Monday, April 27, 2020

April and May Faith Sermons

Faith Online


Ascension Sunday the 7th Sunday of Easter
Our Glory Lies in Jesus' Glory on the Cross  Part 1
Our Glory Lies in Jesus' Glory on the Cross  Part 2

6th Easter Sunday
        Jesus Never Leaves Us  Part 1
        Jesus Never Leaves Us  Part 2

5th Easter Sunday
       Called to be Priests in the Kingdom of God   Part 1
        Called to be Priests in the Kingdom of God   Part 2 

4th Easter Sunday
Be Imitators by Christs Power

3rd Easter Sunday:
Christ Commissions And Strengthens His Church

2nd Easter Sunday:
Life in the Risen Christ is Often Tested

Easter Sunday:

Holy Week:

MAY 2020 Pastor's Article


Our Church – In Dispersion

Greetings in the Risen Lord!

Well, it certainly looks like we’re having a beautiful spring. The redbuds and dogwoods are blooming; tulips and irises are beginning to open up – but wait, many of us are stuck inside. Two positive things about this spring, nature wise, are that many of us seem to be staying away from the Covid 19 virus and we’re not affected as much by allergies since we’re indoors! Who would have imagined this a year ago or even three months ago? And, I hope you feel the same as I do. I’d rather be in church on Sunday morning with others than watching a worship service on a screen or listening to it on the radio. But, praise the Lord, as least we can stay in touch with God’s Word through the techniques of modern science.
Spiritually, there are too important events in Scripture that are noted in the church in May this year. The first is Ascension Day – often overlooked because it usually falls in the middle of the week. But Ascension is important. On that day we remember how Jesus ascended into heaven after having been with the disciples for 40 days after His Resurrection. On that day He promised to be with His followers to the end of time. He promised them (that includes us!) His Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen them (us). After He disappeared into the clouds, His holy angel gave the assurance that He would come again.
The second important event of May this year is Pentecost, May 31. (I hope by that time we will be able to have worship back at our church building.) On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles inspiring them to begin to proclaim publicly the fact of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Both of these events give us the assurance that no matter where we are as believers in Christ, we are the church. And being the church, right now in dispersion, we can and want to continue to trust and proclaim Him. He is with you! Call a friend, a relative, someone you love and in your words of comfort, friendship and reaching out to them, share His promises of strength and the assurance that we have His eternal grace no matter how this pandemic turns out. Pray for all involved in helping during this time of crisis and for our leaders to be wise in their decisions, but above all remember Christ’s promise, “Surely, I am with you always.”

Rev. James Rhiver, Pastor

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

APRIL 2020 Pastor's Article


An old song has the words, “Though April showers may come your way, they bring the flowers that bloom in May.” Right now may seem like that song. The showers can be seen as a metaphor for the gloom and despair you may experience under this time of crisis in our country – a period of quarantine because of the Covid 19 concerns.

As Christians, it is also a period of gloom as during this this time of looking toward Easter we cannot experience the true meaning of the Lenten season for lack of opportunity to worship together with others. Oh, wait! Maybe there’s another side to this. Many Christians have practiced giving up something during Lent to remember what our Lord gave up for us – HIS SINLESS life for OUR SINFULNESS. Perhaps our hardships can cause us to meditate on His Passion.

Like the song quoted above, the season of Lent points to the joy we as Christians can realize as we celebrate also this month, the Feast of the Resurrection – Easter. Although we may not be able to be physically present at church to be reminded by the hymns, Easter lilies, prayers and the proclamation of the Word and Sacrament, we can still know the truth – Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed. I hope you are able to go online and/or TV or radio to hear again the message of Salvation for you and all who trust His promise of the Resurrection.

Take time to open your Bible, read and meditate on the words of Matthew 28:1-10. Continue reading to the end of the chapter and find the peace and JOY even during this period of distress – especially the final words of Matthew: “AND SURELY I WILL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS, TO THE VERY END OF THE AGE.”

An additional thought: Take this time to pray for all those who are serving in various ways during this crisis. You may also want to remember any who are sick or suffering in other ways in our congregation – for healing and strength, In particular, remember Roberta Meyer, recovering from a recent fall and for Marsha Benish, who mourns the loss of her husband, our member, Pat Benish, who was called to be with our Savior this past week.

Your loving pastor,
Rev. James W. Rhiver

MARCH 2020 Pastor's Article

The Season of the Passion

The season of the Passion, another way of saying the Lenten season in the church is upon us. Ash Wednesday was February 26 with a special evening worship. Beginning this Sunday, March 1until April 5, our Orders of Worship will carry the general theme “Facing the Cross”. Each Sunday we look at a different aspect of that theme: “Facing Temptation”, “Facing our Fears”, “Facing Our Worldliness”, “Facing One Another”, and Facing Suffering”.

Centering on this theme for our Lenten worship will cause us to focus on the great gift of salvation we have been given in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. The season culminates with Holy Week beginning Palm Sunday on April 12. That week will include Good Friday services on April 17 and Easter Sunday on April 19.

All these dates are important because they represent the most important events in the church year for Christians. The whole Christian faith revolves around these events. The Apostle Paul tells us that without the resurrection our faith is in vain. During this time as Christians we want to make every effort to worship faithfully as we witness to family and Friends the importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Each Wednesday evening during Lent we will have a light supper and Bible study – yet another opportunity to grow in God’s Word and invite others to join us. The title of the Wednesday evening course of study is “By His Wounds We are Healed.”
May the Holy Spirit guide you to want to take part in worship and Bible study so that your faith may be strengthened and your joy in Christ be increased.

Your loving pastor,
Rev. James W. Rhiver