Pastor's Blog

Congregational Meeting Report

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AT OUR QUARTERLY Congregational Meeting, the following items were reported and discussed.

Financial Reports: Due to a very strong quarter in giving, it was reported that both the General Fund and the Missions Fund finished the calendar year with a positive working balance. The General Fund had a net income of $20,000 and the Missions Fund a net income of $10,000.  We are grateful for God’s provision and the faithful giving of our church family during this challenging time.

Executive Board Recommendations: The congregation was reminded that we will be voting on the revision to the Constitution and Bylaws at our upcoming April meeting. At the recommendation of the Executive Board, the congregation voted to accept the Special Rules for making amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws. The congregation has until the end of February to submit in writing to the Bylaw Committee any amendments they would like to propose to the Constitution and Bylaws. This is to provide ample opportunity for discussion over the proposed amendments.  The motion carried.

New Members: Virginia “Gini” Draughon and Cynthia Phippen were welcomed in as new members.

Ministry Reports: The following Ministry Reports were given:

  1. David Rucquoi gave an update on volunteer opportunities with Amirah, a long-term safe home for women who have survived prostitution and sex-trafficking.
  2. Leah O’Leary gave an update on HOW. Hands Open Wide continues to serve many clients during this difficult time and appreciation was shared for the support of the church family for this ministry.
  3. Sharan Crabtree reported on Children’s Ministry and gave an update on Bright Beginnings and their ability to still hold our pre-school despite the current pandemic. Sharan also announced that Children’s Church will begin on Sunday, February 7 during the morning service for children ages 4 to Grade 5.
  4. Matt Lloyd reported on our Student Ministry, both Middle and High School. They have been meeting weekly since this past fall.

We are grateful for our ministry leaders and for all the volunteers they represent. Together we share the love of Christ in tangible ways.

Inauguration Prayer

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people …"

THEN PAUL ADDS in 1 Timothy 2:2, “...or kings and all who are in high positions.” 

I am struck by the urgency with which Paul calls the church to pray for those who rule over us. It seems to me, that currently there is a heightened sense of urgency given all that we have experienced in this recent election cycle.

To what end are we to pray these things? Paul says, “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

I can’t help but think that there is a direct connection between the testimony of leading a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way and the flourishing of the gospel. 

We can live peaceful and quiet lives even when everything around us seems to be in turmoil. How so? We do so by reminding ourselves that we belong first and foremost to the kingdom of God; a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

James K. A. Smith says, “The kingdom of God is something we await. It is not something we create.” I wonder if we have been looking to earthly politics as the vehicle to create what only the coming King can bring. Our center of gravity needs to find itself firmly planted in the kingdom of God.

Today we have the inauguration of a new president and vice president. Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris deserve our devoted prayers. 

With that in mind, I would like to share with you a prayer that Peter Marshall prayed for the President of the United States in 1947. Marshall was the chaplain of the U. S. Senate at the time. I invite you to turn this into an opportunity to obediently respond to Paul’s instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.

We pray, Lord Jesus, for our President.
We are deeply concerned that he may know the will of God,
and that he may have the spiritual courage and grace to follow it.
Deliver him, we pray, from all selfish considerations.
Lift him above the claims of politics.
Fill him with the Spirit of God that shall make him fearless to seek, to know, to do the right.
Save him from the friends who, in the name of politics or even friendship, would persuade him from that holy path.
Strengthen and empower his advisers.
Bring them, too, to their knees in prayer.
May their example and their influence spread, that we, in these United States,
may yet have a government of men who know Thee, the Almighty God, as their Friend,
and who place Thy will first in their lives as well as in their prayers.
Hear and answer, we pray Thee,
forgiving us all our unworthiness;
cleansing us from every ignoble thought and unworthy ambition
that we may be renewed in spirit and mind and heart, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Seeing the Image of God in Others

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WE SEE VERY early in the story of the Bible that man is created in the image of God.  In the story of Creation we read in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”   

So . . . what difference does it make knowing that everyone you meet is created in the image of God? 

Well for starters, we learn that every life is of value.  This is the basis for the sanctity of human life.  After Noah and his family come out of the ark, God warns them against the taking of another human life.  Why is that a capital offense?  Genesis 9:6 says, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”    

 Therefore, we speak up for the unborn.  Psalm 139:13-16 celebrates how the image of God is stamped upon every human being at conception.  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

From Noah’s story, we also learn how every family can trace their lineage back to Noah. In Genesis 9:19, after mentioning the three sons of Noah it says, “and from these the people from the whole earth were dispersed.” 

Therefore, we speak up for racial justice.  The Bible does not speak of different races; instead, it speaks of one race: the human race.  So, when Gensis 1:27 tells us that God created man in his own image he was referring to all human beings.  Our fellow human being is our brother and our sister, no matter what color of skin they may have or what country they come from.  Because they are created in the image of God their concern becomes our concern.   

Finally, the fact that every human being is made in the image of God governs how we treat people and talk about people.  Jesus said in Sermon on the Mount that whoever insults his brother by calling him a fool or an idiot is guilty of the same kind of disregard for human life that is found in murdering someone (Matthew 5:21-23). 

Therefore, we speak with kindness to one another, even our enemy.  Why?  Why would I speak kindly to someone who is my enemy?  James gives us the reason why in James 3:9.  Having acknowledged that the tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison, he goes on to say: “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” 

So . . . what difference does it make knowing that everyone you meet is created in the image of God? 

 It makes a huge difference!   

 It makes us speak up for the vulnerable. 

It makes up speak up for justice. 

It makes us speak with kindness. 

May we all see the value of every individual and treat them as precious to God.