eNews – August 17, 2017
Dear friends and family,
There is a large part of me that just wants to focus on the activities and upcoming events that are happening in the life of the church. I want to let you know about a new Sunday School class that is starting for young couples and the awesome curriculum that we will be following (The 5 Love Languages). I want to let you know about the great summer we had with record numbers for VBS, a Bluegrass Fest which drew a huge crowd, and the wheels that are moving to get ready for the school year. Did you know that Clubhouse starts on September 6? I want to tell you about Dan Smith who is our new hire for an interim part-time youth director (yes, the Dan Smith who was at one time our intern here). I wanted to tell you about a committee which was formed some time back to look at our 30 year old organ and what needs to be done with it since it is falling apart. There is much happening in the life of the church, but I can’t move forward without addressing what is on everyone’s mind.
I really thought that my father’s generation would be the last one to see over 2,000 people with torches marching without hoods in favor of white supremacy. In my life time I don’t remember seeing such a public display of followers of the devil who base their lives on racial supremacy. The term for devil in the New Testament is “diablos” which literally means adversary. I can see no more clear example of a person and an idea that is opposed to the kingdom of God than someone who espouses that one person is more fit for the kingdom of heaven, or fit for earth, based upon their race. It flies in the face of the biblical facts that God reached down and created all of us out of the same mud.
What is incredibly painful is to acknowledge that those who are involved in this lie often use the Bible to support their causes. I’ll never forget that day in Old Testament class at what was PCB (which is now Cairn University), when the professor allowed the class to engage in a discussion as to why black people were inferior to whites and Scripture not only allowed it but supported it. I could not believe that people actually believed that. I found out later that those same people did not believe that the Holocaust took place. It is a situation where you want to turn over the tables and be very clear that this is wrong and this is not God’s plan and it is evil.
Jesus’ example of how we ought to approach people, regardless of how different we are from them, is a good place to start. Jesus, as a Jew, consistently used people of other races (Samaritans and gentiles) as protagonists in his parables. Other New Testament writings do the same (Ethiopians and gentiles and others). The major point of contention in the early church was whether or not we should accept other races into the church family. The first Jerusalem council in Acts 15 settled that score. The church said yes, we are all created equally in the image of God. As a result we all have the same status before God, people who are redeemed by the blood of the lamb.
That council in Acts 15 should have settled the matter. The white supremacists in Charlottesville want to have another vote, but the matter was settled by the original disciples and apostles. All are welcome into the kingdom of God. Keep in mind that those making that decision in Acts 15 were not white European-American Christians, but rather Arab Jews who loved Jesus. If they had decided that only those who were Jewish in practice could be a part of Jesus’ kingdom, we would have been left out.
So now what? How do we as we live our lives in Strasburg, as school is about to start, as our jobs become more challenging, and our relationships more involved and complicated, how do we add one more concern to our list of life realities that stare us in the face? Maybe an answer is as simple as hearing the words of Jesus in John 17:21 where Jesus prays that we would be one. God created us as one, from the same mud, pray that we would be one and that we would see each other, regardless of what we look like, as one. This is my prayer for all of us.
Your servant in Christ,
HAPPENING IN THE LIFE OF FPC…
Welcome Dan Smith!! We are pleased to reintroduce to the congregation Dan Smith who is a graduate of Lancaster Bible College to our staff. He will be taking on the position of part-time interim youth director. He will be starting at his position on September 10 and will be responsible for both the junior and senior high youth group. Make sure you welcome him into the family when you see him.
4th Annual Church Picnic: Come and join us on Sunday, August 27 right after the second service (or 12:15) at Tinney Pavillion for a pig roast and time of Christian fellowship. We will be having our traditional massive corn-hole tournament, so come prepared to knock off current champs Billy and Kristi Harrison. Also, we will be celebrating the wedding of Jack Stauffer and Amy Black at the 11am service on that Sunday, come and be a part of that as well. Invite family and friends, it is a great opportunity to reach out to people who may not be connected in a church.
Young Couples Sunday School Class: Beginning on September 24 in the choir room we will be starting a Sunday School class for “young couples”. Stacy and I will be leading the class with guest appearances from Karen Bachman and Bill Rouse. The curriculum we will be following will be Gary Chapman’s New York Time’s Best Seller: The 5 Love Languages. Come and be a part of this class and learn how to love your spouse more.
Organ Committee: Did you know that we have formed a committee to evaluate the state of the organ? The organ was installed in the expansion in 1988 and we were told that it had about a 30 year life expectancy. If we do the math, well, that’s where we find ourselves. The members of the committee are Gary Hambleton (chair), Tim Yoder, Donna Burkholder, Ray Reeder, Terry Sweigart, Mark Feiler, and Bill Kistler. The committee is tasked with giving a recommendation on what steps we ought to take next in regards to the organ. Questions? Contact Gary Hambleton at email@example.com.
Great Adventure: We are still planning on kicking off our new year for youth at Great Adventure and Mercy Me. If you have a high school and/or junior high youth who might like to attend bring them along! It will be Saturday, August 26 and we will be leaving as group at 9am. The youth are encouraged to bring a sack lunch will be eaten before we enter the park. The cost is $35 and with that comes the 2017 Ignited Youth T-shirt, park entrance, and food voucher. Let me know if you are planning on attending. Monies need to be in by this Saturday, August 19. Questions? Contact me at this email address.
Clubhouse is starting back up on September 6! It is hard to believe that we will be starting back up our mid-week children’s program. We expect a good crowd of kids as we move forward with our success over the summer with our children’s ministries. Mark your calendar and tell a family that has elementary aged children about our mid-week program. It begins at 6pm on September 6.
Your servant in Christ,