We’re getting to the end of preaching through the book of Revelation. As a consequence, I’ve been forced to think about the Millennium more deeply than I have in the past. If you participated in church [via livestream or in-person] the last two Sundays of May, then you know some of the results of those pastoral ponderings. In this month’s column I want to walk with you through Psalm 66. It’s a Psalm with a vision of the Millennium, but also of a life lived prior to the Millennium, as we are living right now.
Here’s how Psalm 66 begins. This, I believe, is a picture of the Millennium:
Shout joyfully to God all the earth;
Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name.” [vss. 1-5]
When will this happen? That’s the question I have written in the margin of my Bible. To answer my own question, that’s what I envision happening in the Millennium. All the earth experiences the joy of God, has a proper sense of His awesome power, so that even God’s enemies acknowledge Him and go through the motions of honoring Him. The Millennium does not mean all folk are Christians, only that Christian values prevail, and without force.
Verses 5-7 show the origin of the “feigned obedience” as well as the real worship:
Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds towards the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; They passed through the river on foot; There let us rejoice in Him! He rules by His might forever; His eyes keep watch on the nations; Let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
The Exodus is in view here, but to the end that even those who are rebels against God know the truth of His sovereign power, that God truly IS, and He IS keeping watch on all nations. Just as God was watching over Pharaoh in Moses’ day, so He is watching over all the nations at all times. Each will be held to account. This they know and it changes their attitude and behavior.
Then the Psalmist gets to the heart of the matter in verses 8 and 9:
Bless our God, O peoples, And sound His praise abroad, Who keeps us in life and does not allow our feet to slip.
This is his belief about and assertion concerning the Lord, the Almighty, the Pantocrator, the Ruler of All. As we read on, we find out it is a highly tempered conviction. It’s been through some heat treatments, as it were.
For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance. [vss. 10-12]
My heart leaps with joy each time I read those verses. What an encouragement. What precious truth to hold on to. God is the One who rules in the affairs of our lives. He rules whether it be the large, overarching matters, or, in the most miniscule details. What does not rule, does not determine matters? Not the devil. Not my proneness to err. Not my weak physical body. Not the malevolent wishes of others. Not mere happenstance. It is YOU, God. What comfort. What hope.
His assertion in verse 9 about God not allowing our feet to slip is more than mere wishful thinking, more than whistling while walking past the graveyard. The man has gone through it. And he knows the Lord brings him out to a place of abundance. That place of abundance may be in this life or in the life to come, but it is certain.
What the Psalmist lists are times in life when things do not seem to go right, when an oppressive burden is upon us, or when we feel trapped by circumstances, or when false accusations against us are believed. It is startling to hear the Psalmist insist it is YOU, GOD, who does all these things. But the very fact that it is God, is what gives him hope.
The cynic within me says, “Yeah, right, John. But what about when He doesn’t bring folk out to a place of abundance? What about when they suffer, suffer some more, and then die? What about that?” First, I acknowledge that sometimes that is the case. Even Christian people suffer all sorts of indignities and then die. Second, though, I point my cynical self to passages such as this: Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You [God] have rescued my soul from death . . . I shall walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. [Ps. 116:7-9]
Death is not the final word. Even the Millennium is only for a time. Stretching beyond all that is eternity. Every person who’s ever lived has an eternal destiny. Heaven is the ultimate place of abundance to which God brings His people. We must know such to be the case.
In Psalm 66 the Psalmist goes on to declare how he will give thanks to God and worship, even as he vowed to do when in those places of distress. He invites us to Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul. [Ps. 66:16]
We’re not in the Millennium yet. We long for it. We desire to see the days and months and years and centuries when All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name. We believe it is coming, but it isn’t here yet. And, I suspect, it will not be for a while, given my postmillennial understanding of the Bible.
In the meantime, the benediction over our lives is that of the ending verse of Psalm 66: Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His lovingkindness from me. [Ps. 66:20] May our souls rest in that assurance, and may we let our light shine by telling others what the Lord Jesus has done for our souls.
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
June Pulpit Schedule
7th – No More Going to the Shore! – Psalm 89:11-18; John 4 s.v.; Revelation 21:1-14
Would you still want to go to heaven if you knew there was no going down the Shore there? Our text from Revelation makes that case. It says there is no longer any sea, hence it follows there is no shore. What is being described is the new heaven and the new earth. Focus is directed to the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven. The amenities afforded her inhabitants are described in some detail. They are desirable in all ways. Even more amazing are the building materials used for this city. Something old, something new, something borrowed, but nothing blue.
14th – Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine – Romans 6:3-14; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Hebrews 11:8-10,15-16; Revelation 21:15-27
We should all desire to be on our way to a place where the sun doesn’t shine. Ordinarily, that is a phrase more connected with cursing than blessing. Not this time! We’re talking about the city of God! This is a city that has no need of the sun or the moon. Why? Because the Lamb is its lamp. It’s the city which Abraham and the patriarchs were seeking. It’s a bejeweled city that’s been through the fire, as it were. The kings of the earth (which the sun and moon represent, remember) will bring their glory into it. Nothing unclean shall ever come into it. Wow!
21st – A River to Drown In – Psalm 103:1-5, 19-22; Ezekiel 47:3-12; Revelation 22:1-5
God gave Ezekiel a vision of a river flowing from the temple of God. First it was ankle deep, then hip deep, then chest deep, and finally so deep it required swimming. It went out from the temple to the sea and made the salt water fresh water Wherever the river went everything lived; but there were swamps and marshy areas where it didn’t reach. They weren’t healed. John receives a vision in Revelation 22 of a remarkably similar river. It flows from the throne of God; it has the tree of life on either side. One big difference: in this case there is no longer any curse! Jump in!
28th – Wrapping It All Up – Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 2 Peter 1:19-2:3; Revelation 22:6-21
Can you believe it? On this Sunday we’ll be done. It will all be in the rearview mirror. Hard to believe, Harry. It was way back on September 22nd that we began walking through Revelation. We should feel just a little bit like John when he reached this point: he wanted to worship. But he had to be corrected; he was falling down at the feet of a created being. He was rebuked and told what to do: Worship God. That’s been a theme throughout Revelation. John is reminded of what he’s heard and seen, all wrapped up in that command. That command should wrap it up for us too.
For those who have not been baptized, Leidy’s Church will be offering baptism by immersion on Sunday, June 14th. Ordinarily, this is for those recently converted who have never been baptized, or for children of Leidy’s Church members who were dedicated as infants but now want to confess their faith publicly. There may be other situations, but those two are the most common.
The Leidy’s Church Statement of Faith explains this in more detail:
Baptism may be administered to persons of moral age who make a credible confession of repentance and belief. It may also be administered to children of believing parents, even as circumcision was given to Abraham, the father of faith, to administer to his children. Those baptized as infants need not be re-baptized as adults.
Those interested in being baptized should contact Pastor Niederhaus no later than June 7th.
From the Pastor to Youth and Children
The first and greatest commandment is you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [Matt. 22:37] In these words, quoted from Deuteronomy 6, the Lord Jesus provides direction for all believers through the ages. We are to be a people marked by our growing love of the Lord in all aspects of our person. Too often we are marked not by our love for the Lord, but with a manic preoccupation to escape hell. To be clear, salvation is a great benefit of being redeemed by Jesus’ blood, but God restoring my relationship with Him is the greatest result of Christ’s work. You might think I am splitting hairs or making a mountain out of a molehill, but errors like this have significant impact upon our thinking. When we value our salvation more than we value our relationship with God, we dishonor the Lord and are prone to fall into sin.
Let me give you an example. When I worked for the Navigators our team had weekly meetings where we would discuss the fruit of our Bible study and devotional time. One staff member remarked that she had intentionally avoided any time in the Scriptures the previous week. When asked why, she explained this had been her attempt to prevent legalism. While legalism is a serious error wherein people believe that they contribute to their salvation by their good works, this staff member had gone to the other extreme. By deciding not to read the Scriptures, she had abandoned any attempts to know God as He has revealed Himself.
This is not an appropriate way to avoid legalism. When Christians do not spend time in the Bible, they are often unable to see or comprehend the love God has for them. As a result, they do not love the Lord as they have been commanded. Just like all Christians, my co-worker needed to spend time in the Scriptures not because that would save her from her sins. Instead, she needed to encounter the love of God on the pages of the Bible that her heart and mind might be changed and her love of the Lord might grow!
The Lord Jesus says, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [Matt. 6:21] My co-worker’s treasure was her salvation and as a result her heart was consumed with actions to do (or not do) whatever was necessary to make sure that salvation was intact. We are to treasure God who has redeemed us through His Son. When we do so, our hearts will be full of faith, love, and obedience. We will have faith that He is who He says He is, that He has redeemed us, and that He is our Lord. We will love Him with our heart, soul, and mind as the greatest commandment dictates. We will follow Him wherever He leads.
To the Praise of His Glory,
Pulpit Committee Update
The Pulpit Committee continues to meet on Tuesday evenings. They appreciate our prayers and ask for us to continue to pray. A number of candidates have been interviewed initially, but not beyond that. The rate of applications being received has slowed considerably.
The Committee was able to meet via Zoom since mid-March. They are happy to report they were able to meet face-to-face the last week of May. A bit of normality returned, even though it requires getting dressed nicely and making the drive to church. They like normality.
2020 is an exceptional year. It’s also an extraordinarily difficult year. Certainly, such has been the case for the Leidy’s Church Confirmation Class. Just as they were coming down to the stretch, with only three months to go, classes stopped. Abruptly. In mid-March. Everything was put on hold. The expectation, based on what was heard in the media, was the lockdown would last for only two weeks or so, then the curve would be flattened, and all would resume.
Guess what? It didn’t happen. The lockdown continued. But how to continue class? Well, eventually Zoom meetings began to happen in April. We found that Zoom meetings don’t have much zip. While you can see and hear people, the personal interactions of a live, in-person and in-your-face sort of setting was missing. Zoom is a poor substitute for teaching and learning.
But the class persevered! The result is that Confirmation Happens on June 21st during the 10 am service of worship. The Lord’s Supper will be served. It will have a new configuration, one that does not involve passing the elements down each pew. There may be a light celebratory luncheon following the service, but that’s still up in the air as this Newsletter goes to press. Stay tuned for updated info.
This Confirmation Class was exceptional in that it was all girls! Yikes. The Preacher had to go out and recruit a male ringer to stand with him. Fortunately, Jim Kinney was more than happy to be part of the two-year class. He even did each homework assignment, memorization and all. Jim had lots of questions that made the class much more interesting.
Another adult who went through the course was Desireé Steve. Like Jim, Desireé was a salutary addition to the class, doing all the required work, asking penetrating questions, offering refreshing insights, and contributing tasty snacks from time to time.
The Confirmation Class went through the Bible in Year One. Year Two had 13 weeks of church history, 13 weeks of the Heidelberg Catechism, and 4 weeks of considering the details of Leidy’s Church’s past and present.
Those who will be confirmed on the 21st are:
- Makenna Murphy
- Annabelle Martindell
- Jayne Lafty
- Abbey Hall
- Riley Peck
- Mariah Foote
- Shae Mahoney
Cayla and Shannon Connor moved to South Dakota toward the end of Year One. Guess what? They persevered and did the work under the supervision of their parents who received the worksheets and other material from the church. When the Zoom meetings began, they were able to join in! For them Zoom worked really well. They were planning to be here on May 31st to be confirmed, but with Confirmation being moved back to June that won’t be possible. Perhaps later in the summer something can be worked out for them.
We thank God for this Confirmation Class. We pray the Holy Spirit will continue to guide, correct, protect, preserve, and help them adjust to unforeseen circumstances as they seek to live faithful and fruitful lives under the Lordship of Jesus
Congrats to Grads!
2020 has been an unusual year to graduate. There are no graduation ceremonies as we would normally think of them. Perhaps some have happened virtually, but we’ve only heard of one graduation ceremony that was live, in-person, and on-site. And that was in Oklahoma.
Our list of graduates this year is pretty meager. But that doesn’t mean our graduates are not eager to strike out for new frontiers! Though we regret the absence of formal graduation ceremonies, we congratulate each one most heartily and pray for God’s blessing and guidance upon them.
High School Graduates
Natalie Reich is leaving the familiar confines of her home and of the Reich Homeschool campus for the campus of Cedarville University in central Ohio. After careful self-analysis, she plans to major in Psychology. Her parents are Dave and Lorraine Reich.
Megan Weiss is the last of the Weiss girls to walk the halls and frolic in the pool at Pennridge High School. She plans to jump in the pool down at Liberty University this fall, and, taking a page out of her mother’s playbook, major in Nursing. New empty-nester parents are Francis and Judy.
Emma Lafty has graduated from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Spanish. Very active in mission outreach, she plans to further her ability to serve in needed ways as she begins an accelerated nursing program at Penn State Altoona in the fall. Brian and Jenny are her parents.
Brittany Weiss finished her final year of NCAA eligibility for swimming with the Liberty University swim team by getting the coveted MBA degree. Last year she received a Bachelor’s degree in Project Management. Though she’s had job offers in NYC and the like, she prefers to stay closer to her roots in southeastern PA. Given that’s the case, she could always manage the big bucks of her parents, Francis and Judy Weiss.
Youth Fellowship is gearing UP to get OUT
Leidy’s Church will resume public worship on June 7th. A corresponding reality is Youth Fellowship WILL RESUME as well.
Usually, the Youth Fellowship summer schedule is a series of pool parties at the homes of gracious families that invite us. This year will be no different. Pastor Michael is in the process of contacting parents and kids with the schedule of summer events.
If you have any questions, (or, want to extend an invitation) please contact Pastor Michael. He’ll be delighted to talk with you.
Within the Fellowship
Congratulations to Jim and Danielle Mylin at the birth of a daughter, Lillian Brooke. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Our sincere Christian sympathy to family and friends at the death of Bill Benner, and to John Rittenhouse and family at the death of his mother. May God be with them at this time.
Some Loose Threads Hanging
There are all sorts of loose threads hanging from the fabric of the normal activities of Leidy’s Church. They’re hanging loose because we don’t know where to sew them in at them moment. Here are some examples:
֎ The Strawberry Festival usually was the second Saturday in June. Not this year. We’re not sure if or when it will take place.
֎ The Rummage Sale was supposed to happen in May. It didn’t. Will it be rescheduled for this summer? In a normal year, the next Rummage Sale would be in October. In 2020, we aren’t certain yet. Deliberations continue.
֎ Monthly Fellowship Meals have been suspended since March. There is one on the books for June 28th. Will it happen? Don’t know.
֎ Pastor Michael’s Ordination was scheduled for the evening of March 15th. It was postponed indefinitely on March 13th. That thread is waiting to be sewn back in.
֎ Iron Pigs Outing is a popular feature of Leidy’s Church life. Will they play any baseball at all this summer? Major leagues or Minor leagues? We have tickets if they should decide to do so. Will they be any good? Don’t know.
֎ Prayer Card Sunday happens on Palm Sunday. Not in 2020. Rescheduling remains on the “to do” list. Also, collecting pictures for the prayer cards has to be completed.
֎ Vacation Bible School scheduled for June is not happening in June. See another article in this Newsletter for details about when it might happen.
This list could be extended. But you get the idea. Your patience and understanding are much appreciated. Your prayers and intercessions are even more appreciated – and needed!
A Word from Cucuta
Our gospel outreach partner congregation in Cucuta, Colombia, is still not able to meet. Pastor Dagoberto reports the lockdown in Colombia is still in force for churches. The Iglesia Luz y Verdad congregation is learning to relate via Zoom and Skype and other social media. Teaching still takes place as does outreach efforts.
Every week they are able to distribute food to Venezuelans who cross the border because there is no food available in Venezuela. They take the food back across the border to help feed their families. The crossings are done surreptitiously.
Here’s a brief message from Pastor Dagoberto, though it comes via Google Translator:
I want to tell you that we are still in quarantine and we cannot meet as a Church, however we do it virtually. I also want to inform you that many Venezuelan migrants are returning to their country in the midst of the pandemic through humanitarian channels because the borders are closed. Here we still have Venezuelans who leave their houses to ask for something to eat. We have here some food products that we share with them. Those products are bought with the money that Immanuel Leidy’s Church sends. Thanks to that, many can take something home these days. Their gratitude to Immanuel Leidy’s Church is great . . . Immanuel Leidy’s Church has been a great blessing for a large number of people in this part of the world. Acts 20:35.
Letter Regarding Reopening
Below is the letter sent out at the behest of our Consistory regarding Leidy’s Church plans for re-opening. It is also available at our website and, we hope, many of you received it via email in the last week or so of May, or, perhaps by snail mail.
Dear Leidy’s Church Members and Friends:
Warm greetings in Jesus’ name. Two months have elapsed since we suspended our services of worship and other activities at Leidy’s Church. We’ve been most grateful to God for the way He has kept us unified, focused, and in touch with one another despite the circumstances. But the big question is, When does this all end? Here are some preliminary answers.
- Our intention is to resume open, public worship on Sunday, June 7th.
- No one should feel pressured to come to worship, but we will be open for public worship.
- If anyone is ill, if anyone feels unsafe, or if anyone for some other reason is uncomfortable coming out to worship, we encourage you to stay home.
- We especially encourage those who are in high-risk categories to consider staying home. Usually, this refers to the elderly and those with compromising health issues. No one from those categories should feel obligated to come out to worship at this time.
- We will continue to livestream our services so everyone will have access to our worship.
- There will be plenty of hand sanitizer available, but if you want to wear a mask, bring your own. We will not be taking anyone’s temperature. Our facility will be thoroughly sanitized before and after our services.
- We will not pass the offering plates, at least initially. There will be receptacles where offerings may be placed.
- When we serve communion, for the time being, it will be done in such a way as to preclude passing the elements down each row. The particulars are still being worked out.
- We will limit restroom use to two persons maximum at any one time.
- Provisions will be made for social distancing. We do expect those present to self-regulate – we aren’t going to measure distances between folk. We will have seating only in every other pew. If that is still too close for anyone’s comfort, then the Fellowship Hall will be available to participate in worship via that screen. We encourage each of us to be aware of the sensitivities of others.
- We will not have any Sunday School hour initially; we’ll make a determination regarding SS resumption after we have a few Sundays under our belt.
- Nursery and child-care services will not be available as we re-open. We hope to offer such services again in due time, but not initially.
- This re-opening applies only to Sunday morning worship. All our other activities are still being assessed. Most require significant prep time. While we’ve been prepping for worship each week throughout the past two months, we have not done the prep work for the other activities we would normally be undertaking at this time of year. Consequently, they will be held in abeyance for the moment, with ample notification given when they will resume or take place.
- Confirmation was scheduled to take place on May 31st. That is no longer feasible. We plan to have Confirmation on June 21st if all goes as planned.
Why have we decided to do this now? What about government mandates, etc.? Read on:
- We have consulted a number of our neighboring congregations regarding these matters.
- We’ve also been in contact with the Pennsylvania Family Institute about the legal and safety requirements for re-opening. Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel for the PA Family Institute, has offered guidance to us. Our plans are in accord with the counsel.
- Churches have been labelled as essential by Gov. Wolf from the outset. He recommended churches consider the well-being of congregants and the wider community and so restrict services, but there was never a requirement for any church to do so. [As a side note, we should remember each state establishes for itself the rules or guidelines to be followed. What is required in Michigan, for example, is not necessarily required in any other state. Thus, Pennsylvania’s rules and guidelines are unique to Pennsylvania.]
- We do believe worship is essential and are glad to be able to begin open, public worship.
- We will limit our attendance to 50% of our seating capacity, which is the recommended guideline for larger facilities by PA Dept. of Health.
- We do believe this is a proper and reasonable course of action in the light of all that is known. But we encourage each person/family to determine if such is true for their particular situation or concerns.
- We are agreed that it is time to begin to resume normal activities. This is a start, limited for sure, but a start, nonetheless.
We give thanks to God for His faithfulness to us during this time. We give thanks to God for your faithfulness during this time. We ask that He guide us in moving forward faithfully as well.
Faithfully in Christ,
John H.C. Niederhaus
David G. Reich
A VBS Delay & Prayer Request
Though Leidy’s Church purposed to continue with VBS in this very merry month of June, as it turns out that will not be possible. Even though Leidy’s Church is opening for public worship on the 7th, we have not had adequate time to work through the logistics of having seventy-five kids together for a week!
No, we do not have a new time and date set for VBS. Our team is still working hard to prepare this year’s curriculum, decorations, songs, and other materials.
The Lord willing, we will be ready to have VBS later this summer. But we do need to get the logistics worked out – or, is that worked up, or, maybe even, worked in. Regardless, we have work to do.
That’s why we’re asking you to please pray for those who are planning VBS, for the volunteer workers who will eventually be running VBS, and for the kids who are missing time with friends and time learning about Jesus.
We hope our next Newsletter will have all the details you need to know. Or, speak with Pastor Michael anytime and he’ll fill you in on the progress. And he’s always glad to talk with you about possible ways you might volunteer!
Utilizing the unexpectedly familiar resources of Zoom, the Leidy’s Church Consistory met on the 6th of May to conduct the business of the church. Below are some highlights:
- Business, busyness, and stress were the focus of Jim Kinney’s devotions. In many of our lives each of these elements have increased with the coronavirus. This can lead down a slippery slope where compromises are made in the spiritual dimensions of life. Referencing Luke 10:38-42, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 46, and James 1:2-4, Jim encouraged faithfulness in our daily walk with God. He closed by reading Romans 5:3-5 and showing how God can work all these things for good, especially helping us realize the one necessary part of each of our lives is God.
- With outside construction work able to take place soon, Penn Builders will be contacted to press on with determination of how to relieve the wicking problem on a number of our outside walls.
- An insurance claim is being processed for damages done from a fire on the parsonage grounds last year. A good number of the shrubs and fencing separating the parsonage from the farmhouse behind it went up in smoke. The fire started from PPL power lines sparking onto a tree.
- Rent abatement of up to 40% of the monthly fee was offered to tenants of the HUB. A note of appreciation was received from the tenants, though only one tenant acted on the offer.
- The Pulpit Committee continues its work apace. Several virtual introductory interviews have taken place via Zoom. The Committee asks for continued prayers on its behalf.
- The summer preaching schedule from July through September is being finalized. It is anticipated that Pastor Steve and Pastor Michael will each preach once a month. Denny Barger and Bill Teate also have agreed to preach in July and August. Dates need to be firmed up.
- Administrative tasks currently done by the Pastor will need to be evaluated and parceled out among current staff member and committees. Plans also will need to be made concerning special services such as Rally/Commissioning Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. A new Confirmation Class is scheduled to begin in September as well. The music schedule is set through the end of August, and the Usher schedule is complete for 2020. Both will need to be addressed in the next few months for 2021. Later this summer a decision will need to be made about the necessity or desirability of hiring an Interim Pastor.
- Discussed re-opening matters. No one knows when that might happen. Procedures we will follow when it does happen were discussed. It is hoped that our plans will be sufficiently finalized to be published in the June Newsletter.
- The matter of Consistory nominations was addressed. John DiLenge, Jim Kinney, and Tim Leidy are willing to be nominated for second terms. Ed Schmidt is finishing his second term, hence is not eligible to serve again until he’s been off Consistory for at least one year. After prayer, reading relevant scriptural passages, and seeking names to be considered, a slate of potential nominees was developed. The order in which the names were drawn out of the Bible is the order in which Ed will make contact to seek a man willing to be nominated.
- Pastor Steve and Pastor Michael report livestreaming is continuing to make progress week by week. Plans are to continue livestreaming even after we re-open. Such being the case, Ron Moyer made a motion to expend the necessary funds to upgrade some of our equipment and purchase additional equipment to make it happen. The motion was passed for funds not in excess of $9,000 to be made available.
- The Mission Committee reported SLMT-Ukraine is postponed. Originally scheduled for May 12-20, most likely it will happen in the Sept-Nov. timeframe. Also, SLMT-Pik is cancelled. No trip will be made to Canada this year. A sub-committee will work with Colleen Estes at Pikangikum to determine what, if anything, we might do in place of the normal summer program.
- The Christian Education Committee will meet within the next week to discuss this year’s VBS program – postponement seems likely.
- The Church and Community Committee intends to collect food for the Keystone Opportunity Center. A list of acceptable items will be published and a table placed in the narthex to receive donations through May 31.
- The Property Committee reported mulching is continuing apace, though great progress was made this past Saturday (May 2nd) with lots of volunteers out on a bright sunny day.
Following a time directed intercessory prayer, the meeting was adjourned at 9:37 with the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.
The Second Helvetic Confession
This month we’ll finish the section dealing with repentance and conversion, looking particularly at errors, and begin the section dealing with justification. These matters are at the heart of Christian life, faith, and understanding.
Chapter 14: of Repentance and the Conversion of Man
11) Errors. Wherefore we condemn all impious utterances of some who wrongly use the preaching of the gospel and say that “it is easy to return to God. Christ has atoned for all sins. Forgiveness of sins is easy. Therefore, what harm is there in sinning? Nor need we be greatly concerned about repentance, etc.” Notwithstanding we always teach that an access to God is open to all sinners, and that he forgives all sinners of all sins except the one sin against the Holy Spirit.
12) The Sects. Wherefore we condemn both old and new Novatians and Cathars.
Papal Indulgences. We especially condemn the lucrative doctrine of the pope concerning penance, and against his simony and his simoniacal indulgences we avail ourselves of Peter’s judgment concerning Simon: “Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.” [Acts 8:21]
13) Satisfactions. We also disapprove of those who think that by their own satisfactions they make amends for sins committed. For we teach that Christ alone by his death or passion is the satisfaction, propitiation, or expiation of all sins. Yet as we have already said, we do not cease to urge the mortification of the flesh. We add, however, that this mortification is not to be proudly obtruded upon God as a satisfaction for sins, but is to be performed humbly, in keeping with the nature of the children of God, as a new obedience out of gratitude for the deliverance and full satisfaction obtained by the death and satisfaction of the Son of God.
Chapter 15: of the True Justification of the Faithful
1) What is Justification? According to the apostle in his treatment of justification, to justify means to remit sins, to absolve from guilt and punishment, to receive into favor, and to pronounce a man just. For in his epistle to the Romans the apostle says: “It is God who justifies; who is to condemn?” To justify and to condemn are opposed. And in the Acts of the Apostles the apostle states: “Through Christ forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone that believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” For in the law and also in the prophets we read: “If there is a dispute between men, and they come into court . . . the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty.” And in Isaiah 5: “Woe to those . . . who acquit the guilty for a bribe.”
2) We are Justified on Account of Christ. Now it is most certain that all of us are by nature sinners and godless, and before God’s judgment seat are convicted of godlessness and are guilty of death, but that, solely by the grace of Christ and not from any merit of ours or consideration for us, we are justified, that is, absolved from sin and death by God the Judge. For what is clearer that what Paul said: “Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
3) Imputed Righteousness. For Christ took upon himself and bore the sins of the world, and satisfied divine justice. Therefore, solely on account of Christ’s sufferings and resurrection God is propitious with respect to our sins and does not impute them to us, but imputes Christ’s righteousness to us as our own, so that now we are not only cleansed and purged from sins or are holy, but also, granted the righteousness of Christ, and so absolved from sin, death, and condemnation, are at last righteous and heirs of eternal life. Properly speaking, therefore, God alone justifies us, and justifies us only on account of Christ, not imputing sins to us but imputing his righteousness to us.
December 1, 2019 is when we began our Gospel Gleanings project. We were asked to put aside one dollar each day. As we put it aside, we were to pray for the Erukulu people group in India. On the last Sunday of the month we were to bring our collected dollars to church to contribute to our Gospel Gleaning offering. The funds thus generated would be sent to Glad Tidings India to underwrite a three-year program of outreach to the unreached people group known as the Erukulu people.
How are we doing? Our average monthly contributions are $2,094 so far in 2020. To fund the program completely we need to raise that amount to $2,645 per month. If there were 18 more persons who would decide to participate, we’d be there. Of course, that would not make up for the shortfall in the previous months.
If you’d like to join in, now is an acceptable time. In fact, Bill Teate will be our Mission Moment speaker on June 7th and he have plenty of extra silk purses to use for storing your daily dollars. We could use 20 or 30 more participants for this program that ends November 29th of this year.
Bill will lay out for us on the 7th how the program unfolds. Covid-19 has created some stir in India as well as other countries. Will that cause disruptions in the three-year outreach program? Bill will have the answers!
Ladies of Leidy’s
It looks like September 1, 2020 will be our next regularly scheduled Ladies of Leidy’s meeting. If we have any news updates before then, we will email you or call.
We thank you for your faithfulness in the past and your continued support in the future. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact any of our officers or the church staff.