It was especially wonderful, after missing last week due to weather, to be with our church family, visiting, sharing, and worshiping. It was the first Sunday service since our rejoicing for the lives of, and mourning for the temporary separation from, our sister Carol and brother Del.
Being with and enjoying our church family is something to not take for granted. The building becomes rich with conversations and children interacting. This morning laughter from Nikki and Dawna echoed in stereo from contrasting directions. While the weather has provided some recent challenges, Nan was heard to mention how she is taken with the beauty of the snow in the woods behind their house.
Sarah W. read 1 Peter 1-21 about our hope and holiness in Christ. Anna W. very articulately shared how we can help her embolden her faith and her ability to share it by donating books, money, and lifting her up in prayer. She is submitting to an opportunity God has laid on her heart to delve into Summit Ministries conference where she’ll be taking 72 hours of classes in 2 weeks with a goal of growing herself and her ability to defend the faith (apologetics).
The music in our service today was genuine & stirring. A lovely harp prelude facilitated our spirits, and dynamically moving harp tones filled our communion reflection with Sweet hour of prayer and Turn your eyes upon Jesus. The offertory was Mark A., with acoustic guitar, singing an honest version of What can I do to Serve You.” Our congregational singing included: We Will Glorify, Bless the Lord (by the late Andre Crouch), Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, and Bind us together.
With Pastor Kevin on planned absence, Bill and Randy led our service. Our guest speaker was Paul Erickson, long-term missionary to Bolivia who currently provides technical support for some unique evangelical webinars via Missionexus . He brought us a message of Hope, and shared how it became even more meaningful when he read “expected joy” in place of “hope” in several bible verses.
Paul’s unique perspective from living in different cultures brought him to show us this Honor & Shame 101Video. It contrasts West and East perspectives where the Western worldview is more based on Guilt & Innocence (under the law) and the Eastern worldview is more based on Honor & Shame. He shared of appreciating cultural difference and suggested getting online to take The Culture Test to see where each of us is at.
Paul read through several passages, including: Hebrew 11:1; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Romans 8:24-25; Titus 1:1-2; and1 Corinthians 13 (which was read by Paul in Spanish while we followed along in English).
Paul exhorted us to:
- Eliminate Shame
- Eat Together
- Ease Conflict (using questions & suggestions)
- Evangelize Well
Lastly Paul shared the encouragement that he found in The Resurrection Mural by Ron DiCianni. We were encouraged to be Salt and Light, and to value and use our time as God leads.
As we go forward there are lots of prayer requests for those in need. You can also pray for our youth (and youth leadership) as they come together on this Valentine’s Day Saturday to work very hard in a unique opportunity to raise funds while serving together, honoring loving couples in (and beyond) our church with a fabulous dinner in a candle-lit romantic setting.