Our Benediction of Peace
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24–26)
Every week at the conclusion of the sermon, the pastor blesses the congregation with a benediction.
It is a blessing of God’s presence ending with a blessing of peace.
For whatever the church service was like, as soon as we leave that sanctuary, we leave to a world that is not peaceful. There is conflict, rush, and even pain and difficulty. Some families may even pick up the conflict they had on the way into church!
But that does not mean the benediction is nothing. It is a declaration of a peace that comes from God. We say, “the Lord … give you peace.”
The benediction is a promise that as we trust in Jesus Christ we will experientially know the presence of God with us that week. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we have access to God. We know that objectively we have peace with him, our sin has been taken away, and our iniquity has been removed.
God turns his face towards us in accepting love, based on the work of Christ. We also have the peace that comes from knowing the care of God. He knows the number of hairs on our head, and he cares for us. Nothing happens by way of accident. We believe God will provide all that we need in this life.
Finally, we are called to be peacemakers with others. As God gives us the opportunity, we bring peace to other conflicts. In hearing the story of John Lewis who recently passed away, of reading about MLK and hearing about Christian pastors involved in the fight for civil rights, I am moved by the peaceful way many handled the racial tensions throughout the United States. I know they are not perfect people but have their own sins and injustices (as do all leaders), but it is just inspiring to read some of the stories of Civil Rights Leaders using of non-violent protest to address the civil rights of African-Americans in a peaceful way, even as they were faced with violence. What was their inspiration? It was the Lord Jesus Christ and especially his teaching from the Sermon on the Mount. It is a model, not just of nonviolent resistance, but of a peaceful way of dealing with many problems.
May the Lord give you peace, may his face shine upon you, and use you to bring peace to our conflicted world.
Opening Our Doors to those Whose Churches are Closed
The Bible talks about the important habit of meeting together in Hebrews 10:25. We are created to thrive in community (Genesis 2:18) and believers are saved to be a part of a new community – the church of the living God (see 1 Peter 2).
Before I make my next statement, I want to reiterate our understanding as a church: that during this current pandemic many people are rightfully not comfortable to meet in public for health and safety reasons. We understand that many of us are caring for vulnerable family members. It is okay to not join the regular meeting to take care of yourself and others. The Bible says that whatever is not of faith is sin, and it would be wrong to violate your own conscience to do things you believe put you or others at unnecessary risk.
On the other hand, the call to community and the habit of worship are a strong pull to many. Many people need this Christian community. Many are hungering for it. As the nation moves into fall, we hear the stories of churches that will not open their doors again this year, and we hear stories of churches that will not open their doors again – ever.
You may know people affected by this tragedy. You may know people that are ready to go to church, they want to go to church, but they cannot because their church doors are closed. If you know someone like this, can I encourage you to invite them to New Life in Christ Church? They may need to attend in person. We have a message of hope. We have a practice of community, even if it is socially-distanced. We need each other.
Upcoming Events and Worship Plan for August 2, 2020
- Sunday School Class Available Online – “The Safest Place” A Book Study of Jonah
- Why the tape on the seats? — In order to best fit everyone who wants to come, while honoring social distance standards, the tape helps us with seating. We have a lot of people coming and we want to honor social distancing standards. If you could help in this way, it would be wonderful … singles and couples please sit toward the front and along the edges, or in between other groups. Bigger households help out by filling up an entire row or by sitting in the middle of rows.
Please be ready to work with our ushers so we can fit everyone in. We really don’t like asking anyone to move, but we want to care for every person who comes through the door. We plan to use the Fireside Room in the case of overflow.
We are thankful for your flexibility!
- 8:30 am – First Service (No Livestream)
- 10:30 Second Service
- 4:30 PM – Care Group Leaders Meeting (Zoom and In-person in Room 100)
- 6 PM – Pastor Sam will continue our sermon series through the Gospel of Mark
- Items of Note:
- Do I need to wear a mask? Find our Policy Here (Document: 5/28/2020)
- If you haven’t seen it yet, or have questions, here is our Sunday Worship Plan (Document: 5/28/2020)
- Link to our Phase 3 Ministry and Building Use Plan (7/3/2020)
- 5 PM – Prayer Meeting by Zoom (Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/770719915)
- Planning for Fall Ministries (7/16/2020): Services; Youth Groups; Nursery; Children
- Phase 3 Building Use and Ministry Plan: Children’s ministry, a note on choirs and general guidance on food in the church
- Pastoral Letter (5/29/20) – Prayer; Masks; On Shibbloths; Schedules and Links
- PASTORAL LETTER (5/21/20) – NEW SERMON SERIES; WORSHIP PLAN; MINISTRY PLAN AND BUILDING USE
- PASTORAL LETTER (5/14/20) REOPENING PLAN
- PASTORAL LETTER (5/8/20) NEW SERMON SERIES; REOPENING UPDATE
- A TIME TO UPROOT FROM PASTOR SAM ON 5/6/2020
- DEALING WITH THE SOURCE OF ANXIETY from Pastor Sean
- A TIME TO BUILD FROM PASTOR SAM ON 4/28/2020
- DEALING WITH FEAR OF CHANGE (PASTORAL LETTER AND WORSHIP PLAN – APRIL 25, 2020)
- A TIME TO SHUN EMBRACING FROM PASTOR SAM ON 4/21/2020
- “HOW CAN I HELP?” SOME WAYS NLIC HELPS PEOPLE IN NEED – FROM PASTOR SEAN (4/17/20)
- “IT’S FRIDAY, SUNDAY’S A-COMIN” … BUT WHAT ABOUT SATURDAY? (SUNDAY WORSHIP INFO FROM PASTOR SEAN) – 4/10/2020
- A TIME TO MOURN – FROM PASTOR SAM ON 4/8/2020
- WHAT IS GOD DOING? MORE THAN YOU KNOW! (SUNDAY WORSHIP INFO FROM PASTOR SEAN) – 4/4/2020
- BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON – THE LORD’S SUPPER AND OUR HOME EXILE – FROM PASTOR SEAN ON 4/2/20
- FROM PASTOR SAM: HE IS NO FOOL (4/1/2020)
- Pastoral Newsletter- Resurrection: From Despair to Hope this Easter