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Having Joy...

The mission statement of North Danvers Mennonite Church begins, “We are followers of Jesus Christ.” This is a constant teaching of Scripture. Jesus tells us that any who would be his disciples “must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24, NIV, 2011). Peter tells us that we are called to suffer, “because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 1:21, NIV, 2011). Paul also tells us that we must follow the example of Christ. In the passage for next week, Paul encourages Christians to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5, NIV, 2011), which he goes on to explain was to become a servant on our behalf.

We are constantly pulled in two directions, either to follow our own selfish desires to please ourselves, or to follow the example sacrificing, serving example of Christ. This is not a decision that is made once, but we must every day decide if we are going to live to please ourselves, or to serve Christ. Can you think of ways this week and even today to follow Christ’s example of serving those around you?

I’m writing this week’s E-gram from Elizabeth City, NC. Josanne and I have enjoyed a few days of quiet rest on Roanoke Island, and now I’m preparing to teach a class on the Gospel of John this week on Monday through Friday. Some of you will know that my flight to North Carolina was delayed and finally cancelled, so new arrangements had to be made. A few of you will know that even before I was out of town, our youngest son called us to say that our vehicle he was using had a flat tire. Some of you reminded me, and I had to remember myself—to have joy in all circumstances. We must remember the questions, “God, why have you placed me in this situation? What do you want me to learn, and what do you want me to do?” and also, “Lord, why have you place me in the path of this person?”

The church board has decided that it would be good to pave the East parking lot and to do some repair work on sidewalks and some cracks in a few locations around the church building. There are several reasons to do this work including safety, and for the ease of snow removal in the winter. The cost of this work will be about $20,000 and paid for with member donations. Would you prayerfully consider making a gift toward this project?

Remember that next Sunday (August 23rd) will be my installation service. I have invited a few friends. Who do you know that it would be good to invite?

Looking forward to seeing you next Sunday!

God bless you all,


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