Sowing & Reaping
We are living in the midst of an abundant harvest season of fruits and vegetables all across our land. Right now, we are enjoying some of the benefits with a variety of local fruit, such as berries, peaches, pears, and apples, and homegrown vegetables like vine ripe zucchini, squash, green beans, and tomatoes. We all know that this delicious selection of fruits and vegetables are unique to this time of the year. We know also that there was a tremendous amount of work involved, of plowing, fertilizing, sowing, watering, and cultivating in the fields before this plentiful harvest. All of the fruits and vegetables, at one time or another, started as seeds sown in the soil, which germinated into plants that eventually matured to yield the type of produce expected from the kind of seed planted.
Throughout the Scriptures we read about sowing the seed and reaping the harvest. Often the contexts deal with the physical sowing of seeds in the hope of reaping the harvest crop. But in some contexts, the sowing and the reaping refer to how a person or nation lives before God. In context of actually reaping a harvest from seeds planted in the ground, one of the laws given Israel was that when they “reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:9-10; 23.22
However, one discipline of God was not blessing His people because of their disobedience, such as when they did not rebuild the house of the Lord. In Haggai 1:4-8, the prophet Haggai declares, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house is desolate? Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!” “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes. Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways! “Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified says the LORD.”
When the anger of the LORD burned against His people for their rebellion against His covenant and Law, as they craft idols to worship, the prophet Hosea says to Israel, “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.” Hosea 8:7
Our Lord Jesus uses the analogy of sowing and reaping in the spiritual context of spreading the seed of the Gospel through the literary tool of a parable in Matthew 13:3-23; whereby the seed of the Word is sown among four different conditions of ground that represent four divergent reactions to the Word of the kingdom being sown. Jesus tells us the person who hears the word but does not understand it is because, “the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. The second hears the word, and “immediately receives it with joy; yet it is temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises … he falls away.
Still another hears the word, but the worries of the world and deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Only the person who hears and understands it “bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”Hopefully, all of us are in this last category, by God’s grace through saving faith in Christ, so that we are spiritually growing in God’s grace and bearing fruit in every good work to the glory of God.
But I would like to remind us of Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 4:35-38, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest?’ “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life; so that he who sows, and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Whether we, as disciples of Christ, are sowing the seed or reaping the fruit of the Gospel of the Kingdom, may we together be actively sowing and reaping in God’s field of the world so that the harvest is completed to the glory of God. And may we take to heart Jesus’ words to the seventy as He sent them out in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
To the glory of God,
Steven L. Myers
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Ben Smith and Jeremy Smith and their families at the death of their mother, Connie Smith, to June Burkholder at the death of her mother, and to Joyce Derstine at the death of her husband, Glenn. May God be with these families at this difficult time.
Congratulations to Nathan and Bekah Kulp at the baptism of their son, Levi William, and to Andrew and Carly Camuso at the baptism of their sons, Dylan James, and Chandler Robeson. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Congratulations to Noah and Emma (Lafty) Smartt who were united in Christian marriage. May God be with them as they begin their life together in Him.
September Pulpit Schedule
5th – Family & Work Relationships Matter to God – Proverbs 4:1-13; Luke 2:41-52; Ephesians 6:1-9
We all know the importance of maintaining healthy relationships at home and at work. We know it best when those same relationships are splintered by selfishness, distrust, or by forced maltreatment. When sin’s corruptive influences poison relationships by these or other ways, the outcome can turn out to be abusive or even deadly in the end. Let us see why these inspired guidelines for family and work relations matter to God and bless us as we obey them.
12th – A Battle Rages We are Equipped to Fight – Joshua 1.1-9; Matthew 26:47-56; Ephesians 6:10-24
As Christians, we are all in a spiritual battle, of which no one is exempt. This battle has had many casualties, from the deeply wounded to actual fatalities. Our adversaries in this battle often appear to us as merely of this world; but the Apostle Paul teaches our fight is not against flesh and blood, so the weapons to fight this battle are not of this world. We will examine God’s spiritual weapons and learn more about how to use them in this battle to have victory in Christ.
19th – Redemption, It Has a History – Exodus 15:1-7; Isaiah 53; John 19:28-30
God has redeemed His people. Amen! Down through the ages the Lord has redeemed His people in various ways. Isaac was spared by the Angel of the Lord and a provided ram. Israel was redeemed through the waters of the Red Sea from the jaws of Pharoah’s army. Ultimately we see the Lord’s redemption in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Even though all of God’s people have been saved by faith and been granted the righteousness of Christ, our position in time (awaiting Christ’s second coming) allows us to understand God’s purposes for His people.
26th – Truths to Live by From the Wise and Learned – Joshua 23:1-14; Luke 2:25-40; 2 Timothy 3:10-4:8
As a young child, I remember the wise sayings and tales of my grandparents. It was fun and exciting to hear how things used to be and what they learned in their lifetimes, but also how they wanted to pass these wise truths on to us. Today, such talks between the old and young are rare, but truths to live by from the wise and learned continue to be passed on in Scripture.
Christmas Craft & Gift Sale
Mark your calendars NOW for the Annual Christmas Craft & Gift Sale! This year on Saturday, November 20th 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!
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
There is a part of the service of worship at Leidy’s Church that makes me have twinges of discomfort. Apart from our liturgy Sundays, the discomfort comes right after the sermon. Truthfully, I do not think the sermon causes the discomfort, but I believe it exacerbates the symptoms. If I was to be really specific about the moment the discomfort starts, I guess it would be right after the liturgist says, “We are now going to spend time confessing our sin. First take a moment confessing silently and ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart for remaining sin.” At that moment I stand there, and as images flash through my mind of moments in the previous week where my obedience to Christ was somewhat suspect, I feel twinges and indeed waves of discomfort. Even as I type this article, I am reminded of recent confessions of sin, and I don’t like it. Why in the world do we put ourselves through such misery? Each week at Leidy’s Church, we take time to confess our sins to the Lord. This does three things. It reminds Christians that they cannot earn their salvation. After all they continue to sin. It reminds Christians that the only one who can forgive sins is the Lord. Finally, it helps Christians understand and look forward to the Lord’s return when we will sin no more.
There are many objections to having a Confession of Sin in a worship service. The reality that Jesus has made His people righteous is one of the most common objections. The logic is straight forward enough. If Jesus has died to make you righteous and you by faith have that righteousness, then there is no longer any Confession of Sin for you to utter. Technically, this is an example of an over realized eschatology. That means that the person who espouses such logic is so focused on his end times hope that he has forgotten the present. When we are honest with ourselves, we recognize that we sin each and every day. We stumble out of weakness and volitional disobedience. Christians know two things. The first is that their sins are forgiven. The second is that God does not want them to keep sinning. It is for this reason the Scriptures repeat again and again YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY. In a Confession of Sin, Christians recognize that they have not always been holy as the Lord is holy and they call upon the Lord to continue to provide His gracious lovingkindness to them.
The general dourness of the Confession of Sin is often another reason to ignore it. Here again the logic is simple. If Christians are forgiven, their times of worship should be happy and full of praise. To that I respond, they should indeed. However, even a cursory examination of the Christian life reveals that joy and praise are often hard. We are people who hurt and get hurt, we are at times sorrowful, and we are often full of questions. As we confess our sin to the Lord, we remember that all is not perfect, all is not right, all is not peaceful. In the midst of our despair and hardship, we are still able to turn to and worship the Lord. The Confession of Sin helps us do just that.
Finally, the Confession of Sin helps us look toward the Lord Jesus’ return. There all wrongs will be righted, all hurts will be healed, and all joys will be made complete. There, at His return, we will no longer feel the twinges of discomfort because we will no longer sin. Our Confessions of Sin will be permanently changed to Confessions of Faith. In light of all this, I say, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come.”
To the Praise of His Glory,
Michael W. Nowling
SLMT ’21 Wrap Up
The Leidy’s Church SLMT ’21 with WorthWhile Wear proved memorable in numbers of ways. The two work weeks were very different work weeks. The July 12-16 crew experienced mid-90s temperatures with humidity in the same vicinity. Things were different weather-wise for the August 2-6 crew when ideal working weather prevailed. Workwise, things were a bit different each week as well. Foundational grunt work, trail breaking, and framing work characterized week one. Week two, on the other hand, experienced waterproofing, painting, interior walls put in place, electrical wiring installed, and the walking trail refined. The bottom line is that everyone worked hard, and a completely new addition was added to the offices of WorthWhile Wear.
Over 51 individuals participated in SLMT ’21, with ages ranging from 8 to 79. In both weeks the daily team consisted of 13 to 17 people. This fluctuation was because some team members could only get off work for two or three days.
Each week’s team was subdivided into particular teams. Usually there were four or so men who did carpentry work. There was another crew who did grunt work, namely the heavy shoveling of mud, rocks, and dirt as foundations were exposed, trenches dug and refilled, and drainage pipes put in place. And there were members of the “ad hoc” crews who painted, weeded, did odd jobs, and did what no one else wanted to do.
WorthWhile Wear had a list of 27 “wish list” jobs that could be done by those “ad hoc” folk. By the end of the second week 21 of those jobs were done. That list included jobs such as cleaning and repairing gutters for the barn and the house, finding and clearing the mile-long walking trail that winds through the woods, pressure washing an outside deck at the barn and the wrap-around porch at the house, then sealing and staining each, weeding and mulching bedding areas, mucking out and fixing the earthen floor of the spring house – well, you get the idea.
The SLMT crews met at the church at 7:15 each morning. The Kitchen crew – another significant part of the team – had some breakfast rolls and coffee to get people perked up. At 7:30 we had a brief devotional, led each day by a different team member. At 7:45 we loaded in our transporter vehicles and were at the work site by 8. We worked from 8 to 4:30 or 4:45 and arrived back at the church around 5. The highlight of each day was lunch! What a fantastica lineup of entrees. No one lost any weight this year!
Those were two blessed weeks. No one was hurt. Much work was accomplished. The ministry of WorthWhile Wear is enhanced. Team members are significantly richer in relationships with one another, and each has a sense of being blessed to have been able to participate in this project. So, Thank You to all the folk who provided the financial and spiritual undergirding for SLMT ’21! Praise be to God!
Let Freedom Ring
On Sunday, September 26 from 1-5 at the Univest Performance Center, 301 West Mill St., Quakertown you can learn about our Constitution and how you can support positive change for the future.
Tim Barton of WallBuilders will be the keynote speaker and will be speaking about our Constitution and ways that your voice can be heard. This event is rain or shine, donations accepted. This is a free event but registration is encouraged. You can go to http://FreedomRingQuakertown.eventbrite.com to register. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy conversation, music and food trucks!
9/11 Service of Remembrance
Twenty years have elapsed since the terrorist attack that took down the twin towers of The World Trade Center in New York City. This year 9/11 falls on a Saturday. At 6pm that day an outdoor memorial service will be held at the Warren Royer American Legion Post in Souderton. Brief reflective remarks will be offered by Chaplain Scott Nice. Veterans and First Responders will be recognized and honored as well. Pastor Niederhaus will lead in a prayer for our nation. The service will conclude with the singing of God Bless the USA.All are invited to attend.
Grace Notes Choir
Wouldn’t you like to see your child/Grandchild…
– Memorizing scriptures and biblical principles through songs & games.
– Practicing and working together towards common goals.
– Occasionally singing in church on a Sunday morning
If so the Grace Notes Choir is the perfect place for them! Scheduled to begin on Sept 15th at 5:00 pm…(the second week of iBlast)…Grace Notes is open to any child grades K-5. Don’t worry…we finish in plenty of time to enjoy dinner! Contact Donna Frueh or Laurie Plank if you have any questions.
Ladies of Leidy’s
A welcome and invitation to all ladies…. Please mark Tuesday September 7th on your calendar and come join the Ladies of Leidy’s meeting at 7pm. We look forward to gathering together and will be meeting in room 123. Whether you have been a long time member or have never been to a meeting; we would love to have you at this meeting.
Please contact Debbie Schatz with any questions.
New Precept Class
A new class begins Thursday, September 9th from 9-11:30 a.m. We will be studying 1 Samuel, from Judges to Kings, from the departure of God’s glory to the assurance of His help, from inquiring of the Lord to inquiring of a medium – this book of contrasts sets before us the importance of a life of obedience and how it’s lived out in the midst of interpersonal conflicts. If you are new to Precept, please contact Verna (215.237.1370).
As we all were witnesses, 2020 brought many unexpected changes. Throughout the year as we began to assemble for corporate worship, we felt the need to slightly change our nursery structure to best accommodate both our volunteers and our families. We are going to continue the pattern in the coming year. If you are looking for childcare, you will find a space for kids 0-3 in the Guppies nursery on the education level. There is also a space for kids 3-5 in the Lions just down the hall (from the Guppies).
Our purpose in childcare is show love and encouragement to kids and their parents as they all continue to grow in participating in the church service. Toward this end, this year the Lions will be working their way through the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the 10 Commandments, the Doxology, and the Commission and Benediction so that they are able to join in and participate in the service. If you have any question or would like to help in the care of the smallest among us, please contact the church office.
The world is full of many wonderful facts. For instance, if Pennsylvania were a country it would be approximately the 100th in area. Okay, maybe that isn’t a wonderful fact. However, there are lessons in life which have eternal consequences. Each Sunday evening (6-8 p.m.) Youth Fellowship looks at the Lord, His Word, and His people. Not only do these topics have lasting significance, they help Christians understand how the Lord has made them and how they might understand the course of the world. If you are in 6th-12th grade, come to see and taste that the Lord is good. Oh, by the way, this year we are going to have a challenge to see which youth can throw Mr. Tony Kapusta the furthest in the pond. Parents, please feel free to bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the spectacle.
Each fall, right after Labor Day we have a special Sunday devoted to our kids. This year’s Rally Day falls on September 12th. Please come and join us as we share a hearty pancake and sausage breakfast. It will be completed with fresh fruit, coffee, and juice. As we finish our meal, there will be an opportunity to see 1st grade students receive their Bibles and be reminded how the Lord continues to bless us and provide for us. Set your alarms. Breakfast starts at 8:30 on September 12th.
iBlast starts Wednesday, September 8th and with a slightly shortened semester, we want to pour everything we’ve got into it! Kids in 1st-5th grade will be studying the Fruit of the Spirit every Wednesday from September 8th to October 13th and then wrapping up with a family dinner party on October 20. It takes a tremendous number of volunteers to pull this together, so please contact Pastor Michael as soon as possible if you can help. Participant registration is open at www.leidyschurch.org/iBlast.
The apostle Paul calls the Word and Prayer the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left. At Leidy’s Church, we desire to be a praying people. Each year one of the ways that we commit ourselves to prayer is by our prayer cards. All of our kids are put onto cards and put into envelopes. Adults then have the ability to get a child to lift up in prayer. This year our prayer card Sunday is September 19th. That means that parents have to get their pictures in ASAP. That means everyone else needs to be here to accept prayer cards and support our children through the year in prayer.
It is a gospel drama year! You might hear the phrase gospel drama and have a few questions. A gospel drama is just another way to say Judgment House. This year we have a new name, but just like a misnamed rose, it still evangelizes effectively. As I said, this is a gospel drama year, and we need your help. We have a script, we have set ideas, we have dates (October 22-24 and 29-31), and we have a location (all over Leidy’s Church). What we don’t have is people. We need actors, actresses, builders, cooks, runners, AV helpers, extras, and props, and props, and props.
If you would like to help Leidy’s Church as it proclaims the gospel dramatically, then come to the walkthrough today at 4:00 in the Fellowship Hall. You could also contact the office and let them know you can help. Here is a teaser to whet your appetite. While we know that all people including Christians are called to take responsibility for their actions, many times we do not rightly understand that the God who has made all things continues to hold all things in His hand. We, His workmanship, are His servants and we do not have everything under control. This year, Leidy’s Church presents Controlled a gospel drama. As life presents surprises, come and experience the one who has all things controlled!
St. Philip Invitation
Father Noah Bushelli and the congregation of St. Philip Orthodox Church were disappointed in 2020 not be able to host their much-looked-forward-to International Food Festival. That makes them doubly delighted to invite you this year to come out and enjoy the 2021 edition of their International Food Festival. Always held on the 3rd Friday and Saturday of September, each day the festival will begin at noon and continue until 8 pm. You can eat at the festival for lunch, for dinner, or for both! The dates for 2021 are Sept. 17 and September 18. It is an event to attend and enjoy!.
All the menu items are made by congregants of St. Philip Church. With an internationally diverse membership, guests are able to choose 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 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!
Business & Professional Breakfast
Cardiologist Todd Alderfer is the special speaker at the September 9th Business and Professional Breakfast sponsored by BMCE. Having grown up in our community as well as having established a well-respected medical practice, he is not only well known, but well liked. Dr. Alderfer has a strong Christian testimony, and he will share a good bit of it at the breakfast.
The breakfast takes place at the Franconia Heritage banquet facility. It will be a buffet breakfast of hot food as well as an assortment of fruits and breads. It will begin promptly at 6:30, so don’t be late. Tickets may be obtained from Jack Parry, John Niederhaus, or the church office.
Gospel Gleanings: A Story
What can happen through a literacy program such as Leidy’s Church is sponsoring among the Erukula people in India? A lot! Below is one story that tells the story.
- Majhi(42) is an example of just one of the students attending literacy classes in his village. Mr. Majhi works hard cutting wood to sell at the market in the nearby city, however since it is a long distance from his village and the roads are poor, it is very difficult for him to provide support for his wife and three children.
He participated in worshipping idols, believing the mountains and stones were powerful because of their large size. Brewing illicit liquor and drinking alcohol during festival seasons is a part of the culture among this group. As life became more and more difficult, Mr. Majhi became addicted to liquor and felt hopeless.
At first, he was reluctant to attend the literacy classes until one of his friends encouraged him. He soon was reading and writing much better than others at the center and he became motivated to read more and more. He has decided to send his children to school. Through the literacy classes and lessons, he was taught about the damaging effects of drinking alcohol and has now made the bold decision to give it up!
A New March for Life
The first ever Pennsylvania March for Life happens this month, specifically, on Monday the 27th. Spearheading this effort is the PA Family Institute, a ministry Leidy’s Church has supported for many years. Through an anonymous donor, they are able to provide a bus for each PA county to take folk to the March for Life in Harrisburg. That means there is no cost for the trip.
Leidy’s Church is the gathering point for Montgomery County, with our Perkiomen coach scheduled to leave the parking lot at 7:30am and return by 5pm. It is hoped we’ll arrive early enough to tour the Capitol Building and perhaps talk with our State Reps/Senators. There is important pro-life legislation on the PA legislature’s docket.
Speakers for the March include Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director whose embrace of the life rather than death is chronicled in the movie Unplanned, Jeanne Mancini, the overall President of March for Life in the US, and Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation. Each will have a timely and stirring message to share.
For more details of the March, go to www.marchforlife.org/pennsylvania-march-for-life/. The March will be about a mile long. To register, contact the church office at 215-723-8707 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love Cradle Banquet
The Love Cradle International Annual Family Banquet is being planned for September 25th, 2021. We would love the congregation to join us for a night of fellowship and sharing. The evening will consist of a Ukrainian dinner, music and learning about what God is doing in the lives of orphan children. A freewill offering will be received. If you would like to help with preparations during the week of September 22-25 please sign up via the forms in the upcoming bulletins. We look forward to sharing in this event with you.
There are 2.5 million homeless children in the USA. There are over 140 million orphans worldwide including over 100,000 children in Ukraine. Many will end up as a target for trafficking or in the drug trade. We can change those statistics with God’s help.
I.L.C. Growth Groups to Restart
I.L.C. Growth Groups are essential to the spiritual health and vitality of our congregation as they meet together for Bible study, prayer, and fellowship on a regular basis.
Our small group ministries typically suspend meeting during the summer months due to young people being off from school, family vacations, and others summer activities. However, with the start of the new school year and the hope normal routines resuming to families, businesses, and educational institutions, all of our church ministries will resume this September. The official date for Sunday School, women’s ministries, committees, and other church groups is Rally Day, September 12th.
We would like to encourage all of our members and friends of Leidy’s Church to consider joining an I.L.C. Growth Groups. All growth group leaders are encouraged to contact their small group members and notify them of their plan to meet this fall and encourage everyone to invite others to their first meeting.
If you are not currently a member of a I.L.C. Growth Group and would like to join one this fall, please contact the church office or speak to Pastor Steve and arrangements will be made for you to attend a small group.
Pulpit Committee Update
Another summer is drawing to close and as a committee we continue to meet every week in order to pursue our charge of discerning God’s choice for the role of senior pastor. We are positive that had you asked any of us last summer if we thought we would still be meeting next summer we would have all said no, but here we are. We are sure many of you are asking why is this taking so long, We have asked ourselves the same question.
As we reflect on the timing of this process we need to go to the Word and see what God has for us. God shows us in scripture that He has a plan for us. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord, ‘ plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” God doesn’t place on Himself a time constraint as to how He will work this out in our lives. We also know that God being timeless and immortal doesn’t experience time from our view. In His word, He says “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4.
Fortunately, we have not waited for a thousand years for this process, but we know it seems to be dragging on and there is a frustration that grows in us as a part of our nature when it feels like God is tarrying. As a committee we have needed to stay focused on God’s sovereignty and that His plan is perfect. ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways”, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8).
All this being said, we have an update. Since May we have been interviewing a candidate from outside the area. We have conducted three virtual interviews with growing appreciation for this candidate’s knowledge of scripture, ability to exegete the word of God and love for the people of God. We have also had the opportunity to meet with him and his wife in person and spend time getting to know them and it has been a joy.
As a committee we are unanimous in agreement that we have found the man God has called to Leidy’s Church and that we present this candidate to Spiritual Council and Consistory for their consideration. We will formally do that once we have heard back from the applicant that he does indeed want to move forward. This will require that those bodies have the opportunity to interview and question him so that they can discern if he is the candidate to present to the congregation.
We are not done, but we are much further down the path. Please continue to pray for us as a committee and pray for this gentleman as he prepares his heart and mind for what God is calling him to do. Thank you for your encouragement and support over these many months.
Usher Captains: Jim Kinney, Ron Moyer
Ushers: Rock Rau, Dennis Doran Brandon Kehs, Skip Smith, Matt McVaugh, Brian Radcliff, Rich Kapusta, Samuel Murphy, Collin Radcliff, Larry Cooper, Glen Tyson, Tony Wilwert, Adam Foote, Corbin Hostelley, Bill Weigner.
On Wednesday, July 7th, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church was called to order at 7:30 pm, and minutes were taken of the meeting, from which relevant notes are listed below.
Nate Kulp opened in prayer and led devotions of the topic of understanding the grace of God. He marked that we all have routines, and we can get in a rut in our devotions. Nate suggested we change things by reading the Bible chronologically so we can get a new perspective of the Scriptures we have read many times in the past. Nate cited a couple Gospel passages to illustrate that only by God’s grace can we truly understand.
Minutes from the meeting of June 9, 2021, were reviewed and approved. The financial report for the month of June was presented by Ron Moyer, who commented that the offering for the month was lower and the expenses were higher. The rise in expenses partially due to quarterly taxes being paid and the purchase of new playground equipment. Designated Funds included the VanDerbeek Fire Fund and Contingency expenses that included the hiring of a consultant to assist the Pulpit Committee in the senior pastor search. With these items noted, the financial report was approved.
Items of business were discussed, which included some progress wicking and steeple update; the usher captain coordinator response; the completed repairs of the HUB parking lot and sidewalk; the HUB Assessment Committee update and need for more data to be collected; an assessment of the church parking lot; and an update by the Pulpit Committee.
Children’s Church meeting report was given by John DiLenge. He summarized that to extend the ages of the children’s church was not the solution of the committee; but to employ a more robust curricula and program, while continuing to promote families attending the worship services, and have practical steps to assist families with special needs.
A part-time custodian position or taking steps to outsource some work to assist Dave Doran was discussed. The Property Committee members of Consistory will meet with Dave Doran to discuss how this might work and report his findings at the next meeting.
Pastoral staff reports were submitted. Pastor Michael mentioned that he was accepted to Knox Theological Seminary and is registering for classes. Internet connection issues were discussed and will be addressed with Sam Im. Pastor Steve mentioned that a revision of the Shepherding List will be completed by the end of August.
Committee Reports submitted were reviewed. Special Services shared that on August 15th a Sunday in the Shade service will take place on the Parsonage lawn. Property Committee will be having a property workday on July 31st.
The need for a volunteer to collect the offering at the end of the service was noted. Congregational Meeting on August 8th to vote 2022-2024 elder nominations for Consistory, and a reminder was expressed about Holy Communion on July 25th.
Nate Kulp prayed for enumerated concerns after which the meeting adjourned with a unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer at 10:09 pm.
The New City Catechism
Question 11: What does God require in the sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments?
Sixth, that we do not hurt, or hate, or be hostile to our neighbor, but be patient and peaceful, pursuing even our enemies with love. Seventh, that we abstain from sexual immorality and live purely and faithfully, whether in marriage or in single life, avoiding all impure actions, looks, words, thoughts, or desires, and whatever might lead to them. Eighth, that we do not take without permission that which belongs to someone else, nor withhold any good from someone we might benefit.
Romans 13:9 – For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Commentary – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Man cannot even keep the Ten Commandments. And yet he talks glibly about keeping the Sermon on the Mount, and of imitating Christ. . . . And if a man cannot keep the Ten Commandments, as they understand them, what hope have they of keeping the Ten Commandments as they have been interpreted by the Lord Jesus Christ? That was the whole trouble with the Pharisees, who so hated him and who finally crucified him. They thought they were keeping the Ten Commandments and the moral law. Our Lord convinced them and convicted them of the fact that they were not doing so. They claimed that they had never committed murder. Wait a minute, said our Lord. Have you ever said to your brother, “Thou fool”? If you have, you are guilty of murder. Murder does not only mean actually, physically, killing a man, it means that bitterness and hatred in your heart. . . . And he taught the same, you remember, with regard to adultery. They claimed that they were guiltless. But wait a minute, says our Lord, you say you have never committed adultery? “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). He is guilty; he has coveted, he has desired. You see, as our Lord comes to interpret the law, he shows that an evil desire is as damnable as a deed. A thought and an imagination are as reprehensible in the sight of God as the act committed.
Christians are obligated to obey the Ten Commandments, because what we find in the Ten Commandments are the laws of God. What we find in Jesus’s interpretation in the Sermon on the Mount is that the standards of the law are much higher than we had assumed. It’s not just not committing adultery and not murdering and not stealing. Jesus says, in interpreting the sixth commandment, that is you harbor bitterness, if you’re unable to forgive someone, if you call a person racca (that is, to consider him a nonperson), then you’ve murdered that person in your heart. He also says that if you lust in your heart, you’re breaking the seventh commandment and committing adultery. And you are being greedy if you’re materialistic and you’re not radically generous. So Jesus raises the bar of the commandments to the highest level.
Martin Luther wrote that you cannot break the rest of the commandments without first breaking the first one. That is, if you break the commandments, you are looking at other things as your ultimate value and your god rather God himself.
Luther also said that when there is a negative prohibition in the Ten Commandments, a positive implication is assumed. Therefore, when it says that you ought not to murder, it also means that you ought to radically love others, even neighbors and enemies. And when it says you ought not to commit adultery, the assumption is that you’re supposed to be faithful to your wife or to your husband and to recognize sexuality as a beautiful gift from God. And therefore if you’re in a marriage relationship, you ought to recognize that it is a covenantal commitment between a man and a woman. When it says that you ought not to steal, the understanding is that you ought to be radically generous.
These are the responsibilities that Christians have in responding to the Ten Commandments. But the problem is that we’re unable to obey them perfectly. So how are we going to resolve that tension?
Jesus Christ is the second Adam, the true Israel, the individual divine corporate head and representative who has come to fulfill the obligations of the law perfectly in himself. His obedience and righteousness now gets imputed into our lives, thereby giving us the ability to obey the obligations and the demands of the law. Even when we don’t obey the obligations and the demands of the law. Even when we don’t obey them perfectly, we know that we are not going to be crushed by the law, and we will have confidence as we seek to obey the law of God because we know that Jesus Christ has fulfilled those requirements perfectly for us. Therefore, we can live without fear of rejection from God for our disobedience or lack of perfect obedience. But we know that Jesus Christ has accomplished all these things, fulfilling the requirements of the law perfectly for us.