Sunday, October 4
"A Faith Work Out"
|October 1, 2020|
"It is God who works in you to will and to act
in order to fulfill his good purpose."
- Philippians 2:13
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!This Sunday, we celebrate World Communion Sunday, a wonderful reminder that the Body of Christ stretches from east to west, from north to south, and from generation to generation, all united in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we prepare to receive the Lord's Supper on Sunday, please be praying for Christians around the world. Perhaps pick a country that you and your family would like to pray for this week, like our brothers and sisters in Kenya, or the EPC's work in Sierra Leone. We can pray for India as it faces continuing devastation from the pandemic. We can pray for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two countries I served while working for World Vision. We can join in the EPC's five-year prayer call for Malaysia, a country with very few Christians among the native Malay. We can pray for our MLEPC missionaries around the globe, with Cru, Wycliffe, and other ministries. Pray for international students here in Pittsburgh and the ones Alex Tenenbaum serves in Louisville, that they may have a chance to hear the gospel in ways they wouldn't be able to in their home countries. Ask God to put a country on your heart, for all countries are on His heart.
Our passage from last week, Phil 2:1-11, ended with a beautiful picture of people from all over the earth bowing and declaring that Jesus is Lord. That passage started with the word "therefore," which tells us we need to ask what it is "there for." The passage this week starts with the same word, "Therefore..." So this week we begin our study with the context of last week in mind - that the Christ Hymn, the story of Christ and his humble obedience, is the defining story that changes who we are and how we should live.
As we turn to Phil 2:12-30, we continue to hear this song as Paul urges his readers to live out what they believe. "Continue to work out your salvation," he says in verse 12. This verse has often puzzled people because it feels a lot like "work FOR" your salvation. But working out is more like walking out. We have been saved by the free gift of grace, not by anything we can do to earn it. Now we need to live out our salvation, to walk the walk of a beloved child of God. Even as we are walking it out, Paul reminds us that it is really all about God. "It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose" (v. 13).
What is the very first step Paul urges us to in this walk of faith? "Do everything without complaining or arguing" (v. 14). Ouch. How many of us have complained even in the last five minutes about the pandemic, politics, work, school, church, or other people? My worst downfall is probably the one Chris Buda mentioned a couple of weeks ago - complaining about people complaining!
Why is it so important for us to stop arguing and complaining? Simply put, it is about witness. Paul wants us to do this so that we "may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (v. 15). What would Paul think of our crooked and twisted politics or our crooked and twisted culture? Just like in his day, to shine in the midst of the darkness, we have to be different. We need to walk like Christ, humble, obedient, faithful, and loving - speaking words of peace instead of bitterness. When we complain and argue, we sound just like the world around us. When we speak with love, grace, and peace, the world hears a different song.
As we turn our hearts, words, and walk toward the Lord, may He forgive us for all the ways we have complained and argued and lived like the world, and may His light shine through us so others may come to know Him.
~ ANOUNCEMENTS ~
Starting this Sunday, 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 in the MacDonald Room. The unified adult class is sponsored by the Lamplighters and will be a hybrid format, so those who want to attend via Zoom will be able to do so. This is the link to log in at 11:15 - https://duq.zoom.us/j/4338612632
. Pastor Steve will be leading the class, based on the Introduction to the Bible class he also teaches at Duquesne University.
Communion on October 4:
We will be celebrating World Communion Sunday this Sunday, October 4. If you are joining us online, please have juice and bread ready so that we can partake together.
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.
In addition to the Sunday School offerings, we have several small groups meeting online almost every day of the week, and we have groups for Tweeners, Middle School and High School, Young Adults, and coed groups, as well as the Lamplighters Sunday School class. The women's group is about to start a new study on the book of Hebrews, and the men's group is studying the Bible's guidance about issues of race and justice. If you are interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please contact us at 412-531-3387 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hour of Prayer:
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: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92561964416?pwd=NmZoNDV3dDNqSVFubW82TEx0bll0Zz09 (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 email@example.com.
Mark your calendar for a fellowship gathering on Saturday, October 17, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. You are invited to bring your own tailgate dinner and we'll distance cars throughout our parking lot. A few tables will be set up for walkers. At 5:30, there will be music provided by church members and friends. In between music sets, there will be an in-car game that individuals and families can participate in. Come join us for the fun! You are welcome to simply come at 5:30 and park in our lower lot for the music, or bring dinner and stay in any of our parking lots or move to the lower lot before 5:30. Music will be broadcast through a radio station
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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