It’s been raining a lot lately! And even when it wasn’t direct rain, a fog and light misting have been lingering around. The ground has been so soaked that an iron birdfeeder pole in my front yard has fallen over. As I looked at it, I thought about the ground being so saturated that the pole just gave way. But the ground does need the rain.
And then I thought about the snow that has blanketed the Northeast. Sometimes in the stillness of winter, when the world is covered in white, we are reminded that life is finite. At some point, everything that is alive will wither, fade, and give way to death.
But as believers, we know that that’s not the end of the story. And even those who aren’t Christians know one thing for sure - Spring will come! Could it be that the ground has to go through its own type of suffering in order to bring forth new life? Does everything have to die in order to live again? That’s certainly how it is for those who believe in Jesus!
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
We go through all kinds of trouble on this earth. Sometimes it seems as though raindrops keep falling on our heads, our finances, and our health. Or maybe we feel the bleakness of winter troubling our souls. Joy and hope seem like a distant memory, and we want to cry out, “Enough!”
It is in these times of trials that our faith gets forged. No one wants to go through the suffering, but we have this promise from God:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57
What victory? I’m glad you asked…
“I [Jesus] have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Suffering, not even death, has a hold on the believer. Jesus has not only conquered our afflictions, but He’s conquered death itself! And it is our faith in an infinite God that promises life without end, eternal life. We trust that one day this perishable body will be glorified and take on imperishability and we will dwell with the Lord forever! New Life!
To be born again implies a dying of the old life, and a transformation into a new life. But we don’t have to wait until death to experience new life. When Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born again, He meant in the here and the now; while we are yet alive we are to experience new life in Christ Jesus. But how? And how can we know for sure whether we have it or not?
Join us on Sunday as we continue our All Things New sermon series by looking at New Life: Adopted. We have been adopted into a new family, the family of God. And that changes everything! I hope to see you there.
Book Drive Our service goal this year, as in past years, is to partner with Union Memorial UMC to collect as many books as we can and donate them to Pierre Laclede School! The books we collect should either be written by African Americans or written for African American students. The students are elementary and middle schoolers, and they especially need books for the older boys. The collection has started and will continue to the end of February.
Leadership Training for the Leadership Board and Nominations Team will be on Saturday, January 27, from 10am-2pm, in the MPR. We will once again do it jointly with Union Memorial UMC.
State of the Church will be on Saturday, February 3, 10am. This will give the year-end updates on ministry and finance and look ahead to goals for 2024.
Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day this year, Feb. 14. I can think of no better way to express our love to the Lord and to receive His love back than by the celebration of ashes being imposed on our foreheads. A visible reminder of our humility and Jesus’ great love for us. We will have service at 6:00pm, and possibly a time during the day for the imposition as well.
Women’s Gathering This year we will once again gather as a community of women for the IF:Gathering women’s conference! It will be Friday evening, February 23, and Saturday, February 24. Spirit-filled worship, engaging speakers, and a little sister-time are on the agenda. Registration is $15 and college students are free!
Vision for 2024:
A House United:
Strong Faith, Strong Families, Strong Future!