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Monthly Newsletter for June 2002

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The Pastor’s Pen 

As we have become busier & more preoccupied with our own pursuits, I fear an identifying trait of modern Christians has become an endangered species.  It is that characteristic of love and discipleship called “hospitality”. 

Paul reminded the Church at Rome of the importance of this Godly trait. 

Rom 12:10-13

10        Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11        Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12            Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13            Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. (KJV) 

This is a trait embraced by those who find themselves surrounded with friends. 

Prov 18:24            A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  (KJV) 

Friendship is indeed a two-way street.  If only one half of the friendship is hospitable, with all acts of love & charitableness  coming from one direction, the friendship is doomed for extinction.  For hospitality is but another manifestation of love…… and therefore, GOD! 

1 Pet 4:8-9

8          Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

9          Be hospitable to one another without complaint. (NAS)

All goodness and love comes from God, and when we share in His goodness and love, through an act of kindness to another, we are moving towards the ultimate good: a new and everlasting “Godly” life. No wonder good deeds seem so noble and lofty to us! They are a response to the graciousness, which God has shown us.

True Christian hospitality is a sign of the Kingdom to come. Hospitality is an attitude long before it becomes an action: it is an attitude of welcome, of compassion, of understanding—the opposite of preoccupation with self. And it helps us understand God’s gracious and welcoming ways with us.

God has been telling us for a long time that the door is always open. In fact, Jesus said: “I am the door,” and “he who welcomes you, any of you, welcomes Me.” Our doors should be open in Christian hospitality, not closed to “keep out all who may come”, all who may disturb our selfish little world and impose upon “our time”.

Jesus informs us as to our duty.  

Matt 5:13            Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  (KJV)

Matt 5:14            Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  (KJV) 

 That is our Christian responsibility. We are a people with a Mission, and we worship together not only for what we can get out of it, but also to be prepared for our ministry of salt and light.

Jesus' loyal disciples shine before others so that we may fulfill the words of Jesus, our Lord.  

Matt 5:16             Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  (KJV)  

Each of us is called to be a gracious dispenser of God's hospitality. So, lets see, when’s the last time you had a brother or sister in Christ over for some HOSPITALITY”??  

In Christ’s service, 

Jeff Booth    

How valuable is your word? 

I recently read a very challenging story.  Those of you, who subscribe to “Chicken Soup For the Soul”, will remember the story of a harvest moon.  For those whom do not I will give you a very short summary. 

The story takes place many years ago in what we call a simpler time.  An elderly gentleman farmer raised a small crop of corn each year, and had an old one-row pull behind corn picker, which was not in very good repair.  With this antiquated piece of equipment he not only picked his own small crop, but had historically also picked another farmer’s small crop.  This was a time when neighbors helped one another as a matter of practice.   

I say this individual was a gentleman farmer, because he also held a full time job at a local factory, and served his church as a country pastor.  He was considered a good neighbor, hard worker, and some one who always honored his word. 

The year in question found him having to work overtime in order to retain his factory job, and as circumstances would dictate was also when the old corn picker finally broke down.  Needed parts were not carried for this old equipment, and could not be readily found.  The factory job required very long days, and time was running out.  He had after all given his word to his neighbor. 

Now for most people, many of us included; we would have simply called up the neighbor and explained the situation.  After all one could reason nothing could have been done to foresee the demise of the corn picker. 

But I come back to the question – how valuable is our word?  Do we hold our word in high esteem?  Is it important to us that we always keep our word?  Giving our word, our verbal promise should be very important, but unfortunately in today’s society for all too many their word is of no value. 

Back to the story of the gentleman farmer, in spite of a broken down picker, in spite of having to work from dawn to dusk at the factory, he was determined to honor his word.  After all someone was depending on him, he could not give up and allow his neighbors crop to rot in the field. 

Consulting the Almanac he discovered there was one full moon left that month.  Called the harvest moon, because it gave farmers more light and time to harvest remaining crops.  So in spite of all the problems, this elderly man honored his word, he harvested his neighbor’s small crop by hand, by the harvest moon. 

This is an example of someone who valued their word, it was important to them.  I am sure that if he had explained to his neighbor that his picker was broken, any reasonable individual would have understood.  No one would have thought less of him.  Yet he would have known, I didn’t do what I said I would.  This single factor was important. 

Jesus gave simple instruction regarding our word.

Mt.5:37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil.

The apostle James put the same thing in a little different light. 

Ja.5:12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgment. 

As the Feast of Tabernacles (the harvest moon) is only 4 short months away, I hope you will remember this challenging story of someone whose word was valuable.  When you look to the sky and see the harvest moon, be sure to make your word valuable.  Don’t give your word lightly, and don’t take it lightly; our word is very valuable, it is a reflection of our character. 

Joe Kirkpatrick 

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