Dear Congregational Family,

 

1.  The Future?:  I am reminded of the book of James (4:13-16) where the Apostle James writes about presuming upon the future.  He reminds us that we can make plans for the future, and we should, but the reality is we don’t really know the short-term future.  James was addressing some who were making elaborate plans and boasting about what they were going to do in the future, as if it was all in their control.

 

He writes: “For you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”  Those are sobering, but true words.  The next verse says, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” 

 

Thankfully God is in control, and He loves and cares for us immensely!  Therefore, we can live each day with confidence, contentment, but with humility before the Lord, trusting every step of the way to Him. We do make plans, but we submit our plans to the sovereign will of God.  Even though we don’t know what the future holds for tomorrow, we do know that for the future of all eternity God holds us in His hands.

 

2.  Online Services:  I am so thankful that we have been able to record and produce our worship services (Wednesdays and Sundays) online!  I encourage you to make time to watch these services!  The “Two minutes Together” on our Ruthfred Facebook page will also be a blessing to you.  Please pass these encouraging words on to others as well in the coming days.  Even listening to those postings again will bring you renewed strength.  (see picture below of Andrew and David setting up for recordings)

 

 

3.  Bursting forth with life: I love spring in southwest PA!  Last weekend, the magnolias, dogwoods, and cherry trees burst into full blossom!  It is so beautiful!  How ironic that much of our society is living with an almost paralyzing fear of death while life is spring forth in nature all around us.  Scripture is filled with God’s promise of bringing life, even out of death; just as the death of winter gives way to the new life of spring.  Right now, we are confronted with our mortality in a whole new way, but let us not lose sight of our immortality in Christ.  (see picture of our cherry tree blossoms below)

 

 

4.  Samaritan Ministry:  Deb is the director of our Samaritan Ministry.  Many additional people have volunteered to help her meet people’s needs, so please let us know how we can assist you during this time with unmet needs that you may have.  Contact Deb at: 412-805-2096.  Please leave a message, if she is unable to answer immediately, and she will return your call.

 

5.Lenten Services:  Our theme is “Seek the Peace of the Neighborhood” which is based on Jeremiah’s (chapter 29) call to the people of God to love their new neighbors in Babylon, with the Peace of the Gospel.  Thankfully Jesus came to our neighborhood to bring us the Peace of Salvation.  God calls us to live out that peace and to share it in our neighborhood as well.  This week the message focuses on “Proclaim” which is very timely as we have God’s Word to proclaim to our neighborhood in this time of crisis.

 

6.  Sunday Sermon:  This Sunday is Palm Sunday!  Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem and is hailed as the “Son of David, Hosanna to the Lord!”  Jesus certainly did come to save, but in a different way, then what the people had in mind.

Sermon Text: Zechariah 9:9-14; 14:4,6-9; Matthew 21:1-11 Sermon Title: “The King is Coming!  Praise God, He’s Coming for me!”

 

(We are planning to livestream the Easter Sunday worship service.)

 

God bless you as we continue,

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

                                     Pastor Carlson