Dear Congregational Family,

1. Church Exile: Recently in our Bible reading, we read Psalm 126 and 137. Both psalms are in response to the 70-year exile of God’s people to Babylon. Psalm 137 is the people’s lament while in Babylon, where they are so sad that they can’t even sing. They lament,
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps.”
I know that we all greatly miss “the way things used to be” at Ruthfred. Sometimes we might even feel like “just hanging up the harps” and sitting in sadness. There certainly is a grieving over the loss that we are experiencing.

Psalm 126 records the great thanksgiving when God brought His people back to their beloved land of Zion! They also pray that God will turn their tears into joy, and that there will be a harvest (physically and spiritually) because of going through this difficult time.
Thankfully, during our time of “exile” from our regular “church routines,” we can still enjoy meeting together (if you are comfortable with this) in the sanctuary, as well as engaging through the livestream! Let’s use this time to continue “planting” through prayer for God to bring about a great harvest in (and through) our congregation in due time, so that we also might say with the Psalmist, “The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad!” (Ps. 126:3)

2. VBS: Vacation Bible School is just (less than!) two weeks away!! Many of the Bible lessons and videos have already been recorded and are ready for being livestreamed that week! Last week we were recording some videos with real sheep! Our theme is “The Lord is my Shepherd.” What a great theme in the midst of these troubled times!!! The shortcut link for VBS sign up is – vbs.ruthfred.org – it will take you directly to https://vbspro.events/p.events/4fb3af. Please register so that you can be sure to have the craft kits, etc. Our vision for VBS is that families can watch it together in their homes as well as invite others to do so as well. VBS is the week of July 27-31. There will also be craft kits available, and some fun surprises!!!

3. Sermon: Title: “Weary, but eagerly Waiting; Groaning, but spiritually Growing.”
Text: Romans 8:18-27; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

God bless you as we continue,

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

Pastor Carlson