Dear Congregational Family,

1. Groundhog Day: This morning around 7:25am on Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil emerged and DID see his shadow, meaning that he will run back into his burrow to continue hibernating for another six weeks of winter. (How he saw his shadow while snow was falling this cloudy morning, I have no idea!) He also gave a spoken message to the president of the “Goundhog Inner Circle” in “groundhogese” which the president then interpreted for the world to let us know that in time the sun would shine brightly again in the beauty of spring.

I’m so thankful that Jesus left the warmth and comfort of heaven and emerged into the cold spiritual darkness of our world and spoke of a coming Spring that would thaw our frozen hearts!
Malachi the ancient prophet predicted this over 400 years in advance, and then Zacharias (father of John the Baptist) picked up the prophecy and applied it to Jesus as “the Sunrise from on high who will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

Thankfully, God does not speak some unknown “groundhogese,” which would be left up to anyone’s interpretation, but rather He has clearly “spoken to us in His Son, … who is the radiance of His glory” (Hebrews 1:2,3) God wants ALL to hear and clearly understand the Good News of a Spiritual Spring! Because of Jesus, it is Springtime in our souls. Jesus doesn’t just announce life, HE brings Life!

2. Growth in faith during COVID: Recently I shared about the staggering number of American Christians who stopped going to church and also never engaged through livestream services this past year. Here is some good news! The Christian Post reported today that Pew Research has found that 28% of Americans reported that their faith has grown stronger during COVID. Out of 14 developing countries surveyed, the U.S. significantly had the highest percentage of those who experienced spiritual growth. This survey is in keeping with the growing evidence that the response to the virus has been spiritually revealing as a significant number of “churched” people have moved away from the Lord during this time, while at the same time, a significant number have moved more closely to the Lord throughout this time. It seems God is using this season to reveal people’s hearts. Is this a purifying time for the church? It is certainly a harvest time in the kingdom of God as many hearts are hungry for the Word of God! Let’s press forward and share the Good News of the Savior!!

3. Holy Communion: This Sunday we will be offering Holy Communion at all three services: 8:30am, 11:00am, and 6:00pm. Pray, prepare your hearts, and come and receive the Real Presence of Christ in the gift of this Sacrament for the strengthening of our faith and fellowship with Christ and with one another.

4. Children & Youth: Praise God for the children and youth that we have in our congregation. It is so wonderful to see their love for Jesus and for one another. (See pictures below of a youth team serving at KidsTime, and of the children praying during the object lesson last Sunday.)

5. Sermon: Title: “The LOVE of God” Text: John 3:13-21,35,36

God bless you as we continue,

“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God!”

Pastor Carlson