QUARTERLY JOURNAL
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Our Worship

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. – Psalm 7:17 ESV

Learning to thank God for who He is and what He has done is our worship. Gratitude to God is crucial for our life, not to mention our spiritual journey. It is the very reason that we come together, and when we do, we sing praises to Him. Singing God’s praises invites His presence. Christianity is a singing faith. Christianity is a serving faith. When we come together, it is to serve one another. Christianity is a soulful faith. There is nothing more edifying than when we join together and belt out our soulful praise in song, shout, and dance to a Holy God. Angels bow before Him, Heaven and Earth adore Him, and He deserves our praise. The Bible commands to make a joyful noise.” It doesn’t matter if you can “sing” or not, when our voices are sanctioned together in praise and Holy worship, it is a joyful noise unto the Lord. As we celebrate this Church Anniversary, and another day of new mercies, we are reminded that healthy Christians need both impression of God’s Word and the outward expressions of hearts that are grateful.

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon



Let Us Return With Hope

“Who is there among you of all his people?” – 2 Chronicles 36:23

It’s so easy to be discouraged by the world. We look at the World as the standard, and we tend to forget that “In the beginning God created…” We lose sight of Him and everything that He stands for when we look to the world for answers to the issues of our lives. I know we are Christians, and we walk, talk, sing, and speak faith. But I also know that we, who are Christians, also grow weary; and we worry; and we get tired of waiting; and we stop praying, and we lose faith, and we stop coming to Church- because sometimes the burdens get so hard to bear. It’s hard to believe that things are going to get better, when it’s already been umpteen years the same. And I don’t know what it’s going to take for us to believe that God is truly in control; that He knows all; that He sees all- because sometimes that’s the problem. If in fact He knows all, sees all then….Why doesn’t He……? But I don’t believe He brought us this far to leave us. The world shapes our thinking more than anything else, because it is our living reality. It’s more real, I think sometimes, than our faith, because “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”(Heb.11:1).
 
When we don’t see what we’ve been praying and asking God for; when we can’t see the fruit of our labor; when we can’t see the promise- truly it’s hard to believe it’s going to happen- no matter how long we’ve been waiting. I know that by now this probably sounds like a faithless attack on faith, when in fact, the intent is just the opposite. The point of our reference n most events in our lives is our ability to control things. We make the plan, we set it in motion, and we see it through to the end. Discouragement comes when we come to the end of ourselves- having to realize that we have limits. When that happens, we are most likely to walk away- from our home-from our jobs-from our family-from church-because we have failed to accomplish what we perceived is within our power to do. The hopelessness we have comes from the losses we have survived. Maybe if the thing had taken us out, we wouldn’t be dealing with it. But it’s the survival of that thing that wreaks havoc with our faith, because we know it should have turned out differently. Yet, here we are-in the thick of it!
 
I had been thinking about this a lot, when Pastor preached my sermon the other night at St. John’s. He said it much better than I ever could have, when he titled his sermon, “Returning with Hope.” 2 Chr. 36:23, speaking of the Israelites return from Babylonia captivity, only to find their place of worship demolished. He said, “a life without hope is a sad life.” He said that “a child of God must know that God is in control.” He said that :if God didn’t have a plan for us, He would not have made Adam.”
 
Shiloh we are on the brink of celebrating our 112th year. This church is 112 years old: and while we may question many things, and finances may not be what we would like, God is still in control. If He didn’t have a plan for us, we would not be here. In the areas where we have turned away, perhaps in despair, let us return with hope, because God dwells here; and I don’t believe He’s brought us this far to leave us.

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon



Church Attendance is Important

“…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25

The Bible tells us we need to attend church, so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth. The early church “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. We should follow that example of devotion-and do the same things. Back then, they had no designated church building, but they continued to meet every day together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their home and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Whenever the meeting takes place, believers thrive on fellowship with other believers and the teaching of God’s word.
 
Church attendance is not just a good idea; it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not [be] giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers. The author of Hebrews says that’s not the way to go. We need the encouragement that attendance affords. And the approach of the end times should prompt us to be even more devoted to coming to church.

When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, they become a member of the body of Christ. For a church body to function properly, like a physical body, all of its body parts need to be present and working. It’s not enough to just attend a church; get involved in ministry, serving others and using the spiritual gifts God has given to each of us. A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without having an outlet for his spiritual gift, and we all need the assistance and encouragement from one another,

Some of us come to church to see who else is there. Some of us come out of habit. Some of us come because we’re hurting, and we need help. Some of us come just so we can be seen. Some of us come because we are lost. Some of us come because without Jesus life is incomplete. Some of us come to hear music, or to witness the dance. Some of us come because the Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path way. Some of us come because we don’t know where else to go. Whatever the reason; church attendance, participation, and fellowship ought to be an integral part of a believer’s life. Weekly church attendance is in no sense “required” for believers, but someone who belongs to the Lord should have a desire to worship God, receive His Word, and fellowship with other believers. It’s good to see you. I’m glad you came!

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon