Dear Parkway Family!
It’s late Thursday afternoon, and to me it already seems like Friday. It’s been a very full week thus far, and promises to be a very exciting weekend. Much is planned and I wanted to take a minute and write to you about it.
So many have been working hard the past several weeks in preparation for the LIVE NATIVITY, and here we are at T minus 26 hours and counting. Soon our parking lot will be filled with folks from our community who will grant us a few minutes of their busy holiday schedule. Our aim is to take advantage of those moments to show them Jesus, and give them a true sense of what Christmas is really about. Let’s imagine our church campus as an oasis in the dry desert wasteland of the otherwise secular Christmas season. We will offer a cold drink of water (hot chocolate actually) and send our guests off refreshed! Please be praying with me that in our effort we will be blessed!
One more thought about the Live Nativity before I move on. Whether you have been assigned a job/role or not, I can assure you there is something for you to do! Please come tomorrow around 4:30 or 5pm. We will feed you dinner and give you an opportunity to serve! Your presence here will be a huge encouragement and blessing, especially to those carrying the lions share of responsibility. This is a highlight of our year as a church. I can’t wait for the Live Nativity to begin!
Then, on Sunday morning at 10am we will be blessed with some inspirational music from the Cragun’s, a very talented gospel group out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cragun’s are family, and I know you will enjoy their ministry this weekend. Since it will also be Christmas Sunday, and since some often come to church on Christmas Sunday who don’t come at other times throughout the year, I will also be sharing a short gospel message and offering an opportunity for someone to receive Christ. Please invite your friends, relatives, associates and neighbors to church this Sunday. It’s going to be a very special day!
This past Saturday I went to Jamestown! In case you hadn’t heard, Jamestown is the weekly outreach ministry of our missions department in SE Roanoke, and an incredible opportunity to show and share the love of Jesus. My heart was absolutely overwhelmed by what I witnessed! What our teams are doing there week in and week out is absolutely changing lives! We are presenting the Gospel and giving these dear people hope beyond anything they’ve ever experienced. This coming Saturday our Team will once again be at Jamestown, celebrating Christmas with these new friends, and baptizing those who have received Christ.
I told you that to tell you this: I think everyone should go to Jamestown at least once! So, if you want to see what I saw, and be impacted as I was, let me know (send me an email) and I’ll hook you up! See you soon!
I love my church!
Dear Parkway Family,
We had a great time of prayer and fasting yesterday afternoon, and I was so encouraged by the number of you that fasted and prayed where you were. Thank you for engaging in the battle with us. Your participation means more than you know. You are helping to advance God’s kingdom!
I sent a brief note yesterday, but wanted to follow up with just a little bit more information, and a request that you come out in strong numbers this Sunday for our Thanksgiving Celebration and Capital Campaign offering. We have been building toward this day for the past eight weeks and I believe God is going to do something exciting among us. My prayer is that He will grant you the same spirit of anticipation, and that you’ll invite friends and family to join us for this special day. Maybe you could even provide dinner for them afterward. Just a thought! And just to be clear, the service Sunday will culminate in an offering, but it won’t be about the offering. I’ve got an amazing message from 2 Chronicles 20, and we are going to worship, and give thanks to God. I hope you are making plans now to join us.
Since we are taking an offering Sunday, and since our goal of $100,000 is significant, everyone’s participation is greatly needed. If for some reason you are unable to be here Sunday (and I hope that’s unlikely), I’m going to ask a favor of you. Would you please call the church office, or stop by, to get an offering envelope or commitment card, and let us know how you plan to take part in this important drive to repair and improve our facilities. We would like to be able to include ALL of the giving commitments in our final tally, and we don’t want you to miss out on the opportunity to be a part of this big day! (By the way, can I justencourage you to read Luke 6:38, before you make your final decision?)
The message series I started Sunday is called Possible. It’s based on the words of the angel to Mary in Luke chapter one, “for with God nothing will be impossible.” That means no matter the odds, and no matter how unlikely the outcome may seem, with God everything is possible. In this series I am asking everyone to bring their own impossibility with them. Marriage, finances, health, kids, job/career, a friend or family member far from God, or something entirely different. Whatever it is, we’ve already begun asking God to get involved in our circumstances in a whole new way, and thereby prove His grace and glory in our lives. I believe Hewants to do that. I believe He will do that! Again, I hope you’ll invite a friend to join you this Sunday.
One more item of note. We have begun brainstorming and planning for the Live Nativity that will be held the weekend of December 19-21. We are getting more excited about this each day, primarily because we are making a strong push to reach our unsaved friends, relatives, associates and neighbors. Maybe these folks won’t come to church, but maybe they will come for some cookies and hot cocoa, and to watch an outdoor drama of the birth, life and death of the Messiah. We intend to share the gospel with every person who comes, and I am asking for your help in two areas:
- To participate in some way in making the Live Nativity a success. There are dozens of jobs that will have to be performed, and “all hands on deck” is what we are seeking from our church family! Thank you in advance for finding a spot and filling it.
- Then, we need everyone to invite every unchurched person you know to join us on at least one of those three nights. Sit down and make a list of folks you want to invite, and then make it a point to invite them. By next Sunday, November 30th, we will have personal invitations available at the church for you to hand out.
This is gearing up to be a fun-filled, exciting and God-honoring Holiday season! I can’t wait to spend time with each of you, getting to know you better, and experiencing the joy of the Christmas Season. Please be praying with me that God will show up Sunday, and display his majesty and glory among us.
I look forward to seeing you there!
I hope you’re surviving the winter chill that has settled in! Maybe we’ll see a warm up today. In any case, at least there’s no snow…yet!
Just a few things I want to share with you this morning. It won’t take more than a couple of minutes.
1. I am asking as many of you as can to fast the noon meal today, and spend the time in prayer for our Capital Campaign offering this Sunday. We will be opening the church, and invite those of you who are close to join us in the sanctuary for noon prayer. If you can’t come to the church, please spend some time wherever you are. We are seeking God’s favor on our service, and the offering, this weekend!
2. We have not had a “normal Wednesday” for a few weeks, so I wanted to make sure you knew that everything is on tonight! Kids classes, as well as youth and adult services are planned for 7pm. And, I will be teaching both of the Grow, Connect, Serve classes (101 and 202) in the Conference room, beginning at 6pm.
3. The service on Sunday is one you will not want to miss! I will be sharing an amazing story from 2 Chronicles 20, about King Jehoshaphat and Judah overcoming crazy, impossible odds. and then we are going to do something I don’t think we’ve ever done before. You’ll have to come to find out what that is.
As you woke up this morning, and your feet hit the floor, perhaps you felt somewhat overwhelmed by your life and circumstances. You’re not alone in that I’m sure. Life is hard and will be until all things have been redeemed (Romans 8:18ff). But whatever you may be facing, never forget this: He is with us in our trouble, and with God the best is always yet to come!
Good Monday morning Parkway family!
It was a fantastic weekend, and a delight to honor the many Veterans who are part of our church family. Again this morning I want to say thank you to all of you who have served our country, and have helped to preserve the peace and freedom that we so much enjoy. You are deserving of much more than you receive, and I am humbled by your dedication and sacrifice.
Though it was a great weekend, I’m actually writing you for a different reason. Yesterday evening about 7:30, a very dear friend, and long time member of our church family, Helen Carr, want to be with Jesus. Her passing was sudden and unexpected, and this morning we are grieving for her family that is left behind. They are hurting deeply today!
In addition to Helen’s passing, most of you already know that on Friday Sharon Young succumbed to her brief battle with cancer, and she too want to be with the Lord. Our hearts ache for Bill, Amy, and Julie who are so said that Sharon is gone. The good news is, two very dear ladies are now in heaven. The bad news is their departure leaves a gaping hole no one else could possibly fill. Please help me pray for these families.
Tomorrow morning at 11 AM we will celebrate Sharon’s life in a memorial service at the church. Then, on Wednesday morning, about the same time, we will do the same for Helen Carr. These is an extremely important time to be the Church, sohere’s what I’m asking of you our church family. After each of the services – both Tuesday and Wednesday – we are providing a meal for family and friends of the deceased, to show our love and support for these two hurting families. Several of you have already agreed to help with the meal Tuesday, and I am asking others of you to contact the church office, talk with Melanie or Linda, and offer assistance in this ministry. These meals are a simple yet powerful way to show that we care, and I can’t thank you enough for helping us meet the needs of these families. In addition, if you are able to come to one or both of the services, your presence will be a great blessing.
As if all of this isn’t enough, there is one more bit of sad news. Many of you will remember Shawn Lewis. He was saved and baptized here at Parkway, was our sound guy for quite a while, and then married Lorelei Smithers this past May. Shawn is presently the youth Pastor at Crossroads Community Church (our church plant) in Rocky Mount. Well, his father passed away last week, after a brief battle with lung cancer, and a Memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at Parkway on Saturday of this week, at 2pm. This is just one more chance for us to come together and be the Church. I know you will. Thank you for your love, your sacrifice and your service.
Now, since so much will be expended toward these Memorial services, and since this needs to be our focus this week, Pastor Ray and I have decided that everything beyond this important ministry has been canceled for the week. That means no leadership training on Tuesday (visitation for Helen is from 6-8pm Tuesday, at the church), no Wednesday night service, and no discipleship or children’s classes. The youth have planned to go to Manna Ministries, and will follow through on that commitment, but there will be no youth service on campus. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility, and thank you for your show of support to these grieving families. Most of all, thank you for being the Church, the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. I am privileged to serve you!
If you have questions, or are offering your assistance, please call 540.982.02115. Or, if you prefer to email, the church email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I love my church!
Hebrews says, “consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” – Hebrews 7:25 (ESV)
The line of reasoning the author of Hebrews uses in this context is profound, and extremely encouraging. I want to share it with you this morning. It begins in the two verses previous to the one I just gave you. Speaking of the old order of priests he writes, “the former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office. But he holds his priesthood permanently,because he continues forever.” Then comes the verse above. So what he is saying is this, the old priests died and therefore had to be replaced. Jesus, on the other hand, lives forever, therefore his priesthood is forever. So what? Well, that’s where verse 25 comes in. “Consequently…” In other words, what he is doing at present, as priest, is possible because he always lives. And, he always lives in order that he might continue as priest in doing what he doing at present. Confused? Follow this:
- “he continues forever…”
- and thus “holds his priesthood permanently…”
- in order that he might “make intercession for [us]…”
- and therefore, “save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him.”
That last line is the heart of it for us! In a sentence it might be rendered like this. “Jesus Christ lives forever as Priest, making intercession for us, in order that we might be saved to the uttermost.”
Now I’m not sure what that does for you, but it fuels my faith and fills me with deep gratitude. Here’s why. While we understand that Jesus saved us – past tense – when we confessed our sins and placed our faith in Him, we tend to place a great deal more emphasis in the present on our ability to “get it right.” Are we disciplined enough in our devotional life? What kinds of things are we avoiding..or failing to avoid? Did we do enough? Read enough? Pray enough? Witness enough? What are we going to do about those attitudes? How are we we going to overcome that sinful actions? We imagine that salvation is up to us…
But when I contemplate Hebrews 7:25, I am suddenly reminded that Jesus isn’t just responsible for my salvation past tense, but for present and future tense also! He not only saved me, he is saving me, and will save me! Right now he is interceding for my salvation! Did you catch that? Right now he is interceding for my salvation! And, Hebrews says “he is able to save completely! Completely. Through and through. That’s what uttermost means. Because he lives forever as priest, he is forever interceding for my salvation. And He will not fail!
Does that mean I have nothing to do with it? No. Look at the verse one more time. It says, “he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him.” The words draw near are important in Hebrews. They point out the fact that God cannot do anything for the person who does not come close and present themselves to him. So I encourage you to do that. But as you do, know that you have a ever-living priest who is interceding for your full and complete salvation!
Trust in Him today!
Begins at 6pm Tonight
Dear Parkway Family!
Just a quick note to remind you of the Holiness Summit, beginning this evening, with Stan Toler and Rex Bullock. This is going to be a fantastic two-days, with worship and teaching that will be a great inspiration to you!
Refreshments are served at 6pm this evening, so come a little early and spend some time getting to know others in your church family. I am including a brochure of the event so you can see the bigger picture!
See you tonight!