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This ispastarchives a new Bible study opportunity to explore the six days leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. This is the first installment, with the other five appearing before Good Friday.

The Six Days Before the Cross is a Bible Study 1. Click on the link to watch.

The Six Days Before the Cross Bible study 2. Click on the link to watch.

The Six Days Before the Cross Bible Study 3. Click on the Link to watch

The Six Days Before the Cross Bible Study 4. Click Here to watch

The Six Days Before the Cross Bible Study 5. Click Here to watch

The Six Days Before the Cross Bible Study 6. Click Here to watch

From the Pastor

Donnie2017 1KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

 

In times like this it is easy to focus on the bad news, whether it’s about the COVID-19 virus, or other earth-shaking news. But may I offer some suggestions about keeping things in perspective.

  1. Buy what you need, don’t hoard out of fear. I know it’s hard when you see a lot of other people cleaning off the shelves in the grocery store but try a little self-restraint. They are not going to close down the grocery stores. If you get sick and can’t go out, surely there are family members and friends who will be more than happy to get you food. If you don’t have family or friends to help, call the church, your Deacon, or your Pastor, we will help.
  2. Try a few days of news blackout! No, I’m not recommending sticking your head in the sand, but 24/7 of watching reports on what's bad in the world is enough to cause anyone depression, doom and gloom. So take a break from the news cycle and watch something comical like the old  Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, or my personal favorite Hogan’s Heroes. You might be surprised how much better you feel.
  3. Concentrate on the good, not the bad. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) as of yesterday globally there are 292,142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12,784 deaths. “This flu season alone has sickened at least 19 million across the U.S. and led to 10,000 deaths and 180,000 hospitalizations.” (source CNBC February 4) That number has surely gone up since this report. You’re more likely to get the flu and die of the flu than the COVID-19 virus. So wash your hands, if you’re sick stay home, but in truth most of you will be just fine.
  4. Support local businesses and restaurants. Most of these are hurting, so buy something local if you can, and get some take-out for dinner. And while you’re at it give a generous tip to the struggling staff. When this is over, I want my favorite businesses and restaurants to still be in business.
  5. Most importantly, Trust in the Lord. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) This world is filled with troubles and trials, but as Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I could add to this list, but you get the point. God is still in control and this crisis will pass. Just remember the sun is still shinning above the clouds.

It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12 He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:10b-12)

 

The book title made popular by Hillary Clinton, It Takes A Village, has been used and adapted to many different kinds of situations. We are in the midst of our annual Vacation Bible School at Shallow Well, and as I observed, it takes a church to pull off an event like VBS. Let's look at some of these in Biblical prespective in no particular order.

First, there are the folks who provide the meals, we might call these people servants. They give of their time, money and talent to buy, prepare, and serve the food to a lot of hungry children and adults. They work hard, yet it is all gone in half the time it took them to prepare it as the VBS participants gobble up the food. Yet I noticed something about these "servers." They seemed to have big smiles on their faces as child after child came through and filled their plates. This seem to be their reward for their hard work. Isn't it true that those who serve in Christ's name seem to always be blessed by it. We couldn't do without these servers.

 

Second, there's our Youth Director Kimberly, full of life and energy leading the children in the intro to the night's lesson. I watch the children's faces as they respond to her enthusiasm. Their eyes are glued on her every move, they smile, then sing, and without even realizing it they are learning about the love of Christ. I think how blessed we are to have her at Shallow Well.

 

Third are the helpers, those charged with checking the children in, those who "keep the peace", those who ferry the children from one place to another, those who assist the teachers with the decorating, music leaders, craft leaders, recreation leaders, picture takers, those who clean up, and (I hope I didn't leave anyone out) so much more. They are a God-send, for without their commitment we could not have VBS. They too are often- times the unsung heros of the church; they are the Andrews who work quietly in the background.There would be no VBS without them.

 

Fourth are the teachers, those brave souls who prepare lessons for squirming children and wonder if any child learns anything in their classroom. They leave wondering if what they taught was "on target" or did they really get their points accross? They "cast bread upon the waters" and hope that "it will return after many days." The best a teacher can expect is that one of these children will return in the future to say, "teacher, you really made a difference in my life teaching us about Jesus." These teachers are filled with love and commitment to Christ and their pupils. They are the "Pauls" who are teaching people the Gospel.

 

Last, but by no means least, are the Director and Committee who planned it all, got the supplies together, set the schedule, organized the whole layout and make sure every night that things run smoothly. Thank God for those who are willing to step into leadership positions. It too can be a thankless job, for all to often a leader hears too few "well dones" and too many "you should have done this or thats." But leaders by design stick their necks out, they take the point and call out "follow me." I think about Moses, Joshua, Peter and Paul, all leaders who suffered at times because they stuck their necks out. But unless some leads, no one follows. Let's be reminded that the Bible challenges us "not to become weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9)

 

Yes, it takes a church, or should I say all the people of God to "pull off" an event like VBS. I am thankful that Shallow Well Church has many of these people ready to answer God's call and respond, "here am I, send me!"

I was going through some of my old files the other day and ran accross several things that had been buried under a mound of paper. One of them was a "Bible 9-1-1 Index." It was where to go in Scripture when you have a specific problem. Unfortunately we can't really dial 911 for spiritual emergencies, like commiting some sin we regret, or when we are afraid of the future, or we're sick; well, you get the picture. So here it is, your Bible 9-1-1 Index:

 

When in sorrow, call John 14.

When men fail you, call Psalm 27.

If you want to be fruitful, call John 15.

When you have sinned, call Psalm 51.

When you worry, call Matthew 6:19-34.

When you are in danger, call Psalm 91.v

When God seems far away, call Psalm 139.

When your faith needs stirring, call Hebrews 11.

When you are lonely and fearful, call Psalm 23.

When you grow bitter and critical, call 1 Cor. 13.

For the secret to happiness, call Col. 3:12-17.

For idea of Christianity, call 1 Cor. 5:15-19.

When you feel down and out, call Romans 8:31-39.

When you want peace and rest, call Matt. 11:25-30.

When the world seems bigger than God, call Psalm 90.

When you want Christian assurance, call Romans 8:1-30.

When you leave home for labor or travel, call Psalm 121.

When your prayers grow narrow or selfish, call Psalm 67.

For a great invention/opportunity, call Isaiah 55.

When you want courage for a task, call Joshua 1.

How to get along with fellow men, call Romans 12.

When you think of investments/returns, call Mark 10.

If you are depressed, call Psalm 27.

If your pocketbook is empty, call Psalm 37.

If your losing confidence in people, call 1 Cor. 13.

If people seem unkind, call John 15.

If discouraged about your work, call Psalm 126.

If you find the world growing small, and yourself great, call Psalm 19.

These emergency numbers may be dialed direct. No operator assistance is

necessary. All lines are open hours a day!

Feed your faith, and doubt will starve to death!

- Author unknown.

A Matter of Heart - An Update 

By Rev. Donald Thompson

As I write this on June 25, 2014, I have just been to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for a heart biopsy (I am going every two weeks right now, and after I go in two weeks I'll go once a month) to make sure there are no signs of my body rejecting the new heart. I have to be there at 7:30 am where they prep me for the procedure which is done about 8:30 am. After that I go for an ultrasound of the heart to make sure everything is functioning properly. I then return home and I get a call in the early evening giving me the results. Good news once again, everything is fine and no sign of rejection! I give thanks to God for my great blessings. I continue to recover from my heart transplant without any complications (the medical staff tells me they expect at least one serious episode of rejection/infection, but so far so good)

 

I am trying now to get back to my normal routine, and plan to preach and lead Holy Communion on July 6. I will still need to exercise precautions about touching people (just in case someone may be getting sick and not know, etc.), and being in a lot of close contact with crowds of people. I still haven't been to nursing homes since there tends to be more sickness in places like that. All this will change as I get further out from the transplant and my body adjusts to the lower immune system. In the mean time I hope you understand if I don't shake your hand or hug you, nothing personal, just being cautious.

 

I am truly grateful for the love and support I've felt through my journey over the past 18 months. I couldn't have made it with knowing of your prayers and support. It tough being the one cared for, when you're used to being the one providing care, but I've learned some good lessons from all this. I can't explain why I have been so blessed (I surely don't deserve it), but I give thanks to God that I have. Perhaps God has used this journey of mine to give encouragement to others who are going through trials and tribulations in their own lives - I don't know, but I do know that God uses those situations sometimes. So, keep the faith, "for in due season we shall reap if we faint not..." (Gal. 6:9)

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