Pastor Floyd Costello
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Some people find it difficult to believe in God because they cannot reconcile the evil and hurt in the world with a good and loving God. One person said, “If God were really good, all this misery would just break his heart.”
It is then that we faithfully point to Christ, our crucified Savior, and answer, “It did.” The story of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ is truly the story of the breaking of God’s heart. It is broken because the same sin that brings evil and misery into this world has also estranged us from our heavenly Father.
Thanks be to Christ! He has paid the price for our sins. He has bridged the chasm that lay between us and our Father. By his resurrection from the dead, he has triumphed over sin, death, and the devil. He has reconciled us to the Father.
In 2 Corinthians 5:15, we read, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
Listen again to the words of the Apostle Paul: “[We] should no longer live for [ourselves] but for him who died for [us].” In light of what Christ has done for us, we stewards respond with a desire to serve and glorify him. Paul says that God, who has reconciled us to himself in Christ, has now given us this ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:8). “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,” writes Paul, “as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
We are Christ’s ambassadors. Every day he places opportunities before us to speak of the great love of God that gave his Son for the sins of the world. He has equipped and enabled us through his Word and Sacraments (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to be his representatives. Let us, with broken and contrite hearts, seek his forgiveness when we fail to represent him as we should and ask for his continued strength and presence to help us to carry out this task.
March 25, 2020
Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas
(which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus. (Acts 4:36)
Beloved, of all the personalities in the Bible I relate the most to Joseph in this text. If you think about it Joseph was in a situation much like we are. There were people hurting all around him. And he was such an encourager that his friends changed his name to Son of Encouragement…Barnabas. If it wouldn’t be too far out of line, I would change my name to Barnabas. But some might think, yep he has finally gone off the deep end!
The Ad Council and I would love to share some words of encouragement at this time. The first word of encouragement is: We are called to encourage one another, to weep with one another, to rejoice with one another. And even though we have lost our face to face time, we all know that this too will pass and one day we'll be together again. But, for now, how we get through this time of uncertainty is extremely important. We, the faithful in Christ, must hold fast to our trust in our Risen Savior. Trusting His promise that He will never forsake us or leave us to our own follies.
The second word of encouragement is for us to keep worshipping our Lord daily and weekly. We can do that in many ways:
-Be more intentional to read His Word. Spend more time on your knees, in prayer.
-Take time to make a phone call to your friends and family.
-Listen to your favorite Christian music. KLove and WCRF are great stations and you can even access all kinds of Christian stations all across the country on iHeartRadio.com!
-Take some of this downtime and write letters to your friends and family. Send a note to our Keystone Pointe residents to brighten their day!
The third word of encouragement revolves around being faithful in who we are in Christ. As a church in this community, we are still needing to be faithful in our giving. Bills and ministry are still needing to be cared for. Therefore, to aid us in our desire to give, the Ad Council has put times to worship our Lord with our gifts:
-As government restrictions on traveling outside of your home tighten further, take a moment and mail in your gift. If you choose to mail your gift in, please use the following address to ensure a safe delivery:
PO Box 71
LaGrange, Ohio 44050
-Until the government mandates a stricter “Shelter in Place” policy, Sunday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon, you can take a drive and come through the church parking lot. Someone will be outside to receive your gift and you don’t even have to get out of your car!
-Monday through Friday from 9 am till 12 noon, you can bring your offering to the church office or the FLC.
If you would like to include your joys and concerns for the week in your offering envelope, we will gladly share and pray for each of them on Sunday. Please note that we are sharing these options with you as a way to help overcome cabin fever, if you wish. We certainly do not want anyone to feel obligated to leave their home at all. We know that these are difficult times and we trust Our Lord will honor your gift that comes from your heart (Mark 12:43-44).
The last word of encouragement is simple--we are still seeking to worship the Lord:
-Until the government mandates a stricter “Shelter in Place” policy, stop by the church and spend some time in prayer in the FLC. Chairs are set up with plenty of room to be with someone you miss.
-We will keep live streaming a Sunday service of worship on the church Facebook page. We are working to make the live stream better each week. Come back next week and we’ll try it again!
-Check out our website (www.lagrangeumc.org) to find the Sunday sermons to listen to at your leisure.
-PFC is going to offer two Bible Studies online. One in the morning, one in the evening and we will do them on ZOOM which is a video conferencing tool. Download the free ZOOM Cloud Meetings app to your phone or tablet so that we can see each other. You can also access ZOOM on your computer and as long as you have a camera and microphone (which most laptops do!), you can see us and we can see and hear you!
Let us all be encouragers in this time of uncertainty and remember that we are to:
Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated.
Don’t give them a second thought
because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you.
He’s right there with you.
He won’t let you down;
He won’t leave you.” Deut. 31:6
As of now, we have no idea when the Bishop will lift the restrictions on in person worship. However, we will work diligently to keep you updated on when we can expect to be in worship together again. All announcements will go out via email and will be posted on our Facebook page.
Let’s pray as we close--
Holy God, challenge us to speak encouraging words to one another. Help us build up hope in one another so we’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. Help us to be faithful to continue being encouragers, that You might find us as faithful encouragers of our time, talents and gifts. (Adapted from 1 Thess. 5:11)
We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior,
Grace and Peace be yours.
In Christ Our Lord,
Your Ad Council and PFC
Pastor Floyd can always be reached on his cell phone (please leave a message if he doesn't answer!) or via email.
You can reach the office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Staci Crabeels at her personal number listed in our church directory.
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Join us every Sunday for worship in our Family Life Center! Located just west of the square in beautiful downtown Lagrange, Ohio.
Services begin at 10 a.m.
Bible Studies are on hiatus during the summer but during the year meet from 9-9:45am on Sunday. There is a K-4th grade, a 5th-7th grade, and an Adult Class.
Our newly renovated and updated nursery is also available both during Sunday school and for littles who need a break from the services.