussion over designated fund balances, HUB account, and Pastor Jones’ moving funds, before being approved. The proposed budget for 2022 was presented by Dana, who highlighted any additions or subtractions in the 2022 proposed budget. Overall, the projected costs of the 2022 budget, if approved by the congregation, will be a 3.37% increase from the current 2021 church budget.
Items of business discussed were the wicking and steeple projects, the HUB property deed separation, the HUB lease agreement, the homeschool tax status, the Communication meeting, the wireless installation update, and a possible part-time custodial position.
After reviewing the pastor’s reports and the various committee reports, we discussed three events that are coming up in December and into the new year. First, a Christmas Eve with Communion worship service on December 24th at 7:00 PM. Second, our Annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting scheduled for January 15th. Third, the discontinuation of the Issues & Answers class during the months of January and February, with Mission’s Month scheduled in March.
We closed the meeting with a time of intercessory prayers and the Lord’s prayer at 10:44 pm.
Pik Trailer Project
The Pikangikum Trailer Project is for the benefit of Colleen Estes, our long-time friend and fellow worker. She is in need of another person to come alongside and help her with the ministry at Pikangikum. This trailer will provide housing for the individual or couple that will be coming. The trailer costs $40,000. Then when you add in the grates that need to be put over the windows before it arrives at Pikangikum, the plumbing that needs to be installed, and the cost of transporting it from Stratton, Ontario, to Pikangikum over the winter road you can see it will not be inexpensive. Stratton is about 60 miles west of International Falls. Thanks for your help in meeting this pressing need. It will be a true Christmas gift.
New City Catechism
Question 15: Since no one can keep the law, what is its purpose?
That we may know the holy nature and will of God, and the sinful nature and disobedience of our hearts; and thus our need of a Savior. The law also teaches and exhorts us to live a life worthy of our Savior.
Romans 3:10: For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Commentary – Charles Simeon
These poor men think they can preach the Gospel without preaching the Law. I say, they must preach the Law, unless they do not mean to preach the Gospel. The Law entered that the offence might abound: proclaim it, I say, for this purpose among your ungodly congregations; lift up your voices like trumpets, and tell the people their transgressions, that you may glorify the more your honored Master, in proclaiming the infinite riches and fulness of His great salvation. Preach the Law to those who believe, as finished, cancelled, dead for their salvation: point them to Immanuel as holding it in His bleeding hand, and saying to them, “If ye love me, keep my Commandments.”
The law of God helps us to know God, know ourselves, know our need, and know the life of peace and blessedness. It helps us to know God because it specifically reveals his character and his attributes, his holy will, what he’s like.
Paul tells us in Romans 1 that everyone knows right and wrong. But the law of God very specifically reveals to us God’s character and his own moral qualities. Morality is not arbitrary. God doesn’t tell us to do arbitrary things. God does not require us to do things that he is not prepared to do himself. So all morality is rooted in God’s character. And when we study the law, we see a display of God’s character.
God’s law also reveals to us ourselves, especially our sinful nature and our disobedience, our inclination to sin. For instance, when Jesus is talking to the rich young ruler, he says, “Go, sell what you possess, and give to the poor” (Matt. 19:21). And the rich young ruler essentially says to Jesus, “I can’t.” And he walks away sadly. Now what’s going on in that story? Is Jesus saying that we all have to give away all of our possessions? No. But in the case of the rich young ruler, Jesus is revealing to him by the law of God the specific nature of his own sin. What’s the first commandment? To have no other gods before me. And there, God in the flesh is saying to the rich young ruler, “What’s it going to be? Your money, your possessions, or me, God?” And the rich young ruler chooses something over God, before God.
That leads to the third thing that the law helps us with. It helps us to understand our need. When we know who God is, and we know that we don’t measure up to his morality and character, when we know who we are, and we know the sinful inclinations of our hearts, it presses us to Jesus, because we know that we have need of a Savior. And the Savior has fulfilled that law. He’s obeyed it perfectly, and he’s paid the penalty that is due to us for it. The law presses us to the Savior. It points us to the Savior. It takes us to the Savior.
Of course, the law also shows us the life of peace and blessedness. When we think about obedience, many of us immediately think, “Oh, do I have to? Do I have to do good works? Do I have to obey?” That wasn’t Jesus’s attitude toward God’s commands and God’s will. In fact, he frequently said to his disciples, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34). In other words, he was saying that it was like spreading a seven-course banquet in front of him to be able to obey the law of God, the will of God. And once we’re redeemed, once we’ve trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation as he has offered in the gospel, the law not only is something that points us to Christ, but it also shows us how to live the life of peace and blessedness.
When God originally gave his commands to Adam and Eve in the garden, he gave those commands to them as blessings. They weren’t things upon which his love was contingent. He loved them and blessed them in the garden. And their obedience to the commands was the very sphere in which they enjoyed that blessedness. And when we are saved by Christ, when we are united to Christ, we are able to walk in a manner that is worthy of the gospel. We are to live in a manner that is like the Lord Jesus Christ. And he delighted in obeying God. And so the law of God shows us what that life of peace and blessedness is like. It shows us what it’s like to live a life worthy of the gospel once we’ve trusted in Jesus Christ.