A Letter from Pastor Carolyn
 
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Sunday, July 12
10:00 a.m.
  
Pastor
Carolyn Poteet
 
Sermon:
"Christ-like-ness"  

Scripture:
2 Peter 2:1-3,17-20
2 Peter 3:11-15

 

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July 9, 2020
 
"Godliness has value for all things,
holding promise for both the present life and the life to come"
- 1 Timothy 4:8
  
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

As I write this, I am looking out my window at the birds flitting around in the tree branches, and the Lord reminds me once again of the promise that His eye is on the sparrow. "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care... So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matt 10:29, 31). While we continue on the stormy seas of this pandemic, we need to cling to that promise. Life feels very fragile right now, but the Lord and His love are from everlasting to everlasting.

It has been interesting to study our internal spiritual life as we are facing such major external struggles. So far in this series, we have talked about goodness, knowledge, self-control, and perseverance. This week's word is Godliness. What is the first thing you think of when you hear that word? I hate to admit that the picture I get in my head is of a prim and proper school marm (with requisite hair bun) scolding a student and saying, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." Godliness sounds stiff, stuffy, and boring. But is it?

Think of godliness as God-like-ness, and Christ-like-ness. What is God like? He is love, grace, holiness, kindness, justice, mercy, and a million other things. The Lord is the one who took on human flesh in order to take on human sin and destroy it on the cross. Being in the likeness of God is not just behavior, it is character.

In 2 Peter, the apostle is writing both to encourage the believers to be godly and also to warn them against the ungodly. We can learn more about what he means by godliness by his descriptions of the ungodly. In 2 Peter 2, he calls them "false teachers" with "depraved conduct." He says, "In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories" (v 3). And then he compares them with the fallen angels, the people killed in Noah's flood, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. In verse 19, he says, "They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves to depravity." Both their teaching and their behavior would bring severe judgment on them, even more so because they sought to corrupt others.

In light of this, Peter reminds his readers that Judgment Day is coming, and we need to be ready. "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives, as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming" (2 Peter 3:11).

It seems like we hear fabricated stories all around us these days. It is easy to get drawn into the temptation of a godless freedom which is actually slavery itself. We are wise to heed Peter's advice to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, to grow in knowledge and understanding, and to live out that belief in our actions.

Saying that and doing that are two different things, of course. Becoming more like God is a lifelong pursuit. The closer we get to God, the more we realize we have a long way to go to be more like Him. What are some areas in your life where you feel like you could grow in Christ-like-ness? Your thought life? Your relationship with your family or friends? The way you spend your time? Ask the Lord where He would like you to grow today, this week, or this year. May the Lord in His infinite mercy and grace make us more into His image every day.

Worship Update: Allegheny County just issued new guidelines for gathering. The rule is not more than 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. While churches are exempt from this rule, our session has preferred to follow the recommended guidelines because of our highly vulnerable congregants. The latest rule is for the next two weeks. If the case numbers go down, we hope to be back together soon! Meanwhile, please join us on Facebook and YouTube for our online worship services. 

Prayer Night: Many of us are feeling called to pray now more than ever-for the pandemic, for unity, for justice, for forgiveness, for revival. We are setting aside 7pm Wednesday night, July 15, for prayer. We will offer two options - you may join us in person, or you can follow our prayer guide at home. Because meeting outdoors is the safest option, we invite you to bring your mask and a lawn chair, and we will gather in the church drive thru (we will have some extra chairs if you need one). For those of you who prefer to pray at home, the prayer guide is available here: MLEPC Prayer Guide. Wherever you are, we invite you to seek the Lord for his healing power over our country and our world.

Small Groups: Now is a great time to join a small group! We have groups meeting online almost every day of the week, and we have groups for Tweeners, Middle School and High School, Young Adults, just women, just men, and coed groups. And the Lamplighters Sunday School class is meeting again as well. If you are interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please contact us at 412-531-3387 or info@mlepc.org.

Hour of Prayer (formerly known as Sundays at Seven): 
A group of us are gathering on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! Here is the Zoom link for a computer, tablet or mobile phone: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92561964416 .
You can also call in from a regular phone - dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID - 925 6196 4416. For more info, contact Pat Gaudio at t4two98@hotmail.com.

As always, please let us know if there is any way we can support you or connect with you during this season. You can email us at info@mlepc.org, with any needs, prayer requests, or just updates on how you are doing. And you are always welcome to call us at 412-531-3387.

Many blessings,
Pastor Carolyn

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