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Newsletter June 1, 2018 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 5, ISSUE 6

In a recent sermon, Pastor Frank Wilson of New Dawn Christian Village in Los Angeles, informed his flock that "unforgiveness is the poison you take hoping someone else will die." The same has been said of unforgiveness’ close cousin, bitterness. Pastor Joyce Meyer says that "many people ruin their health and their lives by taking the poison of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. Matthew 18:23-35 tells us that if we do not forgive people, we get turned over to the torturers. If you have a problem in this area or have ever had one, I'm sure you bear witness with what I'm saying. It's torture to have hateful thoughts toward another person rolling around inside your head."

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" were among the last words that Jesus spoke. Forgiveness is a core principle in Christianity. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." We repeat this every Sunday (and hopefully at other times). We know that Jesus died to take away - forgive - our sins and make us whole and renewed. We accept this as part of our faith. But in order to follow Jesus, we must also forgive.

Who are we forgiving? Obviously it could be a person, someone who has done you harm or wronged you. It could be a group of people who ridicule you for your beliefs. Perhaps someone you don't know personally - a famous person in history or a school shooter. To be sure, there are many dimensions to this. If not forgiving Hitler or Stalin causes your blood to rise, then by all means forgive. My feeling is that where evil is clearly present, forgiveness is better left to God. But that's a whole 'nother discussion.

Here we are contemplating what effect not forgiving someone has on us. More from Meyer. "Who are you helping most when you forgive the person who hurt you? Actually, you're helping yourself more than the other person. I always looked at forgiving people who hurt me as being really hard. I thought it seemed so unfair for them to receive forgiveness when I had gotten hurt. I got pain, and they got freedom without having to pay for the pain they caused. Now I realize that I'm helping myself when I choose to forgive. Another way that forgiveness helps is that it releases God to do His work in me. I'm happier and feel better physically when I'm not filled with the poison of unforgiveness. Serious diseases can develop as a result of the stress and pressure that bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness put on a person. Mark 11:22-26 clearly teaches us that unforgiveness hinders our faith from working. The Father can't forgive our sins if we don't forgive other people. We reap what we sow. Sow mercy, and you'll reap mercy; sow judgment, and you'll reap judgment. So do yourself a favor—and forgive."
Sicily and Beyond

Coming to a theatre near you. Actually, it's coming to New Hope on June 10. In the Fellowship Hall right after the Sunday service. Presented by members, Jimmy & Ruth Marie Lyons, this video lasts about 2 hours. Dinner will be catered by Wyonia Burke so you need to call her at 843-647-2336 or email at wjones826@yahoo.com so she can plan accordingly. Wyonia will serve lasagna (in the Sicilian tradition), salad, rolls, ice tea and dessert for your enjoyment. We are indeed fortunate to have Jimmy & Ruth Marie to bring this video to us. It is one of many trips they have filmed, narrated and set to music. Sicily has a colorful religious history in addition to being beautiful and exciting. Look forward to seeing you there.

Semper Fi

The UMC Annual Conference provides pastors for its churches. When a congregation is temporarily without a pastor, they will not leave you with an empty pulpit on Sunday morning. We have been blessed to have Monty Felix with us for the months of May and June as well as several weeks in April. Monty is a retired Marine Colonel, graduate of the Naval Academy, and owner of Alaglas Pools in St. Matthews. He is devoted to bringing the Word to folks and his time with us has featured an enlightening 4-part sermon series on the book of Revelation.

We were also graced with the presence of Kevin Liles, also a Marine, for a Sunday service last month. Kevin resides in Aiken and is active as a lay pastor. He took time to meet with us during the week to review the order of worship. We are blessed to have these servants of the Lord at New Hope and express our appreciation to them and to Brother Frederick for his efforts in bringing them to us.

Bible Study Resumes

We are starting a new Lesson Series, Romans 5-8, A Christ Powered Life, on Thursday, June 7. It is somewhat unusual to study individual chapters rather than an entire book. Romans, however, is lengthly and chocked full of guidance and instruction on Christian living. Paul had not visited Rome when he wrote this ketter and he was counseling the churches in Rome how to live the Christian life. This is particularly the case in chapters 5 through 8. From author Ralph Wilson: "The object of Bible study after all is not intellectual curiosity, but change. Our goal is to learn God's word through the Apostle Paul, so that our lives might be transformed and we might be conformed to the likeness of his Son."

Church Calendar

•  Thursday, June 7. Bible Study new series begins. 6 p.m.
•  Sunday, June 10. Video presentation on Sicily by Ruth Marie and Jimmy. Lasagna dinner in Fellowship Hall after service, followed by video.
•  Sunday, June 17. Father's Day.