I was thankful yesterday
to preach and lead communion at our nearest sister congregation in the PCA, Hope Church (PCA), Ballston Spa. Elder Eldrid
Page joined me in worshipping there, and I was so happy to return after worship there and share in delightful
food of a different kind back here at Redeemer - - our fellowship luncheon. Rev. Michael Alford
preached and led communion here for us as we served our sister congregation by providing pulpit supply for them in their hour
of need with Pastor Kip Slawter still hospitalized. Kip opened up the service with a call to worship and prayer of invocation
via Skype on the internet. Pray for Pastor Kip and his healing and continued strengthening as he can move some of both
his right and left hands to some degree now !
These connections in the Body of Christ distinguish
us as a covenantal church body, where elders (both ruling and teaching) are accountable to God through ministrations of brother
elders . . . . this is the "presbyterian" in our name. A brother pastor, Kip Slawter, who blessed us by preaching
my installation sermon in December of 2009, is now having the pulpit in a sister church where he had preached supplied by
me, and a senior emeritus pastor of our presbytery, Mike Alford, blesses our congregation in turn. We are a connectional
church. Don't take this for granted. It speaks to a biblical reality.
When Paul addresses
the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 it includes these words:(vv. 28-32)
Act 20:28 Therefore take
heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God
which He purchased with His own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves
will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up,
speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and
remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
Act 20:32 "So
now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance
among all those who are sanctified.
Elders are meant to take heed to "yourselves",
and to the church family over whom the Holy Spirit has made us overseers. Elders like Jack Merry, Eldrid Page, Ralph
Kelsey, Kirk Phillips, myself and Charlie Holliday are meant to oversee one another in a local congregation and to oversee
the spiritual growth of the whole congregation. But this oversight and caring is not limited geographically. We
see that reality when a Jerusalem council is called in Acts 15 to decide matters of importance that could not be dealt with
locally. The authority is that of the apostles in Jerusalem, the same authority which is appealed to in presbytery meetings
by recourse to sola scriptura, the Word of truth given to us by the apostles and prophets (Ephesians
2:20). To be reformed is to be re-formed and reshaped by the Word of God, the Bible, and the church is blessed by elders
who are called to preach from the Bible and who are called to rule by the Bible.
This mutual encouragement
among congregations which we saw in play this weekend flows from the New Testament testimony, and I am glad to be part of
it. I hope you are also !
You are invited stop by sometime between 4 and 7 this Saturday
at 47 Hidden Hills Drive, Queensbury, between Sherman Ave. and Dixon. (To get there turn in on Oak Tree off of Sherman near
the Dome, take a quick right on Maple and then a quick left on Hidden Hills Drive to find our house down on the left
hand side.) Just bring yourself, your voice to sing carols, your appetite, your desire to "connect" to bless
one another by your friendship in Christ. You have blessed us this year ! Children and the Teen-zone will be down
stairs and EVERYONE will be invited up to sing together when we rejoice through singing carols in praise of our Savior Jesus
Rehearsal for the Christmas pageant is Saturday at 9:30 a.m., with performance at 4 p.m. on Sunday,
the 12th. Thanks to the ladies and men doing so much to make that happen !
at 7 p.m. on the 24th.
I want to share with you that some of the planning done at our February
Deacons, Elders and Wives Retreat bore fruit tonight. At that time it was mentioned by someone that we should provide
special welcome baskets to our nearest new neighbors on the cul de sac behind our property. Last week Kim Guinther took
the lead and Jo Burl and Melissa Beilstein collaborated in helping to put together five lovely baskets filled with holiday
goodies. Today, Lois, Johnny and I introduced ourselves to three brand new residents in our neighborhood, and left a
fourth basket in the front door of the house closest to our field along with a New Testament (ESV) and Christmas tract.
Please pray for a family that had one member of the family request that everyone in that family would worship
Please pray for a neighbor with a Public Works Worker and hairdresser
in the household.
Please pray for a woman who gave Lois a big hug as we were leaving !
Please pray for a neighbor who renovated a neglected home and has produced a beauty of a residence.
How about you? Is there some relationship or situation that you need to give over to God which you have
neglected recently? Do you have a personal faith connection to Christ, relying on God's deed of incarnation, faithful
obedience, crucifixion, resurrection and the ascension of Christ, to make beautiful what is hurting and broken right now?
make perfect and beautiful our faith, over time. Trust Him to show us the beautiful in the midst of the painful. A sister
challenged me to do that today. Fix your eyes on Jesus !
Some of the witnesses which surround
us are the church triumphant in heaven.....some are the church militant still serving Christ here on earth. Let our
connection to Christ be inspired and encouraged by our consideration of their walk with him. When we see connections
among Christians at Christmas - - IN OTHER WORDS WHEN SOMEONE IS A WITNESS OR TESTIMONY OF CHRIST'S LOVE IN OUR LIFE - - let
that inspire us to a closer walk (A FIXING OF OUR EYES UPON JESUS) with the One who holds it all together, CHRIST !