JUNE 29, 2022

JUNE 29, 2022

Dear Friends,
 
When I was seven years old, the President of the United States was assassinated.  I remember the Friday it happened.  We had come back to our second grade classroom right after lunch and recess and our teacher, Miss Clark, told us that she had to go to the Principal’s office for a few minutes.  She told us to stay in the classroom and that she would know if any of us left while she was gone.  I sat wondering how she would know, but I didn’t have the nerve to put her claim to the test.
 
Miss Clark came back into the classroom shortly before 2:00 pm and told us that the President had been shot at that school was closing for the day.  Most of us walked or rode our bikes to school, so an early dismissal meant that we all packed up our things and headed home.
 
At home, the TV was on but all the usual afternoon shows weren’t.  It was non-stop news coverage.  At age seven, that was of no interest to me.  But it was a clear indicator that the assassination of a President was something big.  Afternoon soap operas were rarely interrupted for anything.  Only when something really big happened.  So this had to be something really big.
 
In those days, we didn’t have “Breaking News” alerts three times an hour like we see on Cable news channels today.  The way you learned about the days news was by watching Walter Cronkite at 5:30 central time.  If you wanted up to the minute news, you caught the five-minute news reports on the radio at the top of each hour.  Otherwise, you waited for the morning newspaper or perhaps even the weekly issue of Time or Newsweek magazines.
 
In 1963, if the Supreme Court had handed down a landmark ruling, only radio listeners would have heard about it as it was happening.  In fact, in 1973, when the Supreme Court handed down the Roe Vs. Wade ruling, it was not the top story on the front page of the New York Times the next day.  Instead, the passing of former President Lyndon B. Johnson was the main headline.  The front page also included stories about a GM vehicle recall and George Foreman’s second round victory over Joe Frazier the night before.
 
The fact that we didn’t have instant and constant news and analysis available anywhere we are, thanks to the internet connected computers we all carry around with us, makes every news story feel HUGE!  Stories that would have earned 90 seconds on the evening news or eight paragraphs on page 3A of the morning paper are now obsessed over, analyzed to death and made more important than they are.  After all, if you want views or clicks, you have to make the headline as shocking as possible. 
 
As a result, we have all become more anxious, more angry, more divided, more polarized, more strident and more intolerant of other views than ever.  For the past two decades, every presidential election has been labeled by pundits as “perhaps the most consequential presidential election in our lifetime.”  The reality is, they can’t all be the most consequential, can they?  But in order to attract readers, viewers or donor dollars, hype becomes essential. 
 
And when everything is urgent and critical and monumental, it’s no wonder that one out of every two adults in the US has high blood pressure. 
 
Do you know how to quiet the storm in your soul when the daily drumbeat of world news has you living on the edge?  Ultimately, we have to renew our minds with the truth that the Bible makes clear to us:  that God is perfect, His ways are perfect and he can be trusted to do what is right.  In Daniel 4, the Bible tells us that “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and He gives it to whom He will” (Daniel 4:17).  Or put simply, “Heaven rules” (Daniel 4:26). 
 
That statement – Heaven rules – is the title of a book that will be released in a few months, written by Bible teacher Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.  It’s also the theme of the Revive Our Hearts True Woman 22 event being held in Indianapolis in September.  And it seems to me that it’s the word we need on our lips day in and day out as we are bombarded with never ended news reports of tension and tragedy in our world.  We don’t want to minimize or dismiss easily the reality of pain and suffering and trials in our world.  But when it all becomes overwhelming, as happens more often than ever these days, we have to remind ourselves of what hymnwriter Samuel Medley first declared back in 1775:
 
I know that my Redeemer lives!
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
he lives, my ever living head!
 
He lives to silence all my fears;
he lives to wipe away my tears;
he lives to calm my troubled heart;
he lives all blessings to impart.
 
He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives!
 
Jesus is alive.  He is ruling and reigning over the affairs of men.  Whatever breaking news you face today, whether it be personal or national news, calm your anxious soul by finding refuge in the truth that God is in control.  Heaven indeed rules.

What a week our kids have been having at the Backyard Bible Club.  Take a look!

Please pray for the kids and the leaders who have been helping these children learn the 10 Commandments this week.  We’ll have an update on the week in our Sunday morning worship service.
 
And speaking of the kids, don’t forget that this Sunday is a Gospel Zone Sunday.
 
The Gun Lap Group is set to meet this Friday at 9:45 am to continue going through the book Lies Men Believe.  The study is open to all men who are able to attend.
It’s almost picnic time!  Rain or shine, hot or really hot (those are the options for Little Rock in July I’m afraid), we will have our next Parking Lot Picnic at church next Wednesday night, July 6 at 6:30.  We’ll have the Taco Mexicano food truck on hand, inflatables for the kids, other activities for all ages and some pop up shade and industrial fans to make the evening cool and breezy…  or something close to that!
 
Invite your friends and join us for an evening of food, fun and fellowship.
Congrats to Vincent and Alia Wagner on the birth of their twin girls last Friday. 
Have you ever wondered how a little sin like covetousness found its way into the Ten Commandments, right there alongside things like murder and stealing and lying?  Maybe it’s because it’s not such a little sin after all.  Jesus has a parable for us to look at this week that helps us see why there is real spiritual danger in coveting. 
 
We’ll look together at the parable in Luke 12 this Sunday.
 
See you in church.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob
 
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