When “Blending In” is OK
From the beginning the church has seen its greatest growth when members stood apart from the rest of the world. We read John’s Gospel where Jesus says in the 17th chapter, verse 16, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” The scriptures talks about us, the church, being different from others. We are guided by a living force inside of us that causes us to act, think and speak differently than those who are outside the church.
Our relationship to our brothers and sisters within the church should be different though. In fact, scripture is pretty explicit in God’s commands to us. The commands “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15) and “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2) are exhortations to sympathy—to joining in others’ sufferings and blessings.
These commands call us to look at our brothers and sisters and then reach for work gloves, put on sackcloth, or iron our finest party clothes. They call us to dress our hearts to match the people around us.
And one of the best ways we can match the hearts of others is by praying with them. Is your brother joyful? Give thanks alongside him. Is your sister grieving? Express sorrow with her. Does someone have a need? Make it your concern too.
This is what Christ does for us. The God who became man always makes intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). The Savior who “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isa. 53:4) sympathizes with us (Heb. 4:15). The Shepherd who celebrates with his friends when one sheep is restored (Luke 15:3–7) will rejoice with us as we pray.
But we also sympathize with others in prayer when we notice they don’t have the blessings we do. We who are strong lend a hand to the weak—helping them to cast their burden on the Lord in prayer. In this way, the employed pray for the unemployed, the married for the widowed, the mature for the new believers, the healthy for the sick, and those at liberty for those in chains.
A handbook for church members from 1835 quaintly described the unifying blessings of a church prayer meeting this way:
The prayer meeting tends to keep alive the spirit of devotion; demonstrates, by the prayers of so many brethren who engage, the minor varieties, yet prevailing uniformity, of Christian experience; humbles the rich by the holy gifts and graces of the poor; encourages the poor by the sympathies, confessions, and acknowledgements of the rich; cheers the heart of the minister by the kind interest and fervent supplications of his flock; cements the minds of the members; and may be supposed to bring down the blessings of God upon the church.
The final way we bear one another’s burdens in prayer is perhaps the most radical of all: We sympathize with others when we pray for them to have blessings we ourselves haven’t enjoyed. Jonathan Edwards, a leader of the First Great Awakening in 1740, said, “We have a biblical duty to “further all that good which is our neighbor’s.”
Has the Lord given your brother good health? Pray for it to continue. Has he given your sister a job that uses her gifts and provides for her financial needs? Pray she would have it for years to come. Has he blessed other church members with loving marriages, obedient children, opportunities for ministry, and abundant friendships? Pray for those blessings to be multiplied even further.
Jesus told those gathered with him in the upper room for the last supper, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” Prayer serves many purposes; it comforts, exhorts, challenges and even changes the individual. It also demonstrates our love for one another. It demonstrates a self-denying love that we have for those with whom we pray. –Pastor Matt Bishop
Wings of Refuge, an organization in Iowa Falls who works with victims of human trafficking, will share at 9:30 during the Sunday School hour on September 11th. Donuts, milk, and juice will be served. Some information may not be suitable for children, so it is suggested that children ages Jr. High and younger go to their own Sunday School classes during this time.
DEEPER - Fall 2016
Come join in on the new fall session of DEEPER. New studies/classes will begin on Wednesday, September 14th for all ages and a nursery will be provided. Each Wednesday evening will begin with a light meal served at 6:15 and classes at 7:00. Classes are set up for Pre K thru Second Grade, Third-Fourth Grade, Jr. High and Sr. High. Adults have their choice of three classes: The Book of Revelation led by Pastor Matt, “Starting Over” by Andy Stanley, led by Larry Juncker, and “The Armor of God” women’s study led by Breanne Butler.
You Are Invited - Join Us!
On Saturday, October 1st, 2016, Bangor Liberty Friends Church will observe the 100th anniversary of our church building! Come join us as we gather, worship, love, and impact others! We thank our Heavenly Father for the improvements we’ve been able to make over the past few months to our building. The evening will begin with a meal at 5:30 p.m. with barbecued pork, brats, hot dogs and other foods. At 7:00 p.m. the “Press On” quartet from the Marshalltown area will be sharing their musical talents with us. Mark the date and time on your calendars and plan to join us for our special evening.
Run for the House
5K Walk/Run & 10K Run (non-timed event)
September 17, 2016 - 8:00 a.m. start time
Hi Friends, The HOC Run for the House fundraiser is less than 2 weeks away and we are still in need of runners. We are also in need of runners who are pastors!
Registration continues right up to race time – 8 am on Saturday, Sept. 17. The registration fee will not increase from the $25 fee we advertised weeks ago. However, those registering after this Thursday will not be guaranteed a race t-shirt.
New this year is the "Faster Pastor" race. Right now we have only three participants! The winner of this race will bring the traveling trophy home to their parish until next year's race. We know that pastors are busy people, so we want to encourage them to sign up, even at race time, to be part of this fun event.
Also new this year is a Free Kid's Run for those age 8 and under. There will be medals and goody bags for all the kids that participate.
Many of you may know that we have temporarily closed our overnight shelter. As we reassess this situation, we hope you will join us for this fun event that supports all of the ministries of the House. Join us at our front door on Saturday, Sept. 17 and Run for the House! Blessings, Karen Frohwein, Director
THANK YOU!!! From HOC
This year’s school supply giveaway was again successful, thanks to many, like yourself, who helped volunteer. Our school children are enriched and can hold their heads high as they begin the new school year with new supplies.
This project would not be possible without people like you--You DO make a difference in many children's lives. I am forever amazed that when our needs are expressed, people like you step up to fill that need. With your help, we were able to fill the backpacks with grade appropriate supplies. What big hearts you must all have! This year we distributed 674 backpacks filled with supplies at the St. Paul's Church and expect to give away another 150-200 zip lock bags of supplies at HOC before school starts.
Thank you so very much for your dedication to this project! This project really never ends, because as soon as we distribute the backpacks with supplies, we start looking to buy backpacks that are on sale for the next year. You have helped make it all possible.
House of Compassion
Supply Closet Team