There’s a verse in Hebrews 12 that’s always been frightening to me. It’s verse 15 which reads like this: See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.
You might be wondering why that particular verse would be of concern to me. To answer that question, let me tell you about an incident from my family’s historical lore. It’s a funny and sad and yet instructive story.
My paternal grandfather’s name was Gus Niederhaus. He was married to Flora Silke. She had a brother named Martin Silke, a man we called Uncle Mutt. The story as I heard it goes like this: Gus and Mutt were out rabbit hunting. Gus had a favorite dog along to help scare up rabbits. The dog did his job, a rabbit jumped up and zig-zagged away. One of the men shot at it – but I never heard who did the shooting and what happened to the rabbit. What I heard was how the dog turned and zipped lickety-split in a beeline for home as soon as the gun sounded.
After that incident my grandfather and Uncle Mutt didn’t speak to one another for over 20 years. Why? Because Uncle Mutt called the dog an SOB for being gun-shy. One must admit being gun shy is not an especially superior quality for a hunting dog! On top of that, technically speaking, Uncle Mutt only said what was true in the most basic practical sense!
My grandfather, however, took offense that Uncle Mutt would call his dog such a scurrilous name. So Gus and Mutt didn’t speak to one another for over two decades. That’s called a root of bitterness. It is something my family can be prone to. That’s why Hebrews 12:15 is frightening to me. I don’t want to have such a root. I don’t want to be defiled by such a root, nor cause others to be defiled by it.
That’s why I’m so glad for the reminder that all of us – even the most sanctified Christian as well as the most decadent pagan and all the folk in-between – are fallen, fallible, and finite.
Let me remind you why each term listed is important. If you were giving testimony to the FBI about an incident you observed, your fallibility means that you might misunderstand what actually occurred. So your report would not be entirely accurate. Your finiteness means that even if you could describe what you saw accurately, you might not have seen all that took place and, thus, your story would leave out some essential part of it. As a result, your report would not be entirely accurate. Your fallenness means that even if you described with total accuracy what you saw, and that what you saw was the entirety of the picture, still your report might not be accurate because in your fallenness you decided deliberately to make it into a lie rather than the truth.
I agree that isn’t a pretty picture of humanity. It is, though, an accurate picture of humanity. As such it is very helpful to each of us if understood and applied properly. To be understood and applied properly, we need to consider this with regard to ourselves and others.
Perhaps the most consistent misapplication of this truth to ourselves involves making excuses. Because I’m fallen, fallible, and finite I cannot help what I do. It’s just part of who I am. It’s how I’m wired. We’ve all made that excuse lots of times. The popular maxim to follow your heart is an example of this. No, don’t follow your heart, follow the Lord Jesus and His Word. As the Lord told Jeremiah, The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. [Jer. 17:9] Or, as Jesus taught His disciples, For from within, out of the heart of men, proceeds the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting, and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. [Mark 7:21-22] Whew! Jesus wasn’t pulling any punches that time.
How are we to understand properly our fallible finite fallenness? With humility. With repentance. Human beings are wonderful creatures. Each is made in the image of God. We can do marvelous things. Hence, we need a healthy dose of humility, and remembering our fallible finite fallenness is helpful in that regard. It can be a comfort [not an excuse] when we fail, and a reminder of what we’re made of in the midst of great success.
My grandfather should have repented of his anger, been contrite about how he expressed it, and sought immediate reconciliation with Uncle Mutt. How about you? How about me? Have we expressed ourselves in a bitter, angry way out of our fallible finite fallenness?
We also need to understand and apply this to others. We need to be tender-hearted towards others. We need to recognize they labor under the same limitations we do! They too are fallible, finite, and fallen. Give them some slack.
Here’s how the apostle Paul expresses it to the Ephesians: Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. [Eph. 4:32] It’s pretty easy to be offended. It’s easy to hold on to the hurt and build up a grudge. This is especially the case when someone, in fact, has wronged us or misunderstood us or made fun of us or maligned us. The list could go on and on.
I used the example of my grandfather and Uncle Mutt because this can be a problem in families, among siblings, between parents and kids, with our in-laws, and certainly between spouses. My heart breaks when I think of all the wounds carried about in families. A root of bitterness will defile many.
The apostle Peter has a good word for us: To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. [1 Pet. 3:8-9] Isn’t that a good word! O how we long to see it fulfilled in our lives. And in the world!
Let’s pray that we not fall short of the grace of God; that His grace would reach even to us. Paul says that if we do all things without grumbling or disputing we will be letting our light shine in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. [Phil. 2:14-15] May it be so!
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
March Pulpit Schedule
1st – No More Delay – Ezekiel 2:8-3:11; Romans 11:17-32; Revelation 10:1-11
Women tell us the most difficult part of pregnancy, labor, and delivery is that little bit of time termed “transition.” It’s always good to hear the doctor say that it is now time to push! The period from Jesus’ resurrection in AD 33 or so, and the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in AD 70 was a time of transition. It was difficult for early Christians who were Jewish to know how to relate to the temple and all its services. Gentile Christians were not in much better shape: should they go to Jerusalem for feasts or not? John receives the divine order to push!
8th – Witnesses to What? – Luke 9:28-36; Ephesians 1:15-23; Revelation 11:1-14
The apostle John was given a rod during his vision on the isle of Patmos. He was to take the measure of the sanctuary of God with it, but to throw out the outer court of the Temple. What could that mean? Then John sees two witnesses who are told to prophesy. As an explanation for who they are he is told they are the two olive tree and two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the whole earth! Well, that certainly clears things up, doesn’t it! Still a little murky on that? Not to worry. Next thing you know they are killed! But then they come back to life! What’s going on?
15th – He Will Reign Forever – Acts 17:1-9; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28; Revelation 11:15-12:6
The apostle Paul and other early Christians frequently found themselves in big trouble because of what they knew. What they knew was offensive to many people who heard them. Their knowledge was threatening to those in positions of civic authority. What did they know? Jesus is King! Forever! When the apostle John hears the seventh trumpet begin to blow, he also hears a mighty choir begin to sing. It was the heavenly version of the Hallelujah Chorus. In his vision John also sees the origin of what the Hallelujah Chorus proclaims so majestically. So will we.
22nd – Warfare – 1 Kings 17:1; 18:1-2,17-18,36-40; Acts 5:27-42; Revelation 12:7-17
Elijah was a hunted man. King Ahab considered him a “troubler of Israel.” After all, it was at Elijah’s word that a drought of over three years duration was afflicting Israel. To say it was causing trouble in Israel would be an understatement. How would he stand up under King Ahab’s accusations? The apostles were in hot water too! The Jewish authorities had them arrested for preaching about Jesus, but they escaped and went on preaching. They were rearrested, flogged, and told to stop it. Would they? John saw the spiritual dimension of such events while on Patmos.
29th – The Beast: 666 – Psalm 66:1-7; Matthew 24:22-25; Revelation 13:1-18
Over the centuries a lot of ink has been spilled spelling out the person designated by the number 666. Not only has ink been spilled, but much money has accrued to those fellows who assure folk they know the identity of 666. For some folk the number 666 inspires fear – it is, after all, the number of The Beast of Revelation! He does marvelous signs, is a magnet for people’s adulation. Indeed, vast numbers of people even worship him. He is a deceptive fellow. But he’s not God. God will not allow him to deceive the people of God. Here’s the secret: God wins!
Oberammergau Trip Shifts
The trip to the Oberammergau Passion Play slated for September 15-24 is shifting the dates. Due to the insistence of the Oberammergau Ticket Committee, tickets could only be obtained for the date of September 25th, not September 23rd. Hence, the dates for the trip are shifted to September 18-27. There’s still room if you’re considering going. Speak with Pastor Niederhaus and he’ll be glad to give all the details.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
In this last month, for just the second time in my life, I held a new life in my hands. When Claire, the second child of Sarah and myself, was born a couple of weeks ago, I was there. I was privileged to see her first few seconds of life. I was blessed to hear her first cries, and they sounded wonderful. After she was wrapped in a baby blanket, I was honored to hold her. Claire, overwhelmed by a bevy of new sights and sounds, and smothered in kisses from her mom and dad, seemed to want to just take a nap. Her first few minutes had been stressful.
As I sat holding this new life in my hands, I was struck by how fragile her life was. Claire was living moment-by-moment. Ten minutes earlier, her life had been safe and comfortable (for her) in her mother’s womb. Now that she had been born, she had new responsibilities, big ones, like eating and breathing. Would she be up for the task? I sat in the hospital room fascinated by our new daughter and the fragility of her life.
This experience was not altogether comfortable. I was reminded of Psalm 103:15-16, As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
As I held our Claire, I remembered that we exist only as that flower in the field which flourishes only until the wind comes. This drove me to pray that the Lord would continue to sustain her life and send His Spirit to work in her life. My prayer is that she might never know a day apart from the Lord.
As I reflected upon Claire’s new life, I also remembered her older sister Naomi. Naomi (who is almost five) caused the same ideas of the fragility of man and the need for the Lord’s redeeming work when she was born. Yet as I have watched Naomi grow, I remember being in awe of the Lord as He caused her to mature and develop. Naomi moved from living moment-by-moment to hour-by-hour. Eventually she grew and lived day-by-day and month-by-month. Even now, Naomi continues to grow and learn. She helps me understand the Lord’s constant provision. He has ordered His creation and we can trust His work. He, for instance, has declared that seasons will continue until He returns.
I am thankful for our daughters in many ways, but there are two which stand out most vividly. The first is the absolute reliance we must have upon the Lord because our lives are fragile. The second is the trust we can have in the Lord who has fixed the order of heavens. He is the One in whose book are written all the days ordained for me. [Ps. 139:16] He is the God who has redeemed me from the depths of sin and despair, and He is the One who holds me and Sarah and our daughters in His hands. What a comfort!
To the praise of His glory,
It’s THAT Time Again
Yep, time to change our clocks. This is the bad one, the one where we lose an hour. So, on the evening of March 7th – when you get home from the Mozart in Paris concert – go straight to bed. And set your clock ahead one hour. It’s going to jump ahead during the night if you don’t do it. Then, you can awaken on Sunday morning and be able to arrive at Leidy’s Church in a timely fashion! It’s time to Spring Forward!
It’s March & Time to Focus on Missions
During the month of March, Leidy’s Church pays special attention to our mission endeavors. A different mission is highlighted each week. It gives us a chance to connect with those whom we support, while also gaining a fuller understanding of the mission work in which they are engaged.
During the Sunday School Hour all adults (and youth if they so desire) are invited to the Fellowship Hall to hear about that week’s featured mission. As an enticement to come out, the Mission Committee provides Mission Munchies each week, little finger foods that engender astute listening. Here’s the line-up for 2020:
- March 1st – Zach Darrow is the local coordinator for Child Evangelism Fellowship. In recent years CEF has reached many youths in our area through multiple outreach efforts. The iBlast program originated with CEF. Flood Philly is a program that reaches inner city kids. Backyard Bible Clubs are responsible for many kids coming to Christ. Zach will give us the low-down on the upside of CEF.
- March 8th – Andrew & Megan Nairn are brand-new to our roster of supported missionaries. They serve with Mission to the World, the international mission arm of the PCA denomination. Parents of four children, they are part of an outreach team ministering in Tokyo, Japan, specializing in utilizing the arts in gospel outreach. We look forward to getting to know them well in the coming years.
- March 15th – Bill Teate is anything but brand-new! A dearly beloved brother and fellow church member, for many decades Bill has worked with taking the gospel to India. His mission on this Sunday, though, will be to get us as knowledgeable as possible about the Gospel Gleanings program we’ve undertaken. How exactly do we reach the Erukulu people? What will happen and when? Bill has those answers and more.
- March 22nd – Ted Brunner is another well-known person in our congregation. Ted is the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athlete ministry in the Indian Valley region and also in the Lehigh Valley area. He is a stalwart in seeking to reach students through the medium of sports involvement. He will let us know what the character of his work looks like and how it is going. It should be moving, since Ted is always on the move!
- March 29th – Bryan Stoudt ministers to students training to be doctors, nurses, and dentists. His field of ministry encompasses the many campuses in Philadelphia and surrounding area. He does so under the auspices of the Christian Medical/Dental Association. We have supported Bryan for a good number of years, but it’s been awhile since he’s been with us to give an update and insights on ministry in Philly.
The Mission Committee invites you to come and find out what some of our missionaries are doing and get to know them in the process. It will help inform your prayers.
Congregation & Class invited to Bowl for Babies
Our friendly and energetic fifth and sixth graders are continuing their tradition of raising money for Morning Star Ministries, a local Christian home for women in crisis pregnancies. In 2020 the annual Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser at Earl Bowl is on Saturday, April 4.
This year the entire congregation is welcome and encouraged to participate not only in the donating, but also in the bowling part of Bowling for Babies. Participants who wish to bowl will have two options: raise $75 via pledges or pay the individual or family-fee himself. Fliers that explain the family-fee opportunity will be forthcoming from Morning Star. While the class will bowl at noon, families or individuals can register to bowl anytime between noon and 4:00 pm. Maybe your small group will want to bowl together.
Since the fifth and sixth graders do not know everyone in the church personally, on Sundays March 8 and 15 they will be in the narthex soliciting and collecting donations to benefit the ministry. Since all money is due the day we bowl, cash or checks written to Morning Star Ministries must be handed in by March 29 because the bowl-a-thon takes place the following Saturday. While each class member must raise $75 individually in order to bowl, the funds collected at the table will contribute to the class as a whole. Feel free to sponsor either an individual whom you know or the class generally.
Know that every $5 helps! Because of the generosity of the folks of Leidy’s Church, one of our students usually holds the record for bringing in the most money in any given year. Let’s make that true for 2020 too.
VBS Shaping Up
The Word, The Whale, and The Worm walked into a bar. While that may sound like a start to a bad joke, it is actually the substance of this year’s Vacation Bible School.
We will be looking at the book of Jonah and learning How God’s People Can Trust His Word. VBS will be in the evenings from June 22nd through June 26th. It is a great way for kids from kindergarten through fifth grade to come and learn about the Lord.
June may seem like a long way away, but time marches on and it will be here before you know it. This means we need your help! We will need all kinds of folks to help including guides, actors, cooks, runners, leaders, and teachers. If you have a heart for the kids of Leidy’s Church and the surrounding area, come and help at VBS. If you aren’t sure what you could do, contact Pastor Michael or the church office and you will get you all the information you need!
Ladies of Leidy’s
The next Ladies of Leidy’s meeting will be March 3, Tuesday , at 7pm. We invite all women of the church to attend. We will be hearing from Ginna Foote as she tells us about her family’s involvement with a young man from the community as he has had to navigate through some difficult times.
Precept Class – Esther
“What is your purpose? Can God use you for such a time as this?” Join the Precept Class beginning Thursday, March 6th from 9 to 11:30 for a short eight-week study on the book of Esther. Cost of the book is $9. For more info call Verna at 215-237-1370.
Thirty Pieces of Silver
During the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday we encourage folk to include as part of their daily devotional pattern a setting aside of some monetary gift. We call it the Thirty Pieces of Silver offering.
This year the funds thus set aside will be given to Morning Star Ministries to help provide a new roof for their house for women in a crisis pregnancy. Located on Broad Street in Souderton, for more than two decades this home has been a haven for women in difficult straits. A basic need with which we can each identify is having a roof over our heads! Make a big difference. We’re looking to help provide that most necessary item through our Thirty Pieces of Silver offering.
The Thirty Pieces of Silver offering may be brought to the church on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday.
Within the Fellowship
Congratulations to Michael and Sarah Nowling at the birth of a daughter, Claire Grace. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Our sincere Christian sympathy to the Barger family on the death of Harry, to Tony Wilwert and Susan Leidy-Slack at the death of their mothers. May God be with them at this time.
A Mission Note to Leidy’s Church in Missions Month
The following note was received in early February from Clay and Becky Walter. They are missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship but are originally from our area. Hence, they come back to this area for their furlough time, or, when obligated to do so because of a severe health crisis as was the case with their eight-year old son Brian in 2019. Several times over the past number of years they have been able to stay in the Leidy’s Church Mission House while home on furlough. It’s in that light that you should read the following note:
Dear Pastor N:
We are so thankful for the loving support that Leidy’s Church gives to us. You have meant so much to our family through all the roads we’ve walked over the years. We have been especially grateful for the respite and refuge of the Mission House. As our kids have gotten older, they have benefited so much by being able to remember the Mission House as a “safe place” in the unfamiliarity that travel and furlough can bring.
We have been thinking of you all, as well, and keeping you in our prayers. Please let us know how we can continue praying!
Living Hope Native Ministries – Partnering Hope
Partners in Hope is the theme for the 2020 Living Hope Native Ministries banquet. Taking place at that great banquet food center in New Holland, Yoder’s Restaurant, on Friday evening the 27th of March, it will begin at 6:30. There is no cost to attend, but a free will offering will be received to help support the ministry. In addition to all-you-can-eat, family-style, and Lancaster-tasty foods, there will be music, door prizes, and sharing of a vision.
For over two decades Leidy’s Church has been involved in various facets of ministry with LHNM. Many changes have taken place, enduring relationships have been formed, and God has worked in the lives of many of us. There is a fresh vision at LHNM for ministry under the Lord Jesus and you can learn about it at this Partners in Hope banquet.
To make your free reservation for the banquet you may send an email to banquet@LHNM.org or call 855-367-8199 or visit www.LHNM.org on-line and click on the PA Banquet tab under the Get Involved tab. It will be a wonderful time of fellowship as the continued work of the Holy Spirit among the First Nation people is celebrated.
Big News for Pastor Michael
On February 15th the Spiritual Council of Leidy’s Church held an Ecclesiastical Council for the purpose of examining Michael Nowling’s fitness for ordination to Christian Ministry. The Council was comprised of 26 men almost evenly divided between elders from Leidy’s Church and pastors of area churches.
Mr. Nowling wrote a 36-page paper titled Fathers Instructing Children: An Examination of Biblical Commands for Christian Education with a Select Historical Survey of Reformed Methods for the occasion. The paper had been disseminated a month earlier for perusal by those present. Appended to the paper was the personal testimony of his Christian conversion and call to Christian pastoral ministry as well as a detailed Statement of Faith.
After an examination lasting two and a half hours, on the motion of Pastor John Muhlfeld of Covenant Presbyterian Church and seconded by Pastor Tim Buczek of Hilltown Baptist Church, there was a unanimous vote to recommend Mr. Nowling for ordination. The Spiritual Council received with favor the recommendation and has scheduled a Service of Ordination accordingly. Said service is to take place during a public service of worship on the afternoon of Sunday, March 15th at 5pm. A reception will follow.
That’s the formality of the Big News for Pastor Michael. The entire Leidy’s Church family is invited and heartily encouraged to attend Pastor Michael’s ordination service. No, you don’t have to read his paper to attend!
Our SLMT Auction is intended to raise money for our Short-Length-Mission-Teams. In recent years we’ve seen the reach of SLMT extending south as well as north. This year it will extend east as well.
SLMT-Pik is the north extension. That team will head north to Pikangikum in early July. We have a team headed east in May. SLMT-Ukraine will work at the Love Cradle Transition Home, taking on a couple of major remodeling jobs. Though not certain yet, we’re hoping to have SLMT-Cucuta head south in August. Pastor Dagoberto and the folk of the Luz y Verdad church continue to work with Venezuelan refugees.
We hope you’re planning out what you’ll be donating to the SLMT Auction this year. The need is significant, the cause is urgent, and the opportunity is now. Let’s do this!
We CAN Help
Toward the end of March we can [nah, no pun here at all!] always expect the Mennonite Central Committee Mobil Meat Canner to set up shop in our area. For three days volunteers from many local churches work together to process thousands of pounds of meat. In 2020 we can expect it on a Monday through Wednesday schedule, namely, March 30, 31, and April 1. No fooling!.
The goal for 2020 is to can 24,000+ pounds of pork. That will require lots of volunteers, in fact, over 100 volunteers are needed each day. Work shifts begin at 6 in the morning and continue through 7 in the evening. Volunteers are asked to work a two-, four-, or a six-hour shift according to what best suits each one’s schedule.
All sorts of jobs can be done: filling, washing, and labeling of cans; preparing boxes for shipment; loading trucks; general site clean-up; and much more. You can count on refreshments being available. If you would like to volunteer, please call the Mennonite Resource Center [MRC] at 267-203-8074. All work is done at the MRC site, 737 Hagey Center Drive, just off Schoolhouse Road near the Hagey Bus terminal.
Through this program nutritious, protein-packed cans of meat are distributed around the world to help malnourished folk, especially those affected by tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, droughts, war, and other emergencies. In the past year the three countries receiving the most help were Ethiopia [318,430 cans], North Korea [144,000 cans], and Ukraine [72,000 cans]. Those are places where war and extreme poverty and political oppression are prevalent.
Here’s some food for thought: since 1946 the Mobile Canning Unit has produced 21,546,491 cans of meat, or, 38,429,432 pounds of vital nourishment for hungry folk around the world. Let’s see if we can help boost that number.
Easter Breakfast is Breaking on the Horizon
April 12th is just over the horizon, and it is the date of Easter in 2020. As in years past, the youth of Leidy’s Church are serving breakfast on Easter morning. This year they are calling it an Easter-Morning-Missions-Minded-Mouthful. It begins at 8am and will continue until 9:45.
How did that name come to the forefront of their fertile minds? Because the monies raised through the breakfast will be going to support Christians in the Middle East. There is no charge for the breakfast. Everything is served on a donation basis. Once the basic outlay is covered, all the remaining funds will be gravy, as it were. For whom: for our fellow Christians in the Middle East. Dreams Alive and Church Without Walls will be the faithful conduits for bringing help and encouragement to our faithful brethren in that area of the world.
More information will be forthcoming in the April Newsletter, but word on the street is that a major menu item will be Leidy’s Breakfast Tacos. We’ll see.
Regardless, be certain to make your plans for Easter breakfasting under the joyful service of the Leidy’s Church youth, with an eye toward helping Christians in the Middle East.
Do You Have the Date?
The first Saturday of March is when the Southeastern PA Symphony Orchestra is presenting Mozart in Paris, their third featured concert this season. Under the skilled direction of Allen R. Scott, the orchestra will present an evening of exhilarating music on March 7th.
Featured organist for the evening is Colin Howland, whom we introduced in the February Newsletter. He will be performing a work reminiscent of the Bach’s church music, but in a more upbeat style, namely, the Organ Concerto by Poulenc.
The orchestra will present Mozart’s grand Paris Symphony as well as another work by Poulenc, his Sinfonietta. It will be a memorable evening.
Tickets may be purchased on-line at www.spso.info or at the door on the night of the concert. Ticket prices are $25 for adults; senior tickets for $20; and students with school IDs are admitted free of charge. The date is March 7th.
Movie Nite = March 27th
The Fellowship Committee is making use of the Fellowship Hall to show the movie Aladdin on Friday evening the 27th of March. Movie start time is 7pm, so be certain you’re present with time to spare to get your bathroom breaks in and your concessions in-hand!!
The Committee will ensure popcorn, snacks, and drinks are available. You may bring camp chairs to view the movie or use the chairs in the Fellowship Hall. Kids are welcome to come in their jammies. Or, bring your blanket and pillow to get really comfortable.
The admission price is: your good name and promise of good behavior! Nothing more! That’s a price you can’t beat with a hammer.
Marching to Fellowship
On the last Sunday of March, the Mission Committee is hosting the After-Worship Fellowship Meal. No cost, no agenda. It will be simple. It will be good. It will have a sweet dessert. You may linger as long as you like.
March to the Fellowship Hall after worship on March 29th and experience the blessing of food and conversation – maybe even with someone you see often, but not yet had a chance to speak with.
Chili Cook-Off Growing
The first year there were 12 entries for the Chili Cook-Off. Last year there were 23 entries. This year we’re expecting more. If you’re thinking of entering, here’s what you need to know:
- Date: Saturday, March 21st.
- Cost: $25 per entry.
- Categories: either BEEF or CHICKEN/MYSTERY
- You must submit the name of your entry when you register with the church office.
- Proceeds will go toward SLMT expenses, including SLMT-Ukraine.
What if you simply want to enjoy some chili-tasting and engage in chili-judging without submitting an entry? Here’s what you need to know:
- Tickets are $10 p/person and includes all you can eat of chili, cornbread, applesauce, and other delectable items. Plus, you get to vote in the judging.
- Tickets are $7 p/person for those 15 and under, with those 5 and under being free.
- Doors open at 5pm
- For younger folk (and those who don’t like chili) there will be hotdogs and chicken nuggets available.
- All who are present will have the opportunity to judge the entries via pre-printed ballots with the name of the various chili listed thereon.
Each entry may get as many as 20 points. There are three elements to be considered in judging. They are as follows:
⮚ Name of the entry can get from 1 to 5 points
⮚ Taste of the chili can garner from 1 to 8 points
⮚ Appearance of the end product can reap from 1 to 7 points
If you would like to help out with the event itself during the course of the day, let Tony Kapusta know. He will be glad to hear from you!
Invite some friends, bring a family member or two in tow, and come enjoy this worthwhile fun and fund-raising event.
Since Pastor Niederhaus announced his upcoming retirement, the Consistory and Spiritual Council have been busy calling together a Pulpit Committee to seek our next Pastor. The Committee had its first meeting on the 11th of February and plan to meet weekly until all the preliminary work is done. Below is a list of its members:
- Dana Gehman, Chairman Sherman Focht Jill Ott
- Alisha Vogelzang Peter Martindell Joe Sciacca
- Debbie Schatz Tim Leidy Jim Foote
- Dave Reich, ex officio
They will appreciate very much your prayers on behalf of them and their task.
Fresh off its Annual Retreat, the Consistory of Leidy’s Church met on the evening of February 5th to conduct the business of the church. Below are some salient highlights:
- Devotions were led by Elder John DiLenge as he dealt with God’s sovereignty over the human heart. His main text was Romans 9. The example of Pharaoh is one where God hardens Pharaoh’s heart sometimes, and sometimes Pharaoh hardens his own heart. How can God be sovereign and yet human responsibility and freedom be understood? Not an easy question to resolve! We’re not to seek righteousness by the works of the law, yet we’re to seek after Him with all our heart. We must bow before His sovereignty, finally, while not losing sight of God’s mercy and His promise to make all work for good.
- A meeting with church reps, the architect, and the builder concerning the wicking issue was very productive. Though reparative steps cannot be taken until the weather clears, the builder is committed to making things right. A plan is being formulated and should be implemented in early spring.
- Quotes were taken for replacing the windows and frames of the office part of the HUB. All the windows are in deteriorated condition. The quotes differed considerably. After getting warranty info and other details, the Property Committee will make a recommendation.
- Security issues were discussed in a wide-ranging conversation. Ultimately, it was decided to procure two security cameras with recording capability to be installed at the main entrance.
- A Pulpit Committee has been put in place. It consists of nine members plus the President of Consistory. Its first meeting will be Feb. 11th.
- Information was received regarding the Day of Fasting & Prayer to lead into Ash Wednesday. A 24-hour prayer vigil in the sanctuary is planned.
- Approved a request from a homeschool group with members from our congregation to use our facilities one day a week beginning in the fall of this year. Such use is contingent upon their agreeing to a list of requirements and expectations that we will ask of them.
- Pastor Michael thanked all who helped with some of his responsibilities during the time he was preoccupied with the birth of his and Sarah’s second daughter, Claire Grace.
- Plans for the Night to Shine event are ready to launch, as reported by Pastor Steve. We seem to have ample volunteers, lots of enthusiasm, a full register of guests, and many activities for guests and caregivers to be blessed by. And much prayer is going up!
- The Worship Committee asked for permission to send interested worship leaders to the Getty Music Conference in Nashville at the end of August. As it would provide inspiration and training for our worship leaders, permission was granted.
- SLMT plans are underway according to the Mission Committee. Potential SLMT initiatives this year include Pikangikum, Ukraine, and Colombia. Details are still to be arranged.
- Received information regarding Fellowship Luncheons for the first half of the year. The April slot is still open; the other slots are filled.
- Hemlock Springs farm has been reserved for the 2021 Consistory Retreat.
John DiLenge prayed for enumerated prayer concerns and then led in the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer as the meeting adjourned at 9:53.
The Second Helvetic Confession
This month we finish up chapter 13 of this Confession written by Henry Bullinger as a private devotional tract when he was expected to die from disease in 1561 . At the request of Frederick III, elector of the Palatinate, he revised it in 1566 as a public document.
Chapter 13: of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Promises, and of the Spirit and Letter
4) Of the Spirit and the Letter. That same preaching of the gospel is also called by the apostle “the spirit” and the “ministry of the spirit” because by faith it becomes effectual and living in the ears, nay more, in the hearts of believers through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. For the letter, which is opposed to the spirit, signifies everything external, but especially the doctrine of the law which, without the spirit and faith, works wrath and provokes sin in the minds of those who do not have a living faith. For this reason the apostle calls it “the ministry of death.” In this connection the saying of the apostle is pertinent: “The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” And false apostles preached a corrupted gospel, having combined it with the law, as if Christ could not save without the law.
The Sects. Such were the Ebionites said to be, who were descended from Ebion the heretic, and the Nazarites, who were formerly called Mineans. All these we condemn, while preaching the pure gospel and teaching that believers are justified by the Spirit alone, and not by the law. A more detailed exposition of this matter will follow presently under the heading of justification.
5) The Teaching of the Gospel Is Not New, but Most Ancient Doctrine. And although the teaching of the gospel, compared with the teaching of the Pharisees concerning the law, seemed to be a new doctrine when first preached by Christ (which Jeremiah also prophesied concerning the New Testament), yet actually it not only was and still is an old doctrine (even today it is called new by the papists when compared with the teaching now received among them), but is the most ancient of all in the world. For God predestinated from eternity to save the world through Christ, and he has disclosed to the world through the gospel this his predestination and eternal counsel. Hence it is evident that the religion and teaching of the gospel among all who ever were, are, and will be, is the most ancient of all. Wherefore we assert that all who say that the religion and teaching of the gospel is a faith which has recently arisen, being scarcely thirty years old, err disgracefully and speak shamefully of the eternal counsel of God. To them applies the saying of Isaiah the prophet: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
Gospel Gleanings is for Kids
A major component of reaching the Erukulu people group with the gospel is reaching the Erukulu kids. Intentional initiatives are focused on children and youth. Why should such be the case? Here are some facts about children in India that answer that question:
- 400 million are under 15 years of age
- 35 million are orphans
- 11 million are abandoned (90% girls)
- 3 million live on the streets or in the woods
- 20 million are child laborers
- 60% suffer physical abuse
Erukulu children are included in those numbers. It is a nation-wide problem. Gospel Gleanings will bring saving help to many children and youth in the Erukulu people group.
While Palm Sunday is a ways off, the preparation necessary for one aspect of Palm Sunday is upon us. Each year at Leidy’s Church we distribute Prayer Cards with our children’s pictures and info on them. In order for us to do this, we need your help (and your pictures). Please submit a picture of your child to their Sunday School teacher or the church office by March 15th and come on Palm Sunday as we distribute prayer cards.
- Lay Visitor:
- 1st – Debbie Caserta
- 8th – Beth Guntz
- 15th – Miriam Weigner
- 22nd – Jeff & Debbie Schatz
- 29th – Jim & Pat Eakins
- 1st – Jim & Genie Smedberg
- 8th – Ben & Evangeline Smith
- 15th – Skip & Donna Smith
- 22nd – Jeremy & Justine Smith
- 29th – Thelma Spitzkopf
- Usher Captain Coordinator: Roger Jones
- Usher Captains: Jim Kinney, Ron Moyer
- Ushers: Larry Cooper, Adam Foote, Dennis Doran, Corbin Hostelley, Rich Kapusta, Brandon Kehs, Matt McVaugh, Samuel Murphy, Brian Radcliff, Collin Radcliff, Rock Rau, Glen Tyson, Bill Weigner, Tony Wilwert.
- The Emergency Committee for March is Ed Schmidt.