Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. (Palm 16:1)
I don’t usually do this in my newsletter articles, but I’d like to address a couple things I said in my sermon on Sunday, January 25th. You won’t know what I’m talking about if you weren’t in church that Sunday, but you might find this message informative any way. First, I compared modern day Juarez, Mexico to the city of Nineveh in the Old Testament, and how as followers of Jesus we would most likely not want to go there to proclaim repentance and the Kingdom of God – like Jonah. I should have used another city as an example because I don’t want any of us to be afraid of going to Juarez on a future mission trip. Besides, we won’t be going there alone like Jonah to Nineveh. Even if you or I were to go to Juarez alone, we would have the Lord our God going with us, and so we should not be afraid.
Second, my sermon was about following Jesus, the One who followed His Father to the cross to die for us and save us from sin, death, and hell- forever. By doing so, Jesus is our ultimate leader. But I realized later I emphasized our “following” Him so much I didn’t mention He is also with us as we go. It’s important to be reminded of this and I don’t want to wait until my next sermon on obedience to bring it home to you. So there you have it: Jesus is with us as we follow Him!
I also want to mention that when I do have difficult conversations with difficult people, I know and believe Jesus is with me. When I visit you in the hospital and see your suffering and pain, I know Jesus is with me – and you. When my alarm clock goes off at 6 am on Sunday morning, Jesus is with me. And when I encounter someone who doesn’t know Jesus, He is with me, and His Holy Spirit who dwells in me gives me the words to say. He is with you too in these same situations and in whatever your vocation is. He is with you. He is in you. He is for you.
That opening verse above from Psalm 16 sums it up: The Lord our God preserves us, sustains and gives us everything we need for this life which is eternal. Because of this we trust in Him ever more. Let us give thanks and praise at all times and in all places to God our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit – one God, now and forever, Amen.
I’ll talk about Lent and Easter more in my March newsletter article, and you’ll start to see some announcements in your Sunday service bulletin too. I would like to give you advance notice now though that our midday Lent devotions and soup in the Connect Center will happen again this year starting a week after Ash Wednesday. Pastor Kiessling will also be talking about this in his article. Also, I’ve invited Yoel Ben David from Jews for Jesus to be a guest speaker on Wednesday evening, March 25 before the lenten service that night. He’ll talk to us about the importance of spreading the Gospel to Jewish people. I think this will be a good follow up to pastor Kevin Parviz’ presentation on the same subject last year. On that note…