Having trouble viewing this email? Click here for online version. For all newsletters, click here.
Newsletter March 1 2018 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 5, ISSUE 3
Old School

"I’ve stood in rooms where booing and hissing occurs," Beurle said. "You’re a hypercritical community. And not in a constructive sense, but in a destructive way where we’re not going to respect the other view." A consultant hired to help island leaders create a plan for its future said Friday the town is facing several obstacles to achieving its goals — one being that residents simply can’t talk to one another in a civil manner. The comments came during the town’s Vision Project Management Team meeting. Residents are "hypercritical," and can’t engage in civic or civil dialogue, according to David Beurle, CEO of Future IQ, a company specializing in future and strategic planning. - the Island Packet (Hilton Head).

A Vision Project doesn't compare to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. But the dialogue is strikingly similar. Public officials were shouted down on a tragedy concering public schools. Questions became speeches, answers were interrupted, political agendas were exposed. Congress, do something. Congress? Really? There is no shortage of blame to go around: the NRA, the FBI, the Sheriff, the 2nd amendment, alas even the shooter. God didn't get blamed this time - maybe because He was asked to leave the public schools some years ago.

We are not a brighter generation than ever before. We are just exposed to more input, so that at times we are unable to appraise and assimilate it. This may lead to confusion rather than clarity. In the confusion, some voices are shouted down, ignored, booed and hissed, so much so that these voices may tend to withdraw from public discourse. In response to a question about school prayer, Billy Graham said "I know this is a complicated political and legal issue, and I have no way of knowing if we will ever return to the patterns of the past. Unfortunately, the general trend in our society is certainly away from God and against any public expressions of faith."

The church in Ephesus was founded by Paul in AD 52. Some forty years later, John warned the members about false prophecy. There was confusion, probably heated arguments, over the nature of Jesus' divinity, brought on by some who had presented an alternate vision. John asks have you forgotten what I told you? If you stray from the Truth about Jesus, you become part of the problem. Thus after 90 years on this earth, John wants to make sure they get what he is telling them. First, know that Jesus is the son of God, not merely a pious preacher from Nazareth. Accept this Truth and everything else will become clear to you.

Graham before his death said "I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins."

Okay, your question, please? What's that? Jesus? Afraid that's too Old School for us. Not something we need to talk about here. Times are so different now, you see. We have a modern, enlightened way of dealing with our problems. Besides, what could a person of your generation possibly know about violence in schools, drugs or broken homes? Sorry. Time's up. Next question.
From the Pastor

For all Christians we are in the Holy Season of Lent, which began on Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days, excluding Sundays. This year Easter is on April 1. Each year, in the days leading up to Resurrection Sunday, we focus our attention on Christ’s suffering and sacrificial death – reflecting again on the depth of our Savior’s love for us. In the devotion booklet, This Is Love – Acts of the Savior, the scripture and lessons focus on the Book of Acts. The book of Acts begins with a summary of all Jesus did for us during his earthly ministry: I (Paul) have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. These words imply how Jesus’ followers would continue the work he had begun.

As Christians prepare to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, we often focus on specific themes appropriate to that preparation. Our Lenten Bible Study on Sunday mornings has and will focus on the themes of humility; repentance; joy; sacrifice; witness; and service. In humility, Jesus suffered and died for us. Knowing this fills our hearts with a deeper sense of humility; it overshadows a focus on self.

Repentance goes deeper than remorse, though remorse is one feature. Likewise for regret, though regret is one aspect. Same for sorrow, though sorrow is involved. To repent means "to change one’s mind." This change leads to a change of heart and ultimately, to changes in thoughts and actions. The true changes that signal authentic repentance require courage, faith, and hope. These come to us only as the Holy Spirit works them in us.

Joy is internal; happiness is external. Joy is experienced through our faith in our Risen Savior and the significance in our earthly lives and eternity. The choice is ours: choose to live joyfully and faithfully following in the Light of Jesus or suffer eternity in darkness. Be Joyful!

Sacrifice. What greater sacrifice than to die on the cross for the sins of mankind, so that we may live eternally with our Father in Heaven. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5: 10). In love, Christ gave himself for us; in love, we give ourselves to one another.

Witness. Matthew 16: 18-20: And Jesus came and said to them (disciples), "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Service. Meaningful work is a great blessing. We serve God by serving others through our work. Each of us has been gifted with special talents to use to glorify our Lord and Savior. Whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for man. (Matthew 20: 27-28)

At Easter and always, may you know the joy of His resurrection, the abundance of His life, the peace of His presence, the wonder of His love. The Lord bless you and keep you. (Numbers 6:24)

Grace and Peace
Pastor Sandra
Church Calendar

•  Sunday, March 25. Palm Sunday
•  Sunday, March 29. Maundy Thursday service, 6 pm.
•  Sunday, April 1. Breakfast, 9:30; Decorate with flowers, 10:15; Worship service, 11:15.
•  March Anniversary. David and Kathy Hutto (2nd)