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Monday, 19 October 2020 12:44

October 2020 Newsletter

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Excerpt from Pastor Parsons' article: May I Dwell in the House of the LORD Forever

 

May I Dwell in the House of the LORD Forever

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my
life—of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies
and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though
war break out against me, even then I will be confident. 4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I
seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:1-4)

What a great promise we receive in this message! In all things, in every situation, at all times, God is
our light, our salvation, and our stronghold. Nothing an no one can stand against us and prevail. Yes, our enemies are many, our earthly enemies who stand against God and our faith, as well as our spiritual enemies, Satan and his demons.

Our greatest enemy, the devil, has been working tirelessly to destroy our faith, to cause fear, to cause
doubt, and above all, to lose sight of God’s love for us. On top of all our regular daily struggles and temptations, he is now working through extra-ordinary events surrounding Coronavirus to work against our hearts.

These times have been difficult in their own right, and there has been the added stress on the faith of believers. At times, we feel strong, trusting entirely that God is more powerful than anything, that he rules overall. And he is; he does. Praise God when we run to him for shelter in this storm! But there are other times when we feel a burden on our faith because we aren’t sure what to do, how to react, with everything that is going on. We feel uncertain. We fear what’s happening. We’ve had enough and are ready to move on. There’s a wide range of what we are all experiencing, and at each step, we are tempted to despair.

Though our faith is attacked on many fronts, even seemingly from within, God’s Word is powerful
enough to sustain us in every trial, in every test of our faith. God’s Word shows us the light of his grace that has brought about salvation in Christ Jesus. Our foes, earthly and spiritual, cannot overcome us when we find refuge in our Lord, who is our stronghold.

This leads us to the prayer in verse 4: One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell
in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his
temple. Not only do we offer praise and thanks to God for bringing us to know the forgiveness he has won for us in Christ, but the Spirit moves us to seek continued refuge in the Lord, that we may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of our lives. With this prayer, we are asking for God’s continued protection against our great enemies that we may remain forever in saving faith.

Stand firm; take heart, and in every situation, praise God! Remember the great things he has done and is still doing for you. When you are tempted to despair, that is the best time to delve deeper into God’s Word. There, and only there, can you be strengthened. There, you can find ref-uge from every attack. May God hold you firmly in your faith. Amen

In Christian love,
Pastor Wolf B. Parsons

Monday, 19 October 2020 12:39

September 2020 Newsletter

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Excerpt from Pastor Parsons' article: "We Pray for You"

 

“We Pray for You”

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4
because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s
people – 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and
about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to
you. . . . 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying
for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the
wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of
the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the
knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so
that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of
the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
(Colossians 1:3-6a, 9-14)

Paul rejoiced in hearing of the faith of his fellow believers. He told them so in many
of his letters, including how he prayed that God would continue to work in their hearts to
bring about faith and good works through them. In the same way, I rejoice in each of you,
that God has brought you to the glorious knowledge of his Son, in whom we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins. (vs. 14)

Notice what Paul said in verse 9: “We continually ask God to fill you with the
knowledge of his will . . .” It is a constant prayer because we need constant nourishment
through the Word of God. How wonderful that God offers that life-giving nourishment
freely to us that we may strengthened every day!

It saddens me to think that there are some who do not have regular interaction with God’s Word or with fellow believers who can help to encourage each other as we grow in that Word. I’m talking about believers. We have a number of members of our congregation who do not benefit from the blessings of God’s Word because they do not heed its call. These mem-bers, we call “delinquents” because they have not partaken in worship for a number of weeks by choice.

Monday, 19 October 2020 12:34

August 2020 Newsletter

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Excerpt from Pastor Parsons' article: Give Thanks in All Circumstances

 

Give Thanks in All Circumstances


“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you
in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

These words are part of Paul’s closing to his first letter to the Thessalonian church. They serve as a
reminder of the many blessings we receive from our Lord, not the least of which is the forgiveness and salvation we have through faith in Christ Jesus. That faith, that knowledge, that trust, gives us cause to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances.

And though this may be what you hope to do, it seems difficult at times to find reasons to rejoice and
give thanks. Every day, there are so many reasons we could fall back on and use as excuses not to find joy. What about this great illness sweeping the nation? Or that jerk who makes your blood boil every time he talks to you?

Some of you have lasting illnesses or pain. Many of you have friends or family that have fallen away
from faith; for some of you, it’s your own children. How can we rejoice and give thanks in these circumstances? Though all of these things affect us in different ways, they serve part of the same goal: to hinder our trust in Jesus. I’ve used this picture a few times in Bible study, and it applies perfectly here. The more and more we focus on the difficulties in our lives, the harder and harder it is to see Jesus.

You -> PROBLEM -> Jesus

God knows that we struggle. He knows our lives are hard sometimes, and without trying to minimize
the importance and impact of these troubles in our lives, God wants us to know there is something far greater than they. In the passage above, Paul wrote, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” He did NOT write, “FOR all circumstances.” Yes, it’s true that God can, and does, bring about blessings through even the darkest events in our lives. In that case, we can give thanks, even for the trouble itself. But what Paul wants us to realize here is that no matter what our problem or trouble is, there is something that overshadows it, something for which we can always give thanks in every circumstance. That is the salvation we have in Jesus.

You -> JESUS -> problem

When we focus on the immense blessing we have as children of God, as heirs of salvation, it gives us
peace and hope in even the most trying times. May God help us always to keep that in the proper focus so that our faith might sustain us in all circumstances, moving us to rejoice always in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will
guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7) Amen

In Christian love,
Pastor Wolf B. Parsons

Monday, 19 October 2020 12:29

July 2020 Newsletter

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Excerpt from Pastor Parsons' article: Who Am I, Lord?

 

Who Am I, Lord?


When God called Moses from the depths of the burning bush, that was Moses’ response? “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) God was calling Moses to do something quite extraordinary, to be a leader for the nation of Israel, to deliver that nation from the hands of slavery by standing up before Pharaoh and demanding that he release them, and to lead them in the ways of the LORD.

Moses did not feel qualified to do anything so grand. He made many objections. “What if they ask me who sent me?” “I can’t speak before so many people.” “I can’t stand before Pharaoh and make demands.” “What if the people don’t listen to me?” “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

No matter how many objections Moses gave, the LORD would not take “No” for an answer. He as-sured Moses that he could do that task for which he was called because he wouldn’t be doing it alone. First, in answer to some of Moses’ objections, God promised that Aaron would help him speak the message he re-ceived from the LORD. Second, God gave all assurance that this was the work of the LORD, that this was his message to the people. God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israel-ites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ Say to the Israelites, ‘the LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14-15)

He is the same God, the same LORD, throughout all generations, and he has prepared Moses for the task to which he called him. The same is true for you. How often have you asked yourself, “Who am I, Lord, that I should . . . ?” Or even a slightly different focus on this question: “Lord, what can I do?”

Have you ever wondered what role you play in the Church? Or do you wonder if you even have a role in the Church, other than someone who comes to worship? Do you wonder if what you do is as important as the task someone else fulfills? “I can’t speak as eloquently.” “I can’t help the physical, laborious tasks.” “I simply can’t do what so-and-so can do for the Church.” “What’s my role?”
These are the kinds of questions that plague us and make us feel insignificant in the work we do for the kingdom of heaven. But you are not insignificant. God has granted you your own gifts and abilities, and he has blessed you with the ability to carry them out. These gifts look so different from person to person, but the work God calls us to do and has enabled us to do is just as important as that of the next person. A hymn we used recently in worship addresses this point so beautifully.

Monday, 19 October 2020 12:15

June 2020 Newsletter

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Exerpt from Pastor Parsons' article: Coming Back - It's Exciting and Exciting!

 

Coming Back – It’s Exciting and Exciting!


What an exciting time! I mean that in more ways than one. In one sense, it’s exciting because we’ve been waiting for such a long time to come back to-gether for worship in the church, and now we get to do just that! We can see everyone we’ve been longing to see for months. We can worship together, con-fess our sins and be absolved together, sing together, pray together; everything we enjoy through fellowship in the Lord.

Of course, we never stopped being a body of Christ during this time. Over the past few months, we still believed in the same God, trusted in the same Savior, and worshipped together in many ways using virtual/digital options. Praise God that we could even do that! Even with-out access to such means, our time of physical separation never meant that we were no longer a church. We continued as one in Christ Jesus. But now we rejoice in our coming back together physically and worshiping in the same space.
This leads to my second use of the word “exciting.” This can be an exciting time in that we, as individuals, can become excited about many things happening right now, that is, poten-tially getting “riled up.” There are many different opinions about so many different things re-lated to COVID-19 and to our return to worship in the building. “COVID-19 is a real threat!” versus “The response to COVID-19 has been exaggerated as a scare tactic!” “Everyone needs to wear a mask!” versus “It’s my choice if I wear a mask or not!” “It’s too early to reopen!” versus “We never should have shut down!” “Doctors and scientists say . . .” versus “Doctors and scientists say . . .”

Who’s right? Where is the middle ground? Well, you all received our congregation’s re-sponse to moving forward with reopening. That doesn’t mean that everyone agrees on every point. That doesn’t mean everything is set in stone. But we are moving forward together as a single body of Christ. Remember: Some of you feel uncomfortable gathering in large groups and open spaces at this time, and that is okay. We encourage you to follow your conscience and wor-ship with us from home. Some of you feel more than comfortable coming back together in the building, and that is okay. We look forward to the time when all will feel comfortable worship-ing face-to-face, but for now there are some serious medical concerns, about which we all have varying levels of comfort. This is true, also, for some of the changes we’ve adopted at this time.

So what? What is the point of this? This is point. “Do not let any unwholesome
talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according
to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. . . . Be kind and compassionate to
one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29,
32)

Though we, as individual parts of the body, disagree VERY strongly on some
points, we are not just a gathering of individual parts. We are not called to speak about
each other in a way that serves only to degrade one another in the eyes of others, but
to say what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that in may benefit
those who listen. Opinions and constructive suggestions about changes are good and
are more than welcome. God made us to be individual parts of the same body so that
we could meet different needs. And praise God, we are a united body of Christ, brought
into that body through faith in Christ Jesus.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in
Christ God forgave you.” You are forgiven children of God. Let this be your drive moving
forward. Whether you choose to worship from home for a time or to enter the building
with others right away, whether you choose to wear a mask or not, to sit with your
friends or keep a safe social distance, or whatever our difference in opinion or comfort
level may be, remember that we are called to build others up. Let God’s love and gracious
forgiveness for us move us to be gracious and loving and understanding toward
one another.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you
were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you
richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms,
hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And
whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving
thanks to God the Father through him. Amen (Colossians 3:15-17)


In Christian love,
Pastor Wolf B. Parsons

Friday, 01 May 2020 02:53

May 2020 Newsletter

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Except from Pastor Parsons article: Do Not Be Afraid

God said it to his prophets when he sent them out to proclaim a message his people would fight against. God said it to the leaders he chose to rule over his people. He said it to his people as they faced many enemies, enemies of both the body and of the soul. He said it to a young girl who heard the words of an angel and new that everything was about to change for her. He said it to a group of shepherds who were chosen to proclaim the coming of the Messiah.

God said it to his disciples who feared the loss of their friend and Lord...

Wednesday, 01 April 2020 08:00

March 2020 Newsletter

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Except from Pastor Parsons article: For Israel – For Me!

“When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why was it, O sea, that you fled, O Jordan, that turned back, you mountains, that you skipped like rams, you hills, like lambs? Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.”

Saturday, 01 February 2020 08:00

February 2020 Newsletter

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Except from Pastor Parsons article: What is Love?

February seemed like a fitting time to talk about love. What is love? Depending on whom you ask, you could get quite an array of answers. Generally speaking, if you look at love from a worldly point of view, you might summarize it as showing compassion to others, supporting others in times of need and in their decisions, forming some kind of relationship with someone, platonic or romantic.

Wednesday, 01 January 2020 08:00

January 2020 Newsletter

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Except from Pastor Parsons article: New Year . . . New You?

It’s that time of year again, the time of resolutions. “I’m going to be the best I can be this year.” With goals of weight loss, you may cry out like Jim Carrey’s The Grinch when he measures his heart, “Yes! Down a size and a half! And this time, I’ll keep it off.” Resolutions can cover a whole multitude of options. Weight loss; being a better person; spending less money; having a better devotional life.

So many ways to make ourselves better . . . and so few ways before we usually find out that we don’t really care enough to stick to those plans. Sometimes it’s easier to just stay the same old us, and maybe try again next year.

Sunday, 01 December 2019 08:00

December 2019 Newsletter

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Except from Pastor Parsons article below

Greetings!

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you! With this season upon us we reminisce about all the things we are thankful for in our lives and throughout this past year: our families; our accomplishments; the new job we’ve been waiting for; our friends; our health, and of course, our faith. We have been so richly blessed by the LORD, so let us not forget to give thanks to God.

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