Do you like lists? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. If you read the Bible much, then you know that God seems to like lists. There are, after all, entire books which are composed mostly of lists: think of Numbers as well as 1 and 2 Chronicles. Those books are filled with lists!
Lists are scattered throughout the Bible. There are lists of nations: Genesis 10 details the nations descended from the sons of Noah; or, the list of nations in Act 2 that specify those nations represented at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Seventeen nations.
How about a list of Abraham’s sons? Can you come up with such a list? I imagine you can, but I also imagine it will be incorrect. Most likely, your list will consist of Isaac and Ishmael, but that’s about as far as you can go. Well, unless you’re someone who’s tricky, like Jim Smedburg or Pastor Michael. Odds are you omitted these names from your list: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. I could not have listed those names without looking them up in Genesis 25:1-2. Those are the sons born to Abraham by his wife Keturah in the 38+ years he lived after Sarah died.
That’s not an extraordinary number of children. Even Pat and I had 6 kids in 10 years, much less 38 years.
Do you remember the lists that named the individuals who were present to witness the various elements of Jesus’ Passion, you know, the cross, the burial, the empty tomb? Each of the four Gospels has such lists. With one exception, those lists consist exclusively of the names of women. The exception is John 19:25 which indicates the apostle John is at the foot of the cross from which Jesus hangs. But, still, the list is of women.
Here’s an interesting fact about those lists: of all the women included, only one woman is on all the lists. That woman is Mary Magdalene. Examples of other women included on one list or another are “the mother of the sons of Zebedee” by Matthew, “Mary the mother of James and Joses” by Mark, “Joanna” by Luke, and “Mary the wife of Clopas” by John. Except for the John 19:25 list, Mary Magdalen is at the head of each list. On John’s list she is last, while Mary, the mother of Jesus, heads the list.
As I looked at all those lists – there are over 10 of them – it began to dawn on me that Mary Magdalene must have been a well-known and well-respected member of the early Christian community. Over the years when I had thought of Mary Magdalene, mostly I had thought of her as a prostitute whom Jesus delivered. I now think I was badly mistaken all those years.
The only other place in the Bible where Mary Magdalene is mentioned by name is in Luke 8:1-3. As Jesus visits various towns and villages in Galilee the 12 disciples are with Him, but the text says, also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means. These women are mentioned not only because of what Jesus did for them, but because of how they helped underwrite His ministry. These were women of means, women who had substantial disposable incomes. I had never thought of Mary Magdalene in that light. It was startling.
We’re not told what exactly Jesus did in Joanna and Susanna’s lives, whether He healed them, or delivered them, or both. We do know exactly what Jesus did for Mary Magdalene: He drove seven demons out of her! Even though she was a woman of substantial means, obviously she was a woman with substantial issues! We don’t know what those issues were, but they could not be treated normally. They were demonic in nature. What we know is that Jesus drove the demons out and made Mary Magdalene well and whole. He set her free.
Do you think she was grateful? You bet! He changed her life. Everyone could see it; everyone knew it. She talked about it. She told how blessed she was because of Jesus. She could not get enough of His teaching. She wanted everyone to know about Jesus so she did all she could to underwrite His ministry.
When you think of Mary Magdalene you should think of her as a wealthy woman, a woman delivered from Satan’s power by Jesus, an eager and apt absorber of Jesus’ teaching, a generous donor, and one who spoke confidently of Jesus’ power to redeem. She was well known, greatly respected, and much beloved in the Christian community. That’s why she’s on all those lists.
That she is the lead woman in taking spices to the tomb of Jesus is evidence of all this. Did you ever wonder where those women who took spices to Jesus’ tomb got those spices so early on a Sunday morning? Did they just happen to have them available in their homes? No, those were expensive spices, not everyday spices, not the kind normally in abundance in homes. They bought them on Saturday night, after the Sabbath observance was over.
The Jewish Sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday night. Once it was over businesses were open. [If you go to Israel today, you’ll find the same thing. Businesses are closed from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. On Saturday night they re-open.] Mary Magdalene was a woman of means. She could buy expensive spices. She took other women and bought the spices Saturday night, then got up early Sunday morning to go to the tomb. You know the rest of the story.
Mary Magdalene was beloved of Jesus. She was the person to whom He first showed Himself after His resurrection. She was the one He entrusted with the message to tell His disciples that He was risen. She was the first person to say of the glorified Christ, I have seen the Lord! And then she disappears from lists and from history. In 1 Cor. 15 she is not on Paul’s list of persons to whom Christ appeared. She’s not mentioned in any of the events in the book of Acts. It’s much like the last 38 years of Abraham’s life – we know nothing about it. But we do know that both remained faithful to the God’s work in their lives. With Abraham we know he provided for those six other sons and sent them away to the east, but gave all that he had to Isaac. [Gen. 25:5] Isaac was the son of Promise.
Likewise, Mary Magdalene disappears from biblical history, but her witness regarding the Lord Jesus remains vibrant and vital. It is part of the gospel witness that God continues to send to all the nations of the world. And He has a complete list of those nations!
May the Lord Jesus be gracious to us, that our names may be found among those names written in the Lamb’s book of life. [Rev. 21:27] That’s the list we love!
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
May Pulpit Schedule
5th – Standing in the Darkness – Jeremiah 15:15-21; Matthew 5:13-16; Philippians 2:14-18
It’s no easy matter to put on a red coat when everyone else only wears green coats. It makes one stand out. Perhaps someone has explained to you the extraordinary delights and benefits of wearing a red coat, so you put it on with eagerness. As time passes, however, no one else puts on a red coat; everyone continues to wear green. Wearing the red coat becomes a real burden. You would just as soon lay it aside. That’s how Jeremiah feels about the task to which God has called him. He feels isolated; he feels rejected. Jesus and Paul address this matter. They say it is good.
12th – What Are You Seeking? –Jeremiah 45; Matthew 7:21-27; Acts 9:10-19
In the midst of all his prophesying about what’s in store for Jerusalem, Jeremiah has a personal prophecy for Baruch. Baruch is the fellow who writes down Jeremiah’s prophecies. He is from an elite family and would have multiple, attractive career prospects. God, speaking through Jeremiah, asks Baruch point blank, “Are you seeking great things for yourself?” What a piercing question! God has advice for Baruch. He also has a promise for him. Ananias is sent to the blinded-by-Christ man, Saul of Tarsus, with a similar message. How about us? What are we seeking?
19th – Getting Fit – Jeremiah 12:1-13; Matthew 7:15-23; Hebrews 12:1-13
Among the most purchased items in America are various fitness machines, whether it be treadmills or elliptical machines or stationary bikes, you name it. Among the most unused items in America are various fitness machines! Everyone wants to get fit, but not everyone wants to do the workouts necessary to be fit. Jeremiah has a complaint against God. The task given him is much harder than he expected and he would like some relief. Wonder what God will tell him? Our text from Hebrews addresses the same issue and, to some degree, so does Jesus in our gospel text.
26th – It’s Customary – Jeremiah 10 s.v.; Matthew 5:17-19; 7:13-14; Acts 17:22-34
Every nation has customs, ways of behaving and ways of looking at the world that typify the culture. Behind all the customs may be found a worldview, an overarching understanding of how the world works, how it was made, and how one should conduct oneself in it. Worldview is the wallpaper of life, the background for all one sees and does. God gives very specific instructions to Jeremiah about worldview and customs. Paul presents the basic Christian worldview to assembled Greek philosophers, while Jesus insists God does have an unchanging worldview.
Summer Sunday School
Yes, Sunday School continues through the summer months! And for all our kids! It’s a good time. But each year we give our regular Sunday School teachers a break over the summer months. That means we need help. If you would like to help serve the kids of Leidy’s Church this summer, may we suggest a good way to do so would be to teach a Sunday School class for a week – or two! Sign-up sheets are located in the narthex for you to be a blessing to kids and teachers alike! Thanks for your help!
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
Recently the world watched as the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris burned. Reactions seem to fluctuate between mild concern to shock that this 900-year fixture had come crumbling down. As I watched some of the news coverage, I began to think about how long the building had been standing. Since the fire, I have, like many of you, reflected on the ways in which it was built and rebuilt over the years. From an architectural standard, I hope and pray that the cathedral is rebuilt and serves as a lasting testament to glory of God. In a very real sense, the structure was tested by the fire. As pictures now reveal, the structure is still largely intact. Again, this is an amazing witness to the quality of the work in the cathedral.
This event also provides us with an opportunity to examine our own construction. While none of us is likely to stand for 900 years, we have been made with an immortal soul and bear the image of God. Further, we are, at the return of Christ, going to be raised from the dead and live eternally with the Lord or be cast into hell in unbelief. As I think about this reality, I am reminded of Paul’s metaphor of development for Christian teaching. He writes to the Corinthians saying, According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. [1 Cor. 3:10] Just to be clear, Paul is in the middle of explaining why the Corinthian people should not value one teacher over another (provided they are teaching biblically). In the midst of this discussion, Paul describes spiritual development in terms of constructing a building. For Christians, the foundation is Christ. It cannot be anything but the Lord. Paul goes on to describe how each (teacher) must build upon the foundation of Christ. Many would build with different materials, ranging from gold to hay.
Paul goes on to describe how the work added on top of the foundation of Christ will be tested. He describes the process as being tested by fire. The fire, Paul says, will reveal and thus describe the quality of various teachers and their respective teachings. The same is true for individuals and each one’s growth in the Lord. As we believe in the Lord, we have a foundation built upon the Lord Jesus. As our understanding grows and develops, we are built up. When fire comes to test the quality of the building, only the precious materials remain. This means that we need to be careful how we learn and grow.
First and foremost, as we think about our faith in the Lord and our understanding of the Lord, we must look to the Word of God. The Bible is God’s Word and it teaches us who God is. As we think about growing in our faith, deepening our understanding of God, we must look to the Lord. As we listen to individuals preach and teach about God, we must evaluate their words according to the pages of Scripture. If we do not think critically about the things we hear related to God, we will likely grow in all the wrong ways. We would be like a structure built entirely of hay. When a fire comes, the building is utterly destroyed.
Again, I pray that Notre Dame can be restored to glorify God however He might desire. I pray even more fervently that we would grow and develop as Christians according to the Word of God. In that way, we would be able to withstand calamities as they arise.
To the Praise of His Glory,
The week of May 5th is when our Gym will be transformed with all the donated items we receive, and our community is invited to shop for their family wardrobes, linens, jewelry, books, toys, household items, and much more! The Big “R” actually takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, the 8th and 9th, but much work is done before then as well. Here’s when workers are needed:
- On Monday and Tuesday from 9am to 8pm items are unpacked and arranged.
- On Wednesday (9am to 8pm) we need friendly workers to bag items, serve as cashiers, and straighten items as many shoppers come to make their purchases.
- On Thursday (9am to 6pm) we need the same sorts of workers as Wednesday, plus more! It’s the sales day featuring bags of goods for only $2 which is quite an attractive deal.
- On Thursday at 6pm we need willing hands and strong backs to transform our facilities back for ministry before Sunday.
Mary Beth Musselman has a schedule she needs to fill, so be sure to speak with her ifyou can be plugged in at any time to help. The funds raised at the Big “R” are disbursed where needed at Leidy’s Church and in our community by Ladies of Leidy’s. It’s a big undertaking, and with your help we can make it another great event.
Have You Checked IT Out Yet?
What’s IT? Thought you’d never ask! IT is the new Leidy’s Church website. Just go to www.leidyschurch.org and you can check it out. For the past few months a select crew of dedicated construction specialists labored diligently to create an entirely new website for our congregation. It is our hope this new format will prove to be an excellent way to introduce web-surfers and other inquirers to our congregation, while also serving to pass along information to our friends and members.
Go ahead and take a peek. Give yourself a few minutes to explore. You’ll find the church calendar to help you know what events are taking place when and where. Descriptions of some of our ministries are provided. In case you try to figure out who that silver-mustached fellow teaching SS in room 212 is, the website will help you find out. (It is Pastor Steve, of course.)
Introductions to our pastoral staff (complete with pics!) are on the site. Under the Resources tab you can get bulletins and newsletters, notes from the Issues and Answers class, access to the Church Directory if you have the app, and some past pastoral ponderings. There is a sermon tab that provides access to all the sermons from the current year.
If you have questions about where things are located on the new website, or suggestions about it, please contact the office or Pastor Michael.
Needed: Tax Collectors & Beggars
Yes, we need Tax Collectors and Beggars. But we also need Artisans of all types. We need Guides. We need Kitchen Help. We need Registration Folk. We need slick Advertising Types. All such personnel are needed for our Vacation Bible School taking place in June.
The actual dates in June are the 17th through the 21st. We’ll be welcoming to our church any kids who have finished Kindergarten through those who have finished 5th grade. We have materials you may use to canvas your neighborhood or give to friends or co-workers so their kids can be part of this encouraging and instructive week.
Our theme this year is The Marketplace. Our intent is to have a village atmosphere, but it will require a lot of help to pull it off. Wait, not pull it off, but raise it up! If you are handy and able to help, we are going to need your help as we recreate Jerusalem in the days of Paul. If you are not able to help us raise the village, consider helping us by being a villager. That’s where the tax collectors, beggars, and others come in!
If you have children or grandchildren who can come, registration for VBS is already up and running at www.leidyschurch.org/vbs. To register as a Tax Collector or Beggar or any of the other positions listed above, just contact Pastor Michael.
Together for the Harvest
The Convocation of Anglicans in America (East) is holding its 2019 CANA EAST Synod at Leidy’s Church on May 16-18. This is their denominational meeting, but it also will feature several vibrant worship and prayer services to which the wider community is invited.
Speakers for the event are Canon David Short and Jason Mandryk. Canon Short is a member of The Gospel Coalition Council and Rector of St. John’s Church in Vancouver and will serve as Bible teacher. Mr. Mandryk co-authored the sixth edition of Operation World and is a specialist in mission mobilization and will be the special speaker.
Canon Short will lead morning prayers and Bible study at 8 on Friday and Saturday mornings, to which all are invited. Mr. Mandryk will give mission challenges at 11:45 and 4:30 on Friday, to which all are invited. On Friday evening at 5:30 there will be Choral Evensong with a homily by Canon Short and featuring the Cairn Community Chorus directed by Joseph Waggoner.
In addition to the invitation to those special services, we should also note that our church facilities will be in full use from Thursday morning on the 16th through mid-afternoon on Saturday the 18th.
Attention Sunday School Teachers
A Sunday School Teacher Training time is schedule for Saturday May 4th. It will be held in the Youth Room. Starting time is 8:30 and we plan to have you on your way by 10, a.m. that is! The curriculum for the last six weeks of the school year will be examined and explained along with time for questions and suggestions.
Here’s the expected inducement to attend: super-good donuts and coffee will be provided.
Got Plans for September of 2020?
It’s only a year away, so now is the time to act on a great opportunity. What’s that opportunity, you say? It is the once-a-decade Oberammergau Passion Play. Pastor Niederhaus will be leading a ten-day tour that departs on September 15th. An information night will be held on Tuesday, May 14th in the Fellowship Hall, beginning at 7 p.m.
In 1632 the bubonic plague ravaged Europe, including Bavaria and Oberammergau. The citizens of the town vowed that if God would spare them in 1633 from the deadly plague, they would present a play depicting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus every decade thereafter. The town was spared, and the Oberammergau Passion Play was inaugurated in 1634 by vote of the town council. In 1680 it was determined the play would be presented every year that ended with a zero. They’ve kept that promise.
2020 ends in a zero, so the play will happen again with residents of Oberammergau filling all the roles. Pastor Niederhaus will lead a tour to see the play again, just as he did in 2000 and 2010. Scheduled departure date is Tuesday, September 15th, with a return date of September 24th.
The tour will spend some days in Rome, then work its way up the Italian peninsula via Florence, Assisi, and Venice before traversing the Bremer Pass in the Alps, stopping in awesome Innsbruck, and arriving in Bavaria at the picturesque village of Oberammergau. The tour will head back to Italy via Switzerland and leave for home from Milan.
You are invited to come out on Tuesday, May 14th, to see if you want to get some plans in place for September 2020.
Update from Cucuta
Pastor Dagoberto says things are going very well with the feeding program in Cucuta, Colombia. The Reach Out part of the program also is flourishing, that is, reaching out with the good news of Christ who is the Bread of Life. Each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday fifty Venezuelan refugees receive a substantial meal, good fellowship, and encouragement in the things of God.
When you think about it, that’s a pretty rigorous task for a congregation to carry out three times a week. Feeding fifty people takes a lot of food, which takes a lot of preparation, and requires a good amount of clean-up afterward. It’s all done via volunteer labor. We need to pray to the Lord Jesus that He will continue to give them the vision and strength and compassion needed for each day.
Pastor Dagoberto is asking Leidy’s Church to send a team down to Cucuta to work alongside them and see what’s taking place. The Mission Committee is working on a plan to do just that. It is anticipated that any SLMT-Cucuta team would consist of six or so individuals. Some of them should be competent or fluent in Spanish, though not all need be.
The likely date for such a trip is the first or second week of August. A week-long trip is most likely, maybe leaving on a Tuesday and coming back the following Tuesday. Team members would stay in the homes of members of Pastor Dagoberto’s congregation. They would help with all aspects of the feeding program. There also would be opportunity to do gospel outreach through English language speaking times at local schools and colleges. For more information, speak with Pastor Niederhaus.
Continue to keep In This Time of Need in your prayers. Thanks to all who are assiduously working at growing your Luke 19 $20 mina into more minas!
Support the Adventure
On the last Sunday of April our SLMT-Pik mission team received its orientation for this summer’s adventure of
taking the gospel Jesus Christ and encouraging Christian fellowship to the North Country. The team will be going to
Pikangikum – and some members may go to another site, we’re not certain yet. Regardless, it will be an adventure and a challenge and an opportunity for the Lord Jesus to work.
Each team member is asked to raise $480 in support of the trek. That’s always a challenging part for most of them – it’s always such fun asking folk for money! They’re seeking not only financial support, but also prayer support. Both are very much needed. It takes a lot of cash to do the trip, and there are significant challenges spiritually, physically, relationally, and intellectually, so money and prayers are needed!
How are the money and prayers applied? It costs somewhere around $17,000 for the comfy coach from Perkiomen to transport the team from Cherry Lane to Red Lake, Ontario, and back. Then there’s the cost of flying them to their respective sites via a sturdy, dependable Caravan prop plane. Oh yes, team members do want to eat while they’re doing this mission work, so we need to take food to feed them all for time they’re on-site. And what would a mission effort be without materials? We need to make and take all the VBS materials as well as provide funding for the construction materials that will be used by the hands-on handyman team.
We cannot say for certain how the prayers are applied, that’s up to the Holy Spirit. But there is a consistent need for wisdom in how to reach and teach the kids. Physical safety should be a focus of prayer. There are dark spiritual forces that need to be opposed. Hearts tenderized by the Spirit of God are a necessity for students, teachers, workers, and all team members.
If you’re approached by a SLMT-Pik team member asking for support, give them an ear and then Support the Adventure.
Business & Professional Breakfast
The 2019 Spring Business and Professional Breakfast is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15th. It starts promptly at 6:30 in the Banquet Room of the Franconia Heritage Restaurant. Tickets for the event cost $10 if purchased through Leidy’s Church. [See Jack Parry or John Niederhaus] A full family style breakfast will be served, and you’ll be on your way by 8 o’clock.
The speaker will be Dave Shoemaker who is Managing Chair of C12 Philadelphia, an organization working with Christian business owners and CEOs to build great businesses for God’s greater purpose. He grew up as a PA farm boy but helped a small Canadian software company grow into the global leader in its field. That work drove him to the edge of his worldly self before finally accepting the only reward that truly satisfies. He found that if you have everything you need to succeed, what could stop you? The answer: YOU.
Dave and his wife Sherry have been married for 37 years. He has served for 10 years on the board of Christ’s Home and serves on the leadership team for the Philadelphia Gospel Movement.
It was clear and cool when the Consistory met on the 10th of April to conduct its monthly meeting to consider the business of the church. Among the items dealt with were these:
- Devotions were led by Jim Kinney who focused on lessons to be learned in Lent. Using personal examples, he demonstrated the error of judging the personal spiritual walks of others. Jim read all of Romans 14, a chapter of incisive insights that helped him significantly. He suggested a good motto might be all the Bible for all of life.
- By some means a couple of boxes of decorative, decadent donuts were found in the meeting room along with candles shaped like a 7 and a 1. Given that the following day was the 71st birthday of Ron Moyer, the candles were set aflame, Happy Birthday was sung, and everyone enjoyed a donut or two.
- Dave Reich reported he would be meeting with representatives from the architect and the builder to determine any outstanding bills to be paid on the Building Project. This is a necessary step in getting the escrow funds held by the Township released. This meeting has been delayed due to an acute medical emergency of one of the participants.
- An additional tenant has been added to the roster at the HUB. Promise Destiny Ministries became a rent-paying tenant as of April 1, no fooling. The renovations made by the Household of Faith and Deliverance to the front of the sanctuary are mostly complete and reports are that it looks very good. The window replacements in the sanctuary also are completed.
- Pastor Michael presented an overview of our newly designed webpage. While it is not up and operational at the moment, it is hoped such will be the case by the end of the month. All those present were most favorably impressed with what’s in the offing.
- A thorough discussion of our financial reports was encouraging. Contributions have been good, and costs have been held down as much as possible. Some anonymous “extra” gifts have underwritten such things as repair of one of the basketball goals as well as the costs for the redesign of our website.
- Some time was spent discussing Usher Captain responsibilities. There is some tension in the timely fulfilling of those responsibilities when coupled with other responsibilities one may have on a Sunday morning.
- Various property issues were discussed, including affixing sound panels to the drum cabinet, continued wicking issues, spreading of mulch sometime in May, and making the window shades functional for the stained-glass windows. A contract for exterminating services from Moyer & Sons was approved. Our previous exterminator passed away last year.
- The date for this year’s Strawberry Festival is June 8th, while the All-Church Picnic is scheduled for September 22nd.
- Ed Schmidt reported on repair/renovation work being done at New Life Island, a Christian camp for kids on the Delaware. Several of our regular work team missions crew are involved. Authorization was given for reimbursement of expenses incurred.
Following a time of directed intercessory prayer, the meeting was adjourned at 9:43 by the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Jack Parry and family at the death of his mother, and to Diane Weber and family at the death of her step-father. May God be with them at this time.
Second Helvetic Confession
Who doesn’t ponder the notion of free will in human beings? This Confession addresses that issue. Last month consideration was given to natural man. This month’s selection continues the discussion, but with regard to regenerate man.
Confession and Simple Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
Chapter 9: Of Free Will, and thus of Human Powers
 Of What Kind Are the Powers of the Regenerate, and in What Way Their Wills Are Free. Finally, we must see whether the regenerate have free wills, and to what extent. In regeneration the understanding is illuminated by the Holy Spirit in order that it may understand both the mysteries and the will of God. And the will itself is not only changed by the Spirit, but it is also equipped with faculties so that it will and is able to do the good of its own accord. Unless we grant this, we will deny Christian liberty and introduce a legal bondage. But the prophet has God saying: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts.” The Lord also says in the Gospel: “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Paul also writes to the Philippians, “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” Again: “I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Also: “God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
 The Regenerate Work Not Only Passively but Actively. However, in this connection we teach that there are two things to be observed: First, that the regenerate, in choosing and doing good, work not only passively but actively. For they are moved by God that they may do themselves what they do. For Augustine rightly adduces the saying that “God is said to be our helper. But no one can be helped unless he does something.” The Manichaeans robbed man of all activity and made him like a stone or block of wood.
 The Free Will Is Weak in the Regenerate. Secondly, in the regenerate a weakness remains. For since sin dwells in us, and in the regenerate the flesh struggles against the Spirit till the end of our lives, they do not easily accomplish in all things what they planned. These things are confirmed by the apostle in Romans 7, and Galatians 5.  Therefore that free will is weak in us on account of the remnants of the old Adam and of innate human corruption remaining in us until the end of our lives. Meanwhile, since the power of the flesh and remnants of the old man are not so efficacious that they wholly extinguish the work of the Spirit, for that reason the faithful are said to be free, yet so that they acknowledge their infirmity and do not glory at all in their free will. For believers ought always to keep in mind what St. Augustine so many times inculcated according to the apostle: “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” To this he adds that what we have planned does not immediately come to pass. For the issue of things lies in the hand of God. This is the reason Paul prayed to the Lord to prosper his journey. And this also is the reason the free will is weak.
 In External Things There Is Liberty. Moreover, no one denies that in external things both the regenerate and the unregenerate enjoy free will. For man has in common with other living creatures (to which he is not inferior) this nature to will some things and not to will others. Thus he is able to speak or to keep silent, to go out of his house or to remain at home, etc. However, even here God’s power is always to be observed, for it was the cause that Balaam could not go as far as he wanted, and Zacharias upon returning from the temple could not speak as he wanted.
 Heresies. In this matter we condemn the Manichaeans, who deny that the beginning of evil was for man [created] good, from his free will. We also condemn the Pelagians, who assert that an evil man has sufficient free will to do the good that is commanded. Both are refuted by Holy Scripture, which says to the former, “God made man upright,” and to the latter, “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
by Jerri Thompson
While on my hiatus from television, I did some heavier than usual reading: two non-fiction books about two different aspects of our ailing society, but with remarkably similar prescriptions for healing those ills.
The first book is called The Hacking of the American Mind, The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Our Brains by Robert Lustig, MD. The premise of the book is we eat too much sugar courtesy of big business and government promotion. I must admit I skimmed much of the technical chapters on the science of digestion and neurotransmitters in the brain, but the second half of the book where Lustig writes of our “gross national unhappiness” which drives what he calls our addiction to sugar (and other things) and where he shares his antidotes make the book worth the reading. His last four chapter titles all begin with C: “Connect, Contribute, Cope,
The second book is Them, Why We Hate Each Other—And How to Heal written by a conservative senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, who is a Christian. The premise of his book is that our uncivil, even rancorous, politics is a serious national problem that needs attention. His antidotes take up the last half of the book. All center around our connecting with our neighbors anew. We are Americans first, Democrats and Republicans later, probably not even a close second to the first. Sasse believes we should prioritize connecting with our flesh and blood families and neighbors even if we disagree with them politically over connecting with Internet political figures and ideas.
Notice the word connection from both books. Three of the four C’s of Lustig’s book involve connecting with other people. He suggests connecting with real friends, contributing by volunteering with real people, and cooking homemade meals together with people.
I found it quite compelling that two men, one in the medical field, one a historian by trade, each focusing on their respective interests, reached the same conclusion about society. We’d all be better off if we found meaning and purpose in relationships with our neighbors.
I heard echoes of Scripture in both these secular books. I’m left to consider what practical ways I can love my neighbors whether they are fellow church members, people living on the same street as I, or even a sometimes disagreeable family member. It seems like I need to invite some people to share some time and perhaps a (non-sugary) meal with me.
For some time, Leidy’s Church has been working with the IndianCreek Foundation to establish a partnership with specific adult group home residents. We finally have a date and an event with which to inaugurate that partnership.
On Sunday the 19th of May, light refreshments will be served from noon to 2 p.m. in our Fellowship Hall. The intention is to provide an opportunity to meet the residents in a relaxed setting, one that is comfortable for the residents and for us.
You are invited to be part of what we hope will be an ongoing relationship. There is a sign-up sheet posted on the narthex wall for those who plan to stay after the service and be part of this partnership. That will allow us to have an approximate count, so we know the amount of food to prepare.
Primary Election Coming Soon
Tuesday, May 21st, is the date for Primary Elections in PA this year. Leidy’s Church serves as a polling place for two precincts. Both precincts vote in the Fellowship Hall, so it will not be available for our use on that day or from
mid-afternoon the day before.
Primary elections often are not well attended. That may well be the case again this year since the races are mostly local. Judgeships on the Superior Court and the Common Pleas Court will be on the ballot as well as local school board nominees.
County line offices are up for vote this year as well as some Township and Borough offices. If you would like information on the candidates, a good site to visit is www.pafamily.org/resources/2019-election-center/. They will have info regarding where the candidates stand on particular issues and questions you might want to ask some local candidates as well.
If you want only information on who’s on the respective ballots, a good site to visit is www.ballotpedia.org/Pennsylvania_elections,_2019. Just enter your address and follow the links as they come up. It will show both the Democratic and Republican ballots or only the party you’re registered in if you prefer that.
Get some exercise on May 21st by exercising your right to vote.
- Tape Ministry:
- 5th Sandy Cressman
- 12th Esther Davis
- 19th Sandy Derr
- 26th Vicki Freed
- Lay Visitors:
- 5th Joan Tawney
- 12th John Schilling
- 19th Marge VanOmmeren
- 26th Esther Davis
- 5th Joanna Mark
- 12th Nelda Metzler
- 19th Carol Lynn Mininger
- 26th Karen Mirabella
- Usher Captains: John DiLenge, Peter Martindell
- Ushers: Gary Brown, Dave Kirkpatrick, Ben Leidy, Terry Leidy, Tom Leidy, Chase Mahoney, Tom Merritt, David Thompson, Mitchell VanDerbeek.
- The Emergency Committee for April is Brian Shoemaker.