Excerpt from September, 2017 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

As I am typing this month's cover I am watching the long awaited 2017 total eclipse of the sun. While it won't get to 100% here in Ashland, the sky is beginning to darken. All the hub-bub about being in darkness during the day, brought into focus, for me anyway, how oblivious people are to the darkness that surrounds them every day in this fallen and sinful world...
 
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September 2017 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
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As I am typing this month's cover I am watching the long awaited 2017 total eclipse of the sun. While it won't get to 100% here in Ashland, the sky is beginning to darken. All the hub-bub about being in darkness during the day, brought into focus, for me anyway, how oblivious people are to the darkness that surrounds them every day in this fallen and sinful world. It seems the people of this world are obsessed with the darkness, both the eclipse, and of the darkness that comes from rejecting the light of the world, Jesus Christ. The New Testament uses the word darkness 43 times, and in almost every case it is counter-referenced by the light. I am guessing all of you can think of places in scripture or of times when you have heard those references. One of the more famous ones comes after that most famous of verses John 3:16, it is John 3:18-20 and goes like this:

"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed."

This statement holds just as true today as it did when John wrote it while inspired of the Holy Spirit almost 2000 years ago. Jesus indeed came into this world, he was rejected by God's chosen people, because they had become of the world, they had lost touch with God's word and were entrapped by all the things this world had to offer them, money, power, notoriety, and rather than lose all they had grown to love in this world they rejected him, they chose the darkness over the light.

And today we find people have not changed, they do not want to hear about their sin, they do not want to separate themselves from the wants, the lusts, the desires, of the world. They do not want to see the shadow of their sin in the light of Lord, it is far easier to stay in the darkness.

So, what do we who live in the darkness do? We share the light, we proclaim the light, we tell people what glorious things lay ahead when we allow the light into their lives, that in the darkness there is only suffering and death. Here is an illustration; if you have two rooms separated by a door, one room is filled with light the other filled with darkness, and you open the door between the two, what happens? Does the darkness overcome the light? No, the light overcomes the darkness and the light floods into the darkness. We are to be that door, we live in the dark world, but we have the power to open that door and let the light flood in. We must let people know that by illuminating their sin we are not condemning them but saving them by the light. Through the recognition of their sins and repentance, they will be forgiven.

Acts 26 tells that we are; "...to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me (Jesus)."

We are sanctified by Him, through our faith in Him, and in our sanctified life we are to share His good news of salvation and life eternal. Let your light shine!

Couple other items, we are getting ready for Rally Sunday, we have made a few changes in our Sunday School and Confirmation programs for this year so be on the lookout, Rally Sunday is September 10. Also during this Sunday school year, I will be having children's messages at least once a month, so keep an eye open for those. I will be meeting with the Evangelism and Stewardship committees to talk about some potential ideas and changes on how we may be able to work on our outreach and inreach here at Zion. I am planning on starting up the men's Thursday morning Bible study again toward the end of September so stay tuned and if your interest please let me know.

I am going to close using the words of the apostle Paul, whose words I could not improve:

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippian 1:3-6).

Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Rick
excerpt from...
September 2017 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter