ALL ARE WELCOME
We are continuing to look at how God is moving in the early church. Here in Acts chapter 10, we read about some things happening to Peter. We see that God uses Peter’s hunger for food as a way to get a new understanding of God’s plan across to him. As Peter is thinking about the food he hopes to soon eat, God showed him virtually every kind of life God had created. Once Peter sees them all, he tells God, no Jewish person is supposed to have anything to do with them. But God tells him three times to kill and eat. Peter tells God, “No I would never eat some of these, they are unclean.” God tells Peter what I have called clean is clean. Peter resisted but God repeated his response.
Then almost immediately after this vision, some men who had been sent by a Roman centurion named Cornelius came knocking. In the same vision as the ones about the animals, Peter was told to go with the men. Peter willingly went with the men to see Cornelius. Once there he explained how a Jewish person had been taught never to have contact with a Gentile. However, God has revealed the kingdom of God was truly available to all who honored and accepted Jesus Christ, whether they are Jew or Gentile.
We see in Luke 10:23-39 that Jesus was setting the stage for what was to come. This is the story of the Good Samaritan. If you recall, a man was travelling from Jerusalem when he was robbed and beaten. Two Jewish leaders saw him as they walked on their way to Jericho but walked right on by. However, another man, a Samaritan, saw him and helped him get to the next town, even paid for his room and someone to help him. This might not be such a big deal but Samaritans are Gentiles. They know Jewish people hate them. Two Jewish men refused to help their fellow Jew. But a Samaritan was willing to do everything he could to help this Jewish man who was in need. Jesus was laying the foundation for what Peter and ultimately Paul would reveal.
God’s message is “ALL ARE WELCOME.” Many Jewish Christians thought you first had to be a Jew before you could truly become a Christian. However, Peter understood God is calling all who will receive. You do not have to pass a certain test. You do not have to measure up to someone’s standard. God is calling us all. Sometimes I am afraid churches get in God’s way by requiring us to look or talk or act a certain way before you can really be included. In these verses in Acts and also what Jesus said in Luke, we learn that God looks at our hearts. He looks at our attitude. If some things need to change, the Holy Spirit will show us where those things are. God is reaching out to a world that desperately needs Jesus Christ. We, in the church, should not make it harder than it has to be. To go back to the classic verse, we all know John 3:16—For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. That is the message God wants us to tell. Everyone who realizes they cannot do it alone is welcome and that is all of us. All are welcome. We are all a work in progress. The work God is doing in us will never be done till we are in his presence for eternity. Until that time, God is offering the same invitation to all. ALL ARE WELCOME. No one will be turned away if you have an open heart. It does not matter where we have been or what we have done. God will welcome us all into his family because it is really true. ALL ARE WELCOME!
Every Tuesday: Bible Study 9:30
August 9: Special Council Meeting after worship
August 12 7:00 p.m.: Executive Committee
NO Women’s Fellowship meeting in August. We were going to collect supplies for health kits, but in view of our circumstances right now, the co-presidents decided it would be more feasible to collect monetary donations from our women/congregation toward making them. We will send these donations to Church World Service which can then purchase the supplies for the kits themselves. The kits are always made on behalf of CWS and shipped out from our own Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, MD. $15 will purchase a kit; please give your donation to Kathy Gentry, Carol Kussart, or Nancy Fansler by the end of August. If you are writing a check, make it out to Women’s Fellowship.
Offerings are still being collected in the back of the sanctuary. We are thankful to all who are faithful in bringing them or mailing them. (PO Box 45)
Please remember to lock the doors when you are the last one to leave the church. We have found unlocked doors on occasion in the past month or so.
If you have copier issues, please let Carol know.
The board agreed to continue worship as we have been having it. We will worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 for those who feel comfortable coming. Physical distancing must be maintained and the wearing of face masks, please. We will also continue the facebook live service for those who wish to stay home. Sunday School is at 9:00.
The Strawberry Festival cleared $877 which will be split evenly between Women’s and Men’s Fellowships. Thanks to those who donated pie crusts and time, to the person who donated our pie-making supplies, and to anyone else who helped in any way.
Upper Room and Daily Bread: issues available in the back of the sanctuary
First Sunday of the month: Food Banks
The Lord’s Storehouse can particularly use peanut butter and jelly—they are hard to come by and jelly is expensive for them to purchase through their warehouse.
Donation Box July and August: AC bills
Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org and district at www.iwdcob.org
Larry Traxler’s phone #: 217-454-2362
Keep in Your Prayers
Mike Gentry; Junior Traxler; Anna Gentry Thompson; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 146,000+ people who have died from COVID-19
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers