Letter from Pastor John 3/17/17
Dear Christ Church Family,
It sure seems that we are back to winter, doesn’t it? Although I don’t mind winter, my personal opinion is that it should end on the last day of February and spring should begin on the first day of March.
I have a couple of stories to tell you:
A Christ Church member, whom I’ll call “Sam,” because he wishes to remain anonymous, was traveling down a very busy road here in Northern Virginia when he noticed a woman lying on the side of the road. Her four-year-old son was with her. She had gotten off a bus and accidentally stepped into a hole, broken her ankle and could not get up. For 15 minutes she tried to flag down passing motorists, but no one stopped to help. When Sam saw her, he immediately stopped. He discovered that she spoke no English, only Spanish, but by God’s grace, he was able to communicate with her since he also spoke Spanish. He called the woman’s husband, but her husband had no transportation to get to her. Sam picked her up, put her into his vehicle, and took her and her son to the hospital, where he waited until someone was able to get there to be with them. He asked for her phone number, so that he could follow up with her to see how she was doing. Later, he and several other Christ Church members took the family some food and prayed with them. The woman wrote a note of thanks to him and our church. I had it translated, and it says:
“I, Consuelo Castro and family give a million thanks to (Sam), his pastor and all the people of Christ Church. Thank you for the food and for your prayers. I wish for you many blessings with all my heart. May God take care of all of you and bless you always. Thank you.”
Does that story remind you of a biblical story? I see a living example of the Good Samaritan, don’t you? Living out the gospel life is what we do. We are followers of Jesus. We are Christ Church. Keep the stories coming.
I appreciate all of the feedback that I’ve been getting about our current sermon/teaching series. It’s called “TRUEish,” and we’re digging into the clichés that many Christians say. These clichés sound good and biblical, but are often contrary to God’s Word. They have a ring of truth, but they fail to tell the whole story. Thus far Pastor Ryan and I have debunked the following myths: “Everything happens for a reason,” and “God helps those who help themselves.” This week I received the following comments in an email:
"I wanted to mention just about every time I’ve heard someone say, “God helps those who help themselves,” they seem to be justifying stealing something. Most recently, at the post office in line, someone told me that they weren’t going to admit exactly what they were shipping because it would be more expensive. They were shipping something at the “book rate” that wasn’t books and very proud of themselves for saving money and out-smarting the post office. The idea that people use a phrase that makes it sound like God is excusing their dishonesty has always been upsetting to me.”
The fact is, that phrase, “God helps those who help themselves,” is almost always used to justify our actions that are in direct opposition to what we Christians are to be about. This weekend in worship I’m going to address another statement that well-meaning Christians say all the time to people going through difficult times: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Is that a true statement or a TRUEish statement? Is it biblical? We’ll get to the bottom of it this Sunday. Don’t miss it.
Finally, I want to personally thank all 550 of you who gave generously of your time to help out at our Children’s Consignment Sale. The sale was a rousing success. Not only did it raise significant funds to support the ever growing and expanding ministry of the church, but we had numerous opportunities to tell people about the church and invite them to join us for worship. In case you didn’t hear the statistics last Sunday, they are:
Total Transactions = 2,162. This means that at least 2,000 people came to the sale.
Total Items Sold = 40,255.
Total Gross Sales = $140,707. The church receives approximately 30% of this amount.
Total Items Donated to Community Charities = 10,000.
Value of Donated Items = $30,500.
Our Children’s Consignment Sale is just another way that the Christ Church family lives out the gospel life.
I am proud to be your pastor and humbled to serve alongside you each and every day.