Dear Congregational Family,

1. Back to Church Sunday: This coming Sunday (19th) is the official “Back to Church” Sunday! I am so thankful for our many members who are worshiping the Lord so diligently! But, we also have too many members who are MIA. Take a moment to think of those who you have not seen for a while on Sunday morning. Who do you need to make a phone call to this week to invite back to church for this Sunday???

“There has never been a more important year for a unified effort to invite people back to church. Most of us closed our doors last spring for the sake of our communities. Since then, church re-openings have been staggered and people unsure. In all the places that we can, let’s declare on Sept. 19th that our churches are ready to share good news with our world. This could be the most significant Back to Church Sunday ever.”
– Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College

2. Fall Ministry Schedule: Confirmation has started, as have Senior Choir and Bell Choir. Tomorrow (Wednesday), JTTW (morning and evening), Children’s Choir, and Kids’ Time will begin. Look for ways in which you can become involved and also invite others to join you! Don’t miss out on these great opportunities to grow in your faith and to enjoy fellowship with others!

3. Christians in North Korea: The Christian Post just published that North Korea’s communist dictatorship has been deploying factions within the regime to carry out wrongful arrests, torture, executions, and the denial of fundamental religious freedom rights as it seeks to “exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions,” according to a report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In its report – “Organized Persecution: Documenting Religious Freedom Violations in North Korea,” – the USCIRF asserts that the violations it documented “as occurring as recently as 2020, are seemingly designed to remove all traces of Christianity.”

In addition the report, which is based on interviews of survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators of religious freedom violations in 2020 and 2021, states that “The campaign to exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions in North Korea has been brutally effective, and continues through the work of the Ministry of State Security, networks of informants that stretch into China, the presence of ‘no-exit’ political prison camps, executions, and an educational and organizational system that deters adherence through schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods.”

Lord have mercy!

4. Yom Kippur: The ancient festal observance of Yom Kippur begins tomorrow at sundown. This is the Day of Atonement as described in the Old Testament. It was on this day that the High Priest (once a year) went behind the Temple curtain and entered the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple to offer a blood sacrifice upon the mercy seat which was on the Ark of the Covenant between the Cherubim Angels. This blood sacrifice was to atone (cover over) for the sins of the people. But, it was insufficient as it had to be repeated every year. It was also insufficient as it simply pointed ahead to a coming “one and lasting sacrifice” in which a “Holy and Innocent Lamb of God” would come and be sacrificed for the sins of the entire world, “once and for all.” This of course was fulfilled in Jesus, the Lamb of God! Never again, would a sacrifice be needed! Praise God for His complete and final sacrifice for our sins and gift of forgiveness and salvation by grace alone through faith alone! At this time, especially pray for the many Jewish people who have not yet recognized that Jesus is the Lamb of God, the sacrifice for their sins.

5. Sermon: Sermon Title: “Faith that Works”
Sermon Text: James 2:14-26

Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God,

Pastor Carlson