Dear Congregational Family,

1. Tuesday/Wednesday: I have been away this past week and did not have working internet yesterday, so the Two on Tuesday is coming on Wednesday this week!

2. Pictures: Below are pictures of: 1. Brandon and Regen Johnson (our incoming youth director); 2. Morning fog on Lake Superior yesterday; 3. VBS!

3. VBS!! Next week is Vacation Bible School! Please be in prayer for Lauren Compel and all the leaders and helpers as we are preparing for this wonderful week! If you have not yet registered, please go online and do so to help us better prepare regarding numbers. This is a great opportunity to invite friends!! It is a week of spiritual growth for all. For some families, this is one of their few exposures to Jesus and our church during the year; therefore, your invitation to them is vital! PLEASE be in PRAYER for VBS for our leaders, helpers, students, and their families!

4. Sunday School: This Sunday, many of our youth will be sharing in the adult classroom during the S.S. hour about their trip to FLY at the ARC in Wisconsin. Please come and hear (and see) the wonderful work that the Lord was doing in their lives!

5. The new challenge to Forgiveness: Tim Keller recently wrote an excellent piece about the “Fading of Forgiveness” in which he addressed the new challenges to grace and the gift of forgiveness. In our current environment of CRT (Critical Race Theory) as well as the lingering effects of the Me Too movement, the argument that “forgiveness furthers evils such as sexism, abuse, and oppression” has increased in usage. John Stonestreet writes this as well in his July 7th Breakpoint article. He quotes Keller in writing, the “emphasis on guilt and justice is ever more on the rise and the concept of forgiveness seems, especially to the younger generations, increasingly problematic.” The ultimate reason is that our culture is moving from a forgiveness and restoration culture to an honor-shame based culture. In addition, Stonestreet rightly observes, “it is victimhood status, not God’s mercy or Christ’s imputation, that is seen as the source of our righteousness. … [and] today our moral status and our identity hang on our credentials as victims. Being oppressed or mistreated brings moral absolution. And the oppressor is left without even the possibility of forgiveness or restoration.” He concludes by writing: “It’s as if there is a race to hold the most grudges and grievances, to be the people most wronged, and therefore the people with the greatest moral authority. But as Christians who have been forgiven much, we should be among the first and especially the quickest to forgive. Instead, too many of us have absorbed the very worst habits of cancel culture — withholding forgiveness ourselves, refusing to extend any dignity or respect to someone who is a political or ideological opponent, and writing others off completely for infractions of any kind.”

Our world desperately needs the church to model true forgiveness and reconciliation, rather than blame, perpetual victim status, and self-righteousness! Let’s pray that our hearts would be open to the Lord, and that the Holy Spirit would do this good work in our individual lives and in the life of our congregation.

6. Sermon: Sermon Title: “Faith in Jesus Grows You in Love”
Sermon Text: Ephesians 3:14-21

Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God,

Pastor Carlson