Midweek Message 06/29/2022

MIDWEEK MESSAGE #113

Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #113.  The weather this week has been pleasant so far and I hope your week has been the same. Prepare yourself for a somewhat disjointed MM.

I wanted to let you know that I will NOT be doing a MM next week. I know you are disappointed but with the July 4th holiday and the office closed that puts us a day behind. The Building Team will also be heading to Graber Post Buildings in Montgomery, IN on July 7th to look at possibilities for our new addition.  Thanks to your continuing generosity, we now have $211,538 in the Building Fund. We promised at the outset we would do this wisely and in a way we felt would honor God (doing it debt-free) so it may seem slow to you.  But this is a significant step for the Building Team because we have an idea of what we would like to build. We now need some clarity for direction.  All that to say: it will be a short but very full week, especially for Diana, so I’ll be a super good guy and let her have the week off from her editorial duties. J

On Friday, December 10, 2021 an EF4 tornado with winds cresting at 190 mph and lasting 2 hours and 54 minutes crashed its way through Mayfield, KY and surrounding areas leaving at least 57 confirmed dead. Besides the death toll, the devastation of property is beyond imagination.  Rescue efforts began immediately by FEMA, Samaritan’s Purse, and other organizations. Pastor Ryan has wanted to get the youth group involved in some way but has been unable to make connections. Until now. Now that the main rescue organizations have closed up shop, it is up to others to help with clean-up and relief efforts. During the week of July 18th, Ryan and Hope East and Cassie Linville will be taking a number of our youth with them to help with the clean-up of communities near Mayfield.  To help with funding for the trip, the young people will be hosting a Mac & Cheese bar with all the fixin’s on Saturday, July 8th. The dinner will be from 5:30-7:00 with doors opening at 5. There is no charge but donations are welcomed and accepted. If you cannot make it, there will be a jar for you to make a donation. Speaking personally, I am thankful that Pastor Ryan models and teaches a servant’s heart to our young people.  After the trip I will list all the participants.

Since this coming weekend is Independence Day weekend, I wanted to give myself some space to share something from my files that I clipped back in 1996 from Focus on the Family Citizen. It was a piece written by Tom Minnery, VP of Public Policy. To make room I will be editing it from its original writing:

“In the early decades of our nation’s history, a devout, learned lawyer named Francis Scott Key became so taken with the power of Christ’s gospel that twice he considered entering the ministry. Although he never did, Key became known around Washington, D.C. for his acts of charity and generosity. He worked tirelessly to improve the lot of Georgetown’s poor children, and, along with others, toiled to create a free nation in Africa for the liberated slaves-thus inviting the displeasure of Southern slave owners some 50 years before the Civil War began.

Key was a follower of William Wilberforce, the Christian statesman in England who spent his entire adult life in his ultimately successful pursuit of ending England’s slave trade. {Note: he was on his deathbed when the vote was taken to abolish the slave trade} Wilberforce’s writings confirmed Key’s growing belief that religious faith and patriotism went hand in hand, and that the Christian Gospel was a blueprint for public service.

On the evening of Sept. 13, 1814, at the height of the War of 1812, the 35-year-old Key gave of himself yet again. This time, however, he embarked on a mission of mercy fraught with danger. An elderly physician named William Beanes had been captured by the British and was imprisoned in the hold of a British warship. With President James Madison’s blessing, Key set sail from Baltimore along with a prisoner-exchange officer to search the ship and negotiate Beanes’ return.

Incredibly, they found the ship and freed the doctor but the small party was barred from leaving the warship that night. They were about to attack Baltimore and their first assault would be on Fort McHenry, which protected the city.

Key and the others were forced to watch as the British warship bombed the fort all night long. Cannon after cannon blasted away and it wasn’t until the first light of day Key was able to see the American flag still flying above the fort- a majestic emblem of the failure of the British attack.

Swelled with pride for his country, and grateful to God for sparing the city (the British had sacked and burned D.C. just three weeks before), Key wrote what we now call our national anthem, the “The Star- Spangled Banner.”  We know and hear sung over and over the first stanza of that great anthem. But it is the unknown and seldom-sung fourth stanza that shows Key’s intent with the song. Here are the words: “O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand/ Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation/Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land/Praise the Power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!/Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just/And this be our motto– ‘In God is our trust!’/And the star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave/O’er the land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”

There are a lot of people spouting a lot of hate these days. We have people using vulgarity to describe their feelings. One musician said, “(Expletive deleted.) I’m renouncing my citizenship in America.”  I say, “Good-bye.” America has it issues, no doubt about it. BUT, and this is a big BUT, it is still the greatest nation on this planet. For those who want to disgrace America with their vulgarity and disobedience, try going to another country and do that.  Their head will be on the chopping block, if it makes it that far. I am proud to be an American, but I am more proud to be a follower of Jesus. My citizenship may be as an American, but my greatest citizenship in in heaven.  I may “love” my country, but I love Jesus more.  And while I may live in and enjoy the benefits of this country, I don’t worship it nor can I forget the benefits I have from the Father in heaven who loved and loves me and gave His only Son for my salvation.  THAT IS THE GREATEST FREEDOM OF ALL. Celebrate Independence Day but if you are a Christ-follower, you have a greater independence nothing on earth can compare to.  He who has the Son is free. That truth will set you free. (John 8: 32)  I love you all.

 

Pastor Bill

 

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