Friday, August 14, 2020

Worshiping God by His Means (2020.08.14 Pastoral Letter and Hopewell Herald)

 Hopewell Herald – August 14, 2020

Dear Congregation,

Many of you are in the neighborhood of 1Samuel 4, as you read via the M’Cheyne plan. This passage has an important application for a congregation who are committed to the means of grace because they are the means by which Christ grows us in Himself by His Spirit.

The ark of the covenant of God (v4, etc.) was a wonderful gift. It contained covenantal items (the tablets of the law, a jar of manna, and Aaron’s budded rod). But, more than that, it resided in the Holy of Holies, and its lid was the mercy seat, and the cloud that arose when the high priest put the fire in his incense shovel mimicked the glory cloud. Indeed, as they say in v4, it was the place where Yahweh communicated Himself to them, “Yahweh of hosts who dwells between the cherubim.”

But there is a danger of confusing the Lord Himself with the means by which He communicates Himself to us.

Reading, preaching, praying, singing, the Supper, the Lord’s Day itself. All of these are means by which the Lord communicates Himself to us, conforms us to Himself, and delights us in Himself.

But it is also possible to treat each one the way that Israel treated the ark. As if the means of God’s grace are themselves God or His grace. But, as many of our fathers have wisely said, “the best of means are means at best.”

The reason all of these means are wonderful is that it is Christ Himself who has appointed them and uses them. When we come to the means, what we should really be doing in our hearts is coming to Him Himself, by means of those means.

Let us so conduct ourselves in such sincerity and truth unto God that it would make a confused or lying accuser of anyone who would say, “these are their gods” (cf. 7–8).

Looking forward to coming to Him together with you,


Service project afterward is at the Heldmans’. Job list is: landscaping, pressure washing, some construction projects. If folks could bring carpentry tools that would be helpful. And if anyone has a cordless circular saw, that might come in handy. If you have any questions please contact Tim Heldman for more information.


LORD'S DAY – August 9, 2020

9:50 a.m. Breakfast Line Opens

10 a.m. Sabbath School
This week, we continue a series on topics related to important issues that people around us are talking much about right now, continuing this week to study what Holy Scripture teaches us about “Racial Reconciliation.” (This week’s subtopic is This week’s subtopic is Real Reconciliation and Real Privilege)

11 a.m. Public Worship
Children’s Catechism for Aug 16
Q42. Why can none be saved through the covenant of works? A. Because all have broken it, and are condemned by it.

Shorter Catechism for Aug 16
Q50. What is required in the second commandment? A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in His Word.

Psalms and Hymns
TPH394 “Eternal Spirit, God of Truth”   
ARP34C “O Sons and Daughters, Come” 
TPH5 “Hear My Words, O Lord”

Scripture Text for first portion of worship service
2Timothy 1:7–10

Scripture Readings
1Samuel 15:24–35
Ephesians 4:14
Luke 7:36–50

Sermon Scripture text and topic
We will be hearing from Genesis 31:36–55 about the seriousness of having God, in Whose hands are all our lives, as witness for our oaths.

1 p.m. Coffee Fellowship and Catechism Class

1:15 p.m. Fellowship Lunch & Open Mic Time
Members are encouraged to bring way more than enough, so that there will be plenty for everyone, including any members or guests who are deciding last-minute whether or not to stay.

At open mic time, we’ll begin with birthdays and anniversaries and recitations of the memory verse:
(Genesis 31:50If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us—see, God is witness between you and me.

2:45 p.m Psalm/hymn Sing
Carryover song requests from last week:
Blue: 119S, 32AB, 6 |
Red(h): 153, 257│265*, 375, 498t300, 446, 299│
(if you wish to make this week’s requests in advance, please feel free to reply to this email, and let me know!)

3:45 p.m. Evening Sermon from Ephesians 4:14

Hopewell this Month

Hopewell’s Presbytery Prayer Focus for August:
Bethel ARP in Oak Hill, AL

August Psalm of the Month
ARP34C O Sons and Daughters, Come


Upcoming Events

•August 15, Men’s Breakfast, 6:30 a.m.
•August 19, Prayer Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
•August 30, Sermon to “launch” class series on delighted consecration of the Lord’s holy day
•September 13, Lord’s Day series begins in the Sabbath School
•September 14, Monthly Session Meeting, 6 p.m.
•September 19, Men’s Breakfast, 6:30 a.m.
•October 2-4, HARPC 200th Anniversary Celebration, with guest speaker Dr. Nick Willborn


Congregational Prayer Requests (new/updates in bold)

▪ Lord’s Day worship/study, Daily worship/discipleship/evangelism in homes and community

▪ Pray with the Reformed sidewalk-counseling group @PP in Nashville for their Tuesday and Thursday ministries. (ongoing) For abortionist Kimberly Looney whose heart is so heard that she continues despite having recently birthed her own child; (8/5) pray for the man who flashed a gun at the team; for the man who said he was there to kill his baby; for the woman who murdered her baby then came out and heard the gospel in tears; for the slaughterhouse worker who heard the gospel for 6 minutes on her; (8/6) pray for the man who was considering murder, the moms who committed it, the woman who blared her horn at them until she ran out of battery and they had to give her a jump, and the 17yo rape victim who is considering adding murder to that; (8/12) pray for the woman who heard the gospel for 10 minutes in the parking lot, for the many many who were here today to murder their children, for the man who proudly declared that he loves to murder babies and would have no problem murdering a 2yo, for Stacey pregnant mom of 6+1 who doesn’t want to murder her baby; PRAISE and pray for the woman who chose not to do so after being witnessed to; (8/13) pray for Sylvia, who is considering murder but was redirected to Hope Clinic; PRAISE for healthy mama Damani and baby girl Royal (8/14) pray for the many who went in during a murder-day

▪ Early Rain Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church, Christians in Nigeria, and other persecuted churches like them; Pastor Wang Yi in prison.

▪ R&C H ministering among Muslim refugees in France w/children H&D; pray for students Mr. S from China, Mr H. from Iran, and Mr. A from Pakistan; and, refugees MA and MJ; PRAISE that AA and family from Ertirea received asylum in France.

▪ Alan McClelland and family in his ministry at Ft. Campbell

▪ Repentance of the Church and the Nations for general rejection of the Kingship of Christ

▪ Comfort and provision for the LeeAnn Billings family as they grieve, and PRAISE for her getting FT hours at her job, and for their testing negative for covid after quarantine

▪ Pray for the Jeffers family, whose granddaughter Isabelle (14) and then her mother Norma both attempted suicide; there’s a long way to go medically, financially, and especially spiritually for all involved; please keep praying for them and for Sue’s ministry to them

▪ Pray for Rebecca Sterling, that the most recent adjustment of the valve in her brain would have the desired effect, and that the headaches from the adjustment would subside

▪ Pray with D&V F for the level of transplant rejection to stay low, even without the new anti-rejection med

▪ Pray with D&L L for her 85yo mother and her heart issues

Pray with H&K P for her new heart meds to work, and for September appointment for her feet

Pray with P&D W for their trips back and forth to Tulsa, and all that is involved in bringing his mother home to live with them

▪ Pray with S&D B for Andrew to be able to wean off the medicine well

▪ Pray with S&D B and D&D R for Doug and Dianne’s oldest son Dave. He is not a believer, and is homeless and in despair.

▪ Pray with KC for her acquaintance Linda who doesn’t seem to know the Lord, and just lost 21 year old son; and, for her dear friends who need to live a life of faith and devotion to the Lord; and for friend Patty, a believer, that she will continue to do well after treatment for uterine cancer

Pray with D&A D for Austin’s future plans after the recent crisis interrupted baseball and graduation

▪ Pray with D&M G that her mother would continue healing well and not smoking; for Sean; for Jeremiah; and for Sarah and Drew and baby due January 26

▪ Pray with W&C G for her mother’s health and caregivers; and for spiritual (and total) well-being of son Greg

▪ Pray with J&H H for his father’s cancer; for sweetness in his parents’ remaining time together; for his youngest brother, and the same brother’s son (with CP, and recovering from hip surgery) and daughter

▪ Pray with R&M J for Meredith, young daughter of M’s college friend Ashely (and husband Brad), who’s taking medicine to shrink her brain tumor; and for Meredeth and baby, due in January

▪ Pray with O&A L for her unbelieving mother w/heart condition, and her family’s grieving over her brother

▪ Pray with C&T P for her dad and family in the loss of his wife Jolene

▪ Pray with AR for friend Caleb Figura w/mysterious but debilitating gut illness

▪ Pray with D&K R for their family’s growth in godliness, especially dying to self, godly speech, and Lord’s Day keeping; and for local pastor/constable Darryl Thrasher, who has an aggressive, malignant brain tumor; and for secretary Sarah, an unbeliever who has had cancer before, and had a surgical consult on 7/23 for two new abdominal tumors

▪ Pray with GR for friend Abby to come to faith in Christ

▪ Pray with JeR for believing friend Jeanette Cary’s CHF, Fibromyalgia, & slow-healing wound

▪ Pray with J&M R for baby Bentley and his adoption process

▪ Pray with J&S R for the situation with his work furlough; her nephew, who needs life in Christ; and for her and her family in the loss of her father, especially spiritual impact on her sisters and nephews; for his whole family, and especially his mother, as they grieve the passing away of his father; and sister Kathy, who just lost her husband; and for Celeste and her ministry to her professing friend who has decided that homosexuality isn’t wrong

▪ Pray with S&V Y for for her niece Carina and her husband Luke and their newborn daughter Callaway who was born with an acidemia and is recovering from an extended period of high ammonia in her blood; PRAISE for his parents getting good care for father’s health and mother’s dementia, pray for their and his siblings’ salvation

▪ Please pray with Bethel ARP in Oak Hill, AL, throughout the month of August

▪ Please pray for the TN-AL Presbytery to be enabled to plant a faithful church with the resources available and earmarked for that purpose

▪ Please pray for all ARP presbyteries, churches, and agencies

▪ Please pray for our nation, state, community and all the officials thereof 

Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if vocal, in a known tongue. (WCF 21.3)

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