Dear Congregational Family,

1. Psithurism: I learned a new word last week as we were taking a few days of vacation and hiking in the Laurel Hills State Park. Psithurism (SITH-er-iz-um) is the “enchanting sound of the rustling leaves whispering in the wind.” It was a beautiful experience!! (see pictures below)

I’m reminded of Isaiah 55:12 – “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

The context of this is the joyful prophecy of God restoring the Jewish people back to Zion, after captivity in Babylon. But the larger context is that of God restoring His people (all Christians) to Paradise in the New Heaven and New Earth. Even Creation participates in this restoration with a celebration of joy. Listen to the leaves of the trees, as even now they give praise to God in anticipation of perfect restoration!

2. Face Book: Last week Facebook and Instagram came under fire and likely will be called before Congress to testify. The reason is the discovery that they knowingly suppressed and hid research showing the clear linkage between social media usage and skyrocketing teenage (especially female) anxiety, depression and self-harm. In addition, it is coming to light that while the social media giant has been known to take down Christian and conservative posts, it has demonstrated little desire to interfere with the rampant use of its social media platforms for sex trafficking purposes.

3. Christians under the sword: While our media and government have “moved on” to other news priorities, our brothers and sisters in Christ continue to face severe persecution in Afghanistan. Reports indicate that the Taliban have brazenly stated (and are putting into practice) that it is necessary to return the country to public “amputations and executions” for those who disobey Sharia law. This is a death sentence for Christians, as according to Sharia law, it is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. Of the 8,000 – 12,000 Christians in Afghanistan today, almost ALL have been converted from Islam to Christianity in the past 20 years. May God have mercy.

4. Sermon: Sermon Title: “God’s Will for You: Know What’s Right, and DO IT.”
Sermon Text: James 4:1-17

Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God,

Pastor Carlson