Weekend Newsletter (12/4/2020)

This Newsletter

  • Light at the End of the Dark Tunnel 
  • Pray for The Community (Part 2)
  • Questions about NLIC and COVID Practices
  • Upcoming Events and Worship Plan for This Weekend

Light at the End of the Dark Tunnel 

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. . . .For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6)

Christmas lights have appeared through my neighborhood and town. It is so nice to see the bright colors and patterns piercing the darkness of our streets. I love coming down into our family room and seeing the Christmas lights casting their colored glow through an otherwise darkened room.

Any of us who have spent time in this world have experienced its darkness. Whether it is sickness, pain, death, disappointment, anxiety, depression, aloneness  or the brokenness of our life or relationships, we all have experienced the darkness of this world. We know the way that sin has brought darkness and evil into the world and we cry out for salvation from that sin and its effects.

Isaiah Chapter 9 gives a great promise, and the promise was especially bright because of the darkness of the people receiving the promise. It is a prophecy given to the nation of Judah during the reign of King Ahaz as he and the whole nation of Judah lived with darkness looming over the land. Two different nations had conspired to attack Judah and remove Ahaz as King. You can imagine the fear they experienced of coming under attack and the good possibility of suffering or defeat.

Ahaz and Judah needed a Savior. Sadly, Ahaz looked to the King of Assyria to help him instead of the Lord (2 King 16:5-9). Before he went to prayer, he made a treaty. The spiritual bankruptcy of Ahaz plunged the nation of Israel into a different kind of darkness – an even deeper darkness – the darkness of God’s hidden face (Isaiah 8:17, 22).

It was at this point, God promised light to Judah. He promised His Son. He promised a Deliverer. He promised His Savior.

As I read the pandemic headlines today, I hear about a “light at the end of the tunnel”. I can’t help but be optimistic. Through a vaccine, scientists have developed a potential solution to the pandemic, with its masks, quarantines, and lockdowns. They seem to be effective and there is a promise that implementation will help out our nation and world.

But the ultimate help we need does not come from the world. If we look to the wrong source of help, we will miss the light we need. King Ahaz looked to Assyria. He looked to the world, rather than the Lord. And we ourselves dare not look to a vaccine as our ultimate hope. We need God. What happens when we look to the world to solve our problems? We end up with bigger problems!  We need the Lord.

After the vaccine people will still die, people will still be lost in sin, people will still struggle against the flesh, and will still need spiritual transformation. The darkness of the pandemic is not the real darkness. The real darkness is the spiritual darkness that all people experience, the lostness and the sin, the separation from God, and the disconnection from one another.

After the vaccine, we will no longer be worried about lockdowns, outbreaks, or mask mandates. But we must remember discipleship, evangelism, and missions. We need to be thinking about those matters now. The light the world needs is Jesus.

Likewise, with the election of a new president, many look to our president-elect with the qualities of a savior, practically giving him almost salvific qualities, believing that he will fix everything that got messed up over the past few years. But no person can be our savior, and he is not the light at the end of the tunnel; only the Lord. Let’s pray for our president-elect and his administration, always remembering that the light the world needs is Jesus.

To Judah, Ahaz, and Isaiah, this coming of salvation was distant. It was still 800 years away. But for us, salvation has come. Jesus has come and finished His work of redeeming a people. Sin has been atoned for, we’ve been reconciled with our God, we have new life in Him. Jesus Christ, the light of the world, has not only come, but He has died, atoning for our sin, and has been raised to life and seated at the right hand of His father in heaven.

Will we trust in our idols, in this world, or will we look to God to solve the source of our darkness, to solve our spiritual problems? Let’s look to Jesus.

Pray for The Community (Part 2)

“I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.” (Psalm 140:12)

In last week’s email I mentioned the need we saw with the Thanksgiving Day ministry. By God’s grace we were able to provide 525 meals to needy families and individuals, far more than we thought we would get to! Praise God for the leadership of Christopher Dale, Kevin and Heather Benedict, and Pastor Sam to get so many meals out. We even learned how to do it differently, safely and very efficiently. Thank you for providing turkeys, pies and coming to help.

These families have ongoing needs, especially spiritual needs. We had an idea to start some sort of children’s outreach or Backyard Bible Club. Would you be interested in participating with something like that? We may be looking to put together a team. Be prayerful for these communities.

Continue to pray for these children and families. Pray for ongoing ministry to these families. Pray for opportunities to help others and let’s pray for an end to this pandemic.

Questions about NLIC and COVID Practices

Upcoming Events and Worship Plan for This Weekend

Sunday (12/4/2020) – Second Sunday of Advent – FAITH

  • Past Sunday School Classes: Adult and Children Sunday School Classes Available Online (Link Here for YouTube Channel)
  • 8:30 am – First Service (No Livestream) – Pastor Sean Preaching
  • 9:50 am 7th and 8th Grade Girls Sunday School Class (resumes December 6)
  • 10:30 am Second Service (Livestream: www.nlicc.org/watchlive) – Pastor Sean Preaching
  • 3:30 pm Youth Discipleship Groups (NOTE TIME CHANGE – by ZOOM – Check for email from Jay Storms) – This month we are meeting Danny and Joy Awad and hearing a Christmas message from the church in Bethlehem.
  • 6:00 pm Evening Service – The songs of Christmas and Hymn Sing – The songs of Christmas are extremely special to us. Some are in the Bible, like songs from Zechariah, Mary, Simeon and the angels. Others have been composed in the 2000 years since Jesus was born. Join us to hear and sing the great songs of Christmas, the songs that tell the Christmas story  (Livestream: www.nlicc.org/watchlive)

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