"Make my joy complete by being like-minded,
having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind."
- Philippians 2:2
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Many thanks to Chris Buda, who shared his insights with us last Sunday. I was talking with a friend yesterday at how easy it is to slip back into the habit of complaining, even when we hear such a great sermon about it! It is amazing to think of what Paul was enduring as he wrote this letter full of joy to the Philippians. Rather than complaining, he shared and lived out the gospel so powerfully that he managed to change the imperial guard and Caesar's own household from his prison cell!
We see from his letter that Paul loves the Philippians, and he longs for them to grow not only in their love of God but also their love for each other. Martin Luther King Jr once said, "Those who you would change, you must first love." Paul's love is evident and it is out of his love for them that he wants to encourage them to change. He has heard concerns of division in the church. He names two people later in the book who need help reconciling. But he wants to see a mindset change in the whole congregation.
We humans tend to look out for Number One. It is how we are wired. Paul wants to rewire our brains so that, instead, we think like Jesus. He wants us to look out for others first instead of ourselves. He wants us to be united in spirit, full of compassion and love. He wants us to let go of our own pride and ambition and instead "value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Phil 2:4).
And what better example is there than Jesus Christ laying down his life? Paul launches into what is referred to as "The Christ Hymn" in verses 5-11, showing the incredible gift Jesus gives us. From the beginning, Jesus was God, seated with the Father on the throne of heaven. He had the right to stay there and not move an eyelid on our behalf. But He did not consider His position in heaven as something He needed to cling to, to grab onto. He let go of position and power and instead poured Himself into human form. He took the form not of a powerful king on earth, but the form of a servant who washed feet and cooked breakfast and obeyed the Father all the way unto death, even death on a cross! Out of His humility and humiliation came the greatest gift of grace and salvation ever known to humankind, and His name will be exalted on high forever more.
In light of that, who are we to be selfish? Who are we to think we are better than others? Who are we to think our needs are the most important? With Paul, I cry out, "What a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?" (Rom 7:24, NLT).
Who are we? We are sinners saved by grace. We are the ones for whom Jesus came and died. We are the ones upon whom the Father has lavished His love by calling us His dearly beloved sons and daughters.
Brothers and sisters, I challenge you this week to spend time with this passage. Examine your own mind and heart. Are there places where you have valued yourself more highly than others? Are there times you have been divided with those in your family or in the church? Are there places where your thoughts and actions have been different from the "mind of Christ"? Ask the Lord for His forgiveness and for His help.
May the Lord transform all of us by the renewing of our minds, that we may have the same mind, the same heart, and the same Spirit as Christ.
~ ANNOUNCEMENTS ~
Prayers for Our Nation - This Saturday
Please join us September 26, as we pray for our nation from 12:00-2:00 pm! If you are able to come to MLEPC in person, meet us in the drive-thru and we will be walking around the church outside and praying for our nation's many needs. We will be wearing masks and using social distancing to keep everyone safe. But if you are not able to attend in person, please join us from wherever you are by praying with us in Spirit. Click here for a copy of the Prayer Guide: Prayers for Our Nation
Many Thanks for Your Generosity!
We have raised all the money we needed for our new security system, and then some! We hope to begin work installing our new security system in the next few weeks, installing cameras, door buzzers, and other security measures. The funds raised above our goal will be used for other much-needed building repairs and updates. Communion on October 4:
We will be celebrating World Communion Sunday on October 4.
Starting Oct. 4, we will begin offering in-person Sunday School for all ages. We only have three rooms in the church with enough space and ventilation to be able to gather safely, so we will only have three groups for now: Adults will meet in the sanctuary, Children in the Fellowship Hall, and Youth outside until it is too cold and they need to move into the MacDonald Room. We are still working out details for these and will keep you posted. The adult class will be a hybrid format, so those who want to attend via Zoom will be able to do so. We will be publishing login information soon.
A group of us gather on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! Zoom is now requiring a password for our meetings, so please use this new link (for a computer, tablet, or mobile phone):
.You can also call in from a regular phone - dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID - 925 6196 4416 and now add the password 798565.
For more info, contact Pat Gaudio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
, 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