Sunday, March 26, 2017

Take A Deep Breath

On a morning damp and grey we have gathered again to worship Christ at New Life Covenant, a body of believers where hope springs forth. Pastor Terry White welcomed us, then gave a heads up regarding upcoming events,

Announcements
Wednesday April 12 after supper, youth and adults will stuff Easter eggs.
Palm Sunday is April 9 this year with children waving palm branches.
There will be a special Good Friday service on April 14.
Easter morning will include a breakfast and egg hunt in addition to our celebration.
A church rummage sale will take place May 12-13.
VBS will be June.12-15..

Today's service would revolve around Summer Camp so during our worship we were encouraged to go through summer camp actions during the singing.

The ushers were invited to take an offering as the worship team sang My Lighthouse. "You are the peace in my troubled sea."

Before entering into a time of prayer Cheryl Borndal had everyone who has been to camp stand and then we had a commercial for Covenant Park. Costs have gone up this year but our church has always generously helped those for whom camp is a hardship cost-wise. We were encouraged to give again.

A number of prayer needs were shared and we spent a time in prayer.

Take A Deep Breath

Terry began with a camp report. After a video overview about the camp, Cayla, who has been hired to be Camp Director, shared what is happening there now. Covenant Park has been undergoing a re-evaluation as it lays foundations for the future.

"We're super excited for campers to experience relationships that can be life changing."

Each summer the camp also hires 15 college-aged students to fill in at various roles to keep camp going.

The reason costs have gone up is because the price used to be inadequate to cover its costs.  Also we want to be good stewards of that which we have been given.

The aim of camp is to help people meet Jesus.

One way to partner with camp is to sponsor a child or several to attend camp this summer. Another was is to pray with us and for us. You can also volunteer in other ways.

And thank you for your support. Campers are growing spiritually in a lot of different ways. You play a part in that. Thank you.

* * *
There are also other special events including a women's retreat with more than 100 women last year.

Many churches share this camp and it's an opportunity to meet others in the bigger body of believers.

* * *

Today we received a number of new members into the church family. They were:
Gus & Courtney Brewer
Paula Tuominen
Dan & Melissa Ringger
John & Mary Gerszewski
Emily White
Jan Frederick
Pastor Terry & Leah White

After reading the reception litany Pastor Terry shared several Scripture passages including the following:

John 13: "I give you a new command, that you love one another..."

Romans 15:5, 6
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The together we recited the Apostles Creed.
Amen.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Honesty is the Best Policy

Pastor Terry welcomed us and pointed out the addition of a few new sound panels to help dampen the echoes, but he quickly added that this is just a start.

Announcements
~The Worship Committee is seeking people to help usher, greet and help in other ways during the service.
We are also looking for people to help in small skits and readings during the service. Volunteers should contact Cheryl Borndal.
~Ladies Bible Study, Tuesday from 10 a.m. till Noon here at the church.
There will more painting in the church this Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.. We're talking about art, not walls. There's room for one more. Contact Paula S.
Camp brochures are printed and available. The rates have changed so note that. The church does have a camp scholarship fund to assist.

The theme of today's worship revolved around the power that is in the blood of Jesus. Afterward while the offering was being taken one of the young people in the congregation played Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.

Honesty is the Best Policy

We've been working our way through the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy, and  today's message zeroed in on II Timothy 3:1-9.

The message is about renovation and Pastor Terry began by citing issues one deals with when a house renovation project. Similarly people with gardens have the challenge of deciding how much weeding is enough. Many decisions are not black and white.

Terry told a story about a set of classic Baptist revival meetings in which the opening night included being given a handout that listed two pages of sins and congregation was instructed to circle all the ones they had ever done. It was a pretty overwhelming list, and honestly assessing actually could become quite depressing.

Washington Crosses the Delaware.
He then projected on the monitor the famous painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze of Washington crossing the Delaware. Seeing that the title of the sermon had something to do with honesty, it would not have been a surprise to begin the message with the tale of young George Washington chopping down the cherry tree. Terry may have considered two GW anecdotes, but instead chopped that one out and offered up this one.

In point of fact, though famous it is not really a truthful painting. The painting, which was painted in 1851, was not accurate in several respects. First, the flag in the boat did not exist for another year. Second, in real life the general would not have been standing in a canoe full of people going through a turbulent river. They would have been on barges or pontoon style boats. The painter was German and the river was the Rhine, not the Delaware.

The artist was not painting this for patriotic American reasons. Rather, he was into painting about revolutions and his aim was to foster revolution. There was a problem with this idea. The American Revolution was about something wholesome and noble. It was not revolution for revolution sake. The artist lost faith in a German revolution because the German people were not good.

What follows are several points Pastor Terry made during the rest of the message.

Good means that we're aligned with God. As a nation we can't be great again if we are not Good.

What does it look like to be aligned with God? It's about reconciliation, one with God.

Being a Christian is about more than being against sin. What are we for?

We were then sent to II Corinthians 5. By being joined to God, we can all be joined together.

We need to be forgiven, and then we need to extend that forgiveness to others.

The darker our sin, the greater we will value the grace that God gives us.

What does it look like to be one with God, to be reconciled to God?

Hell is not a tragedy because it exists. Hell is a tragedy because nobody has to go there.

We only get truly fixed when we are mended by God through faith.

Terry then had us turn to II Corinthians 5:14-21, which begins, "Christ's love compels us..." We have been given a message of reconciliation, and a ministry of reconciliation.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Yes, what a gift. It's a gift that is simultaneously a process, an ongoing renovation that is an invitation to life.