Issue #8 - February 23, 2011              For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. ~ Jesus  


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1) In Remission
2) Why Celebrate Lent?
3) Lent...What Do You Have To Say?
Pentecost Activity
5) Encourage One Another--Devotional

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1) In Remission

"...that through his name (Jesus) whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43 

I have discovered again that God has a way of showing up. This past week a friend from church wrote a short encouraging note saying, "Isn't remission a wonderful word." Indeed it is. But when the doctors talk about "remission" they are never quite sure. That's why I needed another two treatments and even then there is no guarantee. All they can say about "remission" is that they find no physical evidence of the culprit called cancer at present. But I am content with the present remission.

And then my theological mind began to play around with that word. It was not first used about cancer or other illness. It's major application comes in the term "remission of sins." Recently, while visiting with our senior pastor, Lucky Arnold, he offered a prayer of thanks that I was in "remission," and it struck me like a bolt out of the blue. Yes, I am thankful for remission of my cancer but that is nothing compared to my remission of sins. THAT means that God can find NO EVIDENCE OF MY SINS. When I enter into his judgment I will be found "NOT GUILTY" before him -- and all because Jesus took my place. The doctors can never be sure I am "in remission." But I can be absolutely sure that I am "in remission" when it comes to my sin. I can sing with gusto (but out of tune) "My sin -- O the bliss of this glorious thought -- my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul."

Acute Mylogenous Leukemia might not stay in remission. It may even take my life. If not, something else will. But nothing can change my "remission of sins!"

Feb. 2011--Pastor Elton Piersma
First Presbyterian Church - NPB, FL
(Pastor Elton went home to be with Jesus shortly after writing this devotional.)


2) Why Celebrate Lent?

Typically, Lent is observed by liturgical churches. However, Lent is intended as a way to call to mind and to focus more intently on the suffering that Jesus underwent and the sacrifice he made on our behalf. I thought it might be helpful to give a brief description for those who don't understand the purpose of these observances and maybe offer new insight to veterans of this holiday, as well as a craft idea for use in your get the rest of this lesson click on 
Ash Wednesday & Lent
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3) Lent...What Do You Have To Say? 

Lent begins Wednesday, March 9, 2011 this year. Do you have a Lenten devotional that you have written--for adults or children? Please send it in for possible inclusion in the newsletter and/or website.




Pentecost Activity

Dear Anne,

Depending on where you are on the spectrum in regards to the baptism issue, here's one simple object lesson idea. I don't know how many people you're working with, but you could have each family unit do this along with you as you explain it for greater participation. If so, you'd have to have precut crosses, a balloon, and a sharpie for each family.

Get a medium sized balloon, the lighter the color the better. On a small slip of paper cut in the form of a cross, tell everyone to write the word Holy Spirit on it.

Explain to everyone that after Christ died on the cross for forgiveness of sins, he gave the Holy Spirit as a gift to the church. You could discuss a little bit about the ministry of the Holy Spirit here, i.e. guiding us to the truth, reminding us of what Christ taught, convicting us of sin, sealing us for the day of redemption, etc. 

Then explain that the balloon is us. Upon baptism, God places the Holy Spirit in you. Roll up the piece of paper and insert it in the balloon. Ask if anyone can see the Holy Spirit inside the balloon. The answer should be, no. Now as we grow physically, and/or spiritually, blow up the balloon just a tiny, little bit so that it just holds its shape. We still can't see the Holy Spirit.

Then at confirmation, blow the balloon up some more, and shake it, the paper should rattle around. Most won't see or hear it, but you can say something like, "Through confirmation we start to understand a little more about God in our lives and we sense his presence more and more - an allusion to the Holy Spirit "bumping around" inside of us.

Then once we are confirmed, blow the balloon up enough to the point where you can start to see the piece of paper itself, we are saying we are ready to let others see the Holy Spirit in us.

Then blow up the balloon more and say something about how as we grow in our faith we are able to see the Holy Spirit more and more in our lives, by how we act and live as Christians. You could then tie the balloon, draw a smiley face with eyes looking up on the balloon so that the balloon now looks like someone's head, and say, "And as we live and walk in the Spirit of God, He brings joy and peace to our lives (the smile) as we glorify him (eyes focused upward) in what we say and do as we bless others with the gifts and talents God gave us.

This is just the idea, if you like this idea, adapt and adjust it to fit whatever you are trying to communicate.

God bless,
Pastor Jon Hayashi
Heritage Church
Odessa, WA



5) Encourage One Another--Devotional

During Lent, many people give up something they enjoy eating--chocolate for instance--in order to focus on and consider anew the sacrifice Jesus made for humankind. However, this season, rather than giving up something outward and physical, I suggest giving up discouraging words. 

Have you ever been insulted, discouraged, or maligned? It’s difficult being on the receiving end of dispiriting words. Those words can cut to the heart and be difficult to shake off. They can wound us temporarily or even give us a lifetime of pain—a witness to the power of our words! If this is true—and I believe it is—then the opposite must also be true; encouraging words can...

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Encourage One Another
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