This Week in Ministry

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

Sunday, October 17, 2020

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak keeping us from safely gathering together, no 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.

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 Wednesday noon ecumenical lunch is being held virtually this fall. This Wednesday, everyone will gather at their own locations with their own lunch and connect via Zoom for a virtual meeting. This presenter will be Shoneez Frelin, the Executive Director of the Favors Forward Foundation. She will talk about the hope they bring to many in our community as “Neighbors Reach Out To Neighbors.” There is no cost to you to connect to this Zoom meeting. To connect go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/728915712. This link will either help you download the app or prompt you to open your app. You are also able to connect by telephone. Call 1-301-715-8592, (toll charges apply) when prompted enter the meeting number, 728-915-712 and the passcode is 432662. For other arrangements contact United Churches, 570-322-1110.

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 Rev. Georgianna Welsch, a retired African Methodist Episcopal Zion Pastor living in Delaware.

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Footsteps To Follow

Fact Or Fiction?

By Hunter Konkle, from Montoursville, he is currently the Assistant Pastor, Calvary Life Church Queens NY

If you have a few minutes today, read Psalm 119. From start to finish, this chapter exclaims the theme of holding onto God’s word. I can think of no other time in our history when it is not more important to pray these Psalms and cry out to God for biblical wisdom.

As I read verse sixty-six, I think of the political and ideological events around us. We are not only in need of discernment regarding spiritual matters of God and the Bible, but that same wisdom needs to be applied to how we view daily life.

Psalm 199:66 states, “Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I trust your commands” (NIV). This psalm begins with the word “teach.” Although most individuals have either graduated from high school or higher learning, we must never forget that the Christian life is an extended educational course. If you are honest with yourself, you tend to think that you have seen and done it all. Romans 11:33 states, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Just as the wisdom and knowledge of God are fathomless as depths of an ocean, we can never exhaust knowing everything about Him.

The life of a Christian should not be obsessed with living for self and the things this life offers, but of knowing every aspect of our Savior who sacrificed His life for us. We must pray “teach me, O Lord!” (Psalm 199:33).

We have been given the spiritual tutor in the person of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10). But what does the psalm tell us is the content of this instruction? What teaching should we ask of God? The Psalmist writes, “knowledge and good judgment” (Psalm 199:66).

First of all, God’s teaching is valuable. The writers of the Hebrew portion of our scriptures used an ancient Hebrew word to describe all the valuable items that Abraham’s servant took with him when he embarked on the journey to find Isaac a wife. This teaching of God that we should seek is of the highest value; it is priceless.

The next word is “discernment” which means “to taste.” The author of this psalm beautifully prays in a figurative way that his palate would differentiate and discern right from wrong, moral and immoral. In Job 34:3 the writer records, “For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.” The bible gives us this helpful picture to illustrate how we ingest information and content, whether biblical theology or just items in the environment around us. Whether you are listening to a sermon or scrolling through a news feed, everything should be biblically discerned or tasted.

As Christians and citizens of a country, we will encounter more complex dilemmas than mere right or wrong decisions. Discernment for a Christian means being able to differentiate the primary from the secondary. When we pursue the secondary, non-essential matters of life, we miss out on the primary, essential, and permanent things that God has for us. We lack biblical discernment when we solely focus on ourselves, our political agenda, a job, or a hobby to the exclusion of placing Christ and others at the center of our lives.

Our discernment and knowledge must be founded on God’s Word. Allow it to permeate your life to the point that every time you encounter an ideology, a philosophy, a theology, or just a plain moral dilemma that you will automatically have the biblical taste to discern what is true and what is false.



Faith Matters

By The Rev. Gwen Bernstine, Executive Director, United Churches of Lycoming County

Our Perspectives Enhance Each Other

Growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, I was in school when many of the firsts of the space program took place. Everything stopped in class, and we focused on the black and white televisions to watch those early forays into space.

The pictures from those first flights that stay in my mind are the pictures of Earth taken from space. It gave me a new perspective, one without the border marking on the world globes at school. There were no highways as are marked on road maps. I could see nothing made by people. Instead, it showed a beautiful ball, primarily of swirling colors we would later discover were blues and greens.

In those years, the United States was in a race with Russia for a lot of things, including the space program. And here were pictures showing us that we were all part of one human family. We didn’t have to work against each other all the time. Many have realized that over the years, and the space program is one of the places we sometimes partner!

Today we are in the midst of a pandemic that recognizes no borders. The virus has invaded scores of nursing facilities, community after community across our country, and others and still aggressively moves on.

Looking at the job of a contact tracer, I don’t think we realize how much we interact with each other. Our paths cross those of essential workers, even when we get curbside pickup or delivery. But that is just the edge of our web of interaction. We also connect to the people they have come in contact with, and the circle grows.

We are no longer self-sufficient, as individuals or as a country. We trust and rely on farmers, manufacturers, shippers and business people around the world for the items we use. They connect us, along with the internet and telecommunications, in ways that our grandparents could not imagine. News now travels instantaneously, and we are “there,” not just hearing about something happening in a faraway place.

These days, we see the search for effective treatments, and a COVID-19 vaccine is not contained only inside our borders. The world is looking, and when found and proven, it will be shared.

I always find it helpful to remember that there are other ways to see the things that I am so sure I see fully and completely. They are just as valid as what I see, and I have also discovered that, when I take time to understand another perspective, it enriches me and often enhances my own perspective. I may discover how someone lives in another country on the other side of the world, or I may get to look from the perspective of another who is seeing a satellite picture of that location.

My faith tells me that we are all on the same team; we are all part of the human family, working together for the common good. There is one who truly sees and reigns over the big picture!