Church Family Newsletter | September 24, 2021
THE SECOND MOUNTAIN
My husband and I just got back from a retreat led by the Pastoral Care Department at our Territorial Headquarters - El Camino. The whole theme of the week was based on El Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.
Our week started off with the image of a person standing on one mountain and looking towards a second mountain. Proud of getting over the first, but looking to what is to come. Symbolizing our lives in ministry.
They were sacred moments as we reflected on the challenges, the struggles, the hardships, the mistakes, those growth moments, as well as the joys, the celebrations, the blessings, the relationships made, the blessings, we have experienced so far. We had guided questions to help us think about our marriages, friendships, support network, and children. We had a chance to unpack all those things that may be weighing us down - hurts, disappointments, brokenness, comparisons, internal or external expectations - and learn new tools to take with us as we continue on our journey.
During the week, we actually did our own pilgrimage on Catalina Island (a 10-mile hike). There were stations of reflections along our pilgrimage to journal the gravity, grief, growth, and gratitude in our lives. It was not easy. It was hard in places and HOT, but very powerful! Our journey is not supposed to be easy. Jesus even went to the cross on his journey! It helped to bring everything into perspective.
We left today feeling ready and equipped to face the next phase of ministry. Are we perfect? No. Is there still room for growth? Yes! Our experiences have brought on scars, but reassurance that we can get through this. There will still be challenges ahead, but we know that we are not alone. We, of course, have Jesus as our guide, and we also acknowledge the other pilgrims on this journey. We are on different paths and experiences but all leading to the same destination.
I hope that this will help you in thinking of your own lives. Take the time to stop and reflect on your lives. Are their things weighing you down? Are their hurts you need to unpack and leave behind? Do you need to ask for forgiveness? Do you need to forgive someone else? Do you need to recalibrate your compass? Do you need to pick up a new map? Do you need to share with someone how grateful you are for them? Where has God asked you to go next?
Don't give up! Hang in there! You can do it! Let's get over the second mountain together!
Pray for us as we pray for you.
"My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God." - Philippians 4:1 (The Message)
Major AnnMarguerite Jones
In these columns I have talked a lot about Greek words and Greek grammar. I think that is important because what we hold sacred as The New Testament scriptures were originally written in Greek. I think it’s fascinating that the Koine Greek of two thousand years ago is still perfectly intelligible to someone today who reads or speaks Greek as his or her mother tongue. And, moreover, the words used have retained their precise meanings so there is no ambiguity about what Mark or Luke or Paul or Peter or John wrote and meant.
Beyond the mere words the grammar used also helps to remove ambiguity in our translations.
For example, in Greek, statements which are in the perfect tense always refer to an action which occurred in the past, was completed in the past, and is still in the same state in the present. So if in Greek I say, “I closed the door” in the perfect tense, it means, “I have closed the door, and it is still closed.”
There is a beautiful example of this in John 19:30 when Jesus yells from the cross, (yes, “yells!”— he wanted everyone to hear him), “It is finished!”
The perfect tense in Greek gives us the complete meaning:
“It is finished, completed, done forever!”
This is how we know that at that moment Jesus completely obsoleted the old sacrificial system of atoning for sin. From that time onward no other sacrifice was or will be required.
The priests are out of a job and the lambs can breathe easier! If you really want to bring a sacrifice, a sacrifice of praise is worthy, but not required.
Here’s another one.
In Matthew 4:4 Satan tries to lure Jesus into abusing his heavenly status (superpower?), but Jesus answers him,
“It is written…”
Perfect tense. Done and dusted. God’s not going to change His mind on what He has written, and Satan knows this perfectly well. This is why he had to abandon his quest to corrupt Jesus in his mission. The word of God is eternal and unchanging. Perfect!
My personal favorite of the certainty and completeness of the perfect tense comes in Ephesians 2:8,
“…for by grace you are saved…”
Perfect tense, perfect salvation!
Now some of my Calvinist friends may like to stretch the meaning a little too far (for me) by implying that once saved there is no un-saving that can take place, but the sense of the Greek is that having been saved by grace, no other action or agent is needed to accomplish salvation.
Salvation is a gift, it is finished by Jesus, and no amount of trying to be good on our part can accomplish the same outcome. Not only that, there is no alternative if we want to spend eternity in the presence of God. All we have to do is accept the gift and love and serve the Savior who gives it. This is why Luke ( native speaker of Greek, by the way) says in Acts 4:12
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
So, while doing good is certainly pleasing to God, and maybe even "doing the most good" is something to which all Christians should aspire, let’s not fool ourselves that in someway it can be a substitute for the perfect gift of His grace.
There’s only one way into Heaven, and it’s perfect! Accept no imitations, or limitations.
Did I mention that although it cost everything to God, for you, and for a limited time only, it’s absolutely free! ?
How perfect is that? Wherever you are, let’s have a woo-hoo and hallelujah!
Blessings on you and yours,
We encourage you to come and pray before Sunday's Holiness and Worship Service. Pray over the requests that have been shared during the week. Pray for those seeking the Lord. Pray for those who are lost. So many things to pray for ...
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them,” Matthew 18:19-20.
This Week's Schedule
9:00 am - Jr. Praise Team Rehearsal
10:00 am - Prayer Room Opens
10:00 am - Corps Cadets & Sunday School - Classrooms 2 & 3
11:00 am - Worship Service - In-Person and Facebook
Annual Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking
12:15 pm - Singing Company Rehearsal#
1:15 pm - Junior Band Rehearsal & Music Electives
#Participants will need to bring their own packed lunches for the 1 pm break.
6:00 pm - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
6:00 pm - Women's Bible Study - Zoom ONLY
NO Songsters this week
8:00 pm - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel
10:00 am - El Sobrante Home League: Homeless Lunch Service Project
10:00 am - CAMEO: T-Shirt Madness
6:00 pm - YouthForce - Please check YouthForce Facebook Page for details.
9:30 am - Divisional Youth Music Day - DHQ
Date: October 29-31, 2021
Theme: The Race to Victory, Hebrews 12:1-3
Cost: $75 per person
The activities will include the 19th Annual Del Oro Games: Basketball Tournament, Go-Cart Racing, Cardboard Boat Race and more. There will be an EDS (Emergency Disaster Services) Training, Canteen Cook-Off, Bible teaching, and fellowship. Don't miss out! See Major Gwyn to register. Registration is due October 15th.
International Prayer Focus
SPAIN & PORTUGAL COMMAND
Lieutenant-Colonels Philip and Sheila Davisson
- Wisdom and creativity for opening the doors of our Corps and what ministry should look like with less COVID restrictions. It is still so complicated.
- Celebrating 50 years in Spain and Portugal starting May 2021 – We have different activities throughout the year and ending with the General coming to Lisbon in September 2022. May these plans edify our people and challenge us to grow in faith and in numbers.
- Youth and Children – The pandemic is making it difficult to keep our strong youth groups steady. Pray for wisdom and ways to keep them engaged during these days.
- Future Officers – We have not sent anyone to training for a while and now we have three to five planning to start 2022. Pray for ways to make this happen. And may they be the start of more to respond to the Call.
- Leadership – Continued grace and depth of understanding to follow after what God desires to see happen in Spain and Portugal Command.