A Word from the Pastor
First, a thank you to Ian for preaching last Sunday, and again, thank you for the spiritual and emergency first responders over the past few weeks who have ministered to families in need. We often serve on the front lines of spiritual and emotional crisis.
Second, get back in church. Allow me to speak without platitudes for a moment – while some quib, “the pastor’s away, the church will play,” I am less humored and more embarrassed by the lack of attendance at the expense of our guest speakers. What was a 150 average in worship in the spring was 54 in attendance to hear Tammy Renee Harris, 94 in worship to hear Andy Whitten, and 69 in worship last Sunday. Everyone understands, even God, the vacation Sundays and occasional Sunday conflicts for work or other special events, but when we “give up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:24) consistently, we overlook the importance of God’s social and spiritual purposes in community (being in communion) with others.
So, this Sunday, fittingly, I’ll be starting a new sermon series, First John Now Me. John is credited with writing 5 books in the New Testament: the Gospel of John, the 3 letters from John (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), and Revelation. The only writer with more books in the bible is Paul with 13 letter/epistles. Moses wrote more material than any other writer with five extensive books known as the Torah or Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). John’s gospel and book of Revelation are equal in study and attention, but his letters are often lost in the middle section of the New Testament with other less familiar epistles (unless you are a huge fan of Philemon!)
The first letter of John’s 3 letters is akin to a summary of his Gospel. Like cliff notes the reader learns about the life and purpose of Jesus and the impact of His life on His disciples. It has been suggested that John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16 retell Jesus’ summary of the great commandments – to love God and love others. 1) For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Song that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16), and 2) No greater life has one than this…to lay down their life for another. (1 John 3:16).
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we explore the characteristics of God’s love together and define what that looks like in our daily lives.