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Monthly Newsletter for May 2002


The Pastorís Pen  

 

The victory of Calvary leads to the joyous celebration of Pentecost.  Last month we observed the Lordís Passover / Holy Communion service as a memorial of our Passover Lambís loving sacrifice that defeated sin and death!  

1 Cor 15:55-57

55         O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56         The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57         But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV) 

With the gift of grace comes the Holy Spirit and we shall be gathered together May 19th, just as Jesusí believers did the first Pentecost after our saviorís sacrifice, death on the cross, 3 days and nights in the tomb and His triumphant resurrection.

Acts 1:3-9

3          To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

4          And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me;

5          for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

6          And so together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"

7          He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father when they had come has fixed by His own authority;

8          but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

9          And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (NAS) 

Luke describes this momentous Pentecost that Jesus told His disciples to wait for, as the advent of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the Christís New Testament Church in Acts chapter two. 

Acts 2:1-4

1          When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

2            Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3          They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

4          All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  (NIV) 

 This was the fulfillment of Christís promise before His departure. John 14:26           

But the Comforter, (even) the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, it shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. (ASV) 

Let us all share in the joy and comfort of Pentecost as partakers of grace and vessels of the Holy Spirit!  For we are not blessed for ourselves only, but rather that we may be a blessing to others!

 


Are you here? 

Church attendance, a subject worthy of many sermons, yet those who need to hear are not there, and those who hear are already believers. 

The topic is not new; even Moses felt it necessary to address the subject: De.12:5 "But you shall seek the  Lord at the place which the Lord your God shall choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 

There are almost as many views regarding church attendance, as there are Christians.  Some think it is not necessary at all, and refer to themselves as couch potato Christians.  Others who are faithful in attendance often think attendance completes all requirements of Christianity.  Some view attendance as conscience salve, only going often enough to prevent guilt from overwhelming them. 

So I pose a question, why is church attendance important?  Yes, Moses instructed the Israelites to assemble.  And Jesus was in the habit: Lu.4:16  And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 

Biblical example of attendance is only the beginning.  A greater reason to attend is to worship our wonderful God. 

Ps.29:2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in holy array.

Ps.95:6  Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

I find it very difficult to believe that individuals who are poised in front of their TV with a bag of chips and the remote are worshiping God.  Letís not kid on another, worship demands effort and has some outward evidence.  True there may be occasions when we need to be at home on the Sabbath, but under normal circumstances worship requires more than the remote. Fellowship is also a very important part of attendance.  The fact is we all need contact with one another.

Ro.1:12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.

1Jn.1:7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 

Of the many reasons to attend one of the more important is fellowship.  It is at church that our faith is strengthened, that we draw encouragement from one another.  Yes, the sermons are important, and the music is inspiring, but fellowship is everyoneís opportunity to contribute to the worship of God.  

Every single Christian should be in church at every opportunity to fellowship with the saints.  I am convinced that when we decide that worship of God is important to us and we assemble together, we not only make each other happy, we make God happy.  Regular church attendance provides us with learning opportunities, with fellow Christians to help us carry our burden.  Regular church attendance helps every one of us maintain our attitude and focus, providing encouragement and inspiration.  

So I urge you, donít fail to capitalize on this wonderful opportunity to assemble together in worship, encouraging one another.  Heb.10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. 

Church is one place we need to be seen in worship, in fellowship, in service to one another, will you be here? 

                                                       Joe Kirkpatrick 


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