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Bulletin Blurbs

I’m Thankful for Unity

The church in Swartz Creek has been characterized by a remarkable sense of unity since we moved here nearly three years ago. Unity is essential if the church of the Lord is going to move forward.

In Exodus 17, we have the account of the war between Israel and the Amalekites. Moses sat on top of a hill with the rod in his hand. If Moses kept the rod raised, the Israelites were victorious. If his arm grew weak and lowered, the Amalekites were victorious. So Aaron and Hur stood on either side of Moses and held up his hands - until the sun went down. Eventually, the Israelites won.

It is good for brethren to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). Paul told the Christians in Philippi: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (1:27). Observe the unified nature of the Gospel: one spirit, one mind, the (singular) faith of the gospel.

We have to work at unity. It doesn’t seem to happen by accident. A sense of unity contributes to each member using their own talent for the service of Christ and glory of God. When the whole body of Christ is fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, then there will be an increase in the body (Eph. 4:16).

Each of us has our weaknesses but we can be united when your weakness is supplemented by my strengths, and vice versa.

I am thankful for unity.

-   Paul

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Good morning!

Once again, I’m happy that all of you are here this morning! As you read this, I am likely in Henderson, Tennessee for the annual FHU Lectureship. I look forward to seeing you in person again this time next week! It’s always an encouraging thought to know that, though I’m 716 miles away, we’re both worshipping the same God on the same day. Though we’re apart, we’re all part of the same family.

It’s hard to believe we are already a month into this New Year. It seems like every February, I have that overwhelming feeling that time really goes by too quickly. I want to express what we discussed last Sunday at our youth devotional. Often in our New Year, we discuss new beginnings and how, if the last year was not our best, we can “turn over a new leaf” this New Year. Well, now we’re 1/12 into the year 2014, and my guess is we’ve all fallen to a sin or temptation at some point. We’ve all proved that we aren’t perfect. Luckily, God does not measure time in years, months, weeks, etc. like we do. We always have the opportunity to change for the better.

David, after being confronted by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba, wrote the 51st Psalm. In verses 10-12, he prays this: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

We, like David, can and should pray this prayer. Unfortunately, we are imperfect. We have a Heavenly Father who understands that, and sent his perfect Son to die for us, so that we have a chance to come back to him, have our hearts made clean, and have our spirits renewed, not at the start of each new year, but whenever it is needed. Isn’t it a blessing to be a child of God?!