Monday, July 28, 2014

New Life Christian Ministries

Yesterday we worshiped at New Life Christian Ministries, 12031 Hopewell Road, Hagerstown, MD 21740, 301.733.0307,, Ken Harris, Senior Pastor.


Revelation 22:1-5 -

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 4:2-8 -

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” who was, and is, and is to come.

Bob’s thoughts:

With help from Siri, we found a church where we could worship on our way home, although at first it did direct us to a nearby Tractor Supply Store…

We were welcomed at the door by a few people, including a Marine, which gave Jan some time to look around.

A large cross is displayed in a front corner of the sanctuary; there were two large screens along with monitors mounted up high partway back. This was the first time all the praise songs were new to me so I was pleased the words were on the screens.

The greeting time must have been 5 minutes, with a countdown timer on the screens. Though I thought the most welcoming were some folks we talked to outside after the service.

The sermon quoted a lot of Scripture but I was uncomfortable with the interpretation.

The most inspirational moment yesterday was the t-shirt of someone I saw at our hotel. I thought it was a great message for us all: “The Church has left the building.”

Jan’s thoughts:

En route home from a visit to northern Virginia, we stopped at this church yesterday morning. As we entered, a friendly greeter caught sight of Bob’s Marine t-shirt and initiated a conversation. Several others spoke with us and introduced themselves, some of whom we had extended conversation with after worship.

The room was wider than it was deep, but in addition to the two larger projection screens in front, there were some monitors placed halfway back which provided clear vision of the words on the screens.

One of the single pages in the bulletin was called the “Caring & Sharing” page. Members who either needed something or had something they no longer needed can notify the church to have it listed under either category; nothing that is sold, only given. What a great way to bless each other.

The music was exceptional, and I appreciated hearing the four lead singers as each led a song.

The time for greeting each other went for 5 minutes which was counted down on the screens, giving everyone plenty of time to say hello to nearly everyone else present.

The message was entitled “What Will Heaven Be Like?” and based on mostly Revelation 22:1-5 and 4:2-8. Although I can’t say I agreed with everything he said, I surely agree that our finite mental capacities cannot comprehend all that John attempted to convey. We will just have to wait and see.

Our prayer for this church:

Father, we pray this church is in sync with Your purpose for them as they serve and glorify You. Amen.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pinehurst Alliance Church

Today we worshiped at Pinehurst Alliance Church, 113 Edgewood Road, Sewickley, PA 15143, 724.385.0069, Pastor Dale Roberts.

Scripture – Isaiah 54:1-10

"“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.

“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.

“To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you."

Our shared thoughts:

We were unable to blog while waiting for Jan’s computer to be repaired so we mostly visited churches we were familiar with and had blogged about in the past.

Something I (Bob) noticed was that the more familiar we were with a church, the less I noticed the lack of signage…much the same as most members, we believe.

Today we planned to worship at a different church, but when we arrived we found no one home. The signboard appeared to be up-to-date, and everything looked well kept, but we found no indication why no one was there.

I (Bob) noticed this church while on a trip for parts. It is a small church but we were welcomed by all. We noticed a Marine sticker on a car in the lot and learned the pastor and his wife have three sons who are Marines. It is always bittersweet to talk with parents of Marines. Then one of the worship songs was “I Can Only Imagine,” a song we sung at our son’s memorial service. The reminders are unavoidable.

The pastor’s message developed from Isaiah 54. He talked about preparing the church before they try to minister to the surrounding community, asking God to stretch their faith that they may go far beyond their abilities.

We both appreciated the striking cross framed in stone.

Our prayer for this church:

Lord, we pray You prepare this church. May they open their hearts to Your guidance. Amen.