November 2020 Newsletter

News and announcements from the Immanuel Leidy's Church community.

Pastors column

Things are not always as they appear! And yet we have it drilled in our minds from the earliest years of public education that seeing is believing; that the proof of reality can only be verified through empirical observation and logical analysis. Though these methods are used to discover whether what is seen is what it appears to be, it is not full proof. 

There are many instances when things are not always as they appear. When I was younger, I can remember a time when I, along with a group of friends, were hiking on a cold wintry day through a field. And we inadvertently stumbled upon a marsupial that we thought was frozen and dead. It lay there hanging on a snow covered tree branch motionless, breathless and it did not respond to our poking and prodding with a stick we found on the frozen ground. Yet, we had heard the old expression of playing possum, which meant that one defense mechanism of this type of marsupial’s was to play dead. So, we continued our empirical observations and pragmatic analysis of this lifeless animal.

All the sudden this “dead” opossum came to life with a vicious hissing scream, baring its teeth in a convincing defensive posture, which caused us all to step back and away with a startling sense of fear. We found out that things are not as they always appear; for this marsupial was very much alive and instinctively ready to defend itself against its current antagonists, meaning us. 

Things being not always as they appear does not only happen in the physical realm, but it also happens in the spiritual realm as well. Lately, I have been reading through the OT book of 1 Samuel for my devotions. Samuel was called by God to be His prophet to declare His Word to His covenant people. Samuel soon discovers what the LORD already knows about His chosen people; that they are prone to wander away and rebel against the rule and will of God. As Samuel ministers to them, he finds out that they desire to be like everyone else. If other nations have kings to rule over them and to fight their battles, then Israel will have the same.

In 1 Samuel 8:4-9 we read, “So the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you, it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”  

When Samuel told the people the extreme cost of having a human king, the people refuse to listen to him. In 1 Samuel 8:19-20, we read, “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” Their rejection of the LORD as King, to be like the other nations, proved to be the pattern of God’s covenant people throughout history, right up to the time when the promised Messiah comes into the world, when God becomes a man in the person of Jesus Christ. 

Their hope of God’s Deliverer to rule over them as promised in the Scripture was once again rejected by them. Things were not as they appeared because of their unbelief in what the Scriptures foretold. 

Jesus taught a parable of a landowner, who planted a vineyard and all of the supplementary devices to produce wine, he then rents it out to vine-growers and takes a long journey expecting to come back to receive a return on his investments. However, the vine-growers abuse of his servants and then kill his son to seize the inheritance. In Matthew 21:33-44, Jesus asks his listeners, “Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers? They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons. Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER STONE; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.”

After Jesus ascension to heaven, the Apostle Peter speaks to the rulers and elders of the people gathered together in Jerusalem  saying, “… let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:5-12 

As we consider these passages of Scripture in light of our relationship with God, may we not respond to the Kingship of Christ as the OT covenant people of God in Samuel’s day, nor as the religious rulers and elders in Jesus’ and Peter’s day. But may our lives always appear before the world around us what we truly are, redeemed children of the King of all Kings and LORD of all lords, doing His will in every good work and bringing glory to God.

To the glory of God 
Steven L. Myers          

November Pulpit Schedule

1st – A Peaceful Easy Feeling – Amos 6, Psalm 73, Colossians 1: 24-29
The Christian life is full of peace. However, it is not the peace we associate with leisure and calm. Instead, the peace of the Christian life is a result of being reconciled to God. Those who lived in Israel during Amos’ ministry pursued a piece of the luxurious life failing to realize they had no peace with God. We must examine our hearts to know what has captivated us. Are we held in awe of God’s grace and mercy or are we constantly seeking after that peaceful easy feeling?

8th – SHH…It Will Go Better With You – Amos 7:10-8:14, Acts 4:8-20, Jeremiah 26:7-9
In Amos’ day, the faithful life looked like a grand game of whack-a-mole. The rules were simple; either go along to get along or get whacked. Amos, like other prophets in Israel and Judah, was called to proclaim difficult truths to the people of his day. He also faced times of persecution and rejection. Christians today are often in a similar situation to Amos. As we have been called by Christ to make disciples in all the nations (even the ones who do not want to listen), so we should expect to face our own fair share of resistance. 

15th – Nations and Individuals – Amos 9, Micah 7:1-10, 1 John 1:5-10
Both nations and individuals are called to answer for their acceptance of or rejection of the Lord. The Lord speaking through Amos has presented a pretty bleak picture of the nation of Israel.  The rest of the Scriptures confirm the witness of Amos. As we see the culture of our day grow in rejecting the Lord, we must remain faithful as individuals. Whether the Lord grants our requests and brings about repentance in the land or not, He will always remain faithful to His promises. He will see His people through.  

22nd – Giving Thanks to God! – John 17:1-21; Philippians 1:1-11; Hebrews 12:1-14 
We all are grateful when a project is completed or when a conceptual idea comes to fruition. When it comes to God’s plan of salvation of sinners to watch it being accomplished in those who hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ causes missionaries and Christians sharing this message to rejoice and give thanks to God. The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi bursts with exuberant joy and thanksgiving because of what God started and promised to bring to completion in the lives of believers. Let us see how this spirited joy should be ours too.    

29th – Liberated to Live & Die for Christ! – Philippians 1:12-26; 2 Timothy 2:1-13; Hebrews 11:8-19
Obstacles and distractions often impede our progress in this life. For the Apostle Paul, his main obstacle and distraction could have been his imprisonment in Rome. But he would not permit his incarceration to hamper the mission God gave him to do. Instead, Paul viewed it as an opportunity to carry on his mission for the Lord. Today we have many obstacles and distractions often impeding our progress to live for the Lord. We will learn liberating truth to live and die for Christ despite the difficulties or troubles we may face.   

Within the Fellowship

Congratulations to Brody & Renee (Doran) Keeth who were united in Christian marriage. May God be with them as they begin their life together in Him.

Congratulations to Pastor Michael and Sarah Nowling at the baptism of their daughter, Claire Grace. May God be with them as they grow in Him.

From the Pastor to Youth & Children

As you are reading this, the moon, the earth’s oldest and biggest satellite, is approaching its full orbed appearance. In fact, on October 31, the moon will be full for the second time in the month of October. This appearance of a so-called Blue Moon reminds us that the moon is in fact round. Of course, we recognize that the moon is always round. When the moon appears to be a completed circle as compared to a crescent or completely disappearing, it just means that moon is in a prime position to reflect the sun’s light across its entire profile. The moon is always round whether it looks to be or not.  

Before you turn to some other article or announcement in this newsletter, please consider what this relatively minor astronomical phenomenon teaches us about the Lord. When compared to our limited human experience (a life of 80 or so years), the moon is constant and unchanging. It rotates around the earth in an order prescribed by the Lord on the fourth day of creation. As We look at the moon, we see a tangible reminder that the Lord is always good in all of the different seasons of life.  

Consider the lovingkindness of the Lord. Psalm 136 is one of my favorite psalms and it highlights the lovingkindness of the Lord again and again and again. In fact, it repeats the phrase FOR HIS LOVINGKINDNESS IS EVERLASTING in each of its 26 verses. With each mention of the Lord’s everlasting lovingkindness there is a remembrance of the Lord’s great works to deliver and establish His people. This is sort of like when the moon is full. We look to Psalm 136, and we have no need to question the lovingkindness of the Lord. It is there in its fully formed presentation.  

Flip over a page and there is a different psalm with a slightly different feel. Psalm 138 is a psalm of David, and he is in trouble. Verse 7 begins saying, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble…” Though David concludes the psalm with the declaration that the Lord’s lovingkindness is everlasting, he is clearly in the midst of distress and is looking for the Lord to deliver Him. The lovingkindness of the Lord looks to be a crescent moon at times such as this. We look at our lives and we see the manner in which the Lord has worked in us and through us, and we rejoice at His lovingkindness. However, we also are in trouble and are not sure how we are going to get through the present. In times such as these, remember that the moon is always round, and the Lord is always good. His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Turn with me to 2 Samuel 12. In this chapter we see that the son David has had with Bathsheba is sick. Remember that David has committed adultery with Bathsheba and has had her husband killed. The sick child is the product of that relationship. As the child is sick, David spends his time fasting and praying that the Lord would deliver this child. The child does not recover but dies. I can only imagine the heartache and loss David and Bathsheba must have felt. Their child was dead. To David is must have seemed like the moon had disappeared entirely. Yet, when he learned of his son’s death, David rose from the ground, bathed, and ate. His attendants stood in astonishment. He told them WHILE THE CHILD WAS STILL ALIVE, I FASTED AND WEPT; FOR I SAID ‘WHO KNOWS, THE LORD MAY BE GRACIOUS TO ME, THAT THE CHILD MAY LIVE.’ BUT NOW HE HAS DIED; WHY SHOULD I FAST? CAN I BRING HIM BACK AGAIN? I WILL GO TO HIM, BUT HE WILL NOT RETURN TO ME. Even in the midst of the unspeakable pain and loss of the death of a child, David knows the steadfast lovingkindness of the Lord.  Though it was not immediately visible, David expects he will see his child again.

No matter what season of life you are in, whether the blessings of the Lord are obvious or not, we can, along with David, boldly proclaim that the Lord’s lovingkindness is indeed everlasting.  Even if we have to wait until He calls us home, we can have confidence that He will continue to see us through present difficulties. The moon is an excellent reminder of God’s steadfast goodness, faithfulness, and lovingkindness. If you or anyone you know needs to be reminded of this reality, consider this small catechism taken from The Moon is Always Round which is an excellent book to teach small children about loss.  

Question 1) What shape is the moon tonight?
Answer) The moon is a crescent moon, or a half-moon, or a gibbous moon, or a full moon.

Question 2) What shape is the moon always?
Answer) The moon is always round.

Question 3) What does that mean?
Answer) God is always good.

To the Praise of His Glory
Michael W. Nowling

Count Your Blessings!

Generally, we as a people, living in this nation, have so much to be thankful for. The freedoms we share in, the abundance we partake of, and the protections afforded us are unsurpassed by the world’s standards. We are indeed a blessed people, living in a blessed land, filled with unmatched blessings every day.

There is an old hymn entitled “Count Your Blessings” and the chorus is:

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

Because we know all blessings come from God, we want to have a service of worship that focuses on giving thanks to God for all the blessings He provides us. This service of worship will be held on November 25th at 7:30 pm here at Leidy’s Church. There will be songs to sing, prayers of thanksgiving and intercession, testimonies shared, and a gospel message proclaimed, all in gratitude to our Almighty God. So please mark your calendar and plan to come to worship, praise, and give thanks to God as we together count our blessings.  

The Reading Lamp is Lit

In December of 2019 Leidy’s Church began her Gospel Gleanings initiative. The Erukulu people group live in the Cuddapah District of the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India. An “untouchable” group according to the caste system, they make up 120,000 people of the 87 million persons living in Andhra Pradesh. Not only are the Erukulu an untouchable people group, they are an unreached people group. The gospel of the Lord Jesus is unknown among them. The Gospel Gleanings initiative is intended to change that sad reality.

The Erukulu people live outside the bounds of normal society, that is, out in the forest or jungle. Among the sources of their livelihood, the men herd pigs and the women make bamboo baskets to sell or they may collect hair to sell to businesses that make wigs. Some women do palm “readings” by looking at the person’s face and palm, then telling the person’s future. It’s a form of witchcraft. Though they may do palm “reading,” the Erukulu are mostly illiterate. All this is about to change.

Late this summer 15 literacy teachers were trained to go among the Erukulu in their jungle villages and offer classes to teach them how to read. Since the Erukulu live in mud-walled huts with thatched roofs, that is the sort of facility that will be used for the teaching. The classes are conducted at night, electricity is not readily available, so the students will learn to read under the glow of lighted lamps. The reading lights are lit!

This is no small endeavor for teachers or for students. Classes meet five nights a week for two hours each night. The Bible-based literacy course requires ten months to complete. Since these classes among the Erukulu began in mid-October 2020, they will continue meeting night-by-night, week-by-week, month-by-month through mid-August 2021. Each of the 15 trained teachers enrolls a class of 30 students, which means that a year from now there will be 450 Erukulu individuals able to read who couldn’t read before. Praise God!

What enables this to happen is our faithful putting aside (gleaning) a dollar each day for 365 days. We’ve been collecting those dollars since last December. To date we have collected 27,182 dollars. To fund the initiative fully requires that we collect 31,750 such dollars. We’re almost there! November is the final month of our initiative, so we’re looking to collect 4,568 dollars between now and November 30th. Thanks be to God; we believe it will happen.

Why does it cost so much to teach 450 people how to read? It doesn’t. The initiative underwritten by our Gospel Gleanings program takes place over three years. After the first year of taking 450 people from illiteracy to literacy, the second year of the initiative sees 10 trained and equipped Church Planters working among the Erukulu people. Each Church Planter will visit 1,000 homes. The third year of the initiative provides for 10 more literacy teachers to go among the Erukulu so that another 300 folk go from the darkness of illiteracy to the lighted world of the literate. And, on top of that, Vacation Bible Schools are conducted which will host 1,000 or more Erukulu children and teach them biblical truths. 

The initiative Leidy’s Church began in December of 2019 will reach its goal sometime in the latter part of 2023. We do not know all that God will do among the Erukulu people between now and the end of 2023, but wonderful things will take place in individual lives, in families, and throughout the Erukulu population. We need to continue to pray for God’s good work among the Erukulu people during these next years.

For that reason, we ask: Hey, Bill Teate, how are you going to keep us on track with the Erukulu people? Will you let us know how things are progressing? What sort of novel notions do you have for stoking and provoking the intercessory and giving lamps you have lit among us? 

For now, let’s give thanks to God for allowing us to progress this far with the Gospel Gleaning initiative, while maintaining our persevering prayers on behalf of the pouring out and moving of the Holy Spirit among the Erukulu people.

Christmas Gift Sale

Saturday, Nov 21…9-2.   Grab your Christmas gift list and head to our Annual Christmas Craft & Gift Sale. Nothing says love like a homemade gift, and our variety of vendors will be able to help you find something for even the most difficult person to shop for. Don’t forget to come hungry too, since we’ll be offering delicacies for breakfast and lunch…as well as baked goods for your sweet tooth! Please spread the word to your friends, neighbors and co-workers and join us. Skip that overcrowded, overpriced mall and give the folks on your list a gift that was made with love. And a portion of the proceeds benefit the renovation fund.  Spread the word that we are NOT cancelled and will be nice and spread out to make everyone feel comfortable! Please wear a face covering…so we can all stay healthy for the holidays!

Ladies of Leidy’s

The Ladies of Leidy’s are marching forward after our HUGE Rummage Sale in October.

Important dates to remember for the month of November:

Ladies of Leidy’s Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, November 3rd, at 7 pm in Room 123.

Craft Show, Saturday, November 21st from 9-2. Ladies of Leidy’s sponsors several tables with Attic Treasures and homemade treats for sale.

Advent Workshop, Sunday, November 29th at 4:00.

In a week or two you will see a signup sheet on the wall near the elevator to sign up for the Best Cooks Ever December Potluck Dinner, December 8th, at 6:30 p.m. ALL ladies of the church are welcome to attend but remember to sign up so we can set a place for you.

Come and receive a blessing and be a blessing.

November Ushers

  • Usher Captain Coordinator: Roger Jones
  • Usher Captains: John DiLenge, Shaun Permar
  • Ushers: Lorne Slack, Dave Doran, Bob Hager, Christian Rau, John Rittenhouse, Mitchell VanDerbeek, Drew Weiss, Phoenix Smith, Alex Hager, Ben Smith, Lucas VanDerbeek.

YAKS for Christmas

Beauty for Ashes Nepal is a ministry supported by Leidy’s Church. It exists for the purpose of bringing support to women who are living in extreme poverty and who have been subject to human trafficking in Nepal. Beauty for Ashes is partnering with a similar ministry, Mountain Child, this year to raise funds and provide employment by making Christmas Tree ornaments in the shape of a Yak, the common beast of burden in the Himalayas.

The ornaments are charming and unique. They will make great stocking stuffers or teacher gifts while also supporting women in extreme need. You can tell your friends they are the beasts that take the supplies of folk [like you!] who regularly climb in the Himalayan mountains! These meaningful Yak ornaments sell for $5 each.

See the Mission Committee display at the Leidy’s Church Christmas Gift and Craft sale on November 21, and we can hook you up with all the yaks you need!

Advent Workshop

A long-standing tradition at Leidy’s Church is the Advent Workshop hosted by Ladies of Leidy’s. This is an event for the entire family to enjoy, and for 2020 it takes place on Sunday, November 29th, at 4 pm in the Fellowship Hall.

For the last several years, Shannon Kehs has come up with a variety of crafts for young children and adults to make. A display table with sample crafts and sign-up sheets will be set up soon. Each participant may sign up to make one age-appropriate craft. If you’re not “crafty” but wish to hang out with your family, please sign up for dinner so we know how many pizzas to order. This event is funded by Ladies of Leidy’s, but we do ask each family attending to bring a dessert to share.

There is always a need for craft teachers and assistants, too. Shannon will provide detailed instructions or hands-on training for all who wish to meet with her and work on a sample craft. Please speak with her if you would be interested in helping out. 

Operation Christmas Child

Samaritan’s Purse has a well-deserved reputation for doing the work of a good Samaritan in places of dire need all around the world. One part of that earned street cred comes from the Operation Christmas Child project. You can be part of that project this year.

The Mission Committee has assembled shoe boxes which are available in the narthex and other public areas of the church. The boxes are empty. The task of those who pick up a box (or two!) is to fill it. But don’t fill it with just anything. Inside each box is information explaining how to fill it, including what to include and what not to include. Read it!!! New this year is a tag you can put on “your box” which if you scan it into your phone, you can track your box’s destination! 

Boxes are to be labelled for “boy” or “girl.” Also, each box is to be labelled for 2-4 years old or 5-9 years old or 10-14 years old. If you don’t read the instructions [and follow them!], you won’t be able to label your box properly. 

Over the years we’ve received feedback from missionaries we support or who’ve stayed in the Mission House about the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. In each instance, the report is glowing with praise and appreciation. The kids are ecstatic, and the families are blessed. That’s true whether you’re talking about Ontario or Romania or Ukraine or Venezuela or Uzbekistan or Kenya or wherever. It’s an effective means of sharing goods and the Good News at the same time. Both are much needed.

All boxes are due back to the church by November 15th. Thanks for participating in the 2020 Operation Christmas Child project.

Guess What Time It Is?

Have you guessed? Do you know the answer? Of course, you do! November is the month we are privileged to vote! On Tuesday, November 3rd, we, as citizens of the United States of America, are called to vote to elect representatives of our government. 

This year is a special election indeed! It is a Presidential election and your vote counts! So please take advantage of this solemn honor and make your views heard by voting in this year’s election. 

Leidy’s Church is a polling location for two precincts again this year. The church building areas reserved for voters will be the Fellowship Hall and kitchen areas. If you happen to come by during the election day for other reasons besides voting, please park your vehicle farther away from the prime parking spaces of the parking lot so voters have an easier access to the building to vote.  

Cookies for Sale . . . Cookies for Sale!

But first we must make them! If you would like to make a batch of cookies for the Ladies of Leidy’s to sell at the Craft Show on November 21, 2020 we would really appreciate your help.

Here are a few helpful tips to make things safer.

  1. Seal the cookies in a baggie.
  2. Each bag will cost $.50 cents.
  3. If the cookies are large, put 2 in a bag, if they are small put 3 or 4 in the bag.
  4. Tell us what kind of cookies they are and if they have nuts in them, (just one note is necessary, not one on every baggie).
  5. Please drop the cookies off at the church kitchen on Friday, November 20th, or Saturday morning, November 21st. Please put a note on them that says Ladies of Leidy’s.
  6. Then come and enjoy the Craft show!

Consistory Notes

On Wednesday, October 7th, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church met at 7:30 pm, and minutes were taken of the meeting, from which relevant notes are listed below.

  • Ed Schmidt led devotions on the topic of forgiveness. He cited Psalm 73:1-7, 13-17 as passages that led him personally into the sanctuary of God. This Psalm challenged him to turn away from trying to be in control and to perceive God in complete control of his experiences, his relationships, his difficulties in life, and by God’s grace surrender his life to Christ Jesus and receive the forgiveness of his sins and new life and heart for God. He encouraged the men to forgive others as God forgives them.
  • Minutes from our meeting on September 9th were reviewed and approved. Ron Moyer presented the monthly financial report and asked everyone to submit their 2021 budget requests by the end of October, so a preliminary 2021 budget can be presented at the November Consistory meeting. 
  • Items of business discussed were the wicking and steeple projects, the HUB window updates, the HUB roof repairs and oil tank replacement quotes, the HUB renewal lease contacts, the HUB assessment committee update, the part-time IT position, and the pulpit committee and preaching schedule updates. 
  • After reviewing the pastor’s reports and the various committee reports, we discussed three events that are being planned for the new year. First, the Annual Congregational Dinner that is scheduled for January 16th. Second, the annual Consistory Retreat on January 29th – 30th. Third, a Spiritual Leadership Retreat to be held at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference. The guest speaker will be Dr. Timothy Z. Witmer, author of the book, “The Shepherd Leader”.
  • We closed the meeting with a time of intercessory prayers and the Lord’s prayer at 9:28 pm.    

The New City Catechism

Question 2: What is God?

God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.

Psalm 86:8-10, 15

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. . . . But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Commentary – Jonathan Edwards

The Creator of the world is doubtless also the Governor of it. He that had power to give being to the world, and set all the parts of it in order, has doubtless power to dispose of the world, to continue the order he has constituted, or to alter it. He that first gave the laws of nature, must have all nature in his hands; so that it is evident God has the world in his hands, to dispose of as he pleases. . . And it is manifest, in fact, that God is not careless how the affairs and concerns of the world he has made proceed, because he was not careless of this matter in the creation itself; as it is apparent, by the manner and order in which things were created, that God, in creating, took care of the future progress and state of things in the world.

Commentary – D.A. Carson

It is spectacularly wonderful to talk about God, to think about him. There cannot be any higher subject. But the word God itself is not an empty cipher. Just because somebody uses the word God and then somebody else uses the word God, it does not follow that they mean the same thing. God, for some, is an inexpressible feeling, or it’s the unmoved cause at the beginning of the universe, or it’s a being full of transcendence. But we’re talking about the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is self-defined. He talks about himself as being eternal and righteous. He’s the God of love. He’s the God of transcendence; that is, he’s above space and time and history. Yet he is the immanent God; that is, he is so much with us that we cannot possibly escape from him. He is everywhere. He is unchangeable. He is truthful. He is reliable. He’s personal.

What’s really important to see and understand, as God has disclosed himself not only in words but in the whole storyline of the Bible’s narrative, is that we are not permitted to take one attribute of God and make everything of it. We cannot, let’s say, take his sovereignty and forget his goodness. Or take his goodness and forget his holiness (his holiness is what makes him the God of judgment). Or take his judgment, even the severity of his judgment, and forget that he’s the God of love, the God who has so much loved even his rebellious creatures that ultimately he sent his Son to bear their sin in his own body on the tree.

In other words, to get to the heart of who God is and to bow before him in some small measure of genuine understanding, it’s important to think through what the Bible says again and again and integrate the whole with the same balance and proportion that Scripture itself gives. That calls us to worship. And if we put anything else in the place of God, that is the very definition of idolatry.