Sunday was a marvelous day! We rejoice with the angels in heaven as we celebrate the baptism of Shane Daniels. Shane and Sandy have been worshiping with us and participating in the life and ministry of our South Fork church family for quite a while. Sandy responded a while back with a request for prayers as she renewed her relationship with her Lord and involvement with His church. Sandy and Grace Hepler are childhood friends, having known each other since they were five or six years old!! Grace has had a tremendous impact on Sandy and Shane, and is a big reason they are progressing in their journey of faith. Thanks, Grace, for letting your light shine!!
This week is our last time for our Shepherd Groups to meet before taking a three-week break. Our groups have done an amazing job through these last six weeks. They have met for study and fellowship every week, and have sent cards and made calls to shut-ins, visitors, and others needing encouragement.
Just the numbers indicate the positive way this ministry is being received—our average attendance for these six weeks on Sunday nights/Shepherd Groups is going to be around 200. That’s fantastic! I hope that you have been involved, and if not, that you will make a personal commitment to actively participate when the groups start up again on April 14th.
A special note of thanks and appreciation goes to our Shepherd Group leaders and teachers. They have put in a great deal of extra time and effort for their respective groups, and it shows. Brothers and sisters, I hope you are able to see the difference you are making in people’s lives, and the great potential this ministry has to touch our SF members in even greater ways. Thank you so very much for your servant leadership and ministry.
As we have been working through the book of Ephesians, I have been reminded of the important teaching that is contained in this great epistle, especially in these most recent lessons from chapters two and three. Salvation by grace through faith is so beautifully stated in Eph. 2:1-10. But the apostle goes on from there and asserts some crucial implications of this great truth in the passages that follow.
Jew and non-Jew—and that gets everybody!!—are now one person, one body, in Christ Jesus. That person, that body, is the church. These words are very similar to Romans 3:21-31. And Paul goes on to relate this teaching to worldwide missions, reminding us that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:14-17). Since the gospel of Christ is open for all, we are called upon to share this wonderful message with all peoples, whatever their background, situation, or homeland. Paul is thus simply repeating and applying the words of Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)