Church of the Holy Spirit's monthly e-newsletter, the Godsend.
2021 Godsend
Happy New Year!
Holy Eucharist: Sundays 10:00 AM
Healing Service: First Saturday of the Month at 5:00 PM

Please mark events (at the end of the newsletter) on your personal calendars. 
Please send articles and feedback to our editors, Robbie Pruitt and Dean Schultz at robbie@holyspiritleesburg.org and dean@holyspiritleesburg.org

SEASONAL GREETING FOR EPIPHANY

Celebrant   I will make you as a light for the nations,
     People   That my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
ISAIAH 49:6
Table of Contents

1. New Year, New Mind, by Pastor Clancy Nixon
2. Praying Vs. Complaining, by Pastor Dean Schultz
3. The Wise Men's Epiphany To Us, by Pastor Robbie Pruitt
4. COVID Vaccine: What Should One Do?, by John Nuzum
5. Advent Season Reflection, by Debbie Jones
7. Valentine's Day and Children's Ministry, by Debbie Jones
8. New Year, New You, by Monica Whitmer
9. Church Community Builder: Is Your Information Up-To-Date?
10. Let's Get Social, by Robbie Pruitt
11. Schedule of Upcoming Events
12. Social Media Links: Join us on your favorite social media outlet
New Year; New Mind
by Pastor Clancy Nixon
Happy New Year!  

Every new year reminds me of the passage of time, the changing of seasons, and how God gives us fresh starts in life.  Certainly, any time of year can be a good time for a fresh start; but it makes sense that we would consider doing so at a new year.  The great American colonial theologian and revivalist, Jonathan Edwards, used to make New Year’s resolutions after taking inventory of the past year’s happenings.  Following his example, I habitually take stock of how the last year went, and I pray for God’s guidance for our church and for me in the new year.  If you have not done that yet for yourself and family this year, it’s not too late; we’re still in January!

This year on New Year’s Day, the Lord gave this word to me for us at CHS: renewal.  Renewal: to be made new.  Our focus this year as a congregation is to be on our own transformation into the image of Christ - our own renewal.  Why?  During the pandemic, we find ourselves more cloistered, more separated from our friends, co-workers and church family, than ever before.  We are faced with considering our own selves – our patterns of life, our sins, our loneliness, our standards of holiness – more than ever.  I believe that during this time, God is calling us up higher with Him, up from conforming to the patterns of this world.  When the world around us is caught up in political divisiveness, pervasive fear, and dark confusion, you and I are to be the calming light of Christ to the anxious world around us.  Let’s use this time – this year - to draw closer to our God, and live into healthier, and godlier, patterns of living. To renew our minds.

Shall we?

Here is our verse for the year:  Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Please memorize it with me and join with me on a journey to live out its implications. 

Mind renewal is about our head space – our attitude; our mental posture; our way of seeing ourselves, God, and the world.   Mind renewal is huge.  When you and I think godly thoughts; when our affections are properly ordered, and we are living in the center of His Will – then everything else around us falls into place.  If we are not transformed by the renewing of our minds, Paul tells us, then we are being conformed to this world, not to the likeness of Christ.  I believe that when you and I are transformed into all that God intends for us to be, our lights will shine like stars in the night sky. Those around us will be attracted to our King, and we will experience true joy and peace. That is my dream for our church this year: transformation, mind renewal, and enjoying God’s presence.

I’ve been reading the Bible through to the end every year for many years now, and this has transformed my mind: what I think about; the way I reason; and my worldview. More recently, I’ve been regularly praying Immanuel Approach prayers – entering a splinter-free memory where Jesus is near and hanging out with Him there.  In that place, often I am enabled to see what He wants me to know for that day.  These are important ways my mind is renewed.

How about your mind?  How will your mind be renewed in the New Year?

Ask God; He will show you.+  
Praying Vs. Complaining
By Pastor Dean Schultz
Have you heard anyone complaining about government officials lately? Complaining is easy; yet biblically faithful Christians are not to conform to the world by complaining to others.  Instead, we can serve as ambassadors for societal transformation by praying to God!  
 
The Apostle Paul gave an exhortation to Timothy, his son in the faith, that we would do well to remember as our nation experiences a transition in governmental leadership:

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God, our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
 
The Apostle Paul penned this biblical command while the anti-Christ Nero served as the Emperor of Rome. Not only was he a murderous madman who executed his friends, mother, brothers, and wife, but also countless Christians, including St. Peter (who was crucified upside down) and St. Paul (who was beheaded).  
 
We obey the Apostle Paul's biblical directive by offering the "Prayers of the People" on the Lord's Day, which includes supplications (urgent requests) and intercessions (prayer on behalf of others). Our prayer should be that ALL of those who serve in government offices will come to a saving knowledge of God's truth and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, which prepares the way for societal transformation.
 
As you faithfully intercede for our government leaders, I would encourage you to remember the following scriptures: 
 
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." (Romans 13:1) 
 
"Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor." (1 Peter 2:17)
 
“Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace, you will have peace.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
 
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
 
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7)
 
Remember, the Triune God whom we worship is able to do "far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21) + 
The Wise Men's Epiphany To Us
by Pastor Robbie Pruitt

What if God not only gave an epiphany of himself to the wise men, who came from the east, but God was also giving us an epiphany of who he is through these Magi?

God did reveal himself to the Gentiles. God illuminated himself to these wise men from the east. God revealed himself and guided these men to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem by a supernaturally bright star.
God also gave each of us an epiphany—a revelation of who he is, through the Magi’s three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts reflect the value, character, and nature of the recipient of these gifts—Jesus.

Matthew records the three epiphanies in his gospel saying, “When the [wise men] saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11, ESV).

The wise men saw the star, they followed the star, and rejoiced extremely. When they saw Jesus, they fell down and worshipped him as their king, and lavished him with fitting gifts.

The three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that these wise men lavished upon Jesus foreshadow Jesus’s roles for his people and his ultimate salvation for us all.

The gift of gold foreshadows Jesus' kingship. The gift of frankincense foreshadows Jesus’ priesthood. The gift of myrrh foreshadows Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf.

These three gifts from the Magi also helped rescue Jesus and his family from King Herod the Great who sought to kill Jesus.

These gifts helped the holy family fund their flight to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod, and to spare Jesus’ life. All this so he could offer his life up as our king, mediate between us and our God as our priest, and lay down his life as a perfect sacrifice offered up for our sin.

The Magi’s gifts are an epiphany to each us, illustrating for us who Jesus is and what he came to do to save us. These three gifts helped rescue Jesus so that he could rescue and restore each of us as our king, as our priest, and as our perfect sacrifice.

May we receive these gifts of Jesus and this epiphany of our God through these wise men on this Epiphany.+

A Collect For The Epiphany: The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles

“O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer, 2019).
COVID Vaccine and Fetal Cells    
by Pastor John Nuzum
The COVID vaccines are making history because of their short development time and availability to the public. This new pharmaceutical technology is man-made messenger RNA or mRNA. It teaches our immune system to respond to a foreign invader, like COVID, to prevent sickness and death. 

As I learned more about the vaccines, I was disturbed to read that aborted fetal stem-cells had been used in the vaccine’s development and testing. The first pharmaceutical companies to manufacture are Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. It is my understanding AstraZeneca’s vaccine uses a stem-cell line in the vaccine itself. The stem cells used are descendants of aborted fetal tissue from the early 70’s.

For a variety of reasons, many are faced with dilemmas as to whether to take these vaccines as we face a worldwide pandemic. As a Christian I must ask myself, “What am I to do when I am against abortion? I am in a quandary! Should I get the vaccine?”

I will be traveling to Pakistan in February and I think I will most likely be required to have the COVID vaccine to get on the airplane. I am going as part of a ministry team on behalf of the persecuted Christian minority. By the time I leave, I will face, “No Vac No Go.”

So, I decided to do some research to see what others were saying about the COVID vaccine.  I listened to a YouTube comment by Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, CA, and he says, “Take the vaccine if it helps to advance the Gospel.” He also believes we are to obey the rules.
Jim Denison, a graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and CEO of The Denison Forum, states that the fetal tissue was acquired in the Netherlands in the 1970’s but the records pertaining to its origins were lost, we do not know whether the tissue came from a spontaneous miscarriage, or an elective abortion.

According to Melissa Moschella, a Ph.D. visiting Fellow from the Simon Center for American Studies, in an article posted on the Heritage Foundation Web-site, says pro-life ethicists and organizations like the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the Personhood Alliance have cautioned that many of the COVID-19 vaccines under development have been created using fetal cell lines like HEK 293, thought to be derived from the kidney tissue of an aborted fetus.

Melissa is adamantly opposed to abortion and does not believe that it is morally wrong to use the vaccines.  She writes that cell lines like HEK 293 are far removed from the unborn children from whose tissue they were initially derived. Such cell lines are “immortal,” meaning that, once developed, they continue to divide and reproduce themselves indefinitely. This means that the use of such lines does not necessarily create additional demand for new fetal tissue.

She mentions the use of the antimalarial drug chloroquine and other medical advances developed by the immoral experiments performed by Nazi scientists on concentration camp prisoners, as well as institutionalized mental patients.
Ms. Moschella believes the origins of these scientific breakthroughs that have benefitted mankind is regrettable. However, no one thinks using chloroquine today is an approval of what the Nazi’s did in the 30’s and 40’s. Or that riding on the Washington Metro is approval of using slave labor. Or to build the southern railroad or living in California is an indorsement of the Mexican American war. Even the early Christians took the Gospel to the known world on Roman roads not knowing if the funds to build them was raised ethically, or if slave labor was used to build them.   
One of the main points Melissa Moschella makes is that we should not desensitize ourselves from these injustices and yet we live in an immorally imperfect world where it is impossible to completely insulate ourselves from these injustices. The potential of the vaccines is lifesaving and are a great gift to the world.  Anyone who wants to completely avoid benefiting from the use of HEK 293 would effectively have to eschew the use of any medical treatments, or biological knowledge developed or updated within the past forty years.

Anglicans for Life (AFL) takes the position of believing that every human being is created in the image of God and has value from the moment of conception. AFL states that abortion and anything that encourages it is morally wrong and must be resisted. Their website states, “Therefore, all people of good conscience, even during this pandemic, have the responsibility to voice opposition to the use of fetal tissue from elective abortions in the creation of a vaccine, to promote the development of ethical alternatives and to affirm the value of all human life.”

There it is!  The dilemma: “To take or not to take the vaccine.” Pray about it and do some research and come to your own conclusion. I am still debating about it in my mind and seeking an answer, so I do not compromise my beliefs. Lots of prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.+
Advent Season Reflection
by Debbie Jones        

As I reflect on the past Advent season, the word “anticipation” comes to mind. Last year at this time our family was awaiting the birth of our first granddaughter. It was such a joy to prepare for her arrival.  There were clothes to buy, a room to decorate and, of course, the installation of the safest car seat possible for that special event. We found great delight in preparing for the arrival of this baby and the joy she would bring to our family. On the day of her arrival, our anticipation was replaced by overwhelming joy! Those hours of preparation seemed insignificant when we held that tiny little baby in our arms.

I did not grow up with Advent traditions, so it has been a wonderful time of spiritual growth for me as I discover the meaning of Advent. Just as I anticipated the birth of our granddaughter, our focus should be on the anticipation of the Christ child during the Advent season. 

For many, Advent was primarily spent on preparing for holiday activities and shopping for gifts.  The hustle and bustle of the season often replaces the quietness of preparing for the coming of our Messiah. “A Thrill of Hope,” by Ashley Wallace, is an excellent resource which introduces practical ideas for families to implement and teach their children about the history and the meaning of Advent. Next December, I encourage you to read the book and begin traditions that prepare your hearts for the coming of Christ so that when Christmas arrives again you will welcome the day with great joy!+ 
Valentine's Day and Children's Ministry
by Debbie Jones
February is around the corner and we want to share God’s love through a Valentine’s Day “Jesus Loves Me” tote. It will contain a craft, worksheets and treats focusing on God’s love. Most importantly, Bible verses about God’s wonderful love for each one of us will also be included. The totes will be available on Sunday, February 14th!  Let’s spread God’s love throughout Loudoun County!+
New Year, New You
By Monica Whitmer
How many times over the years have we heard the statement “New Year, New You”? Every year we make resolutions to change things in our lives, to become a better person. I know I spent many years of my life making these resolutions. Most of the time we stop our resolutions by the second month of the year, giving up on our bettering ourselves in that way.

The best resolution to make is not just to work out more, to get that promotion this year, etc. The best resolution is to work on your relationship with God.

Every Wednesday night at 7pm the Healing Training Class meets, both in person and on Zoom. During this class, since last March, we have been learning “The Immanuel Approach.” This class has not just been a teaching on how to pray for others, or how to receive healing. This class has been about relationship with God. It has been about experiencing “God with us.” 

If you tuned in last Sunday (1/10) to Pastor Clancy’s sermon followed by an Immanuel exercise, you got a small taste of what we have been doing, and how we have been seeking God. As I said, a small taste. If you missed it, please go back and review his sermon and the connection with the Lord on our YouTube Channel. 

Within these sessions, we have not only learned to connect with the Lord, to hear from Him and see Him, but we have received true and deep healing from the Lord. The Lord has given life, direction, purpose, deliverance, and deep childhood/root healing. He has changed our lives!

Not only have people’s lives been changed, but many attending have taken what they have learned out into the world to others. We've been leading others in Immanuel and watching the Lord show up and heal them. Only God can truly break through some barriers and bring true and lasting healing.

This is not just a technique to use in Wednesday night class or going out and ministering with someone. The Immanuel Approach is a true lifestyle change. It helps you put aside self, connect with the Lord, and hear the Lord. I have come to use the Immanuel Approach multiple times throughout the day. 

As you practice anything, you become more proficient at it, and you turn to it more frequently. Immanuel Approach is a wonderful way to deal with anxiety, stress, anger, or even fear. Connecting with the Lord fills you with His presence—helping in any and all situations.

As I was walking through Walmart last weekend, I started to feel overwhelmed. I felt there were too many people in the store at the saem time. So, I simply connected with the Lord via Immanuel. Immediately I felt peace. I knew that it was all fine and that the Lord was with me. As it says in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.”

If you enjoyed the practice this past Sunday or would like to know more about the Immanuel Approach, please contact me, Monica@HolySpiritLeesburg.org. I would love to hear from you.+
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If you attend CHS and do not have access, or if you need assistance, please contact Monica and she will send you a link so you can set up your account. Monica can be reached at 703-726-0777.+

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Let's Get Social
by Pastor Robbie Pruitt

Are you on social media? Did you know Church of the Holy Spirit is also on social media? Have you followed Church of the Holy Spirit on your favorite social media outlet?

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube by clicking the designated buttons below. You can also share this e-mail newsletter by clicking the share buttons below.

These buttons will be at the bottom of every edition of the Godsend from now on and we hope you will take advantage of them to connect with us and to share with your friends on your favorite social media outlet.+
 Schedule of Upcoming Events
Mark Your Calendar

January 16 - ySummit, Summit For Life For Youth-Virtual Watch Party
January 23 - Summit For Life And March For Life
February 6 - Healing Service at 5:00 PM
February 17 - Ash Wednesday Service at 7:00PM