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Newsletter January 2 2019 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 6, ISSUE 1
Is Jesus God?

"Was He merely a man, one of the numerous prophets or teachers who roamed the world in that day, or someone else? Many people may be interested in His teachings or healings, but in the big scheme of things, they think God is the important oneónot Jesus. They may claim to believe in God while considering Jesus irrelevant. But what does the Bible say?" The question is asked in a sermon by pastor Charles Stanley. Before we look at the Bible, let's consider what happens if Jesus is not God. From Stanley, "Then He is a liar. He canít be trusted. His death had no effect, and we are still in our sins. The story of the resurrection is false, and we have no hope of eternal life or a future resurrection. Christianity is just another false religion. Then we are hopeless and helpless in this life and will face judgment and eternal punishment. "

Only the Gospel of Luke gives us the story of the ennuciation, conception and birth of Jesus. Matthew takes up the story with the visit by the Wise Men. But Jesus. if God, must exist before creation and before time. Johnís gospel provides a picture of Jesus unlike any other place in Scripture. Johnís answer to Christís identity is an affirmation that Jesus is God. According to John 1:1-5, Jesus is the eternal God, Creator of everything, and source of life who was with God in the beginning. A few verses from John:
  • "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). John was testifying that Jesus was God in human flesh.
  • "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." (John 1:3). John identifies Him as the Creator, which is also supported by Genesis 1:26.
  • "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." (John 6:38).
  • "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30).
  • "If you knew Me, you would know My Father also." (John 8:19).

Why is Christ's Deity So Important?

To some, God is a distant, foreign, entity that exists way out there somewhere. They claim to believe in God but pay little attention to Him and donít want to be subject to Him. Their god is expected to help them when they need it but never make them feel convicted or guilty of sin.

Another reason people donít want to acknowledge the deity of Christ is because it makes God too personal and themselves accountable. They prefer a god who will agree with them and help them get whatever they want in life, not one who meddles in their business and holds them responsible.

John's is probably the last gospel written. From the first verse, he proclaims that Jesus is God. As we move from Christmas to Lent, from the birth to the resurrection, it is good to remember the truth - that Jesus is God.

Church Calendar

•  Saturday, January 5. Take down Christmas decorations. 9:30 a.m.
•  Thursday, January 3. Bible Study 6 p.m. Ephesians Chapter 4.
•  Sunday, January 6. Bible and Biscuits. 10:30 a.m. This time it really is bisicuits (and gravy). And more.
The Year in Review

The year 2018 was interesting to say the least. Our faith was tested in "the little church that could". Beloved Pastor Sandra retired after experiencing health problems. We were without a pastor for several months so we were in position to experience first hand Paul's teaching on how suffering leads to perserverance, which builds character and finally brings hope. Hope came in the form of a supply pastor, Monty Felix, who provided his dymanic and tireless leadership for May and June. Then we received a permanent appointment from the Conference as Kevin Liles took the reigns in July. So we were off and running. or rather marching in cadence to this Marine. Kevin has brought energy and focus to our congregation and a renewed spirit of love and fellowship.Meanwhile, the work of the church goes on.

In Music. We had Fifth Sunday singing services on three Sundays. Ed Hinshaw brought his talents once again as did the choirs from Buncombe UMC and Shandon UMC. The services were uplifiting and each was followed by a fellowship dinner enjoyed by members and friends.

In Service. The JLH food bank ministry continues serving friends in the community. It was expanded and is an inspiriation to us and our friends. .

Improvements. An entrance marker was erected at the cemetery. After a slight delay, the lettering was painted and it is now visible from the highway.

Fellowship. Bible Study continues and Kevin has added a monthly breakfast, which has been a big culinary hit.

We finished the year in fine style with a Christmas Eve service, including communion, and followed up with dessert and coffee.
Plugging Along

This week we resume our study in Ephesians, Chapters 4 through 6. This study, by Ralph Wilson, consists of 16 lessons for what is a short book. Compare that to Isaiah, where we breezed through 66 chapters in 8 lessons. Ephesians is our 13th study after the New Beginning. The first was The Baby Boomer's Bible Guide in September 2013. Then came The Last Words of Jesus, Resurrection and Easter Faith, Jesus Walk - Beginning the Journey, Life of David, Abraham, Daniel, Isaiah, Galatians, Letters of John and Romans 5-8. Most of the studies are by Wilson, whose lessons contain interesting discussion questions and fit neatly in our one hour time frame.

It has been said that Christianity is best experienced in circles rather than in rows. The relationship we enjoy with our Lord is the ultimate quest. But the relationships developed among Christians is critical to the well being of the Church.

Studying the Word together is now and always has been a lynchpin of the Christian faith. So the Thursday Night Study Gang keeps plugging along, learning, growing in fellowship and growing in our faith.

"I want the whole Christ for my Saviour, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field."- John Wesley
New Hope UMC
Kevin Liles, Pastor klliles@umcsc.org    PO Box 54, Rowesville, SC 29133      Art Whetstone, Editor awhet@att.net