This Week in Ministry

The following institutional services are arranged for and reported by United Churches of Lycoming County:

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Because the COVID-19 outbreak continues to keep us from safely gathering together, few services are scheduled in area long term care facilities or prisons.  Many congregations are beginning to meet together in person for Worship, being careful to social distance and to follow all CDC guidelines. They also encourage those most at risk to continue to Worship at home and to take advantage of services that are live streamed on Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, and other venues.

The following institutional services are arranged for and reported by United Churches of Lycoming County:

Sunday:

Lycoming County Prison, 1:45 and 3:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Celebration Villa, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Williamsport South, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Embassy of Loyalsock, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
HCR Manor Care North, 2:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Rose View Center, 2:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Leighton Place, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
Pre-Release Center, 3:30 p.m., None scheduled.

Services during the week include:

Heritage Springs, 10 a.m., Tuesday, None scheduled.
Presbyterian Home, 11 a.m. Thursday, None scheduled.

On the radio:

Radio Services are provided by the following congregations:
8:30 a.m. (Saturday) Jersey Shore Assembly of God, WJSA 96.3 FM.
9 a.m. (Sunday) Community Baptist Church, Montoursville, WJSA 96.3 FM.
9 a.m. (Sunday) Pine Street United Methodist Church, Williamsport, WWPA 1340 AM/101.7 FM., WILQ  HD3

Ecumenical luncheon:

United Churches of Lycoming County’s Wednesday Noon Ecumenical Lunch will return September 7th!

Devotion line:

The United Churches telephone devotion line is available 24 hours a day by calling 570-322-5762. These devotions change daily and are hope filled and inspirational. The devotions this week will be provided by Ms. Pat Jenkins, St. John’s United Methodist Church.

Footsteps To Follow

Good News For All

By Mrs. Rebecca Logan, Retired UPMC-S Chaplain
Lycoming Valley Baptist Church

All of us long to hear, see, and experience good. In a recent phone conversation, someone asked, “what is some good news?” Fortunately, there is always good news. The word “good” got me thinking. So for a word focus in our ladies’ Bible study, I did some “mining” into the word. According to scholars, “good” is used in Scripture over six hundred times, depending on the translation.

Because Scripture was written in both Hebrew and Greek, we can find the nuances of our English word “good.” For example, “good” in Scripture can be translated various ways. In the Old Testament, good involves “possessing desirable qualities, beneficial, agreeable…moral excellence, piety…kind, benevolent… sufficient…fair, honorable” (biblestudytools.com). The Literal Word App puts all six hundred plus verses at our fingertips and makes for a most encouraging study.

Here are a few principles we can discover. “Good” is used extensively in the first several Genesis chapters. God proclaimed everything about His creation good. From the beginning, good has been contrasted with evil. We discover it is not good for man to be alone. God’s promises are good; His words are good. God works out good even through trials. We keep God’s commands for our own good, and our obedience to Him is good in His eyes. God promised good land for Israel, and work is called “good.”

Moving into the New Testament, we learn more, while using the app. In the New Testament, the words most frequently translated “good” are agathos and kalos. Agathos denotes good as a quality, physical or moral. Kalos is beautiful, pleasing, useful, or noble.

God is good; He makes good things. God does good, and believers should do good. Overcome evil with good, and recognize that truly good gifts come from above. The Word of God equips us for good works. Hold to the good, and be zealous for it. Turn from evil, and do good. People will confuse good with evil, sometimes calling good “evil,” while calling evil “good.” Be good stewards of the gifts God has given us. We sow good; we reap good. It is good to thank God. God does not withhold good from His people. God’s Name is good. We should both seek the good and hold to the good, always remembering that God does good. Interestingly, no individual person is called good throughout all of the Bible. Only God and His creation are called good.

We can have a good conscience before God because of Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross. John 10:11 quotes Christ as saying: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (ESV).

Goodness or kindness is a reflection of the divine character of God. It is only possible through the Holy Spirit’s working in the heart of those who have confessed Christ as Savior and Lord. Galatians 5:22-23 states: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

Here is a summer challenge. Install the Literal Word App, and check out all six hundred plus verses. Then pick another word, and study it through all the Bible. Before embarking on a word study, humbly pray, and ask God for His guidance. And, remember, we do not do good to be right before God; we receive His goodness, through the forgiveness of our sins, because of Christ.

 

Faith Matters

Created For Purpose

By Tiffany J Haller, Director of Religious Education & Youth Ministry
St. Ann Catholic Church

When I was asked to write a “Faith Matters” article, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I enjoy writing and thought it would be a good experience. Then, as the deadline approached, I had a question. What is the purpose of “Faith Matters”? The answer: usually it involves socially relevant topics. An example was the recent shootings. I then thought to myself, “Oh, Lord! I do not want to go there! It is too hard, too devastating, too controversial. Then there are COVID, masking, and vaccines. There is the war in the Ukraine. The rise of anxiety and depression as a result of all of these occurrences is at an all time high. If we have learned anything through all of this, it is that life is unpredictable and we all suffer. And this is why faith matters.

As the Holy Spirit does, He showed up in a big way for me today. When listening to podcasts while working, I noticed the app shuffled podcasts in an order I would not have chosen. However, Ave Spotlight Episode 94 “Saints Who Struggled with Mental Issues” with Tommy Teigle popped up while I was too involved in my work to change what I was listening to. The saints are people we may feel very out of touch with. Weren’t they “perfect” people who lived some type of idealistic life? Most lived decades, if not centuries, before our time. What could they possibly have to teach us? But as I listened, I was reminded that, as humans, we have more in common than we often realize. There were several saints mentioned in the discussion: women and men from all different walks of life and time periods. I was familiar with all of them, but I was not aware that they all suffered from mental illness to various degrees. These were real people who had suicide idealizations due to the desperate state of their minds and lives. But God had better plans, and by His grace, they were able to overcome their suffering and live extraordinary lives.

What is God trying to tell you in your suffering? We were all created in love, such love that our hearts and minds cannot even fathom it! Each of us was created in love, by love, and for a specific purpose. We all have a purpose that no one else can fill. No one else was created in the family, the community, or the time in history as you. The statistics for our specific existence are astonishing! So, I would like to ask, what is your heart’s ache? If there were one thing you could change, what would it be? That is a very good indication as to your purpose, your calling to make this world a better place and your distinct contribution to this unpredictable world. Could it be that our suffering can teach us and offer us a way to find solutions to some of the challenges we face? Through it, we are uniquely able to help others who come after and alongside us.

Yes, we are living in trying and devastating times. May I offer that we are the solution. Faith matters because through it we are called to higher things: things we cannot achieve in our own strength but in God’s loving plan for us. Philippians 1:6 states: “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).