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January 17, 2018

January 17, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

We live in a world where beauty and ugliness live side by side.  A world where we see acts of selflessness and kindness and grace on display and where we read headlines filled with anguish and pain and injustice.  A world where sorrow and joy are neighbors.  A world where what we see taking place often calls into question the goodness and kindness (ore even the existence) of God.

 

How do we reconcile the disparity?

 

God tells us how.  He says we should believe.  We should wait.  And we should hope.

When the winds were tossing around both the disciples and their boat boat as they crossed the Sea of Galilee at night, Jesus called them to faith before He calmed the storm.

The antidote to fear isn’t courage.  It’s faith.

 

Is God good?  The answer of faith is “Of course He is.  He has proven it over and over again.”

 

Is God in control of all things?  Again, faith replies “He is.”  Even in dire circumstances, He is there, and His loving hand guides our lives.

 

Can God be trusted to take care of His children?  King David’s response to that question was a declaration of faith.  “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.  And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

 

When the skies grow dark, God whispers to His children “I’m here.  Have faith.”

 

The Bible also reminds us that our perspective on the events of this life is an incomplete perspective.  We see the hand of God and the events of this life through a glass, dimly.  Ecclesiastes tells us that there is an appointed time for every event under heaven.  And whether we are in a time of weeping or a time of laughter, a time of mourning or a time of dancing, by faith we can know that God makes all things beautiful.  All things.  In His time.

 

So we wait.  And in some seasons, we groan.  We long for heaven.

 

And maybe that’s part of God’s good design for the hard seasons.  To increase our longing for the day when all things will be made new, and when sorrow and darkness have run their course and are put away forever.

 

That is our great hope.  It’s more than a longing or a desire.  More than a wish.  It’s a hope, grounded in the promises of the One who has put an end to death.  The One who bore our sins and carried our sorrows.

 

Our hope, the hymn writer declares, is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  It’s not a dream.  Not something we’ve invented as a way of coping with the pain of life.  Our hope is grounded in the good news that death has been swallowed up in victory.

 

It is in the thrill of hope that the weary world rejoices.  For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

 

So in the midst of our pain and the hard moments of life, in seasons of real grief and suffering, God pours peace into the hearts of His children.  He whispers “you can trust me.  I am making all things beautiful and new.  Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

 

Believe.  Wait.  Hope.  Three good words to cling to in dark seasons of the soul.

 

The first Kids Small Group of 2018 happens tomorrow night at the church.  You drop off children ages 3-12 starting at 5:45.  Kids ages 0-2 are welcome as long as a mom or dad stays with the child.   There will be pizza for the kids, songs, a Bible lesson and a ton of fun!

 

If you have any questions about KSG, send an email to Matt Gurney at mattgurney77@gmail.com.

 

The Women’s Bible study begins this coming Monday at 7:00 at the church.  This spring, the women will be going through a 12-week study of the book of Philippians.  Curtis Thomas will be leading the study.

 

If you haven’t picked up your workbook yet, you can get one this Sunday morning at the welcome desk in the lobby at church.   The cost is $8.

 

Direct any questions to Terry Morledge.  mhmfamily@att.net

 

Sunday morning, February 4, we’ll celebrate the 10th anniversary of our church by spending some time during our morning worship service giving you an opportunity to share briefly about how God has worked in your life during your time at RCC.  You might start thinking now about any personal reflections you’d like to share.

 

And after our morning worship service is over, we’ll plan to stay together for our annual Souper Bowl Sunday lunch.  Plan to bring a crock pot of soup or stew or something that can be dished up and shared.  And we’ll have a birthday cake we can share as we celebrated our first decade together as a church family.

 

Finally, please continue to pray regularly for Violet and Beckett White, their parents and their extended family.  We have seen God’s hand sustaining these two precious children and their parents in some pretty remarkable ways over the past four weeks.  But there are lots of hurdles still ahead.  Don’t quit praying now.

 

Kendall and Laura, together with Mike and Terry Morledge, are so grateful for your love, your concern and your prayers.

 

Paul makes it clear in Romans 9 and 10 that the Jews, God’s chosen people, have rejected God by rejecting His Son Jesus.  But has God rejected the Jews?  Is He done with the physical descendants of Abraham?

 

We’ll begin Romans 11 this Sunday.  And we’ll see what the Bible says about God’s future plan for Israel.

 

See you in church!

 

Soli Deo Gloria!
Bob Lepine

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