“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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:29-32
So, is it too soon for the forgiveness talk? You know, it seems like talking about forgiveness is popular in churches- forgiveness of MY sins and Jesus wiping MY slate clean. But it tends to be significantly harder to apply that same level of excitement for forgiveness to others. It is more difficult to forgive the other guy- the one said those things, who did the unthinkable… the one driving the car, or who cheated, or who got your fired. We all want forgiveness for ourselves, but forgiving others can come less easily.
Please note: forgiveness doesn’t imply that everything is, was, and will be ok. It doesn’t right the wrong. It doesn’t eliminate the consequences. Abuse, oppression, ignorance, lies, violence, and hate all have consequences. But forgiveness keeps us from allowing ourselves to retreat into a stance of hating the “other.” There is NO room for hate in Christ Jesus- no matter who it is or what they have done.
This coming Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I am reminded of his words, “Hate can’t drive out hate, only love can do that.” Jesus made it clear that loving our neighbors and forgiving them (even 70×7 times) is what makes you a Disciple, a follower, of Christ. Not a prayer, or going to church- the way you act and respond to others in love is what Jesus says actually makes you a Christian.
The Apostle Paul said in that famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13:
“If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever.
Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a
May we be THOSE kind of Christians 24/7. Whether you’re face to face, or on social media, or just watching a television, remember that Jesus said his followers are the ones who LOVE one another and forgive. It’s a tall order, and it’s what Jesus gave His life for. Amen.
Blessings in the wilderness,
Pastor Andy Blacksher
Connect, Grow and Serve…
Hope House Volunteers Needed
If you would be interested in volunteering at Hope House, they can always use your help. Contact Hope House for volunteer and scheduling information or you can contact the church office.
Women’s Bible Study
Our next study will begin Tuesday, Jan19th at 9:30am on Zoom. The study is called Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle by Barb Roose, and it will last 6 weeks. Hopefully our next one we can start to meet in person again!! Books are $13 and you can order them here: https://barbroose.com/books/joshua/ For more information contact Marcy Myers at (573) 286-8765.
Wellness Tips For You
Becky Beck, a long-time member of Faithbridge and healthcare professional shares some new information on taking care of yourself and your loved ones. For more information, contact the church office.
2020 Year-End Giving Statements
We will be working on your giving statements for 2020 next week and should have them in the mail to you the following week.
Ribbons for Community Support
Lake Regional Hospital has been working tirelessly taking care of our community these last few months and are now seeing an increase in COVID inpatients. As this pandemic continues to affect us all, Lake Regional Hospital has reached out to our community asking for support for our front line workers. There are many front line workers they would like for us to recognize along with the hospital. These include teachers and administrators, all health care workers, EMS, firefighters, police, delivery, and grocery store workers.
How can you help? Display a ribbon on your mailbox, tree, or window to let the community know you a you are supporting the frontline workers or you are a frontline worker.
Ribbon colors are:
- White- to support all those who work on the frontlines
- Blue- if you personally work on the frontlines
- School colors- Display your school color if you work on the frontlines at our local schools
Let’s thank our frontline workers! Displaying a ribbon is only one way we can say thank you. Cards, meals, and gift certificates would make a frontline workers day!
By our Prayers…
Please remember the following people and situations in your prayers this week:
Owen Boatman– the young son of Nancy who works at Starbucks who needs a surgery to fix his chest cavity. The surgery will be February 19th.
Janis Chittenden – a close friend of Josie Barlow is facing several health issues, as well as mourning the death of her brother.
Lora Cunningham– pastor at Versailles UMC who is fighting cancer and recovering from surgery
Dottie and Don Hillison– friends of Bonnie Wood who are hospitalized with COVID, and for their daughter Sue Coers who is also fighting COVID
Donna McAdams – Betty McAdam’s Mother-in-law who is receiving chemo treatments. Pray for strength and increased oxygen levels.
Christy McField – Debbie Geasley’s sister-in-law who has breast cancer.
(To be included in this list, please reply to this email or contact the church office.)