An Awkward Conversation

Good morning,

Can we have an awkward conversation?

 Last week our family attended the viewing for my brother-in-law’s father.  We had spent time with him at picnics, birthday parties, and other events that Mary’s sister and her husband hosted.  Although he wasn’t in the best of health, his passing was rather sudden.  While going through the greeting line my brother-in-law pulled me aside and said “Scott, have your folks plan their funerals, it makes everything so much easier.”

 My experience as a pastor certainly agrees with what my brother-in-law was feeling – it is a gift to the family when they know exactly what they’re loved wanted.  I’ve yet to come up with a way, however, to initiate that awkward conversation!  So what I’ll do is just extend a general offer to anyone (doesn’t matter what life stage you are in): if you would like to sit down and get in writing what your wishes would be I will be happy to do that with you.  I have a list of scripture passages that can be read, hymns that can be sung, and other things that we can go over.  I know it isn’t fun to think about, and I feel awkward even bringing it up in an email, but I wanted to put the offer out there.

 Also – the weather gurus are suggesting that we might be in for some more wintry weather this weekend.  It sounds like they won’t know for sure until Friday.  If we need to make a change to our Sunday schedule, I will do so by 7am on Sunday and will send out an email and post it on our Facebook page and website.  We will also activate our phone chain.  If things look questionable, please check!

A couple of reminders:

1.      We will be taking a benevolence offering for the Ryan Martin family THIS SUNDAY Sunday, 1/20 for any who wish to contribute.  Please make your check out to the church and designate for Martin Family.

2.     1/27 – Annual Congregational Meeting

3.      2/6 – Ministry Council Meeting

This Sunday we will be looking at the disciple who is forever known as “Doubting Thomas.”  Thomas is certainly a serious guy, and perhaps he was a bit of a pessimist, but his life should definitely not be only remembered for a time that he struggled with some doubt.  If you or someone you know is struggling with some doubts in their faith, Sunday would be a great day to be at Ebenezer!

 

Scott

Thoughts on Prayer

Good morning,

 If you were with us on Sunday you know that we did not pass the microphone around to take prayer requests and I instead led in praying primarily for the Ryan Martin family.  You have no doubt noticed that I tend to switch things up with our prayer time during the service.  Many weeks we do pass the microphone, but other weeks we don’t.  Occasionally I’ll ask us to kneel or stand, and sometimes I ask us to be still and pray silently.

 Why do I change it up?  Well, there are couple of reasons.  A minor one is that I try to have the worship service end at 11:30 am each week.  My experience has been that folks appreciate a consistent starting and ending times, and I plan the services accordingly.  Sometimes something happens during the week (either locally or nationally) that I feel our prayer time should be devoted to.  And quite honestly, sometimes it’s the prompting of the Holy Spirit as we are singing our opening worship set.

 I’m not telling you all this because someone complained…just so that you have an idea of what my thought process is when it comes to our public prayer times.  Our Ebenezer 2020 vision statement lists emphasizing both prayer and creativity in our worship services and I always want to sensitive to God’s leading during our services.

 If you ever have something that you definitely want shared with the church family and prayed for during the service, please see me before the service.  I’ll be the guy standing there looking stressed!  😊  I will certainly make sure to do so within whatever manner we go before the Lord.  And if I forget, Trent will surely remind me!

 A couple of reminders:

1.      We will be taking a benevolence offering for the Ryan Martin family on Sunday, 1/20 for any who wish to contribute.

2.     1/15 – Congregational Life Commission

3.      1/27 – Annual Congregational Meeting

 This Sunday we will be looking at the lives of 3 of the least known disciples:  James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Thaddeus.   Although they are rarely mentioned in the Gospels, their lives serve as a great testimony to how Jesus uses different people to build His church!

 Scott

Thoughts on Communion

Good morning,

2019 is here!  I imagine that many of you are struggling with the “back to reality” feeling that I have today.  Here’s the good news – we gain 44 seconds of daylight today!  Enjoy it!

On Sunday we will share in Holy Communion together.  Many churches share the tradition of having Communion on the first Sunday of the new year, and in some church tradition’s it is known as the Covenant Communion.  It’s called that because we are recommitting ourselves to the New Covenant for the upcoming year.  We are acknowledging that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and are committing ourselves to following Him no matter what the year may bring.

This Sunday we will be serving Communion at the altar.  The ushers will be directing groups up to receive the bread and the cup.  If you are unable to kneel please feel free to stand at the altar or sit in the first pew and I will gladly serve you there.  If mobility is a concern and you would prefer to have Communion served in your pew, please let me know.

In the E.C. Church the Lord’s Table is an open table.  You do not need to be a member of the church in order to receive Communion.  Parents, as always I will let you decide if your child(ren) should participate in Communion.  I would ask however, that only children who have accepted Jesus as their Savior come forward and would suggest having a conversation with them about Communion and why we receive it beforehand.

A couple of reminders:

1.      1/15 – Congregational Life Commission

2.     1/27 – Annual Congregational Meeting

 We begin our new sermon series on the 12 disciples on Sunday.  If you know of someone who has felt the sting of rejection or being told that they weren’t good enough, this would be a wonderful week to invite them to join us at Ebenezer.  The message will include a strong invitation to receive Jesus as Savior.

 

Scott

Merry Christmas Tom

Good morning,

There is nothing quite like being a young child on Christmas morning.  Waking up before dawn in anticipation of a tree full of gifts with your name on them, deciding whether or not to sneak downstairs to sneak a peek at the tree, and then running with joy once your parents announce that the time has arrived to rip and tear (my parents made us wait until 8 am, which was totally unreasonable when I was a kid but makes complete sense to me now that I have small children) and praying that you didn’t get socks as a gift.

Most of my childhood Christmas gifts are long gone, of course.  The toys eventually broke, the clothes became too small, and the other gifts were either lost along the way or are buried in a box somewhere.  One gift, however, is still with me.  It’s small, it’s old, and it’s even a little broken, but there is no way in the world I would ever get rid of it.

When I was in fifth grade my Sunday School teacher, Tom Mullin, gave me a little plane ornament for my Christmas tree.  Many fifth grade boys would have been unimpressed with such a gift, but for me it quickly became a prized possession.  I adored Tom.  He took an interest in me at a time when I really needed it, and I looked forward to Sunday School each week.  Tom took this rowdy pack of boys and each week calmed us down enough to teach us the foundations of the Christian faith while at the same time keeping things fun.  One week Tom led our class through the sinner’s prayer, and I officially committed my life to Christ.  I was crushed when it was time for me to move on the 6th grade.

Needless to say, Tom’s ornament was the first one that I put on my tree the next year, and the year after that.  The following year Tom suffered a debilitating stroke.  I will never forget the day that he returned to church after that.  He needed to use a walker, and it took him a long time to get to his pew, but nothing was going to keep him from worshiping God.  The stroke robbed him of his ability to speak, with the exception of one phrase – “Merry Christmas.”  Christmas was Tom's favorite time of year.

As my family began to decorate the tree that year, I was crushed when I unwrapped Tom’s ornament and found the tailfin broken.  Then it dawned on me how it was sort of fitting.  Even though life can batter us around and our bodies will ultimately fail us, we still can celebrate the fact that God sent his Son to die for us so that we can be with Him in heaven someday, where we will be restored to an “unbroken” condition.  I once again placed Tom’s ornament front and center on our tree, and I can say without any embarrassment that I could barely see through all the tears as I softly whispered “Merry Christmas, Tom.”

Every year since then Tom’s plane has been the first one on my Christmas tree, a tradition I’ve brought to my own family.  It’s become a fun and meaningful reminder to my kids of how Dad came to know Christ, since I tell the “story of the plane” each year.

As you deck the halls this year, what can you incorporate into your traditions that helps tell the story of how you came to know Jesus as your savior?  While it is so important to tell our kids the story of the first Christmas during the holiday season, it’s just as important to tell them the story of why the birth of Jesus means so much to us.  Perhaps you can find an ornament of your own that helps tell your story, or a special song that you can sing as a family.  The possibilities are endless.

Let this be the year that you begin telling your children how the Christmas Story and your story connect.

On Sunday we will continue our Christmas sermon series, titled “Three Wise Women.”  Our wise woman for this Sunday is Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The Christian Adventure Class is hosting a special children’s program in the fellowship hall starting at 9 am.  Then on Monday night we will have our Candlelight Service at 6 pm.  Our choir will be reprising two numbers for their cantata, and during that service I’ll spend a few moments talking about the story of Anna found in Luke 2:36-38.  It is going to be a great couple of days of worship and as always I would encourage you to invite friends to join us celebrate the birth of the King of Kings.

Scott

Gift of Touch

Good morning,

Most mornings I leave the house with Abby to take her to the bus stop before heading into church.  Before doing so I always get a big hug from Trent, and then a quick kiss on the check from Abby once the bus arrives.  I’m not the most touchy-feely guy in the world, but I’ve come to cherish those quick moments of affection with my kids.

Touch is one of the most powerful communication tools that God has given to us.  Even momentary or incidental contact with someone you care about strengthens your bond with them because it sends a message of affirmation, comfort, love, and/or security.

The Bible speaks often to the power of tender touch.  Jacob gently laid his hands on his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh to give them his blessing.  The people of Israel laid hands on the Levites as they were set apart for priestly duties.  Jesus, of course, was the master of communicating love through touch.  Mark 1:31 tells us that “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man…Immediately the leprosy left him and cured him.”  Mark 10:16 says that “…he took the children into his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them. 

This Christmas season, give the gift of tender touch to your family.  Make sure that your spouse and your kids are receiving tender touches from you on a daily basis.  Your relationships with them will grow and flourish because of it, and it will be just what they wanted!

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      We are still in need of some food donations for the Community Christmas Meal, especially turkeys.  Trays of cooked turkey are preferred, but donations of thawed turkeys are accepted as well.  This is really the last Sunday to sign up, so please do so. Food donations should be dropped off at the church by Thursday, December 20th.  See Elaine Quigley with any questions.

2.     We are collecting winter coats to donate to CVCCS.  Collection runs throughout December.  Boxes to place your donations in are in the side stairwell leading to the lower level of the church.

3.      12/23 – The Christian Adventure Class is hosting a special kids Christmas program during both Sunday School and Worship Service in the fellowship hall.

4.     12/24 – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6 pm.

5.      12/30 – Jesse North, Area Director for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, will give the message.

6.     1/27 – Annual Congregational Meeting

7.      Winter weather has set in.  If we need to make a change to our schedule, we will do so through the phone and email chains, on our Facebook page and website, through smoke signals, by carrier pigeon and through the pony express.  I am hoping to NEVER have to do this…but all the weather folks are saying that we are in for a very “wintry” winter, so we will see.

 This week we continue our Christmas sermon series, titled “Three Wise Women.”  Our wise woman for this Sunday is Ruth, or as she is often always called in the Bible, Ruth the Moabitess.  If you know of someone who is struggling with difficult circumstances in their life this Christmas season, please invite them to join us at Ebenezer this week.

 

Scott

The Gift of Humor

Good morning,

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard and put in so much time on the Cantata last Sunday!  What a great way to start our Advent Season!  Thanks as well to the Kitchen Committee for another wonderful meal.

Trent is the jokester of our family.  He loves a good joke, loves to tell a good joke, and loves to play jokes on the rest of us.  Most of all, he just loves to laugh.  When he was little he would often run into any room where people were laughing just to laugh along with them…he didn’t even need to know the reason for all the laughter.

Humor is an essential part of family life, but it can be risky.  Psychology Today once survey 14,000 people and asked them to rate 30 jokes.  Every joke had some people who rated it as “very funny”, and every joke had some people who rated it “not funny at all”.  God must have located our funny bones in different places! 

It’s important that we find things that the whole family finds funny and incorporate them into our daily lives.  It may be acting silly (think 3 Stooges, without the pain!), telling funny jokes or stories, or singing silly songs.  While it is true that humor comes to some easier than others, I believe that God has given each of us a sense of humor to use!

“Laughter is the best medicine” is a common phrase in our culture and medical studies have shown that there is some truth to that.  It shouldn’t surprise us, since Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”  The Bible is full of reminders to us to laugh.  In Psalm 126:2 the psalmist sings “Our mouths are filled with laughter”, and Paul exults in Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!”

Humor helps us cope with both the small things and big things in life.  To paraphrase an old pastoral saying “A family without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every bump in the road.”  This Christmas give your family the gift of humor.  It’s free, it lasts the whole year, and it will be just what they wanted!

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      We are collecting winter coats to donate to CVCCS.  Collection runs throughout December.  Boxes to place your donations in are in the side stairwell leading to the lower level of the church.

2.     12/23 – The Christian Adventure Class is hosting a special kids Christmas program during both Sunday School and Worship Service in the fellowship hall.

3.      12/24 – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6 pm.

4.     12/30 – Jesse North, Area Director for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, will give the message.

5.      1/27 – Annual Congregational Meeting

6.     Winter weather has set in.  If we need to make a change to our schedule, we will do so through the phone and email chains, on our Facebook page and website, through smoke signals, by carrier pigeon and through the pony express.  I am hoping to NEVER have to do this…but all the weather  folks are saying that we are in for a very “wintry” winter, so we will see.

 This week we begin our Christmas sermon series, titled “Three Wise Women.”  Our wise woman for this Sunday is Rahab, or as she is almost always called in the Bible, Rahab the Prostitute.  If you know of someone who is struggling with guilt or shame over their sin and think that God couldn’t possibly love them, this is the week to invite them to join us at Ebenezer!

 

Scott

His Grand Scheme

Good morning,

The holidays are really sneaking up on me this year…I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that Thanksgiving is only a week away!

I wanted to share a bit more about our Grandparenting workshop that we will be having during the S.S. hour on 11/25 and 12/2.  We will be looking at the four roles that grandparents can play in the lives of their grandchildren.   We’ll also touch on some of the challenges that today’s grandparents face, from ever-changing technology to grandparenting from a distance. 

Now, some of you might be thinking “What can a guy whose kids aren’t even out of school yet know about grandparenting?”  That’s a good question!  Obviously, I am not yet a grandparent.  BUT I’ve been a grandson for over 44 years now, and I cannot emphasize enough how vital my grandparents were and continue to be in my life.

Some of you might also be thinking “Well, I’m not a grandparent, so this workshop really isn’t for me.”  I would suggest that isn’t the case at all.  Some of you are in my life stage…and you are the “gatekeeper” of your kids to your parents…there is a lot in this workshop that will be helpful.  Some of you are acting as “Grandma” or “Grandpa” to a younger person...there is a lot in this workshop that will be helpful.  If you simply want to have an impact on the next generation of believers…there is a lot in this workshop that will be helpful.

I hope you can join us during the SS hour on those 2 Sundays.  On the 25th we will gather in the sanctuary…and on the 2nd we will probably use the fire hall classroom due to the Cantata and fellowship meal. 

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata continues every Monday night at 7pm.  Dress Rehearsal is at 9am on 12/1.

2.     West Earl Fire Company is holding a breakfast THIS SATURDAY, November 17 from 6-10 am. Great opportunity to fellowship with your neighbors and support the fire company!

3.      11/25 is “This is My Story” Sunday.  We will be hearing from members of our church family as they tell their story of how God has blessed their life.  I am still looking for 1 brave soul who would be willing to share their story.

4.     A couple of reminders:

a.      Please return any borrowed books back to the library in a timely manner. 

b.     Parents – please remind your children that the snack served between SS and the worship service should be enjoyed in the annex, not in the sanctuary (this goes for adults as well!).

5.      Save the Dates:

a.      11/25 & 12/2 – Sunday School Elective on Grandparenting. 

b.     12/2 – Annual Christmas Cantata and Fellowship Meal.

c.      12/24 – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6 pm.

 This Sunday we will conclude our journey through the book of Nehemiah. With all the celebrating that the people of Jerusalem have done you might think that their revival lasted for generations, but that was not the case.  In fact, it took only 2 years or so before they completely returned to their old ways.  We will be looking at Nehemiah’s response to their backsliding and seeing why it is necessary to be constantly purifying our lives.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday!

 

Scott

A Fair Question

Good morning,

On Monday night Greg and I headed over to Conestoga Valley High School for the annual college fair.  The main gymnasium was filled with rows and rows of tables and stationed behind each table was a representative for a college.  Many of the colleges are located close by, but others are quite a distance away from Lancaster County (there were reps there from the University of Alabama and the University of South Carolina, for example).  Greg and I stopped and talked with the reps from the colleges that he might be interested in attending.

Some of the reps were very knowledgeable about their college.  They answered all our questions and added helpful information that we didn’t think to ask about.  They were also very excited to tell us about their college. 

Some of the reps, however, were a bit less helpful and a bit less excited.  Perhaps they were having a bad day, or something else was going on in their lives that was sort of distracting them, but they didn’t give a good impression about their school.

The experience got me thinking….

There really isn’t a Lancaster County church fair, (although that would admittedly be something that would be very interesting to attend) but in a very real sense we are all “reps” for our church.  What would your response be if someone asked you about Ebezener Church?  Would you be able to answer their questions?  Would you be excited to tell them about what is happening here at church?  How good of a “rep” would you be for the church?

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      There will be a Budget Meeting tonight, November 7th at 6:30 at the church.

2.     THIS SUNDAY, 11/11 is our Day of Giving.  We will once again be collect big cans of food for Stoneridge Retirement Home and small cans of food for CVCCS.  This will also be the morning that the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes are collected!  In addition to all of that, we will be taking a special offering (during our normal offering) to give to Mennonite Disaster Services for hurricane relief in the Florida panhandle.

3.      THIS SUNDAY is ALSO our annual Thanksgiving fellowship meal after the service.  Please bring your favorite dessert (homemade or from your favorite bakery) to share at the meal. 

4.     Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata continues every Monday night at 7pm.

5.      West Earl Fire Company is holding a breakfast on November 17 from 6-10 am. Great opportunity to fellowship with your neighbors and support the fire company!

6.     11/25 is “This is My Story” Sunday.  We will be hearing from members of our church family as they tell their story of how God has blessed their life.  I am still looking for 1 brave soul who would be willing to share their story.

7.      A couple of reminders:

a.      Please return any borrowed books back to the library in a timely manner. 

b.     Parents – please remind your children that the snack served between SS and the worship service should be enjoyed in the annex, not in the sanctuary (this goes for adults as well!).

8.     Save the Dates:

a.      11/25 & 12/2 – Sunday School Elective on Grandparenting. 

b.     12/2 – Annual Christmas Cantata and Fellowship Meal.

c.      12/24 – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6 pm.

 Our passage for this Sunday is Nehemiah 11 & 12, although we will be focusing mainly on 11:1-2.  At this point in the story of Nehemiah the city of Jerusalem is in pretty good shape.  The walls are rebuilt, the gates are in place and the temple is ready to hold daily worship services again.  Only one thing is missing – the people!  We will be taking a deep dive into Nehemiah’s plan to repopulate Jerusalem and discuss why that was so important.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday!

 

Scott

It's the busiest time of the church year!

Good morning,

There is A LOT happening over the coming weeks and months at Ebenezer…and we need some help to make everything happen.  Please read through the announcements and see where you can connect!

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      TONIGHT – Ebenezer At Home - There will be an organizational/training meeting from 6:30 -7:30 in the annex for anyone interested being a part of the visitation team.  I’ll be sharing some thoughts on what to do (and what to avoid) during a visit and talking about how to respond to delicate situations when visiting someone.

2.     Joanne Swords-Wang would like to meet with the kids after the worship service on Sunday to go over the songs they’ll be a part of for the Christmas Cantata.

3.      Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata continues every Monday night at 7pm.

4.     Harvest Fest prep work continues this Thursday night from 6:30-8pm.  The big event is on 10/25.  We could use a few more folks to help out on the 25th with running the games.

5.      We are also collecting candy for the Harvest Fest.  You can place it next to our usual food collection box for CVCCS.

6.     We are designating, Sunday 11/11 as a Day of Giving.  We will once again be collect big cans of food for Stoneridge Retirement Home and small cans of food for CVCCS.  This will also be the morning that the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes are collected!  We will begin collecting these items on 10/28.  In addition to all of that, we will be taking a special offering (during our normal offering) to give to Mennonite Disaster Services for hurricane relief in the Florida panhandle.

7.      11/11 is ALSO our annual Thanksgiving fellowship meal after the service.  Please bring your favorite dessert (homemade or from your favorite bakery) to share at the meal.  Our kitchen committee has a number of members who are dealing with some health issues.  We REALLY need some help with this meal and the fellowship meal after the Cantata on 12/2.  If you are able and willing to help please see Elaine Quigley.

8.     We are in need of some additional ushers for 2019.  Please see Eric Echternach or Barry Imhoff if you would be willing to usher.

9.     Our ongoing need for nursery workers is getting to a critical point.  The Ministry Council has approved hiring some PT nursery workers for two Sundays a month starting in 2019.  We hope that this will be a temporary situation.  We will be advertising the positions on the LBC job board to start our search.

Our passage for this Sunday is Nehemiah 8.  The walls of the Jerusalem have been restored, but the people still need to experience restoration in their relationship with God.  We’ll be looking at how Nehemiah leads them through that process. 

We are planning a very celebratory service on Sunday, with lots of opportunities to offer praise to God!  Come ready to sing, come ready to smile, and come ready to celebrate our awesome and mighty Lord.  You won’t want to miss this service, and don’t forget to invite a friend!

 

Scott

A Few Thoughts On Music...

Good morning,

You’ve probably noticed I have introduced quite a few new songs to our worship services over the past few weeks and months.  Here at Ebenezer we sort of have an established “tradition” of the pastor choosing the final song of the worship service.  I thought I would take a moment to share some of my thoughts that guide my selection process.

The first thing I strive to do is to pick a song with words that fit with that morning’s message.  I view that time as a way for the congregation to respond to the message that I believe God has for us that morning.  I will often read through the lyrics of multiple songs and prayerfully consider which one I believe will best help us affirm God’s calling to us.

I also consider the tempo and music of the song.  Is it upbeat and celebratory, or is it more quiet and reflective?  What music best reflects of the “mood” of the morning?

Lastly, I look at what we have sung recently in our worship services.  It is tough to balance singing a song frequently enough that it is familiar to us and infrequently enough that it is memorable when we sing!  If you would look at the music for our worship services over the past couple of years, you would find that most mornings we sing a hymn, an older praise song or two, and a more contemporary praise song or two.  I think our worship committee does a great job of finding the right balance!

So, that’s roughly my thinking, although I’ll admit that my personal preferences can’t help but come into play as well.  Whenever I do choose a new song, I’ll try to continue to have the lyrics printed on the bulletin insert, so if it isn’t familiar you can read along as we sing.  I know that following a new song from the screen up front can be a bit challenging.

Here at Ebenezer we have a blended worship service, one that continues to cherish the hymns of the faith while also recognizing that God is still gifting men and women to write and play moving works that allow us to express our faith and gratitude to God in song.  I trust that we will continue to have such a worship service for a long time to come…long enough that “Diamonds” by Hawk Nelson is one day considered an old song!

And although I can’t say for sure what song I will pick this week…I’m pretty sure it is going to have something to with Victory in Jesus!

Here’s what’s happening…

1.      Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata continues every Monday night at 7pm.

2.     Harvest Fest prep work begins this Thursday night from 6:30-8pm.  The big event is on 10/25.  We are also collecting candy for the Harvest Fest.  You can place it next to our usual food collection box for CVCCS.

3.      Worship Committee meeting this Thursday at 6:30 pm.

4.     Sunday, 10/7 is a Communion Sunday.

5.      On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

6.     Ministry Council Meeting on Tuesday, 10/9.

7.      Congregational Life Commission Meeting on Tuesday, 10/16.

8.     Ebenezer At Home - There will be an organizational/training meeting on Wednesday, October 17 from 6:30 -7:30 in the annex for anyone interested being a part of the visitation team.  I’ll be sharing some thoughts on what to do (and what to avoid) during a visit and talking about how to respond to delicate situations when visiting someone.

9.     It’s Operation Christmas Child time again…we will be collect shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse on November 11.

 Our passage for this Sunday is Nehemiah 5.  Nehemiah is faced with another challenge as he seeks to lead the rebuild of Jerusalem.  The poor of the land are being oppressed…by their own people.  We’ll be looking at how he handles the situation and learning what God expects of us in similar circumstances.

Scott

Praying for Our Schools

Good morning,

This morning was “See You At the Pole” day at our schools.  This is a national initiative that calls for students to meet around the flag pole before school for a time a worship and prayer.  Several such gatherings happened at Conestoga Valley schools today.  This is a great reminder that just as the students, parents, and teachers are praying for their schools, we should be praying for them!

This seems like a great time to highlight some pretty awesome things that are happening in our local public schools:

Bible Adventure – This ministry (formerly called Released Time) happens during the school day.  We, of course, host the Brownstown Elementary group.  A number of “Ebenezer” kids come to Bible Adventure.

Bible2School – Similar to Bible Adventure, this ministry also meets during the school day.  There is Bible2School groups meeting at Smoketown Elementary.

Good News Clubs – This is another elementary school ministry.  Good News Clubs meet after school at Leola, Fritz, and Smoketown.

All-Pro Dads/iMoms – This is a before-school breakfast ministry that encourages kids and their parents to connect at a deeper level.  It is what I call “covertly Christian,” meaning that although Scripture isn’t quoted during the gatherings, the principles discussed are very much Biblically-based.  Breakfasts are held monthly at every elementary school in CV!

I have personally served in all of these ministries (except Bible2School) at one time or another and can confidently say that they are all doing great work.  Trent goes to Bible2School at Smoketown and loves it.

But wait, there’s more!

FCS – This is a before school gathering at CV Middle School.  FCS meets every Thursday morning.  It is completely student-led!  Talk to Abby to learn more about FCS.

FOCUS – This is the student-led evangelical Christian club at CV High School.  FOCUS meets before school on Friday mornings and is very active in the High School.  Greg can tell you about all that is happening in FOCUS.

Let’s be in prayer for all of these groups and especially for their leaders.  Being an evangelical ministry at a public school has its challenges (although CV is more accommodating than most), and all of these groups deal with some obstacles as they seek to proclaim the name of Jesus and the truth that the Bible is the Word of God!

Here’s what’s happening…we have officially hit the fall “busy season”:

1.      Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata starts up THIS MONDAY, October 1st at 7pm.

2.     Harvest Fest prep work will be on Thursday night’s from 6:30-8pm beginning NEXT WEEK on 10/4.  The big event is on 10/25.

3.      Worship Committee meeting on 10/4 at 6:30 pm.

4.     Sunday, 10/7 is a Communion Sunday.

5.      On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

6.     Ministry Council Meeting on Tuesday, 10/9.

7.      Congregational Life Commission Meeting on Tuesday, 10/16.

8.     Ebenezer At Home - There will be an organizational/training meeting on Wednesday, October 17 from 6:30 -7:30 in the annex for anyone interested being a part of the visitation team.  I’ll be sharing some thoughts on what to do (and what to avoid) during a visit and talking about how to respond to delicate situations when visiting someone.

 Our passage for this Sunday is Nehemiah 4.  The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem is rolling along, but not without some significant challenges for Nehemiah to deal with.  If you know of someone who is facing a rebuild in life and is feeling frustrated and defeated (or is “sick and tired of being sick and tired”), this week would be an awesome week for you to invite them to join you at Ebenezer.

Scott

Helping Folks Flourish After Florence

Good morning,

Well, the remnants of Hurricane Florence have come and gone.  Thankfully, the feared predictions of heavy rains did not happen in Lancaster County.  I was even able to mow the lawn Tuesday night!

However, there has been a lot of damage in the Carolinas from the storm.  The cleanup has started as the waters have begun to recede.  This Sunday we will take a special offering to help those affected by the storm.  Any gifts received will be given to Mennonite Disaster Services, which is headquartered here in Lancaster.  We have given to MDS before, and while there are many good relief organizations out there, MDS is one of the absolute best in my opinion. 

There is also the possibility of one or two of our fellow E.C. churches sending a work team to the Carolinas in the next couple of months.  If that happens, we will provide an opportunity to support that work as well.

As always, if at all possible please write a separate check or place your gift in a separate envelope marked “MDS.”  It is much easier for the offering counters when you do that, and we want to make sure that MDS gets all the given funds.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.     Sunday, 10/7 is a Communion Sunday.

2.     Harvest Fest prep work will be on Thursday night’s from 6:30-8pm beginning on 10/4.  The big event is on 10/25.

3.     On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

4.     Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata starts up on Monday, October 1st at 7pm.

5.     Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services has two openings – a ministry coordinator position at their Lebanon office and an administrative assistant position at the Columbia location.  If you or someone you know might be interested…go to www.svps.org.

 This week we will be looking at Nehemiah 3.  If you are doing one of those “read through the Bible in a year” plans, this is one of those chapters that many folks sort of gloss over.  It’s a list of all the people who helped lead the rebuilding of the walls.   It’s full of a lot of hard to pronounce names, and on the surface there would seem to be little we can learn from it.  If we dig a bit deeper, however, I think there is actually a whole lot for us in chapter 3!  If you know of someone who is struggling with guilt over past sins, I would encourage you to invite them to join you on Sunday!

Scott

Keys to the Kingdom

Good morning,

A somewhat significant change is in the works in regard to the security of our church building.  At the last Ministry Council meeting we discussed and approved having the locks to the outside doors of the church building be “rekeyed” and in some cases upgraded.  Thankfully, it appears that we will not have to modify the older wooden doors to do this. 

So why are we doing this?  There are a few reasons.  Currently there are 3 different keys to the outside doors of the church.  Rekeying will allow us to have 1 key for all the doors, which will eliminate some hassle.  But the main reason we are doing it is because of building security.  Like in many churches, keys to the church have been given out to whoever needed one at the time.  Some of those folks still attend Ebenezer, but others have moved on to other churches and may or have may not turned their keys back in.  Additionally, we have had other groups and churches use our building regularly, and keys have been made for those groups.  Some (not all, but some) of those groups made additional copies of the keys for their folks.

All of this is concerning in that we have no way of knowing exactly who has a key to the church.  It’s unfortunate, but in 2018 this is an issue.  I wish it wasn’t the case.  When I was growing up Memorial UMC was never locked.  But that changed after some teenagers snuck in and ransacked the downstairs (thankfully they didn’t touch the sanctuary).

So, here’s the plan.  Once the locks have been rekeyed (the date hasn’t been set yet), we’ll distribute a new key to the active church members who need one.   When we do that we are going to mark down the key # on a list so we have a record of who has one.  That way, if there ever is an issue, we know who has a key.

I hope there is never an issue where we need to check the “key list,” but we do want to be good stewards of the building that God has blessed us with.  If anyone has a question or concern about this feel free to see me.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.     Please be in prayer for the Bible Adventure program that starts up this tomorrow (Thursday).  We are expecting another huge group of kids this year!

2.     There will be a brief meeting after church THIS SUNDAY, 9/16 in the annex to introduce our new visitation ministry “Ebenezer At Home.”  This meeting is for anyone who might be interested in being a part of the ministry and visiting our at-home church members.  Coming to the meeting DOES NOT mean that you are committing to the ministry, it is just for informational purposes!  We will be done by about 11:45.

3.     On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

4.     Choir Practice for the Christmas Cantata starts up on Monday, October 1st at 7pm.

5.     To be put on your calendars – Harvest Fest this year is on October 25.

 This week we will be looking at Nehemiah 2 and how he starts the monumental rebuilding project that God calls him to lead.  If you have someone in your life that is facing a rebuild in life and doesn’t know how to get started, this would be a great week to invite them to join you at Ebenezer.  If you missed last week’s sermon, I would encourage you to get caught up by listening to it from our website.

Scott

Nehemiah - The Man with a Plan

Good afternoon,

Thanks to everyone who gave diapers, baby wipes, and all the other baby essentials for Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services.  They were beyond thrilled when I dropped everything off this morning!  What a tremendous blessing to be able to partner with SVPS as they share the love of Christ to single moms.

This Sunday we begin our fall (even though we are in the middle of a heat wave) sermon series on the book of Nehemiah and our focus for this Sunday will be the idea of having a purpose in life.  I have found that the lack of purpose is the cause for a lot of discontentment and strife in the world today.  Many people, especially young people, just don’t seem to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning and just sort of go through the motions of life.  This lack of purpose can lead to all sort of dangerous paths.

But here’s the deal – it’s not just the young people that struggle with the lack of purpose!  In fact, one of the stages of life that the struggle is the most real is right after a person retires!  If you know of someone who is struggling with finding their purpose in life, this Sunday would be a great opportunity to invite them to worship with us at Ebenezer.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.     We now have a TV and DVD player in the nursery to use when it is time for the little ones to take a break (or for the workers to have a break!).  We could use some DVD’s to keep in the nursery. 

2.     Bible Adventure (formerly Released Time) starts back on Thursday, September 13.

3.     There will be a brief meeting after church on Sunday, 9/16 in the annex to introduce our new visitation ministry “Ebenezer At Home.”  This meeting is for anyone who might be interested in being a part of the ministry and visiting our at-home church members.  Coming to the meeting DOES NOT mean that you are committing to the ministry, it is just for informational purposes!  We will be done by about 11:45.

4.     On Sunday, October 7 there will be a light lunch served in the fellowship hall for all who are new to Ebenezer and would like to learn more about our church, our denomination, and our vision for the future!  If you are thinking about connecting at Ebenezer at a deeper level, this lunch is for YOU!  Please let me know if you are coming so we can have plenty of food.  We will be done by 12:45.

5.     To be put on your calendars – Harvest Fest this year is on October 25.

6.     We found 3 rings downstairs in kitchen this week.  If they are yours and you can identify the country of origin of the stones in them, please see me.

Looking forward to cooler temperatures,

Scott

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Good afternoon,

As you have undoubtedly noticed, this summer has brought a tremendous amount of rain and humidity to Lancaster County, and it has caused some real issues for people.  There has been lots of flooding and property damage.  Sinkholes have opened up all over, including a major one at Tanger Outlets.  The most recent ramifications of all this moisture has been the discovery of mold at Smoketown Elementary and, as of last night (Monday), mold at Brownstown Elementary as well.

This is not the start of the school year that anyone at Conestoga Valley would have wanted, as both elementary schools are now delayed in starting the school year.  The presence of mold in these schools is causing massive disruptions to lives of the teachers, administrators and support staff, and has caused a lot of headaches for parents as well.

I want to let you know that I have reached out to Dr. Graybill (Principal at Brownstown) to offer our support and prayers and asked him to let me know if there is something that Ebenezer can do to support the school during chaotic time.  If there is a need, I will certainly pass it along.

Last week I asked you to join me in praying for our schools and our students…this week I’m going to ask for continued prayers!

Here’s what’s happening:

1.      Ministry Council Meeting this Monday, August 27 at 6:30pm at the church.

2.      Congregational Life Committee Meeting this Wednesday, August 29 at 6:30pm at the church.

3.      Bible Adventure (formerly Released Time) starts back on Thursday, September 13.

4.      Adult SS Classes resume on Sunday, 9/9.

5.      We are collecting diapers, wipes, and other baby items through Labor Day weekend in support of Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services.  Thanks to everyone who had already donated, the table in the sanctuary is quite full! 

I invite you to read 2 John this week in preparation for Sunday morning.  Last week I advised wearing steel-tipped shoes to the service, but this week your best pair of “walking” shoes will do just fine!!

Scott

 

 

Back to School

Good morning,

Two weeks of Rawlinsville Camp Meeting have come and gone.  Thanks again to everyone for being so understanding of my need to be there so much this year.  Without going into too much detail, God allowed for Camp Meeting to be full of leadership challenges but also moved in a mighty way.  21 children and 5 youth accepted Jesus as their Savior at Rawlinsville and many adults were encouraged and strengthened in their faith!

This coming Tuesday morning the “big yellow fellow” will once again come down Jarvis Road and Mary & I will send three children off to school.  This moment will be repeated throughout Conestoga Valley and numerous other school districts and private schools. Home schoolers will also be resuming their studies. 

The beginning of the school year always triggers an emotional response from me, because each year marks another year of my kids’ growing up.  Greg is a Junior at CVHS this year (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??), which means that this is the second-to-last “First Day of School” that we have with him.

Like many parents, I worry about my kids when they are at school.  Not about their education (CV is great school district), but about their hearts.  As many of you know, school can be a place where tender hearts are wounded, scarred, and even crushed.  Our kids and grandkids deal with things in schools today that we couldn’t have fathomed a generation ago.

And yet, our schools are simply a reflection of our culture.  If we are going to help our kids and grandkids to be “in the world but not of the world” (as we studied a few weeks ago), then we need to come alongside them and help them be the young men and women that God wants them to be.  We also need to be in constant prayer for them!

I’ll be spending some time in prayer for our schools on Tuesday.  I hope that you will join me.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.      Thanks to Elaine Quigley for cleaning and reorganizing the kitchen pantry downstairs.  It was a needed job and it looks great!

2.      This week is “Back to School” Sunday.  We will be having a special time of prayer for all those returning to school (teachers, support staff, students, etc…). 

3.      Back to school also means that the return of Released Time is also approaching.  Released Time has been given a new name – Bible Adventure Club.  If anyone is interested in helping please see me, we are always looking for more volunteers.  Last year we had over 90 kids come each week!  Bible Adventure meets weekly on Thursdays.  For volunteers the time commitment is from about 1:30 – 3:30 pm.

4.      Thanks to everyone to helped us have another successful summer lunch program! 

I invite you to read 1 John 5:1-5 this week in preparation for Sunday morning.  Although I hope to deliver the morning message with grace and compassion, you might want to wear your steel-tipped shoes.  Trust me, I’ll be stepping on my own toes more than anyone else’s!

Scott

Back In the Saddle

Good morning,
I am back in the saddle this week after a wonderful family trip to Acadia National Park in Maine.  Thanks to Neil Deibler for speaking on 7/8 and to Charlie Szasz and Ed Strausser for the “running the show” while I was away!
Our time in Maine was a reminder of God’s amazing creation.  We saw whales, seals, porpoises, deer, about a million small red squirrels and so many different birds and sea creatures that I couldn’t possibly remember the names to them all.  We saw the sun rise from the top of a mountain and returned at night to see more stars than I have ever seen before.  We saw the tide rise and fall 12-14 feet each day.  We walked across temporary land bridges.  We saw many spots were God told the sea “that’s as far as you go.”
While in Maine I thought of the passage found in Job 38-39 where God reminds Job that He and He alone is the Creator of all things.  What an amazing God we serve!
Two other passages also came to mind during our time in Maine:
Psalm 96:11-12 “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”
Psalm 104:24-25 “How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.”
Here’s what’s happening:
We are in our annual “summer lull” here are Ebenezer.  I trust that everyone is able to recharge their ministry batteries over the next few weeks:
1.    We have new sidewalks!  The company that we contracted with to replace our new sidewalks wasn’t scheduled to come until the fall, but they decided to bump up our project in their schedule.  Thanks to Dave Ressler for coordinating the work.
2.    The Summer Lunch program continues here at Ebenezer on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 11:30am – 12:30pm.  Free lunches are served to all children who come!
3.    Camp Meeting Season is quickly approaching.  Rosedale Camp Grove begins on Sunday, July 29 at 6:30pm with their opening service and continues each day through Friday, August 3rd.  Rawlinsville Camp Meeting begins Monday, July 30th at 7:30 pm and continues each day through Sunday, August 12th. 

This Sunday we begin our summer sermon series on the Letters of John.  These 3 small books found in the back of the New Testament are often overlooked, but they were critical to the protection and growth of the fledgling early church.  I’ve titled this series “Authentic Christianity.”  I’m afraid it isn’t a very original title, pastors often use it when preaching a sermon series from one of the New Testament Epistles because they all contain instructions for genuine Christian living.

I invite you to read 1 John 1:1-10 this week.  John and his brother James were famously given the nickname “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus and we’ll see why within the first few verses of this letter!

Scott
 

Christians as Citizens

Good morning,

I cannot recall a time in my life when there was as much anger and vitriol in our society as there is today.  Now, I was born in 1974, so perhaps some of you may think otherwise about that, but I think we can all agree that “we the people” are angry.  And yet no one seems to be able to agree as to what to do about it.

So, we see violent protests and demonstrations.  We see property being damaged indiscriminately.  We see our supposed leaders shouting at one another and over one another and resorting to name calling, labelling, demonizing their opponents, and casting blame everywhere else.  I’m certainly not blaming any one group or individual person, because it is EVERYWHERE, including those who would proclaim Jesus Christ as their Savior.

I loathe politics. Aside from encouraging people to vote (but never how they should vote), I very rarely talk political things on a Sunday morning, because I believe the focus of our worship service should always be on praising God and celebrating our victory in Jesus.  Yet I also feel compelled as your pastor to provide some guidance on how I believe God wants Christians to behave publicly as citizens.  So, this Sunday during the Sunday School hour we will be looking at Paul’s instructions to Titus about this very topic (found in Titus 3).  Titus was trying to minister on the island of Crete, in a culture that has some striking similarities to ours.  I believe this short passage has much to teach us!

If the Sunday School hour isn’t a typical part of your Sunday morning at Ebenezer, I would invite you to make an exception on Sunday and join us.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.       We will be celebrating Holy Communion together this Sunday.  We will also be dedicating a new pulpit in honor and memory of Barry Zimmerman.

2.      Weekly announcement emails will once again be a bit more sporadic over the next few of weeks, as my family enjoys our summer vacation and Rawlinsville Camp Meeting.

3.      Speaking of vacationing, I will be out of the office from 7/5- 7/15 as we pack up the minivan and head out for a week in Maine.  If there is a pastoral emergency while I am away, please contact a member of our PRC (Ed Strausser, Charlie Szasz, & Cathy Ressler).  Pastor Joel Kime from Faith E.C. Church is available in such a situation.

4.      Upcoming Guest Speakers:  Neil Deibler on 7/8 and Marysue Ruth from Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services on 7/15.

5.      Camp Meeting Season is quickly approaching.  Rosedale Camp Grove begins on Sunday, July 29 at 6:30pm with their opening service and continues each day through Friday, August 3rd.  Rawlinsville Camp Meeting begins Monday, July 30th at 7:30 pm and continues each day through Sunday, August 12th.

This Sunday we conclude our sermon series on Esther.  I trust you’ve enjoyed our journey through one of the wildest stories in the Bible!  Appropriately enough, our focus on Sunday will be celebrating.  What should we be celebrating?  Why should we be celebrating? How should we be celebrating?  How often should we be celebrating?  We will be answering those questions and more!  It’s going to be a wonderful morning, I hope to see you!

Scott

Recapping VBS

Good morning,

Instead of trying to recap all that happened last week, here is:

VBS by the Numbers

52 – The total number of kids who came to at least one night of VBS this year.

21 – The number of kids who came all five nights of VBS.

40 – The number of kids who do not regularly attend Ebenezer.  What a tremendous outreach!

40+ - The number of volunteers during VBS week.  Thank you!  We couldn’t do it without you!

897 – The number of dollars given for our VBS Missions project.  Thank you!  Randy and Chris Amberman greatly appreciate your gifts!

1 – The number of nights Pastor Scott lost his voice during the opening.  I’m glad VBS is only one week!

4 – The number of awesome murals that were painted by the kids during craft time.

1 – The number of nights the tech wasn’t working.  Thanks for scrambling and getting it going again Lloyd!

5 – The number of nights of beautiful weather during VBS.  THANK YOU LORD!

80+ - The approximate number of “people hours” that it took to create and hang all the church decorations for VBS.  Thank you to everyone who helped!

3 – The number of confused children who actually thought we were going to have chow chow pizza on Friday night.  I mean, we are in PA Dutch country, I guess it’s a possibility!

Immeasurable – Both the kingdom impact and blessings that come from a great week of VBS.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.       Ministry Council Meeting this Tuesday at 6:30 pm at the church.

2.      Sunday 7/1 is a Communion Sunday.

3.      We collected $947 at the auction during the church picnic.  Thank you!  We will be using those funds for sidewalk repair.

4.      Ladies – If you would like an official “Ebenezer” pen, please let me know.  I had no idea how popular they were going to be!

This Sunday, as we are looking at the events of the first half of Esther chapter 9.  Passages with violence in them like this one can be uncomfortable for some and can even keep people from trusting in Jesus.   If you of someone who feels like this, please invite them to join you on Sunday.  I’m going to (try to) address those concerns and give a strong invitation to receive Jesus as Lord!

Scott

Happy (Complicated) Holidays!

Good morning,

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make our church picnic a success this year…and let’s pray that we will be able to be back in the park next year!

You’ve probably noticed that we’ve celebrated holidays at Ebenezer a little differently than we have in the past.  With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on holidays and worship services. 

Let me begin by saying that there isn’t a “right” and “wrong” way for churches to celebrate our national holidays like Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, and so on.  Every church and every pastor plans services a little differently, and that’s OK!

What I have found in my time in ministry is that almost every holiday evokes some different reactions from people.  Some folks, for example, love to celebrate Mother’s Day, while others just try to get through the day.  Almost everyone has a holiday or two that are just…complicated.  I do too! 

Because of this reality, some churches have stopped celebrating holidays altogether (except for Easter and Christmas, of course).  While I understand their reasoning, I think its’ better to have balance be the goal – keeping the focus of the worship service on God and celebrating “Victory in Jesus,” while also acknowledging whatever occasion it happens to be.  Finding that balance is not easy, and I imagine that we’ll continue to find our way. 

So if Father’s Day is a complicated day for you…I want you to join us on Sunday.  We’ll have a special prayer for fathers and a couple of other fun ways to honor the men in our lives, but the focus of our time together will be on worshiping our Heavenly Father.

Here’s what’s happening:

1.       VBS Week is in full swing!  We have about 42 kids coming to the church each night!  I encourage you to swing by the church during the evening this week to check out all the action!  We could use a few extra “support” folks on Thursday and Friday nights!  I can’t stop using exclamation points!

2.      Our VBS Missions project this year is support Randy and Chris Amberman, who are missionaries to the Navajo people out in New Mexico.  We are collecting money throughout the week to help pay for some new playground equipment at their ministry center.  If you would like to contribute, please place your gift in the offering plate this week and mark it “Amberman.”  As always, please use a separate envelope or check if at all possible.

3.      Thanks to everyone who checked their directory information on Sunday.  We are off to a great start in updating it!   If you didn’t get a chance to do so, please check it this week to make sure we have the correct information for you.

4.      We will be “de-decorating” the church on Monday night from 6:30 – 8 pm.  We could really use some extra hands to do so.

I hope that you can join us this Sunday, as we are looking at the events of Esther 8 and discussing what it looks like to wait upon the Lord.  If you know of someone who is really struggling with being patient in the midst of a trial, please invite them to join you on Sunday.  I think that they will find our time to be very encouraging!

Scott