When I think of the prayers of Paul, I usually think of those great prayers in Ephesians and Colossians when he explains to those believers how he is praying for them. Those are wonderful prayers, filled with good insights for our prayers: that God would give a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Himself, that believers would be rooted and grounded in love, and that believers would be strengthened with power by the glorious might of God. We all would do well to lift up such prayers on behalf of others.
Recently I came across a new prayer. It was written long ago, almost 2,000 years ago. It was written by a fellow who was not explaining to others how he was praying for them, but how he wished they would pray for him. I wish I had known of this prayer sooner! I could have benefitted from it greatly. And, you’ll never guess where it’s found: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5.
Yessiree, that’s the one. Apparently all the Bibles I’ve read over the years went directly from 2 Thessalonians 2:17 straight to 2 Thessalonians 3:6!! Maybe I should sue some of the publishers for selling me deficient Bibles. Or, perhaps I should sue my Optician for giving me glasses that fogged over when I came to the opening verses of the third chapter of Second Thessalonians. Surely I can sue someone who caused this great lapse in my biblical reading.
No, rather I should give thanks to God for opening my eyes, finally, to the transforming truths of that passage. It is a passage where Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for him. What in the world would Paul ask folk to intercede for on his behalf? Well, let’s examine it and see. It was instructive for me; maybe it will be for you as well.
He asks that the word of the Lord would run and be glorified. [Young’s Literal Translation] What is he asking for? Think Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a lasting demonstration of what happens when water runs freely and forcefully. Coursing straight through even solid rock, the running water shapes the character of all it touches.
We had a hard downpour on a recent night. The next morning as I took our dog Bruno on his morning constitutional, we passed several properties where rocks the size of a man’s fist had been placed to prevent erosion. Except on this morning the rocks were washed out of the property, over the sidewalk, and onto the street. The water had run freely! Grand Canyon, smaller scale.
Paul desires that God would use his witness of the Word of God that way in the lives of those who hear him. That it would run like a river and cut through the stoniest of hearts, transforming the lives of individuals, families, communities, and even entire nations. Paul knows that it can do so, for it has happened to him and it has happened through him. It was at Thessalonica that Paul was accused of being one of those fellows who, in proclaiming the truth about Jesus and the truths that flow from the Bible, had “turned the world upside down.” [Acts 17:1-7]
That seems like a laudable desire for each of us as well. As we bear witness to those around us, we want to see God cause His Word to run in the lives of those with whom we share. For that to happen, though, we need to be witnesses. Without our witness to the great truths of God, the word cannot run from us. Let’s pray for one another that we would be bold witnesses of God and He would bless our witness by causing His Word to run.
What about that word glorified in Paul’s prayer? By now, if you’ve been paying attention the last several years, you know that to glorify means to show forth the essential character. When a person understands the essential character of the Bible is, in fact, that it is The Word of God, then the truth it proclaims will be heartily and humbly received.
Such is not always the case. The very next request Paul lays before the Thessalonians is that he will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have the faith. That’s a bracingly cold splash of water into our faces! Paul knows there are perverse and evil men around, enemies of the gospel of God. He knows this from experience! After all, he had been just such a man!
He was an upper-crust fellow, educated above his contemporaries in all the things necessary to get ahead in his life. But he hated the gospel and was an implacable enemy of it. Though he did not think of himself as perverse or evil, he was. He actively suppressed the witness of God’s Word, the running of God Word. He used God’s Word to do it! He was trained in the Scriptures, but was blinded to the truth thereof. Consequently, he approved the stoning of Stephen, then proceeded to round up, imprison, and advocate for the execution of every faithful Christian witness he could find. Perverse and evil, indeed.
We need to be rescued from such folk as well. Remember the type of guy Paul was before his conversion and who it was who opposed him after his conversion: the elites of society. Being a college president is a very prestigious position. Yet all the perverse and wicked things that are allowed or taught or enforced by colleges are done so with the active permission of the college presidents. We need rescuing from them!
Being an elected governmental official or the head of a production studio or the editor of a national newspaper are prestigious positions. Yet all the destructive blows against godly morality in our land have been made with the active participation of those who occupy some of those very positions. We need rescuing from them.
Being a preacher or the head of a denomination or a professor of theology or a teacher of ethics are prestigious positions. Yet all the undermining of biblical authority, the non-glorification of the Word of God, has been the lifework of many who hold those positions. We need rescuing from them.
These are folk who do not have the faith, despite what they may proclaim about themselves. Paul knew the influence and purpose of such folk, and he asked the Thessalonians to pray that he would be rescued from them.
Well, that’s all pretty negative, isn’t it? Yep. No doubt about it. But it’s also reality. Yet, Paul does not stay there, focused on the negatives. He insists to the Thessalonians, but the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
As we head into a new season of Christian ministry, these are good prayers to pray for our lives and our witness, personally and corporately. Next month, we will celebrate Reformation Day, and we’ll remember why we can and should remain confident even in times such as ours. Let’s continue to direct our hearts into the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ.
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
September Pulpit Schedule
1st – Two Mountains – Luke 10:17-20; Galatians 4:21-31; Hebrews 12:18-29
Our text from Hebrews for today draws attention to two mountains. We can learn much from considering these two mountains. One is physical/literal and the other is spiritual/allegorical. Both are awesome. Both have powerful accompanying signs. One threatens death; the other promises life. Each of us will encounter both these mountains in the course of our lives. In fact, they show what comes after this life as well! There is a great shaking coming, and only one mountain will stand because the shaking will not affect it at all. We want to be in that mountain.
8th – Seeing with Vision – Proverbs 17:14; Isaiah 60:10-14; Ephesians 4:20-32; Hebrews 13:1-14
Over the summer we’ve been going through the book of Hebrews. We found it filled with doctrinal, sacramental, historical, and spiritual matters. Today we will look at the first half of the last chapter of Hebrews. Get ready to be shocked! The text is thoroughly practical. How can this be? What does this tell us? It tells us that presuppositions matter. How we think about and understand doctrinal, sacramental, historical, and spiritual matters will inevitably determine how we live life from day to day. If we see with vision we will be seeking the city.
15th – The Bulls of Our Lips – Hosea 14:1-9; Ephesians 5:15-21; Hebrews 13:15-25
Now that’s an odd sermon title, isn’t it? What in the world are the bulls of our lips? The phrase actually comes from Hosea 14:2 when the prophet instructs the repentant Israelites to present to God the bulls of their lips. Because it is such an odd phrase, most translations do not translate it literally. And that’s fine, since none of us even in this age of piercings know of anyone who has a bull on his lips! It is an apt phrase for concluding the book of Hebrews. It captures the sense of the Old Covenant and the heart of the New Covenant. We want to find bulls on our lips!
22nd – Let’s Get Blessed! – Daniel 2:24-35; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; Revelation 1:1-3
In The Devil’s Dictionary Ambrose Bierce defines the book of Revelation this way: A famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing. It is a truth commonly acknowledged among most Christians that Revelation is a difficult book to read, much less to understand. Today we will attempt to provide some ballast for reading Revelation, some preliminary matters that will help us gain some sea legs. At the top of the list is God’s assertion that those who read/hear Revelation are blessed.
29th – Know These Things – Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 4:5-12; Revelation 1:4-8
We live in tumultuous times. The nations are unsettled. There is deepening oppression in China. North Korea continues to act irrationally. The entire Middle East pulsates with hatred. In the Americas, no one can figure who belongs where. And Europe is a basket case. Things were no better in the first century. Therefore, as God sends a message to seven particular churches, He grounds them about matters that must be known. This concerns the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. People today still need to know these foundational truths about Jesus.
Each month, beginning in September, there will be a sheet of questions to fill in down in the library. Don’t forget your contact information at the bottom. Place it in the entry box.
The library staff will tally the correct answers each month. At the end of each quarter prizes will be given. We will contact the prize winners in December and April.
Firmly Planted Kids (a Rally Day primer)
Rally Day is September 8th. Everyone is invited to come out to an all-church breakfast. It begins at 8 o’clock in the Fellowship Hall. Though the menu is not firmly planned yet, we suspect that if you follow the sound of sizzling strips of bacon, pan-seared potatoes, and effervescent eggs you might find your way to where things are happening. Fruit and coffee cakes most likely will be available as well.
At 9 o’clock we’ll hear from a special visitor who came all the way from Kenya to enjoy our hospitality. Each class will meet its teacher, Bibles will be presented to those young persons beginning First Grade, and we’ll find out what to expect during the coming year of Sunday School.
One thing will be different: no balloons will be released this year. Due to a dwindling supply of helium throughout the world, among other reasons, a different distinguishing action has been selected. We will not be sending balloons into the air; we will be planting an oak tree to take deep root in the ground. It’s a picture of what we want to happen through Sunday School. In Isaiah 6:13 there is a prophecy that refers to the children of God as oaks of righteousness. So, we want kids to be firmly planted in the truths of God’s Word, to grow and flourish and become like mighty oak trees who display the glory of God.
Put September 8th on your calendar and come out as we enjoy breakfast, meet some Kenyan visitors, observe Bible presentations, and strike a commitment to set roots to go deep into the Word of God.
A Note from LaRue (and Stan) Friday
By the grapevine I found out our church family had a part in our trip to France. Your donations helped make possible our trip to the 75th Anniversary of the Allied Landing at Normandy during the Second World War. Stan was part of the landing at Utah Beach in the summer of 1944. He had never been back to France since the war.
It was only the week before we left that we found out Stan was to receive the highest medal that France gives: the Legion of Honor. They award it to people who helped give them their freedom. Only 300 non-French people have been given this honor since it was introduced in 1802 by Napoleon. Four other men who were at Normandy in 1944 received it when Stan did. The medals were presented to them by French President Emmanuel Macron while President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and First Lady Brigitte Macron watched and then shook the men’s hands.
I was sitting behind Stan when Macron whispered in his ear. Later, Stan told me what he said, “We owe you our freedom and on behalf of our country we thank you.” This will be in our hearts forever and we want to thank our church family for helping us be present to receive it. It is something we will never forget–the chance of a lifetime to come in contact with the French people, children, people from Germany, Belgium, and other countries.
So, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for your prayers and everything you made possible for us.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
2019 has been designated the year of Periodic Table. For those who have forgotten (or never had the wonderful and delightful opportunity to study chemistry in high school), the Periodic Table of elements is a funny chart that has all the known elements grouped together. Everything that has ever been made is some combination of the materials listed on the Periodic Table. It starts with the simplest element Hydrogen and grows in complexity as you move down and to the right. Upon initial investigation, the Periodic Table seems to be randomly arranged. The elements are not in equal rows or columns. They are given abbreviations that seem to have no correlation with reality. While it is true that we use H for Hydrogen and He for Helium, we also use Na for Sodium and K for Potassium. The Periodic Table has enough confusion in its columns to drive many first-year chemistry students to the brink of failure.
As someone who loves chemistry, I confess that I admire the Periodic Table. Not only does it contain the building blocks of everything within it, the table organizes them in a helpful way. The Periodic Table is grouped into columns (which are called periods), and each column has shared characteristics. This periodicity reflects God’s ordering of His creation. Not only has God ordered the planets and stars to move in particular and predictable ways, He has ordered the laws that govern how substances interact.
As we live in this fallen and broken world where things do not go according to plan, it is more than comforting to know that God has all things under control. While I am often surprised at the outcome of experiments with various elements, God is not surprised by the stresses and discomforts of this world. Just as He controls the electrons swirling around the nuclei of all the atoms in creation, so He controls all things that go on.
Sometimes when calamity comes to us, it is easy to feel like a first-year chemistry student looking at the Periodic Table. You look around you and nothing makes sense. However, throughout the Scriptures the Lord has promised never to leave His people or forsake them. While we often go through times of uncertainty or confusion in life, the Lord delivers us through them by the precious blood of Jesus and the powerful (but often secret) working of the Holy Spirit.
As I look to the heavens to see the Lord ordering creation or to the lab to see the wonderful and predictable ways in which He causes chemicals to come together, form new substances, and help us learn about the world, I rejoice knowing that God has all things under His control. While I do not understand all of His purposes, I rest knowing that He is good and will never leave me or forsake me.
To the Praise of His Glory,
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Ken Murphy and Glen Tyson and at the death of their fathers, to Bea Schnable at the death of her daughter, and to Greg Nase at the death of his mother. May God be with them at this time.
New members were received into Leidy’s Church on July 7th. Take time to welcome: Dave Guntz, Ethel Greenawalt, and John, Janelle, Rachel & Kaitlyn Rittenhouse.
It’s Here: Online Giving
Leidy’s Church is moving into the future. In conjunction with several technological advancements as well as a new website, Leidy’s Church is now accepting online giving.
Here’s how it works: go to www.leidyschurch.org and look in the upper right hand corner of your computer screen; you’ll find a new link that will allow you to give online. Clicking the link will take you to a new page for online giving. There you may select either the General Fund or Renovation Fund. If you would like to give to both at the same time, you are able to do so by clicking the Add Donation words. Once a dollar amount is entered, you will be prompted to supply either your credit card or banking information. There is an option to add 2% of your donation to cover some of the processing costs.
Here’s what you’re really wanting to know:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Will we still take an offering?
Yes, we believe that the giving of tithes and offerings is part of our worship of God. Each week we will continue to collect offerings as we have in the past.
Do I have to make an online donation?
No, online giving is just one way to support the work of the Leidy’s Church.
Is online giving tax deductible?
Yes, any gifts given online will be entered into the church’s accounting system the following week. These contributions will be reflected on your end-of-year giving statement.
Do I have to use a Credit Card?
No, you are able to use a debit card or ACH payment directly from your bank account as well.
Is online giving secure?
We are using a service called Easytithe to process online giving. This company specializes in helping churches make available and process all manner of electronic giving. They also use various encryption methods to ensure security.
Will I be charged any fees?
You will not be charged any fees by Easytithe. However, Leidy’s Church is paying a service charge for your online gift. If you would like to help defray that cost, there is an option to add a 2% convenience fee to your gift.
What if I want to give to something specific?
Currently the only options for online giving are the church’s General Fund and the Renovation Fund. If you would like to select a gift as a second mile offering or some other designation, you will need to do that through the offering plate.
New Precept Class
A new class begins Thursday, September 5th 9-11:30 a.m. The book of 2 Corinthians is about ministry and reconciliation. In the midst of ministry, sometimes we can become burdened beyond strength and find it difficult to cope. Paul’s letter tells us not to lose heart and how to be strong in the Lord when accusations and persecutions are directed toward us. If you are new to Precept, please contact Verna (215.237.1370). Workbooks $22.
Ladies of Leidy’s
All ladies are welcome to attend our first meeting after our summer break on Tuesday evening, September 3rd at 7:00 in the Conference Room. The meeting will feature Pastor Michael’s wife Sarah who will enlighten us with a presentation on audiology . . . while this might not seem to pique the interest of some, I’m sure we have all been caught at least once asking “Pardon me, could you please repeat that as I didn’t hear you?” or “Can you hear me now????” We’ll all have our hearing turned on to what Sarah will share!
They went, they saw, they worked, they ate, and they learned! Yes, the 6-person SLMT—Cucuta team spent a week in the Villa del Rosario region of Cucuta in mid-August. It was a fascinating trip with many unexpected experiences. They are planning to do a Report-Back on Sunday, the 15th of September in the Issues & Answers class. If all goes as planned, they will demonstrate a newly learned skill by serving freshly prepared empanadas to all who are present that morning.
The team worked with the on-site volunteers who run the In This Time of Need program – which in Colombia is known as the El Buen Samaritano Casa. Team members got a first-hand view of how this program which Leidy’s Church is sponsoring is carried out on a regular basis. They look forward to telling you about it.
During the course of the trip the team learned the delights of Colombian culture, saw the staggering reality of the depth of the Venezuelan refugee crises, experienced what an emergency police situation is like(!), received an outpouring of loving hospitality, developed rich relationships with fellow believers, and wondered at the amazing provision of God.
They look forward to sharing all this and more with you during the Issues & Answers class on September 15. Come and enjoy a tasty empanada on them and prepare to have your horizons raised.
If your small group is looking for something to study, or, if you want to engage in some personal spiritual exercises, Pastor Steve Myers has some suggestions for you from our library of Bible–centered study materials. There are numerous subjects to choose from. They range from practical Christian living to specific Bible study series, along with various theological topics about the Christian faith. All you need to do is stop by the church office, choose a particular study you are interested in reviewing and sign a slip to check it out. Remember, this is a partial list, you may want to investigate the entire set of resources.
- Only Two Religions, by Peter Jones – “In this series, join Dr. Peter Jones as he examines the worldview and fundamental religious convictions that drive modern culture. He demonstrates that in the final analysis, there can be only two religions – worship of the Creator or worship of the creation.” (12 DVD sessions & study guide)
- Learning to Love the Psalms, by W. Robert Godfrey – “The Book of Psalms is one of the greatest treasures the Lord has given to His people. Through these sacred poems, God has given us a rich songbook and a divinely inspired guide for our prayers. In this course, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey provides an overview of the Psalms with the specific goal of learning to love them through a study of their themes, structure, and beauty. This course is designed to help you understand the place of the Psalms within Scripture and Christian life and to aid you in applying them to your Christian devotion.” (12 DVD sessions & study guide)
- Lessons from The Upper Room, by Sinclair Ferguson – “In the Farewell Discourses of John 13-17, … Dr Ferguson shows us the heart of Jesus and the hearts of His disciples in this tumultuous yet glorious time. In this process, we see clearly the need for the centrality of Christ in the Christian life and worship.” (12 DVD sessions & study guide)
- The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy and Kathy Keller – “The Meaning of Marriage draws a profound portrait of marriage that neither idealizes nor rejects the institution but points us to the relationship between God and man. The result is a vision for marriage that is refreshingly frank and unsentimental – yet hopeful, beautiful, and relevant for thoughtful believers and non-believers alike. (6 DVD sessions & study guide)
- The Attributes of God, Steven J. Lawson – “A true intimate relationship with God is not based on our own ideas about what God is like. If we really desire to know God, we must approach Him based on the knowledge of who He reveals Himself to be in His Word. Join Dr. Steven J. Lawson in this in-depth study as he articulates a biblical understanding of fifteen divine attributes and explores how a right understanding of God can affect every aspect of our lives.” (16 DVD sessions & study guide)
- Christianity, Cults, & Religions – “Know What You Believe and Why! This study explains the history, background, and beliefs of the largest world religions and cultic groups, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, and more.” This series will also teach you how to share your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ with those of other faiths.” (6 DVD sessions & study guide)
- Honest Evangelism – How to talk about Jesus even when it’s tough, by Rico Tice – “This is a book that is honest about the costs of evangelism, and yet will excite you about the effects of evangelism. Rico shows how you – whoever you are and however you feel – can talk about Jesus with those who don’t yet know him but need to meet him.”
- Christianity Explored – One Life. What’s it all about?, by Rico Tice, Barry Cooper, & Craig Dyer – “Christianity Explored gives you time and space to think about the big questions of life and to explore the life of the person at the heart of the Christian faith – Jesus Christ.” (7 DVD sessions & leaders/student guides)
- The Book of Job, by Derek W.H. Thomas – “Why does God permit suffering? It’s a question all of us have asked, and the book of Job points us toward the answer. Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas walks us through the book of Job and considers what the Bible says about our darkest moments. He addresses the difficult question of the relationship between God’s sovereignty and the existence of evil, sin, and suffering. In the end, as Derek Thomas shows, it’s in our trials that we learn to trust God and say with Job, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (12 DVD sessions & study guide)
- Dealing with Difficult Problems, by R.C. Sproul – “What do you do when you lose your job? When your spouse betrays you? When the news of the world causes great anxiety? All of us deal with different difficult problems. The question is, how will we respond? In this series, R.C. Sproul offers wise biblical counsel to help us face life’s difficulties, pointing us to the sovereignty of God and the sufficiency of Christ in all our circumstances.” (6 DVD sessions & study guide)
- Building A Christian Conscience, by R.C. Sproul – “Is your conscience held captive by the Word of God, or is it subject to the whims of your culture? The world seeks to suppress your conscience and conform it into the image of the lawless one. The Christian must seek the good, strive for integrity, and reflect the holiness of our Creator and Redeemer. In this series, Dr. R.C. Sproul lays the foundation for that lifelong process.” (6 DVD sessions & study guide)
Designed for kids who are in 1st through 6th grade, iBlast begins on November 6th this year. Each meeting features a family meal at 5:15, a time of worship, and a rotation through activity sets. The evening concludes at 7:30.
This year the focus will be on prayer. In particular, we’ll be looking at the Lord’s Prayer. Why does Jesus tell His disciples to pray following the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer? Is it for good luck? What if we don’t know what all the words mean? These and other such question will be on the table at iBlast this fall.
Though this may seem to be – and, in fact, is – a very familiar topic, we are going to be learning about several ideas which are surprisingly unfamiliar. In short, iBlast will be a great time for youngsters to come, learn about the Lord, and see how many chemical reactions can go on before Pastor Michael melts!
It’s Not Too Early . . .
Mark your calendars NOW for the Annual Christmas Craft & Gift Sale! This year on November 23rd from 9-2; our Fellowship Hall will be filled with all the sights and sounds of the holiday season! You will want to shop early for one of a kind gifts, or maybe something special for yourself! And if you are a crafter, home sales vendor, or have a mission group you want to support…see Donna Frueh for details on how you can be part of this epic event. It’s never too soon to start spreading the word!
Here’s something that’s never been done before at Leidy’s Church: the All-Church Picnic is taking place in September! The Special Services Committee is trying get us out of our regular routines – and succeeding!
The date for the picnic is Sunday, Sept. 22nd. Church and Sunday School will be at the normal times, but folk are welcome to come dressed for a picnic. Immediately following the service of worship, the eating part of the picnic will begin in the Fellowship Hall. Food will come from our own barbeque pits and other sources. Members of the congregation are asked to bring salads and desserts. Appetizing side dishes will be provided. This picnic also will be our September Fellowship Luncheon.
Following the lunch there will be a fun game that all present should get “egg-cited” about. Prepared by JiAngela Productions, it features all those elements we’ve come to expect from this esteemed firm: something challenging, always a bit quirky, but always great fun. This time you will have to try to guess which of two contestants is better at identifying the difference between a raw egg and a hard boiled one. This game promises to produce a little mess, and a lot of laughs!
The Special Services Committee also has imported a fellow all the way from Peru. His name is Micqel the Whizz. He’s a magician, of sorts. With an astonishing virtuosity, he will dazzle you and befuddle you and, in due time, delight you with his tricks and works of wonder. He’s expensive, but worth it.
The rest of the afternoon will be allotted for various outside activities, including some fall games involving apples, and the opportunity to do some fishing (and catching) if you’ve a mind to. It should be noted for those who want to laze about and just gab, that ample opportunity to do just that and no more is a very viable option for the afternoon.
Have you got it down, this upsetting of our routine? The All-Church Picnic and the September Fellowship Luncheon happen on Sunday, the 22nd of September. You’re invited!
There will be a special guest at Leidy’s Church on Rally Day. Coming all the way from Kenya will be David Mbugua and his wife Regina.
David is the Manager of the Mahiga Children’s Home in Kenya. This is the site Wendy Radcliff and Pastor Steve visited in 2018. Currently, Mahiga has 103 children in its care, overseen by a staff of nine headed up by David.
Mahiga Children’s Home is also a working farm. Kids work in several gardens, milk cows, raise goats, and get hands-on lessons on responsibility. One of their most enjoyed activities is playing volleyball – and they have a court right on their grounds. Their main job, however, is to go to school and get an education. Mahiga is known in their local community for producing motivated and productive students.
In addition to hearing briefly from David during the Rally Day festivities, there will be ample opportunity to meet and converse with him during the breakfast or after worship.
Reports of a Fire
On Sunday August 11th there were reports of a fire in the sanctuary of Immanuel Leidy’s Church located at 273 W. Cherry Lane, Souderton. The reports proved to be accurate! Perpetrators of the conflagration were identified as Glen Tyson, Dana Gehman, Terry Leidy, Dave Walbrandt, Ron Moyer, and Dave Reich. As it turned out, the fire-setters are Elders within the congregation!
The reports of fire were accompanied by reports of singing and jubilation. A reporter was dispatched to the scene and soon the smoky pall of ignorance was blown away by the clear declaration of the causes for all the reports.
It seems the congregation of Immanuel Leidy’s Church had undertaken a Building Project some years ago. That Building Project was completed three years ago, but the financial obligations incurred because of the Building Project were projected to stretch out for two decades or more as multiple millions of dollars were involved. A significant document detailing this binding financial commitment was on fire that Sunday morning! It burned completely up, though it didn’t burn down the building.
It turns out the congregation had repaid the multiple millions of dollars (plus interest, of course) to Univest Bank. That made the binding financial document a completed document, no longer carrying any legal authority to require money from the congregation. The congregation, led by said Elders, burned the mortgage and celebrated doing so with applause and a song of grateful praise to Almighty God.
No firetrucks were dispatched to the scene, but our reporter returned with a contagious grin and a joyful spirit.
BMCE Fellowship Breakfast
Who hasn’t enjoyed a breakfast or lunch at the Towne Restaurant in years gone by? Or, who hasn’t enjoyed a breakfast or lunch at the Franconia Café, now? Both popular locales feature an ownership team that includes Pam Brunner.
Pam will be the featured speaker the fall BMCE B&P Fellowship Breakfast. It takes place on Thursday the 12th of September at the Franconia Heritage Banquet facility. Featuring a full array of steaming breakfast items served family-style, it is a meal not to be missed. Tickets through Leidy’s Church cost $10 p/person and may be obtained from Jack Parry, John Niederhaus, or the church office. Starting promptly at 6:30 as always, you can be sure you’ll be on your way from the breakfast by 8 o’clock if not sooner.
Pam Brunner and her husband Andy (he’s the quiet one!) have been in the feeding-folk-breakfast-or-even-lunch-business for some 18 years. Pam is a believer in Jesus. She is glad to tell how the Lord is working in her life in all areas. That would be true in her marriage, her family, and her business. She’s learned a lot from Lord Jesus through operating the Towne Restaurant from 2001 until it closed and since 2013 in managing the Franconia Café,. Over those 18 years there have been plenty of ups and downs that helped bring clarity to Pam and Andy, helping them to understand the mission field to which God has called them, including customers, employees, and the community.
Get your ticket sooner rather than later so they have an accurate count for setting out tables and preparing the meal!
Youth Fellowship Kick-Off Extravaganza
Come one, come all! If you’re of youth group age, then come to the Youth Fellowship Kick-Off Extravaganza. It happens on September 8th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Families are also welcome to come and enjoy a time of fun, fellowship, and food.
As the academic year begins, Leidy’s Youth will again come together to worship, learn, and play games. On September 8th there is will also be a time for parents to come and preview coming events for the year. If you would like information but are unable to attend the Extravaganza, please contact the church office or contact Pastor Michael.
Youth Bible Study
All Junior and Senior High students are invited to sink some roots into God’s Word through a Youth Bible Study this coming academic year. Psalm 1 teaches us that the person who delights in the law of the Lord is like a tree firmly planted by streams of water. Such trees yield much fruit. And when dry times come, their leaves still are green and healthy! This is a picture of what happens as we take in the truths of Scripture. We’ll find not only the refreshing reality of God’s revelation, but also we’ll see how to reject those thoughts and ideas that make little of God and much of man.
Anxious to find out more about this study? In that case, you’ll need to come to the Youth Fellowship Kick-Off Extravaganza on September 8th. See you there!
Judgement House: It’s Coming!
You know what Judgement House is by now. It’s a gospel walkthrough where, in a dramatic fashion, we see how the gospel is perceived and responded to in the lives of particular people who are not that much different from us. Some respond well; some respond not so well. As viewers walk through the various dramatic sets, they see the consequences of those responses in very graphic terms.
In our 2019 rendition the age-old question of Why do bad things happen to good people will be dealt with. How do we handle evil and injustice when it confronts us in the reality of our everyday living? It’s not easy, that’s for certain.
Do you know what? It takes an entire congregation and then some to put on a good Judgement House! We have many people signed up to help, but we still need lots of volunteers to make all the moving parts work.
You may wonder, Well, what could I do to help? I’ve got no special skill set. One of these areas should fall right into your line of experience and expertise. Consider: food preparation, security, group guiding, set construction, acting, counselors, childcare, and a few more things as well. In short, we need people of all sorts. We’re like Uncle Sam: We Need You!
The fellow to see about all this, or to get further information, is Pastor Michael. He’s looking to talk to you, so don’t be afraid to approach him.
St. Philip Invitation
Father Noah Bushelli and the congregation of St. Philip Orthodox Church invites you to their eighth annual International Food Festival. It always is on the 3rd Friday and Saturday of September from 12 noon until 8pm. This year it is Sept. 20 and 21. This is an event to attend.
All the menu items are made by congregants of St. Philip Church which has an internationally diverse membership. You will able to enjoy foods from Romania or from Eritrea or from Ethiopia or from Greece or from Lebanon and even from Russia. For instance, you might try the Ethiopian dish called Zelzil Tebis (pronounced ZELzil TEbis) which is savory string-cut filet mignon(!) marinated in herbs and pan-roasted for a truly unique taste; served with Injera (Flat Bread) and Ethiopian lentil stew and vegetables. What would an Orthodox Food Festival be without a gyro [pronounced YEEro] component? You may order beef or lamb, each of which is slowly cooked and served platter style or in a pita with vegetables and tzatziki sauce.
There will be a specialty coffee tent with hand-brewed coffee from the ancient lands of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Desserts include Baklava, Romanian Cornulete [plum jam, walnuts, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on top], and Loukoumades [which you can look up!].
As always, there will be church tours on an hourly basis, an assortment of children’s activities, and a gift bazaar. If you really like the food you get, there will be recipe books for sale that include directions for making each item on the menu.
St. Philip Church is located at 1970 Clearview Road, Souderton (but in Hilltown township), directly across the street from Solar Atmospheres. You’ll recognize the golden dome!
Meanwhile, Down Below . . .
Did you know that each week we have three nurseries in full functional mode during our service of worship? We do! That means we need approximately 10 volunteers to care for our youngest church family members. Your help is needed by the current crew of volunteers doing this ministry of love.
There is no upper age limit on those who volunteer to help with the kids. You can be as old as 46 or 66 or 86 and still be welcome to be part of this volunteer force. All personnel do need to have up-to-date background checks. If you don’t know how to go about that, check with the office ladies and they’ll get you lined up. It’s not the difficult.
We value our children and their families. We desire to make Sunday morning’s worship time worthwhile, safe, and up-building for each one. Our three nurseries provide a great place of ministry, an outstanding opportunity to contribute to a real need, and are fascinating places to meet and build relationships within our church family.
For more information or to get involved, please talk with Justine Smith or Pastor Michael.
The Second Helvetic Confession
The great mystery, which no one knew for many centuries, was that God would address the calamity of human sin by becoming human Himself. How can that happen? How can that be? This must be addressed if one is to say anything significant about God and man. Now we will begin to see how the Second Helvetic deals with the Jesus, the God-Man.
Chapter 11. Of Jesus Christ, True God and Man, The Only Savior of the World
1) Christ is True God. We further believe and teach that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was predestinated or foreordained from eternity by the Father to be the Savior of the world. And we believe that he was born, not only when he assumed flesh of the Virgin Mary, and not only before the foundation of the world was laid, but by the Father before all eternity in an inexpressible manner. For Isaiah said: “Who can tell his generation?” And Micah says: “His origin is from of old, from ancient days.” And John said in the Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” etc.
2) Therefore, with respect to his divinity the Son is coequal and consubstantial with the Father; true God, not only in name or by adoption or by any merit, but in substance and nature, as the apostle John has often said: “This is the true God and eternal life.” Paul also says, “He appointed the Son the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding all things by the word of his power.” [Note: the Confession understands Paul to be the author of Hebrews. jhcn] For in the Gospel the Lord himself said: “Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with glory which I had with thee before the world was made.” And in another place in the Gospel it is written: “The Jews sought all the more to kill him because he . . . called God his Father making himself equal with God.”
3) The Sects. We therefore abhor the impious doctrine of Arius and the Arians against the Son of God, and especially the blasphemies of the Spaniard, Michael Servetus, and all his followers, which Satan through them has, as it were, dragged up out of hell and has most audaciously and impiously spread abroad in the world.
4) Christ Is True Man, Having Real Flesh. We also believe and teach that the eternal Son of the eternal God was made the Son of man, from the seed of Abraham and David, not from the coitus of a man, as the Ebionites said, but was most chastely conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, as the evangelical history carefully explains to us. [Note: the Confession asserts the perpetual virginity of Mary. jhcn] And Paul says, “He took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham.” Also the apostle John says that whoever does not believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. Therefore, the flesh of Christ was neither imaginary nor brought from heaven, as Valentinus and Marcion wrongly imagined.
5) A Rational Soul in Christ. Moreover, our Lord Jesus Christ did not have a soul bereft of sense and reason, as Apollinaris thought, nor flesh without a soul, as Eunomius taught, but a soul with its reason, and flesh with its senses, by which in the time of his passion he sustained real bodily pain, as he himself testified when he said: “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. And, “Now is my soul troubled.”
No More School!
by Jerri Thompson
I don’t need any more teaching. I don’t need to read more self-help books, Christian or secular. I don’t need to go to any conferences or women’s breakfasts or small group studies or Sunday school classes to hear speakers tell me how to live as a Christian. I don’t need to know anything more. I simply need to live according to what I have already been taught.
The May 2019 Christianity Today had two articles which referenced a different type of group. The one article, “Small Groups Anonymous,” was all about Alcoholics Anonymous groups and how perhaps the church could model their small groups on the AA model. The author acknowledged differences that wouldn’t replicate well in the church, but he pointed to similarities that would.
The second article, a review of a book, Seculosity, mentioned one of its last chapters on the church, “Jesusland.” I read the book, and the chapter focuses on how the church often checks on its members’ behaviors but not their hearts for Jesus and how maybe AA small groups might help reverse this hypocrisy.
At AA meetings attendees introduce themselves by their first name and add the sentence, “I am an alcoholic,” before saying anything else. Everyone else responds, “Welcome, (name). We’re glad you’re here.” Wouldn’t it be refreshing at church, especially in the smaller groups to be able to say our names and then “I am a sinner. I have failed to live as Christ would this week.” Everyone would respond, “Welcome, (name). We’re glad you’re here.”
Instead we greet one another, “Hi, how are you?” The other person answers, “Fine. How are you?” The first person responds back, “Fine.” And we go our merry way to the food table or to the next person. Most of the time my “fine” would be a lie, a code word for “I don’t want to talk to you right now.” I know most often the other person doesn’t want more of an answer than that anyway. My best truth would be to say “okay.” I can be okay with not being fine because Jesus is my Savior. And sometimes I would like someone to probe deeper.
What happened to 1 Corinthians 12:9? Do Christians boast in their weaknesses so Christ’s power can be seen in their lives? Does anyone talk about significant struggles with someone other than a professional counsellor? Does anyone talk in a personal way about things like pornography, opioids or other prescription drug addictions, or alcohol abuse? What about a temper that is barely under control, living beyond our means, or depression so deep it’s hard to get out of bed each day? What about thoughts of adultery or divorce or serious estrangement from sons and daughters, siblings, or parents? These are the sins that many of us are struggling with on our own.
Seriously, if I could do this Christian life without Christ, I would. But I am desperate for His help each day. Even so, I fail often, but sometimes I succeed in Christ. I would like to meet with other desperate people. We could hold each other accountable and encourage one another to persevere despite failures and celebrate our successes. Are there others out there like me?
September 2020 is Approaching
Whenever a calendar year ends in a zero – like 2020 – we should know that is a year when the Oberammergau Passion Play will be presented. So, yes, it will be presented in 2020 from early May to early October. But it is in September that Pastor Niederhaus will be leading a tour that culminates in a visit to Oberammergau and the presentation of the Passion Play.
Leaving on the 15th of September and returning on the 24th, participants in the tour will travel to Oberammergau from an initial starting point in Rome. After a couple of days exploring and touring Rome, groups members will make their way up the Italian peninsula through Florence, Assisi, Venice, then across the Alps with a stop in Innsbruck, before arriving in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau. It is a tour de force cultural and historic journey that culminates in the most significant event for any culture and for all of history: the Passion of the Lord Jesus.
Fliers giving the details of the Oberammergau trip are in the narthex hutch. Or, you may speak with Pastor Niederhaus and he’ll get you up-to-speed in no time.