CPC THIS WEEK
June 15, 2012
THE E-NEWSLETTER OF CHRIST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
“So Close They Could Taste It!”
Not a good week as we read through Numbers. Not a very good week at all! We’ve gone from final preparations for the Promise Land to a 40-year delay in reaching the Promise Land.
And, although some of these problems could be called “growing pains” it’s more than just that. At its root is a dissatisfaction with both divine and human leadership. Israel’s sinful attitude and behavior became the clothing of complaining, grumbling, rebelling, fearing – and it was very costly. And God’s response to all of this? A divine discipline delivering disease, death, delay. Let’s do a quick review together.
Israel’s complaints about their hardships brings fire from Yahweh
Israel complains about Yahweh’s provision of manna
Miriam and Aaron complain about Moses’ wife – she was a Cushite, after all! (Here’s a little follow-up on Pride and Prejudice, by the way) Miriam and Aaron think they can speak for God as well as Moses
Ten of the twelve spies give a bad report about the Promise Land
The Israelites grumble about the challenges awaiting them in Promise Land and rebel against Yahweh and His appointed leadership.
Anyone twenty years or older who complained will never see the Promise Land.
The Israelites will wander in the dessert for 40 years; one year for each day of exploration.
Korah’s Rebellion against Yahweh’s appointed leadership.
Wow! That was a lot to handle in a week of reading. And, I didn’t even mention the poor guy who was stoned to death for breaking the Sabbath (Num. 15). No, it was not a good week as we followed the life of God’s people in rebellion. The worst, in my opinion, was Israel deep failure after listening to the report of the ten spies. Why? Because in the midst of a great challenge, they refused to see a greater God.
That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt? ” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt. ” (Num 14:1-4)
And yet, they were so close they could taste all that God had promise – they could see it was true with their own eyes!
They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. (Num 13:26,27)
But they refused to see the goodness of the fruit and instead focused on the greatness of their foes. Listen to the plea of the two faithful spies.
Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Num 14:6-9)
Not good enough – their appeal did not carry the day.
But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. (Num 14:10)
That’s when God had seen and heard enough!
Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.” (Num 14:10-12)
What was the problem? Israel refused to view their situation with eyes of faith; they return to an older prescription – eyes of the flesh. Joshua and Caleb lay out for us, rather succinctly, Israel’s sin:
Don’t be afraid
Don’t turn away from Yahweh – He’s with us!
That’s a formula for faith. That’s a formula that will lead to “milk and honey.” For 40 days these spies were nourished by reality of Yahweh’s promise – grapes, pomegranates, and figs. For 40 days they tasted God’s goodness of grace. But they took their eyes off the promise and placed them on the problem. And 40 days of delight turned into 40 years of discipline and death!
We’re not unlike Israel – are we? We see the future but the challenges appear too large, too much for us. And guess what – THEY ARE – if we attempt to handle them in our own strength and abilities. This reminds me of another story we find in the New Testament.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)
Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and looks at the wind; his immediate surroundings. The result, he sinks. But, Jesus reaches out his hand and catches him. God did the same thing for Israel – but they would sink in their conditions for 40 years before being lifted into the Promise Land.
Whether as a church, or as an individual, we need to heed the words of the two spies:
Don’t be afraid
Don’t turn away from Jesus – He’s with us!
As the writer of Hebrews says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb 12:1-3)
Praise God from whom, truly, all blessings flow!
Series: The Excellence of Esther
“While You Were Sleeping”
C2C (aka VBS)! It’s OVER – What a QUICK WEEK! What a GREAT WEEK!!!
“Created to Create” was the title of this week’s VBS Arts Camp for ages PK – 6th grade. We would like to thank everyone who participated – especially through your prayers. A fuller update will follow soon!
If you were able to attend the recent Church Information Sunday School classes and would like to discuss the possibility of becoming a member please contact Pastor Bob personally or through the church office.
No Summer Sunday School
We will take our Summer break from Sunday School beginning this Sunday, Memorial Day weekend. We'll see everyone back in August.
Jared McKinney will have a Graduation Party, Saturday, June 16 from 2:00-6:00 p.m. at the Gennett Mansion (1829 E. Main St) with snacks, cake, and maybe an impromptu jam session.
SAVE THE DATE: Homemade Ice Cream Social to Benefit Jean Azbell
Sunday July 22 at 4:00 P.M.
Bring Side Dishes for the Pitch In Meal
Dunk Tank and Field Games.
Invite Family, Friends and Neighbors for this Annual Community Event.
CPC DEVOTIONAL READING, BOOKS, AND MEMORIZATION
The Reading List and Devotional Guide for 2012 are available on the church web site at: http://www.christpca-richmondin.net/books/
All the books on the reading list are in our church library.
The 12 Verses to Memorize are located here:
CPC BOOK CLUB!!!
The book for May is, "Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism” edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper. Two brief reviews:
CCYF Garage Sale
Need to clear out a few things?! The CPC Youth Group would be happy to have your donations for their Garage Sale, Saturday June 23rd. Please contact Jane Bumbalough or the Church office for assistance.
MEN’S BASKETBALL FELLOWSHIP (But cancelled for 6/16)
CPC Men, come on out and join us every Saturday Morning at 7:30 a.m. for a little “roundball” at the Community Christian School Gym. Let’s lace ‘em up and then hoop it up! 500 Elks Rd. just north of Glenn Miller Park entrance. Contact Bill Kehlenbrink for information.
Summer College Bible Study
If you would be interested participating in a College Bible Study that would involve students from the greater Richmond community, please contact Lance and Lori Fowler.
PRAYING FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH
INDONESIA: CHURCHES FORCED TO CLOSE
At least 22 churches have been forced to close in Indonesia this year due to mounting pressure on local governments. Eighteen of the closed churches are located in the Singkil regency of Aceh province, where Muslims held a “peace rally” on April 30 urging the local government to tear down all churches lacking legal permits.
At least 300 Muslims, including religious leaders, gathered at the April 30 rally to demand that local authorities enforce the Agreement of 1979, which dictates that only one church building can operate in the district. At the suggestion of the head of district police, Muslim leaders agreed to give the Christians three days to tear down their own church buildings. The Muslims formed a group to monitor the Christians, with the understanding that police would tear down the unregistered churches if they were still standing in three days.
On Tuesday, May 1, a group of local officials and radical Muslims from the Islamic Defender Front visited the Pakpak Dairi Protestant Christian Church (GKPPD) in Siatas with the intent of closing the church. After they announced that the church would be closed because it did not have a building permit, several female church members collapsed and tensions increased between the two groups.
The pastor eventually persuaded them to leave the church open, arguing that closing the church would “kill” the congregation and have a negative effect on the community. He reminded them that the church had contributed to the community by combating social problems like prostitution and gambling and that Muslims and Christians had coexisted peacefully in the village for years. These churches were closed by their local governments.
The next day, the monitoring team moved on to another GKPPD church in the village of Biskang and repeated their closure demands. After objections from church members, the team told them they could continue to meet but that the church must stop its expansion project. Finally, the team moved on to Sikoran village, where they sealed a Catholic church.
Nine church leaders met later that day with the Singkil District Head, who told them, “In two weeks, we will tear down your church buildings. No more compromise.”
The churches reportedly resumed services on May 13 despite the threats.
A representative of the Indonesian Fellowship of Churches said more than 12,000 Christians live in the Singkil regency, which has a total population of about 102,000.
Sources: Compass Direct News, VOM contacts
Posted: June 11, 2012
THIS WEEK’S FRIENDLY REMINDER
If you are able, please sit toward the front, especially if you arrive early. This will enable later arrivers to fill in at the back with less disruption.
TO ALL OUR DADS – HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!
12 Deb Gentry
13 Susan Cougill
15 Doug Byrd
16 Annabella Pfeil
16 Connie Wooldridge
22 Isaac Cook