Dear New Life in Christ Church Family,
“Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20–21)
Grace to you. Our God is a gracious God who has revealed both Law and Gospel to us. The Law shows us how much we need forgiveness. Sure, people might create alternate forms of righteousness to justify ourselves and help us feel like we are doing what is right. But only God’s Law is perfect. The world’s efforts to replace the Law of God with a new Law only creates a new bondage.
The cross is God’s solution for breaking the Law. In the cross, Jesus atoned for sins, making us right with God, and restoring us to Him. Instead of pursuing sin, God has renewed His people to pursue Him and His will. This is new life in Christ! Praise God for this gift as we joyfully pursue it.
As we head into June, we look forward to the changes and opportunities that come through the reduction in the COVID requirements.
Of course, as this letter is published we will be back to one service at 10 AM, starting May 30. In light of changing requirements, decreasing case counts, vaccinations and the fact that many have antibodies, we believe this is the time to go back.
If you are new to our church, you will notice some changes as we institute some of our older historical practices. Hymnbooks are coming back. So is taking an offering, singing the Doxology, and passing out the bread and the cup in the Lord’s Supper separately.
By the way, someone asked me about using hymnbooks. Do we really want or need them? My answer is yes! We believe that the practice of worship needs to be repeated at home. This includes singing. Hymnbooks help this with the selection of sing-able songs, the use of paper books, and the use of music. We encourage you to sing at home and we want to model its simplicity in the worship service.
Please be in prayer as we make the change back to one service. Pray for the comfort of our people, mutual understanding, and protection. It is not going to be easy for everyone as we have gotten used to “social distancing” and might feel like we are very close together.
What about masks? As the state has removed the mask mandate, we will not be universally enforcing a mask mandate at New Life in Christ Church. Our only exception is nursery, where we will ask volunteers to continue wearing masks there. Even with the removal of the mask mandate, the state and national health recommendations suggest wearing masks until vaccination. Every one of us has to make a personal decision about the vaccinations and what we will do. I am personally happy with my decision to be vaccinated, but I know not everyone feels comfortable getting a shot.
What is coming? There are a number of opportunities for worship and fellowship. Here are a few:
On June 13, at our 6 PM service, we will celebrate the graduation of our high school seniors. These are young men and women who have grown up as part of the New Life in Christ Church covenant family. We give thanks for them and pray for them as they move onto this next stage of life.
On June 14, we will have a congregational meeting to share the budget with the church and to vote. You should receive a letter in the mail for this meeting, but let me reiterate that your involvement in these matters is important.
Please be in prayer for our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, as we have our annual General Assembly June 30-July 2. There are a number of important topics before the General Assembly, including some matters related with something called “Side B Gay Christianity” and “Critical Race Theory”. There are a number of challenges before the denomination and we are at an important point for the life, future, and mission of the PCA.
In light of this, I want to invite you to three information and prayer nights. We will meet on June 7 (7 PM), June 21 (7 PM) to hear from a couple speakers on some of the issues before the PCA in room 100. Then, on June 27 at our 6 PM evening service, I will give an overview of some of the matters before the PCA and pray for the assembly.
Finally, this summer we will be hosting evening open houses at different homes through our congregation. We will head out to the homes after the evening services. I hope you can join us for one of those this summer. It’s a wonderful time of fellowship and building relationships.
I look forward to worshipping with you, fellowshipping with you, and building God’s kingdom together.