|Thoughts From The Elders
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From Pastor Joshua
For my personal study time I am going through the bible chronologically. This, along side a timeline, really helps me to wrap my mind around the events that have shaped our faith and our world. Each time another king turns his back on God and abandons his faith I am able to read about the consequences to his home and his nation. With each back that turns thousands follow, but there is hope, because for each person who turns back to God nations follow.
I have been blessed to watch as a faithful few break the chains of their spiritual slavery and return to the one true God. These brave men and women humble themselves before our God and cling to His word. As God's faithful few set the example, people follow and others find forgiveness and grace.
One such story struck me as I was pondering this blog...
It is the story of King Hezekiah. We read of his reign in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Hosea, and Isaiah, but it is 2 Chron 29-30 that I want to briefly comment on today.
The nation is split into North and South and they have been devastated by invasions from the neighboring Assyrians. God's word had long since been ignored and chaos was the result. What are they to do in such circumstances? Rather than turn to their false gods, as many of the kings had done, we see Hezekiah turning Israel back to God. He cleansed the land, destroyed the high places (places of pagan worship), and had finally cleared the temple of all its false idols. In his excitement, he sent a call out to all of God's lost children declaring that they would finally be celebrating their freedom from Egypt again through the observance of Passover.
This excitement spreads and we see that when people seek God's face miracles happen.
The nation of Israel and Judah begin to Gather and unite. Prior to this these two groups fought against one another for control and yet now with God as the center of their lives they find fellowship. (2 Chron 30:12)
When God's people began to gather together, they began to Grow together. With this offer of forgiveness and salvation many people came to the temple to give sacrifices and offerings. This giving was not something that was required, but a natural response to their spiritual freedom and submission to the word of God. There were so many offerings that the priests had to recruit other men to help out with the sacrifices. God's people were giving and they were giving BIG! (2 Chron 29:31-36)
When this excitement made its way to the outlining cities and nations, those who feared God decided to literally Go and be a part of this movement. They were so excited to meet their Creator that many left the comfort of their countries and their homes. We read that the road was not kind to these pilgrims as they were mocked along the road (2 Chr 30:10). But despite the mockery, many who had long rejected God (and many who had never even heard of Him) answered the call and found salvation. "But some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem" (2 Chron 30:11). The excitement of God's people was contagious!
When God's people lay their lives at the feet of their Creator He moves mountains. When we confess, repent, and ask God to guide our lives He unites families, He rights wrongs, and He draws the unsaved to Himself. Let's gather togetheron Sunday and begin the process of bringing this same excitement and salvation to our homes, city, state, and nation. (2 Chron 30:8-9)
If you are interested in following a chronological walk through the bible follow this link to our resource page to find a pdf, which will guide your study. Feel free to print it, email it, or even post it on your facebook page if you would like. It is a free resource, so use it and let me know how it goes!
Gather & Grow...River Community Life
Short Membership Interest Meeting This Sunday after Service
Interested in finding out more about The River and how to be a member? This is it! Come to a very short meeting after the service this Sunday to find out when the class will be and other information about the class. We're excited for you to come. If you have signed up previously or not, feel free to join us in the Fellowship Hall after service.
Good Friday-Noon Coffee & Prayer
Easter Sunday-9:00 am Light Brunch, 10:30 am Worship(Egg Hunt After)
Join us for service Easter Sunday to celebrate Jesus' resurrection and victory over sin and death! Also come before the service to enjoy a continental light brunch together. We could use a couple of extra hands. If you want to help, please talk to Claude or Carol Williams soon. We will also be meeting Good Friday, April 3rd at noon for coffee and prayer remembering Christs' death for us on the cross. Feel free to bring your lunch and join us. And don't forget the Easter Egg Hunt after service on Sunday!
Saturday, March 28, 5pm, Women’s Pizza, Meals & Sewing Night
Join in the fun! We’re making freezer meals for those in need and working on Days for Girls kit items PMS(Provisions for My Sister). Sign up at the Welcome center to bring ingredients for the freezer meals and a couple of dollars for pizza. Some items been signed up for, but there are lots of other items still on the list.
Family Matters Meeting
Sunday, April 26
Mark your calendars for our Family Matters meeting at the end of April. We'll meet after the service. Plan on coming, we have lots to discuss!
Women's Spring Birthday Party
Sunday, April 19th at 2:00 pm
All River women are invited to celebrate those women who have March, April and May birthdays. We'll enjoy birthday treats sprinkled with fun conversation.
Go...Serving in Jesus' Name
March Mission Focus: The Persecuted Church
Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
The church is persecuted all over the world as we have seen recently on the news but has been happening since the church began. The River supports several global missionaries, some that are in hard places to serve. To find out who they are and how to pray or contact them to encourage them, please pick up their recent newsletters and info in the Resource Room.
Ways to pray for the persecuted church (Thanks to the ladies Sunday morning group for the info!):
1. Please pray persecuted believers would know the hope God gives (Ephesians 1:8, 12). 2. Pray the Holy Spirit would strengthen them (Ephesians 3:16). 3. Please pray persecuted believers would know how much God loves them (Ephesians 3:17) 4. Pray they would know how to share the gospel (Ephesians 6:19). 5. Please pray persecuted believers would fearlessly tell others about Jesus (Ephesians 6:20).
Practical needs for prayer:
1. Please pray persecuted believers would have access to a Bible. 2. Pray they have the courage to remain in their homeland. 3. Please pray for believers who have been rejected by family and friends. Pray that God would surround them with a new Christian "family" who loves them and supports them emotionally and physically. 4. Pray for God to be an advocate for women who are socially vulnerable or have lost the custody of their children because of their faith. 5. Please pray that God would provide persecuted believers with jobs and safe places to live.
Places of persecution:
1. Extreme persecution: North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Maldives
2. Severe persecution: Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Central Africa Republic, Qatar, Kenya, Turkmenistan, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Djibouti, Myanmar
3. Moderate persecution: Palestinian Territories, Brunei, Laos, China, Jordan, Bhutan, Comoros, Tanzania, Algeria, Colombia, Tunisia, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman
Why not pray around a meal from several of these areas over a period of weeks or months with your family or friends? Let us know how that brings you greater awareness of these areas.
One resource among others for information is Voice of the Martyrs at www.persecution.com and is a resource to pray forthepercecuted church all over the world.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Journey of Hope
Midday Connection Luncheon
April 15 @ Noon
I University Club
Kristin Roberts, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House will tell us about th activities and functions of the house and Karen Blankenship will talk about how the way we remember yesterday will determine the way you live.