Well, I did it. Something new. Something different. Something outside my comfort zone. I took the "Polar Plunge" at Lake Contrary in South St. Joseph this morning. It is a fundraiser for Missouri Special Olympics, a worthy cause that brings the joy of sport to thousands of special needs people throughout the state. The Rev. Steve Moseley, an old college friend and Campus Pastor at The Baptist Home in Chillicothe, invited (challenged?) me to join him. So our little team of two joined with more than fifty others plunging into the icy waters (yes, they had to cut through the ice this morning) to raise money for Special Olympics. Thanks be to God, the sun was shining and the air temperature was hovering around 50 degrees which made it much more tolerable to go completely under the 35ish degree water for a few seconds. I share this little story for three reasons:
(1) to let you know why this missive is arriving in the evening rather than the afternoon,
(2) to glorify God for His goodness in creation in which human beings, by virtue of common grace, can enjoy that creation even when the mercury drops, and
(3) to anticipate the blessings of spring, warmth, new life, and hope for the future, also wonderful gifts from the hand of our gracious God.
(4) to encourage you to do something new, something different, something outside your comfort zone this week, not just for a "good cause," but for the Kingdom of God.
TOMORROW is THE LORD’S DAY and we have much for which to give God praise. For starters, it looks like our temperatures will be back in the normal range for this time of year, highs in the 40s. Looking forward to seeing more folks out for Bible study and worship than we have in a few weeks. As you prepare for corporate worship, take some time to read, meditate on, and pray through the following Scriptures which will be used in the service. Click anywhere on the link for a printable view of these passages in their entirety:
Fighter Verses: 1 John 2:15-17
Call to Worship: Psalm 22:23-31
Old Testament: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
New Testament: Romans 4:13-25
Prayer of Confession: Psalm 32:3-7
Assurance of Pardon: Psalm 32:1-2
Sermon Text: Luke 4:16-21
Benediction: Numbers 6:24-26
The sermon text will be a portion of the section that was preached last Sunday, specifically where Jesus stands up to read from the prophet Isaiah and declares that the prophecy is fulfilled in the hearing of His listeners. This "good news," this "gospel" which He proclaimed in their ears is still good news for us. As William MacDonald observes, "He came to deal with the enormous problems that have afflicted mankind throughout history: Poverty...Sorrow...Bondage...Suffering...Oppression....He presented Himself as the answer to all the ills that torment us. And it is true, whether you think of these ills in a physical sense or in a spiritual sense. Christ is the answer."
In addition to our regular Monday "Sunday" School ZOOM meeting at 7 pm, and Midweek Service at 6:30 pm, live and via ZOOM, we begin preparing for our Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions (AAEO). This is one of three special missions offerings we receive throughout the year, the other two being Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions (LMCO), and the Rheubin South Missouri Missions Offering. The AAEO will be received through the month of March. All offerings received will go to support the 5,000 plus missionaries who serve as church planters, community missionaries, chaplains, and mission coordinators on the frontiers of Southern Baptist work.
COMING UP March 7-14 is our Week of Prayer for North American Missions. This prayer week is in conjunction with the AAEO, and we will be giving special emphasis to it during our morning and midweek services.
ICYMI Last Sunday’s Message The Rejected Messiah Luke 4:14-30
To view this and previous services in their entirety, please visit our YouTube channel.
READ THROUGH THE BIBLE
Week 9 of the 5 Day Bible Reading Program. Read through the entire Bible following this plan, or read only the New Testament (in italics).
Day One: Leviticus 24-25; Psalm 81; Hebrews 9
Day Two: Leviticus 26-27; Psalm 112; Hebrews 10
Day Three: Numbers 1-2; Psalm 64; Hebrews 11
Day Four: Numbers 3-5; Hebrews 12
Day Five: Numbers 6-7; Hebrews 13
Visit the website for more up-to-date information!
BONUS: You may have heard in the news earlier this week that the US House of Representatives passed the so-called "Equality Act" by a slim majority, largely on party lines, 224-206, with three Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with the Democrat majority. Please take a few moments to read this article from Baptist Press by Tom Strode to see why this bill is so poorly named. 'Poorly Named' Equality Act Passes House. The reason I bring it up is not a political one, but one related to religious liberty. From the article, if this bill were to be passed by the US Senate and signed by President Biden, it would "cripple religious freedom...undermine civil rights protections for females...[and] become the most pro-abortion bill ever approved by Congress." This bill will essentially render any Christian organization or business, outside of a local church, from exercising any liberty of conscience when hiring or firing according to Christian conviction and Biblical standards.
See you in church!
Grace and peace,