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Dogged Determination

This Sunday we will be considering the remarkable miracle found in Mark 2:1-12, the healing of the paralytic. Whenever I read this story I am impressed with the dogged determination of the four men who took the paralytic to Jesus. How far did they have to carry him? How difficult was it to get him on the roof? How hard was it to make a hole in the roof? Who paid for the repairs? Did they give each other a "high five" afterward and thank God they didn't have to carry the paralytic home?

One thing is for sure: these four unnamed individuals refused to miss an opportunity to be with Jesus. No matter the distance, no matter the difficulty, no matter the crowds, they took their friend to Jesus knowing they might never have another opportunity. Obviously they loved the paralytic very much.

E.M. Bounds once said that our laziness after God is our crying sin. Do we have half the determination of these four men? Whom will we bring to Jesus? Can we watch and pray for more than one hour? Do we wrestle with God, like Jacob, until we have obtained His blessing? Do we ask and seek and knock like the persistent widow who bothered the unrighteous judge? If none go with us, will we still follow Jesus?

In England, during the Great Awakening, many lifeless churchmen were aghast with the message proclaimed by a new group of preachers. These churchmen took it as a matter of course that if a person was baptized, as most were, he or she was a Christian. Indeed, for many of them to an Englishman was the same thing as being a Christian. But along came George Whitfield and John Wesley saying it was not so; that there must be deep and lasting repentance from our sins and dynamic faith in Jesus Christ. One astonished hearer said to Wesley, "Sir, if this be Christianity, I never saw a Christian in my life."

I wonder what people see when they look at us? Do they see people who are complacent and half-hearted, who believe Christianity is only a matter of going to church occasionally and not committing any serious crimes? I hope not. Instead, may they see hungry believers, people who love God and His church, who seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, who pound the door and storm the gates (Mt. 11:12), and who let nothing stand in the way of an opportunity to be with the King Himself.

Posted by Jim Bachmann

Encouraging Update

Something beautiful happened Wednesday night at 5:15! For the first time in years our church family enjoyed a great midweek meal, studied God's Word, and experienced sweet fellowship. It almost seemed worthy of another dedication service! Now that the room is thoroughly "baptized", we trust that many wonderful events and lasting memories will be established there in the coming years.

One thing we haven't done yet is have a Sunday School class in the fellowship hall. I'm sure that day will come, though. Speaking of Sunday School, please attend the class of your choice. At my former church we had a significant problem of people loitering in the hallways while classes were taking place. We are blessed to have a great choice of classes and teachers so avail yourself of this spiritual buffet. How blessed we are not to suffer a famine of the word of God! To see a list of our current classes, click here.

Below is some more random information about items that are likely of interest to you:

  • Work will begin on widening Pasquo Road to three lanes this month. The project will take about a year.
  • Our elevator has been repaired. Pray that it lasts until Sunday!
  • Drainage improvements will be made to the north entrance grassy area.
  • Preschool playground committee will soon begin design work.
  • August income was strong and made up some of our July deficit.
  • Attendance last Sunday was our largest since March and included many visitors.
  • Men's and women's Bible studies begin next week. Sign-up forms are in the church lobby.

See you Sunday!

Posted by Jim Bachmann

Pessimist or Optimist?

Are you a pessimist or an optimist? I consider myself an optimist because I know Jesus will win in the end!

In the meantime, though, there are always apparent reasons for "doom and gloom." Like the Shakespeare soothsayers who declared, "Woe, woe, and thrice woe!", or Eeyore the donkey who said, "Could be worse; not sure how, but it could be," many people believe the light at the end of the tunnel will be an approaching train.

But the Lord says all things work together for our good. He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field. The most frequent Biblical commandment is "Fear not!"

Once upon a time Elisha (1 Kings 6) had a servant who awoke one morning to see his city (Dothan) surrounded by Syrian troops and chariots. "Woe, woe, and thrice woe," he told Elisha. But Elisha said simply, "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Subsequently the servant's eyes were opened to see another army, "horses and chariots of fire," filling the mountain behind the Syrians!

In our brief history as a church we have had reasons for pessimism: no home, little growth, limited resources, a pandemic. But as the hymn writer says, "All I have needed Your hand has provided." Today we enjoy a new home, a steady stream of visitors, and many new opportunities.

No doubt more challenges lie ahead. And there is no doubt that God will take care of us!

Posted by Jim Bachmann