Weekly Letter August 20, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

     Amy and I celebrated our 33rd anniversary last week.  As I reflect on this, I think “wow, what a testimony of God’s goodness.”  Having grown up with parents who endured a tumultuous marriage to stay together “for the children,” I’m privileged to see the grace and mercy of God magnified in our home each day.  This helps me to remember that even through dark and difficult times, God is good, and his mercies endure forever.

     This week in our study of Esther, we will see that Esther perseveres through difficult circumstances as the Lord raises her up to be the Queen of Persia.  We will see how the Lord raises up a person who is flawed, and perhaps even compromised, to a position of influence who can save his people from destruction. 

     We will see much of ourselves in this story.  We are also flawed, and compromised by sin.  Yet, the Lord continues to teach us his Word, enables us to see our sin, repent of it, and embrace the gospel promises.  He places us in positions of influence.  We may not have the connections necessary to save our nation from the work of the Evil One, but he has placed us in families, in networks of people, in our church, in workplaces and schools where we can exercise a gospel influence. 

ARTICLES OF NOTE

     As children go back to school, and as homeschool moms get back into the routine of education, it’s worth asking “what is the goal of education.”  This writer makes the case that the purpose of all education is to train the soul.

     The Puritan John Owen is perhaps best known for writing works that seem obtuse and exhaustive to our 21st century sensibilities.  Did you know that much of John Owen’s ministry was to teens and young adults?

     Here is another tribute to the life and work of the late J. I. Packer, and his goal of doing theology in the service of the Church. 

     Can you imagine being in possession of your facuties but physically unable to pray?  Here is the story of a pastor who experienced a brain injury that made him unable to form the words to pray. 

LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

     While COVID-19 has brought much suffering and alterations in our normal routines, one blessing is that learning opportunities have multiplied as a result of this pandemic.  Here are just a couple:

    The  Paideia Center for Theological Discipleship, sponsored by Reformed Theological Seminary, sponsors reading groups both in-person and virtual.  The book for this fall is Augustine’s Confessions and for the spring, they will read Calvin’s Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, which is a small section of his Institutes devoted to the practice of the Christian life.  For $25 you get the book, and three group meetings led by an expert facilitator.  I participated in the fall and spring groups last year, and I am signed up for a virtual group this fall.

     The Reformed Forum podcast family also has several course available this fall that would be suitable to encourage you in theological study, but without the commitment or expense of seminary.

CHURCH SERVICES

     Once again, as long as social distancing is recommended, if you decide to stay home for reasons of conscience or from an abundance of caution, we honor, respect, and support your decision. We continue to offer livestream service at 11 AM and 5 PM here.  If you find that there are still starts and stops and gaps in the livestream service, you may access the recorded service by clicking on the link above. This is available shortly after the conclusion of the livestream.  This should eliminate those difficulties.  If neither of these works well, our audio sermons are available at Sermon Audio

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

    

     Children’s and Youth Sunday School on Zoom:  This fall, we will make two Sunday school classes available on Zoom. Vicki Edwards will teach a class designed for children grades 1-6 on Pilgrim’s Progress.  Pastor Clay will teach grades 7-9 on the Shorter Catechism.  Both of these will run September 20-December 13.  Watch your email for further information. 

ZOOM SUNDAY SCHOOL

    Adult Sunday School will continue on Zoom.  We are still working out the class details.  Watch your email for the Zoom links to Adult Sunday School, which runs from 9:40-10:30.

     Your officers are praying for you, and are privileged to minister to you in any way that you may find helpful.   And remember, if you are ever in need of spiritual counsel or prayer, please ask me, Pastor Lou, or one of the elders. This is what we are here for.  We are happy to serve you in this way!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Clay

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