We are sad to announce that we will not be able to offer our marriage seminar on October 5 &6, due to unforeseen circumstances. If this was something you were considering or would like to attend in the future, please contact us and we will keep you updated. Thank you for your understanding.
In This Together
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Gen. 2:18)
In the context of a recent conversation with a student about theology, we discussed the difference it makes when our approach to the Bible and theology emphasizes individuals or the community. Of course, God cares about both. God created us as unique individuals and cares for our individual needs. However, we often overlook the fact that God created us for community.
We are built to be part of a community: namely, the community of God known as the Church.
This pattern begins in creation itself. Human beings are the image of God together: “So God created humankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). What some translations refer to as “man,” “humankind,” or “humanity” is not about a specific individual gender. Rather, it is human creation itself that comprises the “image of God.” Humanity is incomplete if we think of it simply in individualistic terms (“it is not good for the man to be alone”).
This passage has been used, even in Scripture, to make important statements about marriage, but the passage is about even more than that. Non-married people are also part of the “image of God” described in Genesis 1:27. The bigger emphasis of this passage and the greater narrative of all of creation and redemption is that we are built to be in community: we are in this together!
The implications are many, but John Wesley highlighted a few in his ministry during the great revivals of the eighteenth century. For Wesley, salvation is not simply about being right with God; it is also about finding a place in God’s community (the Church). In fact, God teaches us who we are really created to be by placing us in a community that teaches, encourages, corrects, and gives us a broader perspective in regard to the bigger picture of God’s kingdom.
This is one reason why we not only worship God individually and privately, but also together as the body of Christ when we gather in harmony to sing, pray, give, proclaim, and encourage. We are built for this.
In fact, trying to participate in the Kingdom of God without participating in the community of God gives us an incomplete faith, since it is only by allowing ourselves to participate in God’s community that we can most fully participate in the image of God and discover why we were created.
An old country song proclaims, “Me and Jesus got our own thing going.” That kind of statement is popular in our overly-individualized and self-focused culture, but it is not the message of the Bible. The “thing” that Jesus and I have “going” has everything to do with my Spirit-led connection with and participation in the community that God calls us to—God’s own community, the Church.
Prayer for the Week:
Almighty and ever-living God, ruler of all things in heaven
and earth: Hear our prayers for this church family. Strengthen
the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent.
Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring
us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (from The Book of Common Prayer)
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.
Sukkot is the last of the three annual pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Pentecost or Shavu’ot and Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. In addition to the fact that it was an agricultural feast time, it is also a time that looks toward the future, a prophetical time -– when the end of this world occurs and Jesus comes to tabernacle (live) among His people. There will be a 1000 year reign when Jesus rules with a rod of iron and peace finally comes. However, that’s only a partial fulfillment of Sukkot. For the final fulfillment of Sukkot will be when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven and becomes the capital city for all the world, when God comes forever to tabernacle (live) among His people.
Have a great day in the Lord! Rejoice in the LORD always and again I say rejoice!!
Just some thoughts for today:
During the 7 days of Sukkot, a sacrificial pouring out of water (called a water libation) was performed at the Temple. In a ceremony, the High Priest would lead a procession to the pool of Siloam where he would fill a golden pitcher with water and then return to the courtyard of the Temple. When the High Priest would pour out the water, the people would wave their lulavot (4 species of plants) and sing out from Ps 118:25-26 – “Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, let us thrive! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.”
On the spiritual level, note that water represents that which nourishes our hearts. Jeremiah (Jer2:13) says, “for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that cannot hold water” Jesus is the water of life. He is the only place where we can find that which will satisfy our souls.
Do we make our own pitchers and try to collect water from the things of this world? That water will not do us any good for it will evaporate and we will have no more. However, if we have Jesus, the Water of Life, we will never be thirsty. Do you remember the story of the Samaritan woman who wanted water that she wouldn’t have to keep going back to the well? Jesus said that He would give “living water” to anyone who would ask.
Will we let Him be our sufficiency? Will we trust Him to supply all that we need for our thirsty souls?
“What is the joy of Sukkot and how can we attain it? The simplest explanation is that Sukkot occurs during the harvest season. It’s time to reap our harvest, the fruit of our labor, and enjoy it. However, the Sages also give the following explanation: This time of joy is about the joy of time. In other words, joy comes from having time – time to be with God and with our loved ones.
Recently, a story was going around the Internet that probably isn’t true, but its message is. A little boy wanted to know how much his father earned per hour. The father told his son that he makes $100 an hour. The little boy then asked his father to borrow $50. As the father ultimately discovered, his son put away the $50, trying to save up enough money so that he could buy an hour of his father’s time! Needless to say, the father reassessed his priorities immediately.
That’s what the season of Sukkot helps us to remember — to slow down a bit and make space for what matters most.”
Let’s remember that the joy of the Lord is our strength and take the time to spend meaningful time with God our families and friends! There is no greater joy!
On the first day of Sukkot, the people were to gather 4 species of plants: the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees and the willows of the brook. (Lev 23:39-43) They were to rejoice before Yehovah for seven days with those plants. The fruit refers to the Etrog (citron) and the branches of the palm trees refer to the lulav. The Boughs of leafy trees refer to the myrtle and the willows of the brook refer to the aravot. These 4 different species of plants were held together in their hands and waved in all 4 directions expressing their unity and belief in God’s omnipresence.
The four are often together called the lulav since it is the largest of the most prominent of the plants mentioned. Because the Feast of Sukkot is, on one hand related to the ingathering of the harvest, the lulav represents being grateful to God for His provision granting life, sustenance and the opportunity to reach the fall of the year. It can be thought of as a biblical feast of thanksgiving.
Let’s thank God for all He has provided and for allowing us to continue to do His work.
Sundown on Sept. 25th starts Sukkot this year! It is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles. It is the last fall feast and has yet to be fulfilled. This Feast of the Lord is for seven days. However, there is an eighth day for this Feast. The first and last day of the feast is a Sabbath before God and burnt offerings were to be brought to God in the Temple. God’s people are commanded to rejoice before the Lord! The Remembrance is laid out in Leviticus 23.The Feast reminds us of our dependence upon God’s provision for us. When first instituted, it was to remind the children of Israel that God had completely provided for them as they wandered around in the desert. They were to construct shelters (called sukkahs) with open slats to the heavens so that they look up at the sky at night and remember that God provided for them.
As we start through this feast time let’s start by thanking God for His provision and being glad that He always provides what we need – not necessarily what we want!
We are celebrating the Day of Atonement with a time of prayer. You are invited! Join Pastor Ann and the Cove Nazarene family FRIDAY (Sept. 21st) at 7:30 sharp.
Examine your relationships with God and the people in your life. Is there mending that needs done? Have you done, or failed to do, something to keep those relationships right? The Day of Atonement is the time to make these corrections before the Lord. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:22-24 to be reconciled to the people in our lives before we come to his alter.
We are hoping you will join us for this special time with the Lord, so that …
Our new fall schedule kicked off last week with great success! If you’re looking for something different, we might be it! We are now hosting four small group studies during the week, 3 of which still have openings.
The Holiness of God group meets Monday evenings at 7 p.m. Sunday School curriculum is offered on Friday evenings at 6 p.m. or Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. Please feel free to contact us for more information, keeping in mind that these truly are SMALL groups (8-10 people).
Our Wednesday night worship has morphed into a BRAND NEW CHILDREN’S MINISTRY which begins at 6:30 p.m. and is set up as a hands on, activity based learning experience for ages 3-12. Everyone in the church is invited to come and participate in a variety of ways. If you or your children have attended our VBS then you have an idea of how this new ministry works.
We are excited to share these new programs with you. Come see what’s going on!
Yom Teruah, the feast of trumpets, marks the beginning of the new year in Israel. Elul ends and Tishri begins as the shofars/trumpets are blown at sunset.
Preparing for the Feast of Trumpets: The whole month of Elul is used to reflect on oneself and relationship with God. The sound of the shofar each day is intended to awaken the soul and kick start the spiritual accounting that happens throughout the month. Read Ps 27 from now until September 11th. Take responsibility for personal behavior and seek forgiveness from those we have wronged or with whom we otherwise have “missed the mark” in our interactions and behaviors.
I have been asked by some why we are celebrating the Feasts of Trumpets on the 11th instead of the 9th and 10th. Marking time has since the diaspora been done by using the Hillel II method used to construct the Jewish calendar. However, much research has been conducted and many in Israel have begun marking time again according to the moon sightings in Jerusalem. When the small sliver of light shows on the new moon, that is the beginning of the month. Hillel II did a fantastic work putting together a calendar that would suffice when there was no one in Israel to actually look for the first crescent sliver of the new moon. The Torah calendar is based on the movements of the moon and the agricultural cycles in the Land of Israel. In the Second Temple Period (when Jesus walked the earth), the New Moons were not determined by pre-calculations but by visible sightings. The current Rabbinical Jewish Calendar (so-called Hillel II Calendar) was not in use in His day. Now that the first crescent sliver of the new moon can once again be sighted in Israel, we can return to the Torah calendar.
Remember that one of the idioms of the Feast of Trumpets is the feast that “no one knows the day or the hour”. With our current knowledge though, we can be very confident about the day when the first sliver of the crescent moon will be seen in Israel. Using that information, we are celebrating Yom Teruah, Rosh Hashanah on Sep 11. The sun sets at 7:42 and if the clouds are gone, we should be able to see the new sliver of the moon.
To participate be at the church by 7:30 Tuesday the 11th. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me! I am trying to do everything I can to inform us and lead us to follow the directions of our LORD GOD.
In His Steps,