Keeping Children Safe
Here at Port Church, we are a family that cares for God's children. We envision a community in which every child is safe, well-fed, nurtured, and loved unconditionally. As a part of our efforts to make our community a safer place, we are offering an event addressing one of the issues facing kids and their families today: drug use. "Keeping Children Safe: What Families Need to Know about Drugs in Our Community" will be held here at Port Church on Thursday, March 22, at 7 pm. We will have members of the Harrisonburg Police Department sharing information about what is happening in our community and how to keep our kids safe. I hope that you will make plans to join us for this special event and help us make our community a better place for all.
This event is open to everyone in our community, so feel free to invite neighbors, friends, and teachers. If you are interested in coming, please let me know to help us better plan for childcare. Also, let me know if you have specific questions that you would like to hear answered.
May God bless you and your family today! Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Forgiven: Break the Cycle (Exodus 20:4-6)
Sins of the father - that's how we refer to the way that generations pay for the actions of one generation that came before, even when they may not even know it. Sin has consequences, sometimes long-lasting ones. While God may forgive sin and choose not to define us by what we have done, the Bible also tells us that God punishes sin. For example, in the Ten Commandments, God claims to be jealous for us, punishing to the third or fourth generation those who are disobedient but blessing to the thousandth those who follow God's ways. Jealousy and punishment have a negative connotation for us, but we should not assume from this statement that God is petty. God is jealous for our hearts, our souls, because God wants the best for us. God knows that our wandering off in disobedience harms us, so God tries to keep us close and does what it takes to bring us back. Likewise, God's punishment is not about imposing a harsh consequence for consequence's sake. God punishes, like a parent toward a wayward child, to correct, to show how serious the situation is, to bring the child back, and to keep forgiveness from being taken for granted. God's punishments often take the form of a natural consequence rather than some supernatural bolt of lightning. God lets us live in the consequence of what we have done yet God is with us on that journey. Take Adam and Eve, for instance. They try to take food for themselves that was not given to them, so they are punished by being sent to grow food for themselves. Yet God first makes clothes and provisions for them to live. Their son Cain killed Abel and is made to wander the earth homeless, because no one would want such a neighbor in their midst. Yet God marks Cain to keep others from killing him. God makes us endure the consequence of our sin, even as God forgives us and helps us on that hard journey. So what do we make of the punishment to the third or fourth generation? How is that fair? It may be helpful to recognize that God has a history of working redemption and limiting punishment for sin. In the law given to Moses, God set a limit on punishment - an eye for an eye. Your small sin against me does not justify a larger sin against you in return. An eye for an eye is grace in a lawless world of endless retaliation. Likewise, God's punishing to the third or fourth generation may actually be the grace of limiting how much damage a sin can wreak on a family. In those generations, God works redemption and healing to break the cycle of sin - through forgiveness. All the while, God blesses goodness to the thousandth generation. God is telling us that sin's consequences come to an end but goodness endures forever. That is good news for all of us who live in families held captive by sin (that would be most of us)! Forgiveness breaks the cycle of sin and heals wounds over time. How have you experienced God's forgiveness even while living in the consequences of your sin? How can you break the cycle of sin?
Stairs Repair Update
We are in the final stretch of the project to repair our back stairs. The new drainage pipes have been installed, and the new sidewalk and landing is ready to be poured hopefully this week. After that, it is just a matter of installing the new metal steps. When this is all completed, we will have some landscaping work to do to beautify the area again. We plan to take care of this at our rescheduled clean-up day.
Living in Community
Congratulations to Dave, Jim and Jodie, and Brad
who won the prize drawing of those who mowed the church lawn last summer!
Thank you to everyone who helped out last year!
Thank you to everyone who has already signed up for this year's mowing schedule!
There are just a few slots left open, so please sign up on the clipboard in the hallway
if you haven't already.
Blessings to Benton and his family: Jason, Lauren, and London!
We celebrated with them and offered a blessing for their family on Sunday.
What a wonderful thing God is doing in their family and in our church!
Thanks to everyone who was planning to participate in our Clean-up Day!
Unfortunately we had to reschedule due to the high winds.
We will let you know of our make-up date when it has been decided upon.
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, March 7
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, March 8
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Sunday, March 11
9:30 am - Worship: "Forgiven: Leave the Table"
11:00 am - Sunday School
12:00 noon - 225th Anniversary Planning Meeting
Monday, March 12
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Tuesday, March 13
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's house
7:00 pm - Administrative Council Meeting
Keeping Kids Safe: Drugs in Our Community - March 22, 7 pm
Maundy Thursday - Worship with Grottoes UMC, March 29
Good Friday Worship - March 30, 7 pm
Easter Sunrise Service, Bradburn Park - April 1, 6:45 am
VBS tentatively scheduled for June 25-29
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!