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- Happy Sunday My Immanuel Family! The temperature has been just enough over 40 degrees for enough days in a row, and with a brief glimpse of sunshine yesterday, I am starting to feel hopeful that Spring is really coming. This truly has been a long hard winter for so many of us. As often occurs, our scripture passage today for the older children from 2 Colossians 11 offers timely wisdom and encouragement. In this passage, Paul describes the hardships he has endured while spreading the Good News of Jesus. Ms. Donna Dorsey (with Ms. Bella running the Zoom meeting for our friends at home) helped the kids explore what it means to be disciples right now. When I consider what Paul endured - beatings, shipwrecks, and being thrown out of town - they are all way more dangerous than the silence or discomfort I may face when talking about my faith. My resolve to be courageous could use some of the excitement that was heard from Ms. Mary Plekan's class as they reviewed the armor of God and "dressed" their soldiers. It has been so exciting to meet so many new families who are coming to church or tuning in from home. What an amazing God we serve, who would use a tragedy like Covid 19 to strengthen and grow our church family. Reflecting on this, I remember how the Israelite's spent over 400 years in Egypt before God used Moses to lead them out. Logically one would conclude that laboring as slaves under the burdens placed on them should have decimated the entire people group. And yet, God used that time to grow Jacob's family from 70 to thousands and prepared them for the journey that lay ahead. The challenge for them and us is to continue to be bold and courageous trusting that God knows exactly what is coming next and has graciously offered to allow us to be part of that plan. Brad has asked us to step forward as disciples for our town, as we plant a new church right in the middle of it. As he said this morning, we should be excited to be here and prepared for a time such as this. Praying for a blessed week, Melissa
- John 11:25-26 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[a] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/running-to-resurrection/
- How many angels does it take to screw in a lightbulb? The absurdity of this question is rivaled by the question of the Sadducees in Mark 12:18-27, where they ask who will the widow be married to in Heaven, having had seven husbands on earth. Of course, as always, Jesus quickly shuts them down. Verse 24: “…you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God…” When we know the scriptures, our faith is anchored. When we do not know the scriptures, we can be led easily astray by false teachers, or by the whims of this world. We can even be deceived by our own hearts and desires. A believer must prioritize studying scripture and ‘hide it in our hearts’. See Psalm 119:11. What does it mean to not know the power of God? This is when we assume god must fit into our understanding. We place limits on who God is and what He can or cannot due based on what we deem reasonable. We assume the things of God, and Heaven, must somehow accommodate our own reason, understanding and desires. When we limit God in this fashion, we essentially attempt to make ourselves greater than God. Don’t do that. Instead, hide God’s Word in your heart, and then be at once comforted and awed by His limitless power, endless love, and perfect justice. Amen.
- Happy Sunday Immanuel Family! What a blessed day this was to spend it with your children and welcome two new families into our Church. Ms. Sandy Hill with Sarah K and Ms. Lyssandra Sanchez worked with the younger kids on their Armor of God, continuing to review how we can use our Shield of Faith to defend us against the enemy. I have some awesome pictures of the kids holding up their shields that I cannot wait to share with the church. The older kids with Ms. Priscilla Halsey and Ms. Audrey Booth focused on Colossians 2-3 which teaches us about living in Christ. As I read this scripture tonight, I am again amazed at how our God brings all of these lessons together with the picture of baptism we saw today. Colossians 2:6-15 6 So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, 7 being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. 8 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ. 9 For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, 10 and you have been filled by him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. 11 You were also circumcised in him with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of Christ, 12 when you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. 14 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him. The Gospel Project family activity challenges us to live as new creations, lifting up others around us so they too would want to know about the God who saves. Have a blessed week, Melissa