Weekly News & Happenings

Surviving Shipwrecks

Surviving Shipwrecks
   The Gospels end with Jesus Christ commissioning the disciples to share worldwide the “Good News” about His life, death, burial, and resurrection. Christ promised that He would be with them until the end of the age. As we learn in Acts, the disciples, emboldened by the Spirit, indeed persistently shared the gospel. We are here today because each generation strives to get the Jesus message out.
   Thankfully, Scripture provides examples of the message going worldwide, despite challenges! The Lord wanted Paul to go and share the “Good News” to the Romans. This was a 1,810 mile trip from Caesarea, Israel. Back in the fall of AD 60, this sailing journey took around 24 days.
   Luke, the objective doctor and Paul’s traveling colleague, captured the chaotic storm they encountered. Luke used dramatic words: “violently storm tossed,” being “driven” by the sea, and “all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned” (Acts 27:17-20 ESV).
   The seasoned sailors struggled with this storm for over two weeks. No sun, moon, or stars appeared (v. 20). All were in the dark with the rolling sea. Despite their best efforts, including throwing the cargo overboard, nothing was helping (v. 18). Emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually these exhausted, fearful men were wrung out.
   Let’s get ourselves into the story. Feel the fear, the drenching storm; hear the yelling as our crew fights against the furious sea. Sense the anxiety, dread, and hopelessness. See the images of our lives flash before us as we desperately try to survive another few minutes in the chaos.
   Then, in the midst of this, hear Paul saying, “‘Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.” So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island’” (Acts 27:22-26).
   These amazing words of comfort bring hope to all on board. God, the Creator, the Sustainer of the Universe, promised life through this deathlike struggle. As they lived to tell the tale, so will we! Remember shipwrecks can happen even when we are living biblically and doing what God has called us to do! And, if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. As Billy Graham once stated, “Faith points us beyond our problems to the hope we have in Christ” (The Journey).
-Rebecca Logan is a Retired UPMC Chaplain and member of Lycoming Valley Baptist Church

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Keepoing The Sabbath

May 29, 2024

 

Keeping The Sabbath
   In Sunday’s Gospel Lesson, we find Jesus and the Pharisees discussing Jesus and his followers disregard of the Sabbath, in the eyes of the Pharisees. When the law of Moses was given, the Sabbath was to be a day observed forever. The law stated that you were only to rest or worship and never work on the Sabbath. This law was taken so seriously that people were stoned for gathering wood (working) on the Sabbath. When the people of Israel did not keep the law, they were punished, sometimes by being sent into captivity. The Pharisees did not want that to happen again.
   In Mark 2:23-3:6, there are basically three ways the disciples disregarded the law, but the focus was on the Sabbath and obeying the law. First, the disciples were hungry, and as they walked through a grain field, they plucked heads of grain and ate them. Second, they were eating with unwashed hands, and third, they were walking more than a Sabbath’s journey. I don’t know the distance they walked, but it was more than likely further than two thirds of a mile or about a kilometer. Imagine what people would say today who walk more than a Sabbath day’s journey or eat with unclean hands. Jesus seemed to focus on the eating because the disciples were hungry. Jesus argued the point regarding the bread that David ate when he was with his men, fleeing from King Saul. David went into the house of God and was given the bread of Presence to eat, which was only to be eaten by the priests. David told them to give him “‘five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.’” The priest answered David and said, “‘There is no ordinary bread on hand, but there is consecrated bread’…So the priest gave him consecrated bread because there was no bread but the bread of Presence” (1 Samuel 21:3-6 NASB).
   Mark 2:27 states, “Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’” God told people to rest on the Sabbath because God created the world in six days and rested on the Sabbath. Therefore, it is to be hallowed or made holy. When people do not cease from laboring on the Sabbath, we find that they pay the price. It brings on heart attacks and strokes. It causes a lot of stress, and people try to find comfort by taking drugs and drinking alcohol or by eating comfort foods. God wanted it to be a time of rest or worship and a time for families. Some day it will be that way again.
   The next words Jesus said sound like blasphemy. “The Son of Man is Lord, even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28). Jesus was alluding to himself as being the Son of Man, and he was claiming his authority.
   We are told that Jesus entered the synagogue again, and “a man was there who had a withered hand.” The Pharisees were watching to see what Jesus would do since this too happened on the Sabbath, and they wanted to accuse him of breaking the law. Jesus said to the man who had the withered hand, “‘Come here.’” Then Jesus turned to the Pharisees and asked them, “‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?’” The Pharisees were silent. Jesus “looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.” After the man’s healing and Jesus making his point to the Pharisees, they started to join forces with the Herodians to find a way to destroy Jesus (Mark 3:1-6).
   Today, churches around the world will be praying to heal people with all kinds of ailments. Some will lay on their hands and witness healings before their eyes. Those healed will be giving glory to God for the miracles that they will witness. Other churches who do not practice healing will make up all kinds of reasons why their sick were not cured or healed. I have heard some say, it was due to a lack of faith. Others will say that God heals, but he does not always cure. Even though we are all in the same ministry, one side will discredit the other. As Christians, we need to be working together to glorify God, not seek all the ways we can prove that we alone are right in the way we worship and condemn all who do not worship and believe the same way.
-Rev. Jim Behrens, Retired Pastor – Susquehanna Conference United Methodist Church

Walking with God for May 26, 2024

May 25, 2024
Walking with God for May 26, 2024
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., Mr. Mervin Zimmerman, Yokefellows Prison Ministry.
Williamsport South, 2 p.m., Pastor Carol Johnson, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Williamsport.
Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., Mr. Kelly Erhard, Bethel United Methodist Church, Williamsport.
We Care of Loyalsock, 2 p.m., Ms. Lenora Georges, Holy Cross Orthodox Church, Williamsport.
Williamsport North, 2:15 p.m., Ms. Deb Smith, St. Luke Lutheran Church, Williamsport.
Rose View Center, 2:15 p.m., Mr. Jerry Webb, AME Zion Church, Williamsport.
Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
Pre-Release Center Women, 3:30 p.m., None scheduled.
Pre-Release Center Men, 3:30 p.m., Mr. Charles Walker and Mr. Mike Krall, River Valley Church, Williamsport.
Services during the week include:
Heritage Springs, 10 a.m. Tuesday, None scheduled.
Leighton Place, 2 p.m. Thursday, None scheduled.
Hillside Senior Living, 2 p.m. Wednesday, 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.
9:30 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

Rummage Sale

May 23, 2024
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The announcements are being provided as a service of United Churches of Lycoming County and are not sponsored by the organization.