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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

2020.07.20 Session Meeting Digest

Hopewell Session Meeting Digest
Stated Meeting, July 20, 2020
The Session continues to be grateful for your prayers, service, and encouragements. We had a number of observers come this month. If you would like to do so next month, perhaps to learn how things go, or just to pray for us as we meet, please note that next month’s meeting is August 10. You are welcome to attend in person, but if you wish to do so via Zoom, please contact Elder Mangum. The following are some highlights of important items and actions from this month’s regular (stated) meeting.
▪The elders continue to study the Scriptural teaching on delighting in the Lord in and by means of His day. Each month, Elder Patterson assigns to each elder a portion of that month’s chapter in the book, The Day of Worship. This month’s chapter was on the connection of the weekly Sabbath rest to the eternal Sabbath rest.

pp144–151 (led by Elder Rentschler). Spending 1/7 of our lives “in heaven” by way of Sabbath must affect us. What we have now in the Lord’s Day (Christian Sabbath) is far superior to what the Jews had. The Sabbath rest is a resting in God Himself, not just earthly restfulness. You may not even feel “well rested” in an earthly sense, when it is over, but it’s not to be that kind of rest.

pp151–156 (led by Elder Patterson). We might speculate about a number of things as far as our actions in Heaven are concerned, but the main thing that Scripture tells us about the activities of Heaven is that it is the worship of God. If the earthly Sabbath anticipates the eternal Sabbath, then the activities of our earthly Sabbath should imitate the activities of the eternal Sabbath. The infinite, eternal, and unchangeable Creator and Redeemer is greater than all other blessing taken together. Though Heaven may have other things, God Himself is so much the main thing that He is the heavenliness of Heaven. Freed from sin, we will be consumed with Him, not bored of Him. We ought to aim at this on our earthly Sabbaths.

pp156–160 (led by Elder Mangum). Since the beginning of the 19th century, the church’s focus has become much more earthly than heavenly. With its hope becoming less and less to know and see and worship the Lord, the church had less and less appetite for these things as the full substance of the Sabbath day. What we think/desire about each one is related to what we think/desire about the other. We ought to desire more than anything the sinless and full worship of God. This should both apply to how we think about Heaven and shape how we think about the Sabbath. This joy and rest and fulfillment will be far beyond any that we could imagine right now.

pp160–164 (led by Pastor Hakim). Like a child looking forward to something immensely and wanting to know as much about it as they can ahead of time, believers who keep the Sabbath biblically love how it anticipates Heavenly rest in at least these three ways: its pleasure is exactly the pleasure of Heavenly rest (communion with God Himself, in the company of His holy ones, all of whom are bent upon reinforcing the enjoyment of Him in His glory); its activities are all means of grace by which the God Who is Heaven’s Treasure presents Himself to us; its activities are all means of grace by which the God Who is Heaven’s Treasure increases our faith so that we can perceive Him. Doing this well ought to deflate the comparative enjoyment or recreational value of anything else. It will even leave no room for anything else and leave us wondering where the time went and longing for when this Heavenly enjoyment will be timeless. If what we’re looking forward to in Heaven is something other than uninterrupted worship and communion with the Triune God, then it is not actually Heaven to which we look forward. But if this is in fact what we look forward to, then we should be grateful that this is how the Lord instructs us to keep His day.

The Treasurer reported a healthy month-over-month increase in the checking balance. Per the budget passed in January, the Treasurer plans to send out annual contributions soon: $2500 for the Holmes, $1000 for Greenville, $500 for Erskine, $600 for the TN Pastors Network, and $900 for Denominational Ministry Fund. We are grateful to God for His continued provision, and we look to Him to continue to stir up our hearts generously, to provide for all of this congregation’s needs material and spiritual, and to give us wisdom as we employ what He has entrusted to us.

The Deacons were ready to move on siding the west side of the Chapel, but the elders discussed the priority of a concrete walk, and possibly handicap parking spaces. So, the current priority list is:
(1) Fellowship Hall west/main Doors (required for C.O.)
(2) Concrete walk (and possibly parking spaces)
(3) Siding the west outer wall of the Chapel

The Session has asked them to get estimates for all three, so that they can communicate to the congregation how much of this we can do without falling below our required $40K reserve balance in the checking account. We will also need a work day to work on the concrete walk.

Enoch Rentschler professed his faith and was examined in his Christian beliefs, personal faith, taking the Supper, and the content of the vows that he would have to take. His examination was approved, and he took his vows. Lord-willing, he will take them as an act of public worship at the table, August 16.

The Session agreed to receive a donation of another case of the blue ARP Psalters, since we have run out occasionally in the evening service.

We recorded in our minutes the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on June 21 and July 19; the baptisms of Isaac, Caeli, and Zephaniah; and, the public membership vows of Miss Sue. 
As usual, there was discussion of a number of shepherding matters, as well as much prayer throughout.

Thank you for praying for us!
Pastor James
Moderator

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