NLIC Weekender (11/14/2013)

New Life in Christ Weekender
A short reminder of events happening this weekend
[Scroll down for weekend events]

Dear New Life in Christ Family,

Is God sufficient for the issues we face as individuals and as a culture?  In 1 Kings 20:23, the king of Syria met with his servants to strategize a war effort against Israel.  Having just lost a battle against Israel, they advised the king to move the battle location to the plains and away from the mountains.  Why?  In the minds of the Syrians, the God of Israel was powerless on the plains.  In the days of tribal gods, it was thought that different gods reigned over different parts of the earth.  Since Jerusalem (and Samaria) was on a mountain and since Israel had won the previous battle, the Syrians reasoned that if they fought their war in the plains they would win.  Listen to what the advisers said about Israel, “Their gods are gods of the hills, and so they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.” (1 Kings 20:23).

The world today thinks the same thing about God, Jesus, or even religion in general.  They may say, “It is good for some things, but there are many things for which questions about God are irrelevant.  Christianity makes you feel good, makes you more moral, and helps you spend time with other people, but it doesn’t provide any answers to the biggest challenges in life.  It doesn’t have anything to say about science, art, or health.”  Even as Christians, we sometimes buy into this way of thinking and apply the world’s solutions to life’s problems.

A great old theologian, J. Gresham Machen wrote this,

“‘Their gods,'” they said with reference to Israel, ‘are gods of the hills . . . . but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.”  So our God, we are sometimes tempted to say, can help us in some of the circumstances of life; but at other times, whether by the lack of the power of by the lack of the will—it makes little practical difference—at other time He fails.  Religion, we say, will help sometimes; but there are troubles in which some far more definite assistance is required; our God is God of the hills, but beware O Christian, of the plain. . . . Is God, as we know Him, really sufficient not merely for some, but for all, of our needs?  The answer to that question obviously depends upon what you think of God.  If God be merely the tribal divinity of a people of the hills, as He was thought to be by those enemies mentioned in [1 Kings 20], then certainly we cannot expect Him to fight for us in the plain.  Of course the polytheism of those Syrians is gone for good; it may almost evoke a smile.  But other errors, though more refined . . . make Him of even less value than a local divinity of the Israelitish hills.” (Machen, J. Gresham. What Is Faith? Edinburgh; Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 1991, 68-69)

The Lord is the maker of heaven and earth.  As he is the sovereign Creator of all things, we confidently assert that faith in God is central to our understanding of all things in life.  He is not irrelevant to any area of experience or knowledge.  As believers our call is to understand how God speaks to the biggest questions of life. 

This is nowhere more relevant than in the question of mental health and psychiatric matters.  Our world treats so many of our mental and emotional issues as purely physical issues, generally ignoring spiritual matters.  Did you know that 1 in 10 Americans have been prescribed anti-depressants, including 1 in 4 women in their 40s and 50s? (http://ow.ly/qP59D).  Researchers note that part of a massive recent increase in prescriptions is because of the public demand for more prescription medications.  We are fast becoming a nation that wants quick, medical solutions to what may be “normal” spiritual problems. The Bible shows that we are “embodied souls” (a connection between physical body and immaterial soul), so we must be as attentive to the way that spiritual issues affect us as we are to the physical issues we face.  God is not just God of the soul, but of the body as well.  He is the Lord of all.

While it is not a time to over-spiritualize the issues we face and forget the many gifts God has provided through medical science, it is a time to realize that we are more than just the cells that make up our physical selves.  We are more than our bodies.  There is a whole “me” that is a composite of my body and soul.  I need to be attentive to the whole, especially my relationship with God, something for which materialistic science gives little attention.

I am very thankful that our women are tackling this important question this Saturday.  It should be a helpful conference full of testimonies of God’s power and a good look at Scriptural and medical issues. 
Faithfully Yours,
Pastor Sean
[Calendar of Events]

Saturday
Mental Health and the Mission of the Church  Women’s Mini-Conference – this Saturday, November 16th, 8:30am – 1:30pm in Room 100

Women play an important part as caregivers of our families, the church and the community.  In our roles as helpers and servants, how do we care for those we love of those we meet who are struggling?
Please pray for our presenters Pam Lopes and Mitzi Sampson and those who will share their testimonies – Frances Sexton, Mary Jane Kittredge and Heather O’Hara.  Pray that God is glorified and that the attendees are encouraged and equipped.  We are so thankful for Connie Both for arranging the food and for our worship leaders – Sarah Schroeder, Kathie Ritchie, Cynthia Perez, and Kathryne Marple.
  • 9:00 am AM Praise Team Rehearsal (sanctuary)
  • 10:00 am Christmas Big Band (sanctuary)

Sunday

  • Sunday School – 9 AM
  • Worship Service – 10 AM – Pastor Doug Preaching

Congregational Meeting after the morning service – The session has nominated Bob McMichael and Larry Plating to return to active status on the session.  There is a congregational meeting scheduled after morning worship to vote for these men. If you have questions or concerns please speak to an elder or pastor.

Sign up to assist with Thanksgiving outreach – we will distribute over 500 meals to residents in the Fredericksburg community, many of them immigrants and refugees. We are looking for individuals to follow up with these families after Thanksgiving. If you would like to assist with follow-up, please contact Pastor Sean (sean@nlicc.org).

  • Evening Service – 6 PM – Israel Mission Trip Report – What is God doing in the nation of Israel?  What was Pastor Doug doing in Israel?  What is coming up next?  Join us for this service to find out what God is doing.
  • Junior and Senior High Youth Groups – Sunday at 7 PM
  • Come to Pray – Corporate Prayer at 7 PM.

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