10 June 2022, Greetings Yorkshire Church!
I am enjoying our study on the I AM statements of Jesus Christ as documented in the fourth Gospel, John. Although these sayings are very familiar, taking a “deep-dive” into the context of the sayings, the environment where Jesus spoke them, the original audience who heard them, and the response to His Words has been powerful. I have heard folks say that being a Christian would be easier if Jesus simply told us what we need to know and spoke in clear language for us to understand. I am more than certain these words have come from my own mouth. But what we find as we study the Word is that He does speak to us in straightforward terms. See, the folks that He was speaking to and the culture they found themselves were not so different than our own. Sure, they were different as to the elements of the culture, but when you learn about their hearts, their doubts, their unbelief, and their belief, you find many similarities.
Although our studies are on the I AM statements, I have been approaching my studies on the foundation of the greatest commandment as documented in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)
It is clear that each time this commandment is spoken in the Bible that the objective for God is to have an intimate relationship with us. I think of it as a request (command) for a return of affection in terms that we understand. The Bible is a book provided to us by God, written by man, inspired by God’s Spirit who was in the writers, just as His Spirit is within all of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and believe in His life, death, and resurrection. But, in each of Jesus’s I AM statements, He is giving us reason to not only believe in Him, but to love Him… with all our heart, soul and mind. To “believe” is not to “love.” We can believe in many things, but not love them. We can do many things, but not out of love. If you have any doubt, stop reading this document and open your Bible to 1 Corinthians 13 – short chapter, but very clear.
As I study for each week, I write the Greatest Commandment at the top of my notes and then I write the corresponding statement for that week’s study, for example last week was, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). I then read three chapters of the text. The chapter from which my study originates, the previous chapter and then the subsequent chapter. I then list all of the ways in which I see the text resonating with our love for God, or the audience’s love for God or lack of it. It is where there is a “lack” of it that I seek the purpose for the statement (I AM…). Jesus’s desire for all people was for them to love Him, as He loves all people. As my list grows, I then go to work doing more research to find evidence of what I have listed. For example, last week I saw that Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, “”Lord, the one you love is sick.” (John 11:3). Well, this led me to question where else in the scriptures that evidence could be found that Jesus specifically loved Lazarus. In verse 5, it says that Jesus loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus so I would believe this signified a deep relationship. So, I went to work validating that. And this is how I tackle studying a section of scripture. It was in my research of Jesus’s love for Lazarus that I came across this week’s scripture study which is a perpendicular tangent to our I AM studies, but I found them of great interest to our broader topic of understanding God in our relationship with Him.
So, if you struggle with studying the scriptures and don’t know how to get started, maybe you will find value in how I tackle it. It is one of several methods that I use and it is so much fun- my challenge is that I need to wrap up my journey through the Word before the end of the week to be able to assemble my findings in such a way that they make sense to you! So, have fun studying!
In church news… We are still seeking a Director of Youth and Family ministries to lead our youth and support our children’s and family ministries. This is taking longer than we had hoped, but we have confidence that God will raise up the right person at the right time. In the meantime, I am very thankful for Claudia Mingora and Joe Blackwood who have kept our Youth activities moving forward. Steve Fieldhouse will be joining Joe and Claudia as a Sunday School teacher and additional leader until we fill the position. Thank you to all who support this critical ministry of Yorkshire Church!
The Fellowship Hall renovation process continues to move forward and the Trustee leadership has selected Keller Contracting, LLC as our project contractor with Dietz & Naumann providing the electrical and Spangler & Boyer the HVAC and plumbing portions of the project. There are some other peripheral suppliers involved for our audio/visual needs as well as some new interior perimeter drains which will be installed. There are still some final details being worked out in regards to the Springettsbury Township Permit process and our Finance team is using all of this data to evaluate which bank will be selected as our financial partner for the project. The kickoff meeting with our contractors is scheduled for June 29th! Praise God for His blessings!
I will be providing our financial numbers in the near future. Thank you so much for those that have made additional gifts to the building fund to help us offset the renovation expenses. I will begin reporting this element of the renovation project with May’s financial results. It is our hope that we can offset our debt service expense (as a minimum) in addition to our regular offering receipts. As we finalize our financing, we will report this expense amount to you, as well. If you are new to the church, this renovation project is required primarily to repair damage that has been sustained due to problems with our perimeter drainage systems which are as old as the building itself. In addition, we are updating the space with ADA access (ramp) as well as ADA bathroom facilities which will allow us to better serve our community.
This past week, Joe Blackwood (SPRC Chair) and I had the opportunity to meet with Alison Sutherland who runs all things administrative (and more) at Yorkshire Church, and has done so for 19 years! Alison shared with us her desire to resign from her post on July 31st so that she can fulfill some other
desires and needs in her life, which will also allow her to be a short-term
caregiver for her husband Steve following surgery on his leg– scheduled later
this summer. This is truly bittersweet news for Yorkshire, although it is a
blessing for Alison. (I have a feeling that some time with her “grand-niece” is in
the plans, as well!) Alison will remain accessible for Yorkshire and hopes to be
able to offer us assistance as we need it in the future. We will begin recruiting in the very near future. If you or someone you know may be interested in this position, let Joe Blackwood or me know as soon as possible! Feel free to speak to Alison about her plans and certainly keep her in prayer and celebrate this time with her!
Have a great day and a great week!
Peace and Blessings! -pastor dave. firstname.lastname@example.org 717-858-5870
125 Edgewood Road, York, PA 17402