Happy New Year to you! I pray that 2024 will be a great & perhaps even better year than 2023 was for you. We have much to be thankful for.
First off, let me encourage you to be in the Word. There are many reading plans that can take you through the whole Bible in a year or the New Testament. There is a reading plan in the church foyer you can pick up. Of course, apply what you are reading.
I want to share some thoughts on my reading in Luke 2:41-52, the boy Jesus in the Temple. What an interesting story! Jesus was separated from his family for a few days and they found him in the temple conversing with the religious experts. I was lost in a department store once for a few minutes and I was terrified. Jesus seemed so calm and unafraid. He was in his Father’s house after all!
I wondered where did he sleep those days? What did he eat? Did a priest or rabbi take him into his home? Why didn’t the religious guys go searching for his parents? I had more questions than answers but it was a fascinating story of how special Jesus is even as a boy!
I pray that you are experiencing Jesus every day this Christmas season (as our Mission Statement reads.) Draw closer to Him through the Word and prayer. Draw closer to Him through praise. Assemble with the saints and give Him glory.
I hope that you will join together on Sunday morning & evening for our Christmas Eve services. The evening service at 6:00 p.m. will be candlelight with communion.
On Sunday the 31st at 6:00 p.m., we will gather together informally to share God’s stories from 2023 and pray for the new year.
We all know Israel is fighting for its existence against Hamas, a terrorist group that governs the Gaza strip, a tiny sliver of Israel in the S.W. corner of the country on the border with Egypt. Israel needs to eliminate Hamas leadership to help ensure the safety of its citizens going forward.
As the war continues, the danger is other nations getting involved. There’s the Hezbollah terror group ruling Lebanon. There’s Syria, Turkey and most importantly, Iran. Iran funds Hamas, Hezbollah & the Houthis in Yemen.
Bible prophecy tells us that events will happen in the future. That’s why you should always keep one eye on Israel. We know the Battle of Armageddon will be fought there and Christ will return there to establish His Kingdom. Keep your eye on Israel.
There’s a prophecy in Ezekiel 38 that I believe has not been fulfilled in the past. I believe it has a future fulfillment. I also believe it is not the Battle of Armageddon mentioned in Revelation 16. Ezekiel 38:1-6 lists the nations who will come against Israel in the later years (vv. 8, 16) Gog, a future leader & Magog, the land he rules, is mysterious and enigmatic. Meshech and Tubal are places in modern day Turkey, a country outspoken against Israel and who has recently threatened them. Turkey’s leader is Erdogan. He’s someone to keep an eye on.
Persia is the ancient name for Iran, who we know is openly hostile against Israel vowing their destruction. Cush is Ethiopia which is a Muslim nation. Put is Libya, also Muslim. Gomer is either Turkey or the ancient Cimmerians who lived north of the Black Sea. Beth-togarmah is also a region of S.E. Turkey and Syria. Uttermost parts of the north could refer to Russia.
The very nations outspoken against Israel right now are included in the Ezekiel 38 prophecy. It bears watching and praying which is what Jesus said we must do. We’re living in perilous times and we must be ready. This is no time to ignore God and His Word but be walking closely with Him.
I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Election Day is tomorrow. If you haven’t voted, I encourage you to do so. Voting is a privilege we can participate in America. Vote your Christian morals & values.
Speaking as a private citizen, I plan to vote no on the School Board issue. Here’s why. I had a small part in our own George Sutton being on the Hanover School Board during a very important time in our local schools history. I spoke for him before the Board of Supervisors. Sean Davis, the Henry District Supervisor, selected George, who represented Christians well on the Board. We want Christian people like Sean Davis selecting Board members. A yes vote means outside money comes into our county, it becomes political, and you can wind up with a school board like the northern Virginia counties. We don’t need that.
So vote and pray. Pray for godly men & women to be voted into the Virginia legislature.
Cathy and I are in Canton Ohio as you read this. I have all day meetings on Tuesday with all 4 teams together and we will see family while we are here.
Ed Walsh, our new executive director, sent this link on sharing your faith for us on the leadership teams to discuss. I thought it was good and wanted to share it with you. Here are six 5-minute videos on witnessing. Please watch them all when you have time.
Also, please be praying for an end to the war in Israel. The sanctuary will be open the remainder of the week from 9-2 if you would like to come by to pray for Israel.
We had a wonderful time yesterday worshiping with Kyle, Julie, and Florence. Seeing her dedicated to the Lord was moving. Cathy and her other grandmother cried! We know you were in great hands with Dr. Dave Williams, who led the retreat on Saturday and worship on Sunday. He had something to say about you that I wanted you to see.
“How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity!” Psalms 133:1 TPT
Good morning, brother! I trust you had a great time with your son and his family in Charlottesville yesterday. We did our best to hold down the fort!
I can’t begin to put into words how blessed we were to be with you and the rest of the church family at Hanover this past weekend. As I told the congregation on Sunday morning, Carol and I have never felt more warmly welcomed and genuinely loved and appreciated by God’s people. This is a pure gift from the Lord, and it is just as precious as our next breath or heartbeat.
I have no doubt that our experience of Spirit-filled hospitality is also a direct reflection of the way you and Cathy have sought to shepherd the flock entrusted to your care. Thank you, dear friends, for your faithful and sacrificial service on behalf of our brothers and sisters at Hanover Friends. Your ministry is bearing beautiful fruit for the sake of Christ and his Kingdom!
Please thank everyone again for taking such good care of us, for their strenuous level of preparation and engagement in the retreat process, for their receptivity to the message we were called to share, and for the very generous honorarium we received as well.
Press on, my friend. The Lord is with you, and the best is yet to come!
I’m looking forward to the Retreat on Saturday! I’m praying that your heart will be renewed and revived, which could bring revival to our church!
Dr. David Williams will also be preaching on Sunday, so you’ll be able to hear him if you can’t come on Saturday. Cathy and I will be at our granddaughter Florence’s baptism/dedication in Charlottesville that morning.
Be praying for Dave & Carol’s safety & anointing this weekend.
We all remember where we were 22 years ago. I was at the church in Marysville about to have a staff meeting at 9 am on a Tuesday when the phone rang. A church member told us to turn the TV on. We were shocked by what we saw. Remember those who died that day and pray for their families. Also remember the unborn who go into eternity by abortion at around 3,000 per day.
The Nominating Committee begins meeting this Sunday after church. Please keep Jim Trusty, Rich Murphy, Sue Blanco, Livia McCoy, and me in your prayers that God would lead us to those He has chosen for open positions serving our church family.
You either received the 20-day Devotional and Testimony packet at church or can access it online. (Contact the church office). This is suggested reading & reflection before the Retreat on Saturday, September 30th 9-4:30. Dr. Dave Williams from Malone University will be the speaker that day & Sunday morning. You’ll love Dave. He’s wise & funny! Please sign up on the bulletin board as lunch will be provided.
There was also a prayer handout for 60 days of prayer opportunity for our missionaries of EFM. You’ll be hearing more in October.
My prayer for you today is that you are growing closer to God & walking with Him daily.
I wanted to update you all on my dad’s condition. He is doing much better! He’s out of ICU & in a regular room. He has Covid and a UTI, but is being treated and improving. I know your prayers have helped him. Cathy’s sister is improving too and will be moved soon to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. Thanks for your love & support!
This past Sunday, I spoke on God the Creator and Creation. I quickly gave four scriptures that I didn’t read or comment on. Here they are:
Psalms 19:1(God’s Glory) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
Proverbs 3:19 (God’s Wisdom) The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens;
Romans 1:20 (God’s Existence) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Jeremiah 27:5 (God’s Sovereignty) “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me.
As you know, Joni Linger, James and Kim Southerland’s daughter, suffered a stroke last week. Her employer has started a GoFundMe for her. Please feel free to check it out HERE and if the Lord leads you, donate to help Joni with her medical expenses.
Also, my Dad, Phil Vinson, has been diagnosed with Covid. While he feels fine right now, he is isolated for 10 days, which is very hard for him.