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Shepherds’ Notes

We are looking forward to all meeting together as a family in a single service on Sunday, June 6th.    We have all been hopeful of this day and looking forward to lifting up songs of praise together again!   It will be a beautiful sound!

As of that date, it will be almost exactly a year since we started assembling in two separate services.    The Elders would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the men and ladies that worked to make this happen.  Paul and Will that have delivered sermons twice and made online bible study videos. Men that coordinated the audio/visual, that provided the security, and that coordinated those to serve for two services.    And we are so very thankful to Steve Hickson for coordinating the extra cleaning between services.

There are also those that kept the congregation together and involved while we were meeting separately.  The ladies that participated in the online children’s programs and Shirley Smith that produced 57 episodes of Bible Time with Mrs. Shirley!  Josh Cooper that began an online Zoom class.  The Care Groups that kept meeting the needs of the congregation.  The ladies that visit and deliver food and necessities to those that were in need, and the ladies that would meet and study together throughout the year.  Chris and the youth that kept in touch and kept active!  And Janice for keeping everything running smoothly!

The danger in thanking certain individuals is that there is not room in this article to list all of the names of all of the folks that contributed.   To all those that endured, please accept our heartfelt thanks.

We are excited about the things happening in 2021!

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Paul’s Pen

            It is so good to see folks whom we haven’t seen for over a year start trickling back to services! Although avoiding crowds has been necessary during this pandemic, I’m thankful the vaccinations are providing some relief from fear of the virus. Hopefully, more of you will be able to join us in the near future. We pray that the majority of our members will be able to worship with us on June 6th!

            With pandemic restrictions being eased and summer approaching, we’re about to get very busy. VBS, church camp, MYM, and our gospel meeting are just a few of the activities coming up. I hope the pertinent ones are on your calendar. I think everyone is ready to get involved again. If you’re like me, you’re having to get back in the habit of meeting three times a week.

            Maybe we need to read the parable of the talents once again from Matthew 25:14-30. After being so restricted for more than a year, let’s get busy and use our talents – they’ve been buried long enough! Sometimes we just need to ponder some verses to get us motivated. Consider these:      1 Corinthians 15:58 – “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

James 4:17 – “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Hebrews 10:25 – “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

1 Peter 2:2 – “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,”

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Will’s Words

Don’t you love having a checklist for chores? Of course, I don’t mean that we love having chores to do, but we appreciate having them all listed so that we can mark completed tasks off throughout the day or week. It feels so rewarding at times to check off (or boldly strikethrough) something we’re so happy to have finished and off our shoulders.

Unfortunately, we often come to Scripture and we can look at certain passages as a checklist. We might read texts like Romans 12:9–21, Ephesians 4:25–32, or Colossians 3:5–17 which list godly attributes and some things we should avoid as God’s people and walk away thinking, “I can check off having done some of these things!” However, these should never be viewed as one-time acts that are completed and then we move on to another task. They inform us how to live like Jesus and in accord with God’s will.

These good things become not things we do but a part of who we are! We live compassionately, not just act compassionately. We live humbly, not just do humble acts. We are patient, not just show patience. We love the truth, not just choosing not to tell lies. Godly conduct should never morph into a list of things we feel compelled to checkoff having completed. Godly conduct springs from our hearts that love and seek to honor Christ. Godly conduct becomes a staple in our lives not because we are constantly checking boxes, but because our hearts are aligned with the heart of God to live in His holiness. May we better seek this week to do good!

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Shepherds’ Notes

In just a few weeks, six of our teens will be graduating from high school.  Eli Argo, Samuel Busbey, Conner Chichuk, Bailey Hughes, Nicole Lanius and JD McCracken. I know as a parent it is hard to believe that they have grown up so fast and have reached this point in their lives. We know you have loved them, encouraged them along the way and most importantly, taught them to love God and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  Young people, as you transition into college, trade school or the work force, I encourage you to continue to be Christian examples to all you meet.  When I think of you, I am reminded of the words the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5, “When I call to rembrance the genuine faith that is you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.”  As we have watched you grow and become active in serving the Walter Hill congregation in various ways, your faith is evident.  I encourage you to also remember the words Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14 -15, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  We are so proud of you and this great accomplishment in your lives.  We encourage you to always be faithful to the church which Christ gave His life for.

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From Paul’s Pen

            I love the following adage: “Hindsight is 20/20”. There is a lot of truth in this as we review the past. Can you imagine the thoughts racing through the minds of our Lord’s disciples after they saw the risen Jesus that Sunday evening after His resurrection (John 20:19-20)? Although He had told them in advance about His death and resurrection, was it believable?

            Not too long before, these same disciples had witnessed Lazarus being raised from the dead and walking out of his tomb (John 11:43-44). They had seen the power Jesus had over the winds and the waves, disease, demons, and even death. But I believe they had also heard what Jesus told Martha in John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life.” That Sunday evening there were ten glad apostles clearly seeing the personification of the resurrection – with 20/20 vision!

            Thankfully, they have shared what they witnessed with us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We can see the risen Savior clearly through their eyes and believe that He is the resurrection and the life. That is where our hope lives!

            In 1977, brother Alton H. Howard wrote the words and music to the beautiful hymn “I Believe in Jesus”. The third verse clearly states what I tried to convey in my comments above:

            I believe that He spoke to dead Lazarus,

            And He said “unbind and set free;”

            I believe that He reigns up in heaven,

            And I believe that He is coming again.

            Yes, I believe in the One they called Jesus,

            I believe He died on Mount Calvary;

            And I believe that the tomb was found empty

            And I believe that He’s the answer for me.

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Becoming Intentional

“I’m busy.” How often does that singular reason keep us from doing something? A key to overcoming the “busy beast” is finding intentionality. Being intentional takes discipline and thought, but it frees us from becoming slaves to our schedules. Here are a few questions that help us be intentional:

1. Does this matter? Always contemplate an opportunity’s value and importance. Certain things just don’t deserve our valuable time on a regular basis (mindlessly scrolling social media, etc.). Asking what is important highlights our most necessary tasks but also reveals our biggest priorities. However, remember there are times we need things that aren’t pressing or important that give us rest.

2. Who does this benefit? This question helps us avoid selfishness and self-neglect. There are many times we become unbalanced because we get carried away giving too much time to our career, to ourselves, to our children, to a problem, or to others––to the determent of other things that matter. When we serve people and priorities in balance, we are practicing intentionality.

3. What’s missing? If you have a deficiency in your diet, you ask, “What am I not getting?” and then you supplement. Being intentional about spending your energy forces us to make sure we are checking all the boxes on what matters and is necessary. By surveying what all you are doing, you’ll probably see what you are missing.

4. Where does godliness fit? As a Christian, this is more reminder than question. Don’t ask, “Where does God fit?” If that is the question, the answer can easily become a frame of time (think 8:30 or 10 on Sunday morning). Instead, the quality of godliness should show up across our week and it demands we also spend time with God. Being intentional on how your “Christian light” shines in your work/school week, in your leisure time, in your most pressing and least pressing tasks is a must for followers of Jesus.