8 January 2004
JANUARY, 2004 From the pastor Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we approach the New Year, let us be thankful for the Lord's blessings this past year and pray for His guidance in the days to come. We have been greatly blessed at Harmony Church. I have been encouraged by the good attendance we have seen over the past few months, as well as the increase in the number of families that are staying for lunch. We read in Acts 2:46 where the first Christians continued, "daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart…" Not only did they worship and commune together, they also "did eat" together. Spurgeon noted that their fellowship was so genuine, that it was difficult to tell where their Communion ended and their natural meals began. When Marilyn and I joined Primitive Baptist Church, this was one of the first things we noticed that was different. Though it was the message of grace through Christ that brought us, the fellowship we enjoyed complimented the message. I genuinely LOVED staying for lunch. To me, it was an extended opportunity to stay out of the world and remain with God's children for just a little while longer. I must be honest, the good cooking and lemon pie added to the attraction. Though eating is not a spiritual exercise, the fellowship that ensues from this becomes a spiritual blessing. As I tell people who come to Harmony, "If you are not fed spiritually, you will be naturally if you will stay and eat (fellowship) with us!" Sometimes we continue to do things in God's house and we forget the original intention. This eating together began with the first Christians. It started because they genuinely loved one another and wanted to be together. The spiritual blessing of this heartfelt desire is called fellowship. What is happening at DONALDSON Harmony Church is planning a 5th weekend meeting for the month of February. Elder Justin Huffman is scheduled to be with us on Saturday night, February 28th and the following Sunday morning. Dinner is planned for Saturday night at 5:30 and lunch Sunday morning after services. Brother Justin and his family have recently moved to Cincinnati where he assists Elder Bradley in his labors with the Baptist Witness and the BBH. May God continue to bless them both! Let us be praying for Brother Justin as he comes our way. The second weekend in April, the time of our annual meeting, is rapidly approaching. Elder Marty Smith and Elder Dickie Halbgewachs have both promised to be with us for our meeting. Services will be on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday morning. Both of these ministers have been with our church and we look forward to hearing them again. We will have dinner both nights at 5:30 and lunch Sunday morning. Communion and feet washing will follow lunch. We have been greatly blessed in our efforts to place a library in our facility. In our July "03" newsletter, I mentioned we would need between 3 and 5 thousand dollars for the project. Since that time we have received $5000.00 dollars for the project!! We appreciate the generous donations that have been made towards this worthy endeavor. As of today, the majority of books have been ordered as well as the bookcases. The reading of God honoring books serves to stimulate the mind, keep the thoughts upon heavenly things and expand our knowledge of God's word. I was recently reading the biography of D. Martyn Loyd Jones. During his ministry at Westminster Chapel, they established a library there, chiefly a collection of Puritan books compiled by one man over his lifetime. It was from that library and the supporters of it that "The Banner of Truth Trust" came into being. The "Banner" has been responsible for the reprinting of books written by great men of God, such as Bunyan and Spurgeon that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks of time. It was their intent to republish as many of these old books as they possibly could and over the years they have been blessed to print numerous of these old volumes which include the writings of our Puritan forefathers. I have sought out many of them for our library. Of course, there is only one perfect book and all others must be compared to it. It is my hope that our library will not only be used by the members of Harmony Church, but by the community and members of our sister churches. I hope to unveil our library just before lunch on the 5th Sunday in February. In our last conference Harmony Church voted to replace the chairs in the basement and add book-holders under our pews. Our future projects include: new carpet, a new sign and a new P.A. system. Currently, we are working on a new web page. On our new page I will be able to make revisions on a monthly basis, announcing meetings and other current events. The new address will be given when it is completed. I have had the opportunity to acquire several old preaching tapes of Elder Virgil Lowrance who served as pastor of Harmony Church from 1947-1965. These messages were delivered in the Baltimore, MD area, a place Elder Lowrance frequented during his ministry. The party was kind enough to send me 8 sermons, one dating back to 1957. Since many of our members were baptized by Elder Lowrance, I thought they might be of interest. These will be placed in our tape room. If you would like a copy of any of them please let Sister Judy Newman know. There is a lot going on at Harmony, come and be a part of God's amazing love! Over the last few weeks we have been preaching a series of messages entitled, "What is a Christian?" Our focus has been the beginning of Christianity, as depicted in scripture. We must always remember that Christianity is a historical fact. It occurred in history, it is well documented, and it cannot be altered or changed. Though men have attempted to redefine it, as they always try to do with historical events and people they do not like, God will not change His mind concerning what genuine Christianity is. The majority of the people in this country claim to be Christians, yet, when you look at what the Bible says about true Christianity, we will find that genuine Christianity is actually the minority. During these messages we emphasized the importance of being a Christian. In God's eyes, being a Christian is the most important thing a person can be. It is more important than an education, than popularity, than fame, than money and power. It is the thing that we should hope and pray for most for our loved ones. Politics can not now, nor will it ever, solve our problems. Our problem has not changed. It remains to be sin in ourselves and in the world. Christianity and the spread of it will become a blessing to any person, family or culture. It always has been. There were ten messages delivered entitled: What is a Christian? A Christian is a person who believes a doctrine. A Christian is a person who enjoys the fellowship of the Saints. A Christian is a person who continues in the breaking of bread. A Christian is a person who continues in prayer. A Christian is a person who experiences gladness. A Christian is a changed person. A Christian is a minister. Jesus' explanation of a Christian. A Christian is a forgiven person. If you would like a copy of any of these messages, write to us or send us an e-mail and we will be happy to assist you. From time to time, someone asks, "What are the responsibilities of being a member of the Church". I have made a list of what the Bible says about this and I provide it for every new member of our Church. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, nor are the scriptures cited, but I hope it will serve as a reminder to us all. Pray for one another: James 5:16; 2Thes. 1:11. Pray for the pastor: 1 Thes. 5:25; 2 Thes. 3:1; Heb. 13:18. Forgive one another: Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:32. Cover offenses with a mantle of charity: 1 Peter 4:8. Seek the peace of the church: 1 Peter 3:11; Mat. 5:9; Eph 1:2. Place others before ourselves: 1 Cor 10:24; Phil. 2:3-8. Live at peace with all men: Rom. 12;18; Heb. 12:14. Encourage one another: 1 Thes. 5:11; Heb. 3:13; 10:25. Love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ: John 13:34,35; 15:12,17,; 1 Thes. 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11. Witness to others and invite them to God's house: Rev. 22:17; 1:46; Acts 8:4. Teach our children: 2 Tim. 3:14,15; Eph. 6:4. Support the weak: Acts 20:35; 1 Thes. 5:14. Bear one another's burdens: Galatians 6:2. Speak kindly to one another: Ephesians 4:29-31. Admonish one another in the spirit of meekness: Romans 15:14. Be faithful to God's house: Hebrews 10:25; Romans 12:1. Support the financial needs of God's house: I Cor. 9:7-14; 2 Cor. 9:1-14; Mark 12:42-44. Attend the ordinances of the Church: 1 Cor. 11:23-26; John 13:14-15. Go to those who have offended us: Mat 18:15. Go to those we have offended: Matthew 5:23,24. Love the Lord with our heart, soul, mind and strength by which love we shall find the grace to do all of the above: Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27. These are only a portion of the things we find in scripture to do for the Lord Jesus who gave His life for us, for the brethren for whom Christ died and for the cause of Christ that it may prosper in the world. Book review I encourage every church member to read "Foxe's book of Martyrs". It has become an all-time Christian best-seller. It includes the heroic stories of John Hus, John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Anne Askew, and many others. It records their great faith for God as it highlights the blessings we enjoy today as a result of their suffering. It depicts man's depravity and hatred for God and His word and presents world history in the glowing brilliance of God's suffering people. I am certain this book has been an encouragement to other Christians who have faced similar circumstances in their pilgrimage.