Our Bible Studies are starting a new series, “Advent of the Savior.” This study will take a closer look at the familiar passages from Isaiah, Matthew, and Luke surrounding the birth of Jesus. We will meet on Tuesdays at 10 AM, and Wednesdays at 3 PM, with the same study each day. Please see the Calendar for specific dates this month. You are welcome to join us whenever it works in your schedule.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
This Psalm was most likely written when David was in the desert region of Judah while hiding from Saul. Water probably was scarce in that area. The One Great Hour of Sharing offering and other groups work to help bring water to people who are still living without safe drinking water. We can also think of lack of water as a spiritual longing for God. Water is used in Baptism. Genesis1:2 says the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. As I was thinking about this a CD I had on played “There Shall be Showers of Blessing,” using a water metaphor as a sign of God’s blessing. This Psalm expresses a longing for God from someone who trusted in God but could not openly attend any place of worship. David knew God’s love is better even than life, and he was able to praise God even during the difficult circumstances he was in at that time.
God is present with us now during this difficult time we are in with the COVID-19 virus. He is with people in areas where they face persecution for their faith, including people mentioned in the “Voice of the Martyrs”, like the 3 Christian families in Laos. They were driven from their village and their houses were destroyed because they would not deny their Savior and give up their faith. Their faith was more important than their jobs and possessions. God was with the Pakistani Christian who was fired from his job because he would not embrace Islam, even though he knew it was hard for Christians to get a well-paying job. God is with people who struggle with physical deformities like those helped by Mercy Ships. One was a 12 year old boy whose deformed legs made it difficult for him to help his father in the fields and to play soccer, which he loved. He was able to get surgery from a Mercy Ship doctor to straighten his legs, and with extensive physical therapy was able to have a normal life, a real answer to prayer for his family. I am going to close by reading verse 5. Note that it does not say “my body, but “my soul.” “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lip my mouth will praise you.”
A devotional provided by Ruth R.
Our Bible Studies are starting a new series, “Advent of the Savior.” This study will take a closer look at the familiar passages from Isaiah, Matthew, and Luke surrounding the birth of Jesus. We will meet on Tuesdays at 10 AM, and Wednesdays at 3 PM, with the same study each day. You are welcome to join us whenever it works in your schedule.
Our Bible Studies are finishing the Psalms of Ascent, the portions of the book of Psalms from Psalm 120 – 134. We will continue to meet on Tuesdays at 10 AM, and Wednesdays at 3 PM, with the same study each day. You are welcome to join us whenever it works in your schedule. October studies are October 6th & 7th – Psalm 133; October 20th & 21st – Psalm 134.
(No study on the 14th or 28th.) We will begin a new series in November.
Our weekly Bible Study continues to study the Psalms of Ascent, the portions of the book of Psalms from Psalm 120-134. We will continue to meet on Tuesdays at 10 AM, and Wednesdays at 3 PM, with the same study each day. You are welcome to join us whenever it works in your schedule. September’s studies will take us from Psalm 129 through Psalm 133.
Vision House is one of EPC’s mission giving organizations. It is primarily associated with the Women’s Association. I don’t know for how many years, I first became aware of it in 2014. Pastor Amy brought it to my attention. I applied for the Maintenance position for the Shoreline complex. All of us have job titles, but if you ask any of us, we eagerly get involved in whatever we can.
I won’t go into detail here about the organization. You can contact me separately for info, printed materials or if you have a computer, go online to https://visionhouse.org/
There you will find direction to:
About Us, Services, Get Help, Get Involved, Ways to Give, Volunteer; and much more.
Vision House is a Christian non-profit that provides transitional housing, critical support and life skills training and the time needed for a family experiencing homelessness to identify their strengths to become more resilient and housing ready.
Vision House has 19 apartments in Renton, with more in the planning/construction phase. Shoreline has 12 apartments, with 10 more that will be ready for families by end of Summer.
In addition the new Shoreline building will have a Full time, licensed Daycare for Infants, Toddlers, Pre-school. We will be expanding our Before and After School, School Age program with more indoor facilities and teachers.
Vision House relies on donations, daycare and our small thrift store for operation. As you might expect, Covid-19 has hampered all of those but we keep charging forward. Donations are always welcome. You can give online as an individual donor, to the church Mission Fund as individual or through Women’s Association. If you or anyone you know use Amazon, Go to Amazon Smile and choose Vision House as your non-profit. A portion of what you spend will go directly to Vision House. The 1st quarter this year $202 was given to Vision House.
(Those pennies add up)
You are invited to join us as we undertake the “21-day PCUSA Racial Justice Challenge” over the course of 7 weeks beginning Monday, June 29th.
At this particular time in history it is good for us to study what the issues are concerning racial justice, and in particular how our faith informs our individual response. What is structural racism? How does it affect our lives and the lives of those around us? What can we do about it?
You may participate in this 21-day challenge by taking the challenge on your own time and schedule (see https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/matthew-25/racism/ for the content of the 21 day challenge) or by following a 3-day a week calendar with others from the congregation, and participating as you are able with a 30 minute discussion online to reflect on what we have read that day. The discussions and prayer together will be on zoom at 7 PM Monday, 7 PM Wednesday, and 2:30 PM Friday. A calendar will be emailed soon to all participants. We will begin on June 29th.
Linda R, Kim W, Don I, and Pastor Amy will be your leaders for the online discussion and prayers.
If you would like to participate with others, please contact Kim or Pastor Amy so we can send you our discussion calendar. You are also welcome to invite friends or family to join us. Printed packets of many of the materials from the 21 day challenge are available if that would be helpful for you (there is a lot of reading in this challenge). We can leave the packet at the church for you to pick up, or mail it to you.
And whether you participate or not, I encourage you to include racial justice in your prayers, perhaps as inspired by the signs held by the children in the photo below. “May God’s love transform us into friends.”
Last Sunday we looked at the first lesson– How do archaeologist do their work? What questions can archaeology answer? What are the questions archaeology cannot answer? Come and watch the video “Biblical Archaeology from the ground down” together for these answers and more. Today March 1st we explore more What do we know from archaeology about seafaring in Biblical times? A lecture given by archaeologist Shelley Wachsmann.
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