What is Your Profit Margin in Life?
Profit margin of any stock investment portfolio is carefully monitored by both stockbrokers and shareholders. The goal is to turn a substantial profit on investments. Knowing what stocks to buy and when to sell is key to increasing the value of one’s financial portfolio. However, buying the wrong stocks or holding stocks too long can lead to huge losses, even economic disaster for the investor.
All of this might sound quite dull to some of my readers because you may not have a stock investment portfolio, 401-K, or other retirement options; so, you could care less if stocks go up or down. Unless you realize that you are making investments every day, some to be sure are life-adjusting, others can be life-transforming enterprises that go beyond retirement to eternity. Our Lord Jesus spoke directly about this very issue in Matthew 6:19-21, where we read, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Perhaps now I have spiked your interest in knowing if your life investments are working for or against you. In other words, we all have a life portfolio and the question we need to ask is this, “Is my life investment portfolio trending to increased profitability or is it plummeting to ruin?” God is monitoring us; He is evaluating whether we are making life investments that are profitable to Him. And it is important for us to consider the cost of life investments. As Jesus said to His disciples of the cost of following Him in Matthew 16:24-27, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”
One way we can tell whether we are making good life investments is how we invest. Is the focus of investments for personal gain, a profitable return of investments for me? We read of examples of this motivation in Scripture. Acts 16:16-32 tells about how the Apostle Paul and Silas were thrown into prison because they had excised a spirit of divination from a slave-girl who was making “her masters much profit by fortune-telling.” When her masters discover the loss of their cash-cow, “they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities … and they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans. The crowd rose up against them, and the chief magistrates proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods.” When Paul and Silas were thrown into the inner prison; they “were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them”, then a great earthquake ensued and the prison doors opened and their chains were unfastened. Yet, through it all, Paul and Silas invested their lives to share the gospel with fellow prisoners and with the chief jailor and his household and the eternal dividends speak for themselves.
The Apostle Paul taught the Corinthians about spiritual investments in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, for we read, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.”
May God so grace and bless us to make similar life investments that brings the same eternal dividends, in causing people we know or meet to ask us, “What must I do to be saved?” May we have this eager answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31 Through God’s power let us live faithfully to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
To the glory of God!
October Pulpit Schedule
3rd – God’s Message Must Not Be Silenced! – 1 Samuel 3:10-21; Luke 19:29-48; 1 Peter 2:4-12
The world has tried to silence God’s truth from being declared by God’s people since the time of recorded history. Evidence of governmental interference to prohibit public Bible education in all U.S. funded institutions, such as public schools, colleges, and universities is well known. Today we are experiencing even greater governmental intrusion as churches choose to assemble to worship God. As then, so now, God’s people must not allow God’s message to be muzzled; we must boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ despite any fallout from the world.
11th – Judgment All Around – Amos 1-2, Isaiah 37 s.v., Revelation 3:1-6
In the beginning of Amos, it appears as though the world is in total disarray. Even more, it appears that the Lord is going to make the nations pay for their sins. It’s a good thing Israel does not face the same scrutiny, right? Wrong. God’s righteous judgment comes upon all. God’s people need to turn to Him in faith in order to be saved.
18th – Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Amos 3-4, Deuteronomy 29:22-28, Hebrews 10:26-31
Israel’s rejection of God’s Law served as a sign they did not worship Him or serve Him. Their continued failure to repent seals the assessment. Our land seems to be marked by a similar rejection of the Lord. Is there anyway to be delivered or is our “fate” already sealed? Whether the nation repents or is crushed in judgment, believers must continue to look to the Lord.
25th -Seeking the Lord in the day of the Lord – Amos 5, Hebrews 12:14-17, Jeremiah 14:10-13
God has made a covenant with His people. When He pronounces judgment through one of His prophets, it is always in the context of His covenant with His people. The purpose of the prophet is to remind the people of the stipulations of the covenant and direct the people toward repentance. Amos, like the rest of the prophets is seeking to bring the people of God to their senses. We need to take heed of the prophetic words of Scripture in our lives that we might turn away from sin to the Lord before the day of Lord.
Pastors Steve and Michael serve us very humbly all year long: always with wisdom, grounded in God’s Holy Word, patience and always mirroring God’s awesome love! As a way of showing our appreciation the Care Committee will sponsor the Pastor Appreciation Luncheon on October 11. We’ll gather together after church for a yummy (and safe) meal with wonderful fellowship and good cheer. Sure do hope to see you there!!
40 Days for Life
On Wednesday the 23rd of September a special 40-day period of prayer began. People in all 50 states along with folk from over two score countries around the world are joined in a concerted time of prayer for an end to abortion. Locally, our point of prayer is the Planned Parenthood office located in Warminster at 610 Louis Drive, just off Street Road.
You may go down to pray for as long or short a time as fits your schedule from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Some volunteers stay for an hour, some for a couple of hours, some for 15 minutes. But they all unite in calling on God to help deliver moms and babies and grandparents and Planned Parenthood workers and drivers-by from the wicked lie that abortion is OK.
As Jesus taught in the parable of the unjust judge, persistent prayer is productive. Take a stand for life; join in the 40 Days for Life campaign. This concerted intercessory prayer effort will continue through November 1st.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
Recently, during our family devotions, I was reading John 8 as Jesus is discussing whether or not the people are children of God or children of the devil. He describes those who believe in Him and keep His word. Of such people He says, YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE. Always being interested in freedom, I spent some time thinking about the truth that will make me free. As my mind cast around the gospel of John, I reflected on Jesus saying I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. This suggests to me that to know the truth which will set us free is to know Jesus. Even as I reflected upon Jesus recognizing His claim of divinity (I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE), I realized that John had more helpful ideas to share. In 1 John 4:16 John tells us that GOD IS LOVE, and that is when I really figured out the Christian life. I LOVE Rice Krispies. If I love Rice Krispies, I will be set free. Because I want to be free, I must, therefore, eat Rice Krispies.
Full disclosure, I do enjoy Rice Krispies, but the way I twisted the Scriptures to support my Rice Krispies cereal eating habit is wrong. In this antilogical progression, I am using words that are originally used in multiple ways and I am attempting to make them mean the same thing. I am the most guilty of this as I conflate 1 John 4:16 with my love of Rice Krispies. When the Scriptures speak of love, they do not mean that I enjoy the slightly sweet taste or rice cereal for breakfast (and sometimes for an evening snack). A good definition for love (which those taking confirmation will learn) states love is doing what is best for the other person, with God determining what is best, regardless of the consequences to myself. My simple desire to eat cereal and the use of the word “love” pales in comparison to that definition. However, by using the same word “love” to describe both, I am presenting a false logic.
Before you begin to think, “Cereal is boring, logic is boring, therefore this article about cereal and logic is boring,” consider how you understand the words of the Scriptures and how you apply them to your life. We have already seen a silly example of how we might twist the meaning of love to support whatever our hearts desire. We do this with other ideas in the Scriptures as well. Consider what it means to be free. Jesus, in context of the larger passage, is trying to help is followers understand that if they believe in Him, they will know the truth (about Him) and the truth will set them free from sin and Satan. Many times, we are tempted to read this verse to mean that if we believe in Jesus, we will know the truth about Him and be free when we sin. We justify in our own minds this way of thinking that where sin abounds, so grace does all the more so.
Apart from a warning to be watchful, I hope you will be encouraged to know that there is a solution. The solution to logical and grammatical errors in reading the Bible is to read it often, in context, and well. First, make use of the treasure of God’s Word in your home. If you do not have a Bible at home, let me know I will get you one. Read God’s Word every day. Second, read the Bible in context. Try not to pick verses or ideas from here and there and patch them together. Instead spend time reading chunks of the Bible to try to determine the author’s intended meaning. Finally, read the Bible well. Remember that it is God’s Word and it is living and active. I pray that the Holy Spirit opens your hearts and minds that you might grow in your love and understanding of it.
To the Praise of His Glory,
Michael W. Nowling
Pulpit Committee Update
Fall has arrived with all its brilliance and wonderful cool weather. We are anticipating the watching the leaves changing color and enjoying a bountiful harvest that comes this time of year. In the church, we are also welcoming the bounty of Sunday school starting back up and the sanctuary being filled with the body of Christ worshipping.
As we gather to worship, we are asking the Lord to provide the man who will serve as our new senior pastor and the Lord is working in this regard. We are preparing to bring a candidate from out of the area to meet with the pastoral search committee in person. This candidate has been through two virtual interviews and this occasion will provide the committee more personal contact to see if this candidate will be asked to meet with the Spiritual Council and Consistory.
We also are continuing to interview other applicants and will shortly conduct a second virtual interview with yet another candidate.
As always, we ask that you continue praying for us in several ways:
- Pray for discernment and unity as we conduct the in-person interview.
- Pray for the Lord’s wisdom to be with us as we continue interviews through the fall.
- Pray for patience, that we would be united with the Lord’s will and plan.
Christmas Craft Show
Commitment Forms are now available for this year’s Annual Christmas Craft & Gift Sale on Saturday, November 21st and tables are already going quickly. It appears that many regular craft shows are being cancelled this year…so we hope that means folks will mark our show as the “must attend” event of the season! Of course, we will need to keep a close eye on spacing…so it is more important than ever to reserve your space early! If you are a crafter or home sales vendor, please get your form in to the church office as soon as possible. We assume we will be inundated with outside vendors as soon as word gets out that we are still open…so we need to know what products our congregation has represented before we allow others to join us. Don’t forget this is also an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups to publicize or raise money for a mission that is near & dear to you! Contact Donna Frueh for information at email@example.com.
Sunday School Options
What You Need to Know!
I am sure you have been asked at times to keep things in confidence. You may have been sworn to secrecy by a friend or you were told by a family member to tell no one else. There is a popular quote that matches this concept which states, “All this is on a strictly need-to-know basis. As in, nobody else needs to know.”
The four Gospel writers were doing just the opposite. Their motivation was not to withhold what they had seen, heard, and experienced while following the Lord Jesus. No, their aim was to proclaim it far and wide, to shout it from the rooftops. They wanted to boldly testify that Jesus, God’s eternal Son, is Lord and Christ!
On Sunday mornings during the Sunday School hour, we are meeting to explore and uncover the riches found in the Gospel of John, to learn who Jesus is, some of what Jesus did, and what we need to know to be His true follower. In fact, John writes in his Gospel account why he was so inspired to write it. In John 20:30-31 we read, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” So please come and join our study in the Gospel of John, which meets in Rm 211, as we together uncover the truth of what we all need to know!
To Be Determined
This Sunday School Class is designed for those who have recently graduated from High School through the age of 25. Life can be confusing and often plans are somewhat uncertain during this stage of life. To Be Determined is designed to help young adults navigate through change and uncertainty and learn how to apply faith to life.
This semester we will be studying worldviews. You might ask what kinds of worldviews or even what is a worldview? We might study topics on abortion, systematic racism, and will even touch on the topic of different religious viewpoints.
We encounter the clashing of two major world systems, which collide every day; yet we know God reveals truth claims that give answers to these conflicting views we struggle with in our lives. Come join us on Sunday mornings to discuss related topics and discover God’s answers, in the hope of developing a Christian worldview on life. We meet downstairs in Rm 111 from 8:45 to 9:45.
Are You a Bigot?
The answer to that question used to be based on what is in your heart and in your actions. But that has all changed at an accelerating pace over the last few months. You cannot read the news, scroll through social media, or browse in a bookstore without wondering how today’s public discourse has seemingly become all about race, gender and identity. Where did this come from? How did it gain such a firm foothold in our land? How did our culture adopt an entirely new set of vocabulary, words (e.g., intersectionality, gender fluidity, white fragility, unconscious bias) and embrace the ideology of “critical theory” so quickly? How does critical theory compare to biblical Christianity and how is it gaining a foothold within evangelicalism and what, if anything, should we do about it? If you are interested in exploring this topic in a lively discussion format, please join Dave Reich and Steve Radcliff over the next couple of months in our Issues & Answers Class Sunday mornings at 8:45. The class meets in Fellowship Hall.
If You Think That Was BIG!
If you thought July’s Rummage Sale was big, just wait until you see October’s RUMMAGE SALE! We have been so blessed with donations that we have run out of places to store items. Everything imaginable has been amassing over the summer months and volunteers will be painstakingly unpacking and sorting these items on tables, bookcases and at floor locations for your shopping pleasure. All items will be reasonably priced and there are always helpful volunteers to assist you in buying and packing up your treasured bundles and housewares.
The setup dates to remember for this Fall’s BIG “R” are October 11-13, where a host of volunteers will convert our full-size gym into the Rummage Sale marketplace. The doors of the Gym will open for customers beginning at 9:00 AM on October 14th and then again on October 15th. On October 15th, you have the advantage of buying items using a $2.00 a bag, which you are permitted to fill to the brim before making your purchases at the checkout tables. Contact Mary Beth Musselman or the church office to volunteer – we need lots of help!
The Rummage Sale historically has proven to be a great blessing to many individuals and families over the years. The monies raised from the Rummage Sale are distributed by the Ladies of Leidy’s to assist needy families, ministries, and individuals with specific needs. We hope that the Lord will enable us to make similar investments in the lives of people again this year.
We do want to thank all of the youth and other volunteers who come to help sort and arrange all of the items for the Rummage Sale and for everyone who donates items or buys the items during the sale. You are a great blessing to everyone involved in the Rummage Sale.
October Missions Focus
Chris and Heather Christensen are celebrating 13 years of marriage this year. Since they’ve been married, Chris earned his nursing degree, they began a family, and were appointed to do medical and religious work in the country of Bangladesh. They now have four children: a 6th grader, a 4th grader, a 2nd grader, and a toddler.
Situated on the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh shares a border with India and Burma (Myanmar), and is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Average household income in Bangladesh is about $600 US, and healthcare there is inadequate, with about eight hospital beds for every 10,000 people. The country is 90% Muslim, and 8% Hindu.
Chris works at Malumghat Hospital in the Chittagong area. [If you enter Chittagong in your Google maps app, you’ll see exactly where this is!] Having earned a Bible/theology degree as well as a nursing degree, Chris also teaches at a Bible College in Chittagong. When the pandemic struck Bangladesh, the Bible College shut down and is not reopened yet. The hospital, on the other hand, is extraordinarily busy. Chris is working long, long hours, which are increased as hospital workers return to their home countries when their visas expire. Others chose to leave in light of Covid. The Christensens opted to stay and continue to minister in Bangladesh.
Heather homeschools the kids and also helps out at Heart House, a rehab center. Because they live in a compound, the Christensen family is not completely locked down. Many activities and ministries previously taking place, however, were discontinued for the moment, though some have reopened. Mail service is problematic, which means homeschool materials Heather was planning to use this fall have not arrived.
Here are some prayer concerns the Christensen family has passed along: 1) 2-year old Clara has some sort of pneumonia issue and needs renewed health; 2) pray for strength and wisdom for Chris and others who work endlessly at the hospital; 3) pray for their visa situation – they are awaiting new visas and the process is taking longer than normal with some being denied; and 4) give thanks to God for Chris and Heather’s perseverance in this intense and demanding ministry field.
One of our helping ministries, where we can be a blessing to others is by handing in our old eyeglasses and hearing aids to be used by others. Here is what happens and who benefits from your donation: Millions of people in developing nations have uncorrected vision. Most of these individuals are pushed deeper into poverty simply because they do not have glasses. The glasses are collected, sorted, cleaned and distributed to third world countries if not used locally. The glasses are then stored in a warehouse until they are requested for a dispensing mission. Hundreds of people wait in line to have their eyes examined and receive a pair of eyeglasses. For many this is the first time in years that they can see clearly, maintain employment and allow them to support their families. The collection box for your glasses and hearing aids is in the coat closet near the water fountain. The need is ongoing and very much appreciated.
Ladies of Leidy’s
The Ladies of Leidy’s Ministry will be meeting on the evening of Tuesday, October 6th at 7:00 in Room 123. Please come and be a part of our friendly Ministry group.
Precept Bible Study
Esther – For Such a Time as This will begin on Thursday, October 1st and go until November 19th, the study will pick up again in January. If you have any questions, or need a book contact Verna Bowman.
Gospel Gleaning is Underway – Finally
Since December 1st of last year many Leidy’s Church folk have been putting aside one dollar each day for an outreach to the Erukulu people group. Identified as an unreached people group, 99% of the Erukulu people have never heard the name of Jesus, they have no idea of the One who is the Light of the World.
The Gospel Gleaning program is designed so that if 90 persons give one dollar a day for one year, then enough money will be raised for a three-year outreach program to an unreached people group. In the first year 15 persons are trained to conduct literacy courses. Using materials that reflect Gospel truths and biblical wisdom, people learn much about the Light of the World and about biblical truths of living faithfully in the world.
Originally scheduled to begin in March, but delayed by the Covid lockdown until mid-September, the 15 literacy teachers are being trained now, finally. Hallelujah! In mid-October they will begin to teach Erukulu people how to read. That’s great. We should be praying for these literacy teachers, for the vision that prompt them to undertake this task, and for skill and wisdom to teach well for the next 10 months.
Why 10 months? Because that’s how long the literacy classes they teach will last. It requires a big-time commitment on the part of the teachers and the students. Each class will meet 5 nights a week for 2 hours and do so for 10 months! Class size is 30 students. That means 450 students will be reading next year at this time who could NOT read this year. It also means they will have learned about the Light of the World, about hygiene matters, simple math functions, and about forgiveness and honesty and trust and other foundational relational truths. It’s a lifechanging time for all involved.
As you set aside your dollar each day, remember what’s happening among the Erukulu people and pray for God’s grace to be flowing richly into hearts and families and culture. The Gospel has much gleaning to do in the field of the Erukulu – and the gleaning has begun – finally.
On Wednesday, September 9th, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church met, and minutes were taken from the meeting, from which relevant notes are listed below.
- Ken Merritt led devotions on the topic of trusting God. Ken asked two questions: “Do we really believe what we say we believe?” and “Are we trusting God by not giving in to our fears and anxieties?” He shared how everything in our lives happens in accord with God’s plan and purpose. God perfectly created the heavens and the earth in six days; surely, we can trust God with the issues we face in life. Then he read from Philippians 1:18-20; 4:6-7 of the Apostle Paul’s example of trusting the Lord while in prison, and then Ken emphasized God’s promises and our eternal hope of heaven with the Lord with other NT verses. In conclusion, he encouraged us to attend the Graham Prayer March on September 26th in Washington, D.C.
- Minutes from last Consistory Meeting and the financial report from August were reviewed and approved.
- Items of business discussed were an update on the wicking and steeple projects, the HUB window replacement project, and the HUB lease contract renewal and rent.
- Penn Builders accepted the proposal to remediate the wicking issue from the exterior. Penn Builders will begin the repairs near the end of this month at a section alongside the gym. After completing this section, they will make an assessment and then remediate the other areas.
- The HUB windows around the base of fellowship hall have been replaced. The custom windows for the office area are supposed to be completed shortly and then the contractor will install them.
- The 12- month HUB lease contract was drafted, copied, and distributed to all HUB tenants. The tenants are in the process of reviewing and signing the contacts and providing proof of insurance for this new lease period.
- The job description for a part-time I.T. was discussed and one of the candidates that applied for this position was qualified. It was approved that this candidate be contacted for the position.
- A revision of our COVID guidelines for Sunday attendance were distributed and discussed as we considered the re-opening of Sunday School and other ministries in mid-September. With the decline of COVID cases, hospitalizations and mortality over a two-month period, Consistory approved to adopt the new COVID guidelines to begin on September 20th.
- Other reports dealing with AV upgrades, worship, fall clean-up, kitchen plumbing repairs, Keystone Opportunity Food Collection, Sunday School, and Communion operations were reviewed before having a time for intercessory prayers and the Lord’s prayer to close our meeting at 10:56 pm.
The New City Catechism
Question 1: What is our only hope in life and death?
That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. Romans 14:7-8
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
Commentary – John Calvin
If we, then, are not our own but the Lord’s, it is clear what error we must flee, and whither we must direct all the acts of our life. We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us. . . . We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God’s: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our acts. We are God’s: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal. O, how much has that man profited who, having been taught that he is not his own, has taken away dominion and rule from his own reason that he may yield it to God! For, as consulting our self-interest is the pestilence that most effectively leads to our destruction, so the sole haven of salvation is to be wise in nothing and to will nothing through ourselves but to follow the leading of the Lord alone.2
Commentary – Timothy Keller
At one point in his writings John Calvin lays out the essence of what it means to live the Christian life. He says that he could make us a list of the commandments we should be keeping or a list of all the character traits we should be exhibiting. But instead, he wants to boil it down to the basic motive and the basic principle of what it means to live the Christian life.
The basic motive is that God sent his Son to save us by grace and to adopt us into his family. So now, because of that grace, in our gratitude, we want to resemble our Father. We want the family resemblance. We want to look like our Savior. We want to please our Father.
The basic principle then is this: that we are not to live to please ourselves. We’re not to live as if we belong to ourselves. And that means several things. It means, first of all, we are not to determine for ourselves what is right or wrong. We give up the right to determine that, and we rely wholly on God’s Word. We also give up the operating principle that we usually use in day-to-day life; we stop putting ourselves first, and we always put first what pleases God and what loves our neighbor. It also means that we are to have no part of our lives that is immune from self-giving. We’re supposed to give ourselves wholly to him—body and soul. And it means we trust God through thick and thin, through the good and the bad times, in life and in death.
And how do the motive and the principle relate? Because we’re saved by grace, we’re not our own. A woman once said to me, “If I knew I was saved because of what I did, if I contributed to my salvation, then God couldn’t ask anything of me because I’d made a contribution. But if I’m saved by grace, sheer grace, then there’s nothing he cannot ask of me.” And that’s right. You’re not your own. You were bought with a price.
Some years ago I heard a Christian speaker say, “How can you come to grips with someone who has given himself utterly for you without you giving yourself utterly for him?”
Jesus gave himself wholly for us. So now, we must give ourselves wholly to him.
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to the families of Ann Boyer and Gerald Bower at their deaths. May God be with them at this time.