This Week in Ministry

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

Sunday, July 14, 2019:

County Prison, 1:45 and 3:15 p.m., the Rev. John Butler, Wings of Love Community Church, South Williamsport.
HCR Manor Care South, 2 p.m., Pat Burket, State Road United Methodist Church, Cogan Station.
Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., Jerry Webb, Maple Street AME Zion Church, Williamsport.
Aristicare, 2 p.m., the Rev. Jerry Cline, Retired United Methodist Pastor, Williamsport District.
Elmcroft, 2 p.m., the Rev. Danesta Whaley, Citychurch, Williamsport, and LaVon Hawley, Bethany Lutheran Church, Montoursville.
HCR Manor Care North, 2:15 p.m., Liteshine Ministries, Williamsport.
Rose View Center, 2:15 p.m., Susan Shuman and Janet Lawrence, New Life Wake Up Ministry, Inc., Williamsport.
Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., the Rev. Danesta Whaley, Citychurch, Williamsport, and LaVon Hawley, Bethany Lutheran Church, Montoursville.
Pre-Release Center, 3:30 p.m. Yokefellow, (men), Yokefellow, (women).

Services during the week of July 13-20, 2019 include:

Presbyterian Home, 11 a.m. Thursday, Deacon Sandy Grier, Messiah Lutheran Church, South Williamsport.

On the radio

Radio Services are provided by the following congregations:
8:30 a.m. (Saturday) Jersey Shore Assembly of God, WJSA 1600 AM/96.3 FM.
8:15 a.m. (Sunday) St. John’s-Newberry United Methodist Church, 1050 or 1600 AM 92/7 or 104.1 FM
9 a.m. (Sunday) Community Baptist Church, Montoursville, WJSA 1600 AM/96.3 FM.
10:15 a.m. (Sunday) Pine Street United Methodist Church, WWPA 1340 AM/101.3 FM.

Ecumenical Lunch:

United Churches Wednesday noon ecumenical lunches are held each week of the school year and once in the summer at Pine Street United Methodist Church, 441 Pine St. Our summer program will be on July 31 when the Rev. Viking Deitrich will be with us on home assignment from Germany. He is the Regional Representative for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and will be telling us about his work in the Balkans and Russia, as well as projects in Jordan, the Holy Land and Cairo. The program includes a catered $6 lunch beginning at 11:45 in the church fellowship hall. Free parking is available until 1:30 in the lot north of the church. Though reservations are not needed, if you are not a regular attender it would be helpful to the caterer if you let us know you are coming by calling 570-322-1110.

Devotion line:

The United Churches telephone devotion line is available 24 hours a day by calling 570-322-5762. The devotions this week will be provided by the Rev. Kenneth Wagner-Pizza, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Williamsport.

Footsteps To Follow
by Rebecca Logan, a former UPMC Chaplain and current member of Lycoming Valley Baptist Church

The Bible Is The Cradle Wherein Christ Is Laid

My dad was born in South Africa. After he came to know the Lord as Savior, he received a scholarship to study for the ministry in America. So the South African found himself in the South, Dallas Texas to be exact, and a student at Dallas Theological Seminary.

As we children grew up, we heard stories about many of the students there, for example Chuck Swindoll. The key to that institution was the firm foundation of belief in God’s Word, plus the professors’ character, integrity, and wisdom.

In this challenging, confusing, and chaotic world, one fact is certain: God has spoken to us through his Word. Through the ages, people reading the Bible through yearly has radically changed their lives. I can personally testify to that! This year I did something new and listened to it using the NIV Bible Experience. Many of these dramatized versions can be downloaded and listened to on the computer or phone. It only takes 75 hours to listen and about 71 hours to read. That’s not much, especially when the average American watches TV 35 hours a week.

Howard Hendricks, one of my dad’s Dallas professors, co-authored with William D. Hendricks the book called Living By The Book: The Art And Science Of Reading The Bible. He shared many quotes about the necessity of the Bible. Here are a few of my favorites: “The genius of the Word of God is that it has staying power; it can stand up to repeated exposure. In fact, that’s why it is unlike any other book. You may be an expert in a given field. If you read a book in that field two or three times, you’ve got it. But, that’s never true of the Bible. Read it over and over again, and you’ll see things that you have never seen before”(57).

He states, “So the first reason for studying Scripture is that it is a means of spiritual growth. There is none apart from the Word. It is God’s primary tool to develop an individual”(12). “The will of God is found in the Word of God. The more a person grows, the more he begins to think instinctively and habitually from a divine perspective”(1). “You are either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, or you are in the world and the world is squeezing you into it’s mold”(6).

Hendricks continues, “The moment you come to a passage of Scripture and say, ‘I know this one already,’ you’re in deep trouble”(48). “So the real question confronting you now is how can you afford to not be in God’s Word?”(14).

It is worth investing our time in something that will last forever! 1 Peter 1:25 states, “the Word of the Lord endures forever”(NIV). The Jubilee Bible states, “The world passes away and the lust thereof, but he that does the will of God lives forever”(1 John 2:17). Read it, and discover why the Bible has outsold all other books, with a whopping 3.9 billion copies in the last 50 years alone, according to the web!

As Martin Luther stated, “The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.”

Faith Matters  by the Rev. Gwen Bernstine, Executive Director, United Churches of Lycoming County

Overcome Life’s Teejus Times With Faith

“Life Gits Teejus. Don’t It” is an old folk tune Doc Watson recorded that reminds me of the many complications of life. One of my favorite stanzas is “I open the door, and the flies swarm in. And when I shut the door, I’m a sweatin’ again. And in the process I crack my shin. Just one dern thing after another.”

Isn’t that life in a nutshell. In trying to do something to make life better in our community, I pick up litter around our house and when I’m at the park. Litter must go into the appropriate containers, but what do we do with the plastics and plastic foam we don’t recycle and shouldn’t put in the trash. At my home, I’ve stopped using them, but this is other people’s litter. Then taking the recycling in, I stub my toe. Yes, even the little things of life get complicated, and it is “one dern thing after another.”

Then there are those major decisions of life: education, job, major purchases, deciding to relocate. When I was growing up, my family planted the seed early that I would go to college. My grandparents even began my college fund before I was born. Over the years, I vacillated about vocation, sometimes dreaming about nursing, then teaching, then other occupations. Not once did I think about working in a church, and pastoring was something most women couldn’t consider years ago.

Luckily my skills in understanding people and teaching helped me acquire skills as an office worker, writer, pastor and ecumenist. I smile remembering office skills were the most difficult for me to learn but the most necessary.

My most rewarding skill is being an ecumenist, the skill I had never heard about before. God even provided a mentor in my predecessor, Dr. Alton Motter. I love working with people in different congregations and helping all see they are part of God’s family.

In these unsettled, “teejus” times in our country and world, we also need to become an ecumenist on an interfaith level and learn from the Jewish and Muslim communities about their faith and customs. We also have smaller groups of people in our community from other faith traditions to get to know and understand.
The more we interact with other people of faith, the more we learn about them and ourselves. I delight in these opportunities every time I get to walk through an open door to experience them.

One of the benefits of a good education is learning the skills to meet each day and having the ability to continue to learn and process information each day. Yet that isn’t always enough for us to find that “silver lining,” seize the opportunity, or just keep going in the midst of health issues. It is my faith in God’s abiding love for us, God’s people, that keeps me positive.

Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

It is our faith in God who comforts, guides, strengthens and supports that gives us the ability to turn from that closed door and move toward and then through the open door.