• Excerpt from January, 2021 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

    Welcome to 2021, it seems strange to even say that. It seems not that long ago we were panicking about Y2K, now 21 years later we have a lot of other things on our plates. As we look to the new year, we also look for new beginnings...

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January 2021 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
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Welcome to 2021, it seems strange to even say that. It seems not that long ago we were panicking about Y2K, now 21 years later we have a lot of other things on our plates. As we look to the new year, we also look for new beginnings. I believe in a lot of people's minds, 2020 will be a year they hope to put behind them and not repeat anytime soon. It has certainly been a year of change. I could probably write a whole newsletter article just about the things that have changed; church, school, shopping, social gathering, vaccines, elections, and list could go on and on. However, I think we have heard enough about those things, if we want to hear about those things all we have to do is turn on the TV, open a newspaper (if you can find one), or go on the internet. You can find all you would ever want to hear and more from those sources. So, as I write this, I have decided to speak of something different. I am going to speak about the one thing that never changes. Today I want to remind you, in the face of all that has changed and all that will continue to change we can plant ourselves firmly on the foundation, the rock, that never changes. That rock is of course the love that God, our creator, the creator of all that exists, has for us, for you and me, his beloved children. Over this past season of Advent and into Christmas we have talked about how, when the time was right God sent His Son into the world to save His people, His Children, you and I, from sin, death, and the power of the devil. We have heard how God created this plan of salvation from before he even created the world. Sometimes that is a little hard for our human minds to follow. God, in His omniscient way, even before He created the world knew how it would play out, from the sin of Adam and Eve, through the challenge of bringing up His people Israel, through the entrance of His Son into the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit and a young virgin in David's city. He knew how His Son must live and die for the forgiveness of sin of all people. From that first sin of Adam and Eve, right down to the sin that you and I fall into every day. And He knows how it will all come to its glorious conclusion, on that day He has determined that His Son will return, gather up His elect, all of us who have been baptized, who have our names written in the book of life, who have asked for the forgiveness of our sins and have faith in His Son Jesus Christ. On that glorious day we will see him face to face. For me, when I think of these things, when I think of what is to come, when I envision the glory and splendor of seeing my adoptive father, God, face to face I am in awe. I am in awe because God, the creator of this entire universe, cares about and wants me, lowly, sinful, me, to be with Him, in paradise forever. I am in awe. When I put all of that into perspective, it helps me to cope with the things of this world, all of those things we mentioned earlier, all of those things we see on TV, online, or in print, all of the things of this world that try to distract us from what is really important. All the things of this world which we must remember, are temporary. I'm not sure if everyone would agree with me, but I think of this world as kind of a proving ground, it is full of tasks and challenges. Our task and our challenge is to face this world to the best of our ability in the way our Lord asks us. I am going to paraphrase here a bit, in scripture Jesus is asked; teacher what must I do to inherit heaven? And Jesus basically breaks it down to two things which cover all the commandments; Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. All ten commandments summed up, Love God, Love your neighbor. That's our task, love God, we do that by having faith in God and in His Son our savior Jesus Christ, recognize who Jesus is and what he has done for us, ask for forgiveness and strive to do better. The other half of the task; love out neighbor as ourselves, help our neighbor, do what is right for our neighbor, share the message of salvation with our neighbor. Those are daunting tasks to say the least, why are they daunting; several reasons, first we, by nature are sinful, we really don't want to do them if left to our own designs, we want to worry about numero uno, number one, ourselves. And what makes it challenging is the world is doing its best to encourage us to do just that, worry about number one, ourselves. Virtually everything that is going on in this world today can either be used to draw us into the world or draw us closer to God. I pray that we use all the tasks and challenges of this world to draw us closer to God. Remember, God has already chosen us as his sheep, we hear his voice, we are assured our place in his kingdom. But we also need to remember because of that, because we are chosen, God has created good works for us to do in his name. Let us go forth and do all that we can in His name.

Once again welcome to the new year. I am starting another online scripture reading, I am going to be reading the Book of Acts, a chapter a day. I am starting with an overview of the book on Sunday, January 3rd, and then daily reading of the book itself beginning Monday the 4th.

Also, I am considering live in person Wednesday evening Lenten services beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 17. Let me know your thoughts.

My friends I thank you for all your support, especially during this time of separation and isolation and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you, may the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

God Bless, Pastor Rick