December 12, 2010
Last weekend was an exciting weekend for this congregation. We not only had a good outreach which brought the Church before the Dowagiac community (Dowagiac's Candle-light Christmas Parade on Friday evening), but we had a wonderful evening of Christian fellowship on Saturday as we honored our ladies for the great work they do in so many ways. On Sunday after our potluck we had a business meeting and several decisions were made about the work here. These included:
* Continuing our monthly support of Shults-Lewis Children's Home.
* Continuing our support of the H.O.P.E. prison ministry in our area.
* Continuing our food pantry work and expanded our help to families in the area by providing coats and other basic items to families in need in the area. Since that time we have purchased a number of children's coats at wholesale to use in this ministry and have donated a number of blankets and pillows to a family that came to our Sunday evening service and has some basic needs.
* Putting a drywall ceiling in the basement so our class facilities will be finished and can be used.
* Purchase an additional gas stove for our fellowship area so we can better serve one another and the community.
* Fix the baptistry to reduce moisture and discoloration.
* Replace the heating system in the fellowship area so that we can use that area in a better way year-round.
* Clean the rug in the fellowship area.
I would like to point out two things to the membership. (1) Is that this congregation spends virtually all of its money either doing benevolence or mission work. We have no one being paid to do anything, and outside of utilities and upkeep on the facility, all of our money goes directly to serve this area. In this day of churches having big salaries and massive building costs, that is remarkable. (2) Is that Bill and Patty Gibson do a disproportionate amount of the work that is done on the facility. We need to hire some help to do more of these things, and pitch in ourselves where we can to change that.
DAVID'S FINAL WORDS
1 Kings 2:1-4
We will all die--we have a common destiny--Revelation 20:12.
Death is part of God's plan--we win in death--Isaiah 61:1-2.
We visit a great man on his death bed--1 Kings 2:2.
David knew he was about to die (verse 2).
David trusted God even though he did not know what lay ahead, his faith gave dignity to his final hour--Psalm 23:4.
EACH OF US 18 GETTING NEAR THE END OF LIFE
James 4:13-14--Carl Tarrant, Leonard Barkes, Wanda Kirst, Madge Harasewicz, Phyllis Clayton
We can know what it means:
James 2:26We can have hope.
2 Timothy 1:10DAVID WANTED OTHERS TO PREPARE.
Acts 8:32-39--There is joy in being secure.
Notice verse 39.Acts 2:37-41--We need to ask the same question.
Proverbs 27: I
1 Kings 2:2-3--it did not happen--they were not faithful.THE NEED FOR THE CHURCH
God's promises are conditional, not carte blanche.3 John 4--Both our family and brothers and sisters in the Church.
Ephesians 2:12--Without God there is no hope.
You do not hire this done--not a preacher's job.
Identifying mark of people who are disciples of Christ
1 Timothy 3:15
THE "FEAR NOTS" OF CHRISTMAS
It is interesting in the Christmas story that we hear so much about this time of year, there is a common statement given to the primary figures in the story who would likely be traumatized by what was happening. When Zacharias was told that the prayer he had been praying all his life was about to be answered in a positive way the statement made to him was "Fear not, . . . for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."(Luke 1:13, 17). Have you ever had something you prayed for over and over? Sometimes it is hard to believe that God answers prayers, but we need to know that "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous" person accomplishes a great deal (James 1:16).
Mary was told "Fear not," you are going to conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. His name will be Jesus and he shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:30-32). Did you ever have a blessing from God you never expected and find hard to believe? Never underestimate what God can do, and the fact that he knows our needs before we even ask.
When it became obvious that Mary was pregnant, Joseph had to make a decision, and the angel said to him, "Fear not" to take Mary as your wife (Matthew 1:20). Have you ever had a tough decision to make, and to be torn between what you want and what you think is right? Sometimes what we think is right is not, and we are misled because we do not comprehend the will of God and what the whole situation is about.
When the shepherds saw something they could not understand or visualize they were told "Fear not: . . . I bring you good tidings of great joy, . . . for unto you is born this day . . . a Savior" (Luke 2:10-12). Have you ever been asked to do something that you could do but you did not understand? Sometimes we may even be asked to accept something or do something connected with God that we do not see a reason for and yet we know God calls us to do it.
In all of these cases the common phrase is "Fear not." God calls us to come and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. We may not understand why we are asked by God to do this. God certainly does not need us in any way, and we may feel we do not need to worship. Fear not, there is a need that being here and joining with brothers and sisters in Christ can serve. Trust God and live as he calls you to and fear not!