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Hello IBC,

This is our 10th Sunday not meeting together as a church. We pray that you still are setting aside the Lord’s Day as special in your home, utilizing the guide that we provide, and longing for the assembly of the saints again.

Recently, Nathan recorded a talk on Philippians 1:18b-30 for another church here in the city entitled, “Death, Life, and Life Together.” We thought it would be applicable and an encouragement for IBC too.

The Spotify Playlist has been updated with new worship music.

And our prayer for this week comes again from The Valley of Vision:

NEED OF JESUS

LORD JESUS,

I am blind, be thou my light,

ignorant, be thou my wisdom,

self-willed, be thou my mind.

Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit’s voice,

and delightfully run after his beckoning hand;

Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,

make it alive to evil’s slightest touch;

When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds,

and there cease to tremble at all alarms.

Be my good shepherd to lead me into

the green pastures of thy Word,

and cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comforts.

Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales

may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.

Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,

Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,

Thy death occurred to give me a surety,

Thy name is my property to save me,

By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,

but it is too narrow to comprehend thy love.

I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,

but thy cross has brought me near,

has softened my heart,

has made me thy Father’s child,

has admitted me to thy family,

has made me joint-heir with thyself.

O that I may love thee as thou lovest me,

that I may walk worthy of thee, my Lord,

that I may reflect the image of heaven’s first-born.

May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,

and feel the power of thy Spirit in my heart,

for unless he move mightily in me

no inward fire will be kindled.

The church Memory Verse is Psalm 1:6 – “…for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

The Kids’ Corner Story is “The Lord is My Shepherd” p. 190 (Lesson 11). And the Songs from our YouTube Playlist are “Peace Like a River” and “How Good Is the Lord.” Corresponding coloring sheets/games are attached.

As always please let us know if you are in need of anything throughout the week. Nathan and/or I are available to take a socially distant walk with you or buy you lunch during your lunch hour and eat safely at The Meeting Place. Just email elders at immanuel dash baptist dot net to schedule something!

Praying for you,

Pastor Theo

We walk by faith,

not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7

The coronavirus is invisible to the naked eye, yet we all know it’s out there – spreading, infecting, impacting our world.

Similarly, the Bible tells us of an unseen realm, no less real. Do you believe in it?

Even though you cannot view his crown under a microscope, do you know that Jesus is reigning at the right hand of the Father right now? Hebrews 2:8-9 says – “We do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death.”

Do you trust that the Holy Spirit is mysteriously moving: convicting, converting, comforting, conforming people to the image of Christ, even if his activity seems imperceptible at times? John 3:8 says – “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Do you have the perspective that knows that there is an immaterial, immortal aspect to you that is more important than your current physical shape? Matthew 10:28 says – “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”

Do you understand that the greatest enemies of our souls operate within an invisible network of malicious powers and personalities? Ephesians 6:12 – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Do you have confidence knowing that God and his innumerable angel armies are on our side no matter how formidable and obvious the opponents and obstacles seem? 2 Kings 6:15-17 says – “When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ He said, ‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Do you focus on the promised future world more than this present, passing one all around us? 2 Corinthians 4:18 says – “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Can you fathom the potential of the local church to make these realities visible? 1 John 4:12 says – “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

Do you have faith? Hebrews 11:1 says – “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

But remember: there is coming a day when faith shall be sight. Revelation 1:7 says – “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him.”

Until then may you, like Moses, have the eyes of your hearts enlightened (see Eph. 1:18) so that you can see the unseen, for Hebrews 11:27 says – “He endured as seeing him who is invisible.”

Brothers and sisters, I long to see you and confirm that your faith and love are abounding (see e.g. 1Thess. 3:6), but for now I have to trust that God is working in you during this time even though I might not be able to see it. I pray that, as 1 Peter 1:8-9 says – “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

I can’t wait to see you all again and sing together “to the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, [to whom belongs all] honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1Tim. 1:17).

~ Pastor Nathan

Hello IBC Fam!

Here is our guide for Sunday morning home worship tomorrow.

Due to the news of his terminal illness, we are listening to a sermon by the apologist Ravi Zacharias this week entitled “Is Truth Dead?

The Spotify Playlist has been updated with new music for this week. Pick at least a couple, print out the words, and sing with your family or roommates before/after the sermon.

We also have a reading for this week from Isaiah 55:

Come, everyone who thirsts,

come to the waters;

and he who has no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,

and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me;

hear, that your soul may live;

and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,

my steadfast, sure love for David.

Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,

a leader and commander for the peoples.

Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,

and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,

because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,

for he has glorified you.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;

call upon him while he is near;

let the wicked forsake his way,

and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

and do not return there but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout,

giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy

and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and the hills before you

shall break forth into singing,

and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;

instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;

and it shall make a name for the Lord,

an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Memory verse: This week see if you can recite Psalm 1:1-5.

And here’s what would have been happening in Kids’ Corner, but you can still do it with your kids:

Story: “David and Goliath” p. 173

(Lesson 11)


Songs:

1. “What a Mighty God We Serve”

2. “My God Is So Big”

Praying for you this week,

Pastor Theo

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold

and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord;

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my strength;

he makes my feet like the deer’s;

he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

On November 22, 1963, the United States was brought to a standstill when it learned that President John F. Kennedy, our 35th President, was assassinated. He was riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Jackie, and the governor of Texas, John Connally, together with his wife, Nellie. The final words of the President as he made small talk with Mrs. Connally in the presidential limousine are nothing short of ironic. Mrs. Connally said, “Mr. President, you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you.” Kennedy replied, “You certainly can’t.” Just seconds later the first of the three shots rang out that killed John F. Kennedy.

Everything can change in an instant.

Since last March when you flip on the news or check your feed online do you ever hear anyone on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, or The Wall Street Journal rejoicing in the Lord in response to COVID-19? No. Quite the opposite, actually. Every time we turn the news on we are bombarded with pessimism, snarky words, and criticism. What makes it even worse is that our nation is so divided right now that we can’t even combat COVID-19 as united front.

I don’t know about all of you but I am so tired of hearing that life will never be the same again. Really? Did we forget that a third of the continent of Europe died during the bubonic plague in the 14th century? I’m pretty sure life in Europe eventually went back to normal. But it’s pessimistic stories like that, that irk me.

Moreover, every day I see headlines whose only point is to make people worry. The media thinks of the most dramatic things they can say to get people to click on their story.

I digress. I am not here to vent my frustrations at the news, but in light of all of this I find Habakkuk like a breath of much needed fresh air! It is Habakkuk’s ironic praise and rejoicing in the face of a crumbling world that steadies one’s heart and can keep one from being overly agitated or put into one frenzy after another while constantly being bludgeoned with negativity that comes out like a fire hose from our media outlets.

The reality is: there is a lot of bad news. Similar to the way verse 17 describes the tragedy Habakkuk was experiencing (which was probably way worse than the effects of COVID-19 on our society), lots of people are sick and thousands have died, millions of people have filed for unemployment, and we are staring down the barrel of the possibility of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Not to mention professional baseball is shut down along with all other spectator events.

Yet, in the face of all of this Habakkuk would rejoice. Martin Lloyd-Jones says this commenting on verse 18 – “It was not merely resignation or saying: ‘Well, there is no use crying over spilled milk, or getting alarmed and excited, because we cannot do anything about it.’ Nor was it just applying the principle of psychological detachment. It was not taking oneself in hand and saying: ‘The best thing is not to think about it! Go to the pictures [“movie theater” which isn’t an option for us right now], read a novel and don’t think!’— a sort of escapism. Neither was it an attempt at being courageous. There is here no exhortation of courage. There is something infinitely greater than just making a mighty effort of the will and saying: ‘I am not going to whimper or cry, I am going to be a man’… Instead of mere resignation, or plucking up one’s courage, the Scripture shows that it is possible even under such conditions to be in a state of actual rejoicing.”

How is Habakkuk able to do this? Are we interpreting these events through the lens of God’s promises? That’s what Habakkuk was doing. He knows that God is a God of salvation (v. 18) and it is that fact that gave him strength (v. 19). In that God is a God of salvation, Habakkuk knows that God is immutable and he makes promises. No loss or tragedy (v. 17) could change that fact. God and his plans and purpose for the universe are in no way changed, thwarted, or turned off course by COVID-19. And it is this reality that freed Habakkuk up to be ironic, to rejoice in the Lord of his salvation in the face of a horror.

Rejoicing is a conscious choice; it is not the natural reflex reaction to a famine. This is what I mean by it being ironic. He was able to choose to rejoice because rejoicing is a function of faith. Believing that God is still good and working his will in spite of present circumstances. It’s this same faith that Habakkuk also knew that salvation flows out of, which is his reason to rejoice because salvation has come, is coming, and will come. In chapter 2, verse 4, he says, “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by faith.” He knew and was trusting in the promise that God made to Abraham in Genesis 15:6 – “He [Abram] believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” No famine or pestilence will thwart the sovereign hand of God. He is still working his plan of salvation.

Furthermore, even though in the moment of chapter 3 all Habakkuk could see was famine, he knew the world would not stay that way. He says in chapter 2, verse 14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Even if as a result of the virus our lives here on earth are changed “forever” it will not be forever. God is reigning and one day the earth will see him for who he truly is.

It was these things that were the source of Habakkuk’s strength – the joy of his salvation. These things caused his joy and moved him to rejoice. Rejoicing in this God is what made his feet like the feet of a deer and lifted his soul to high places in spite of the destruction that was in front of his eyes.

Can I challenge us to remember these things too? Instead of allowing COVID-19 and all that the media has to say about it put you in a tail spin, can I ask you to be a little ironic? To, like Habakkuk before us, remember that God is immutable and his covenant purpose in the earth is unstoppable. And for that he is worthy of praise. Not only is he worthy, but if we choose to remember these things and rejoice in our salvation, joy (v. 18), not anxiety, will surely follow.

As Americans we think we can fix anything with our freedom and endless resources. However, the economy is being eroded away, our friends or family are sick or maybe even have died. We have so much less to entertain us with since spectator sports have been shut down. Can we rejoice in spite of all these things? Can we see our assured salvation as far better than an economy brimming with money and our favorite baseball team with a winning record?

Moreover, if the full force of the virus has touched our lives, if we ourselves are sick or someone we love has died, can we grieve and lament to a God whom we know has much better things planned for us? Right before Paul says that the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven in Romans 1, he says in verse 17 – “…the righteousness of God is being revealed from faith to faith, as it is written the righteous will live by faith.” Faith in an immutable God. His promises to Abraham and every other saint in the Old Testament and up to today has been kept. And that promise found its fulfillment in God’s own Son, who endured every consequence of every pestilence or famine for our sakes and for the glory of God, for our salvation and for our joy, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord. It’s on that long expected but assured day that his glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

~ From a former elder and current missionary of IBC

Hello IBC Family,

Pastor Theo here. This Sunday, I hope you all can rest in the everlasting mercy and love of our Savior, Christ Jesus.

This week we have a talk from Michael Horton entitled, “What Is the Gospel?

The Spotify Playlist has been updated with new worship music for this week.

The prayer for this week comes again from The Valley of Vision:

THE GOSPEL WAY

BLESSED LORD JESUS,

No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.

Acting in eternal grace, thou art both its messenger and its message,

lived out on earth through infinite compassion,

applying thy life to insult, injury, death,

that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.

Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way,

Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God,

for opening this way,

Praise everlasting to thee, O Holy Spirit,

for applying this way to my heart.

Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul,

until its virtue diffuses every faculty;

Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.

Teach me to secure this mighty blessing;

Help me to give up every darling lust,

to submit heart and life to its command,

to have it in my will,

controlling my affections,

moulding my understanding;

to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion,

not departing from them in any instance,

nor for any advantage in order to escape evil,

inconvenience or danger.

Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy;

Strip me of every pleasing pretence of righteousness by my own doings.
O gracious Redeemer,

I have neglected thee too long,

often crucified thee,

crucified thee afresh by my impenitence,

put thee to open shame.

Thank thee for the patience that has borne with me so long,

and for the grace that now makes me willing to be thine.

O unite me to thyself with inseparable bonds,

that nothing may ever draw me back from thee,

my Lord, my Saviour.

May we find rest in the finished work of Christ this week.

When we go to heaven and realize all that prayer did on earth,

we’ll be ashamed that we prayed so little.

W.E. Sangster

Don’t forget: our weekly, all-church Prayer Meeting is tomorrow (Saturday; 5/9) at 10:00 AM on Zoom.

For you have need of endurance.

Hebrews 10:36

I have been running for exercise a little more lately. It seems like a healthy socially-distant activity. And the warm(er) weather beckons.

Even if you’re not a runner, I think you can relate to the experience I’m about to describe. Sometimes I have said to myself, “I’m going to run for 10 minutes on the treadmill.” But then I get to around the 8:30 mark and convince myself that 9 minutes is close enough to 10 or turn down the speed. Or maybe I set out to jog to Ashland and back, but I change it to Laflin en route. And then I stop running a block early and walk the rest of the way to my house because… you know… cool down.

In what ways are you tempted not to run hard all the way through a finish line?

Fatigue sets in. Focus wanes. You get impatient. You want to cut corners. You make excuses. You’re tired. You fizzle out.

We’ve all no doubt had feelings like this during the lingering stay-at-home order. Perseverance is being called for, by government and God alike. It is obvious that right now we need to be steadfast in hope, diligent in pursuing people, relentless in fighting sin, disciplined in Bible intake, faithful in our commitments, persistent in prayer, determined in seeking joy… but it’s hard. Our resolve is weakening. Laziness is calling.

Yet this relatively short season is a microcosm of our entire earthly lives. “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints” (Rev. 14:12). Because only “the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mt. 10:22, 24:13).

Have you noticed how often Scripture puts its finger on this need of endurance? Here is just a sample:

· “The good soil… are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience” (Lk. 8:15).

· “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit” (Rom. 12:11).

· “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1Cor. 15:58).

· “So we do not lose heart” (2Cor. 4:16).

· “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).

· “Keep alert with all perseverance” (Eph. 6:18).

· “…your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring” (2Thess. 1:4).

· “Do not grow weary in doing good” (2Thess. 3:13).

· “Persist in this” (1Tim. 4:16).

· “If we endure, we will also reign with him” (2Tim. 2:12).

· “We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Heb. 3:14).

· “We desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:11-12).

· “…so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Heb. 12:3).

· “We consider those blessed who remained steadfast” (James 5:11).

And specifically the Bible utilizes the metaphor of a marathon to illustrate the Christian life:

· “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

· “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly…” (1Cor. 9:24-26).

· “You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth” (Gal. 5:7)?

· “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 3:13-14).

· “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day” (2Tim. 4:7-8).

· “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).

So how do we do keep running with stamina, stay the course, and not stop? Sheer grit and determination? Will power? Rigorous accountability? That may keep us going, but not to the right place.

Part of the answer is found in the next verse of Hebrews 12 – “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus” (Heb. 12:1-2)! Ahead of us at the finish line is a faithful Savior that has gone on before, who endured the cross for our sakes, bearing all the punishment for all our failures, fallings, missteps, and backslidings; who earned our ultimate victory; who doesn’t bark orders and shame us, but who loves us and sweetly calls us onward to eternal bliss with him – the only thing worth chasing after. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Behind us is a trail of grace, many mile-markers of mercy.

And bearing us up all along the way is an “energy that he powerfully works within [us]” (Col. 1:29).

And so, fellow runners in this race of life, I pray that you are “being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy” (Col. 1:11).

And “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Ph. 1:6).

Press on,

Pastor Nathan

Hello IBC Fam,

Praise God for another Sunday to learn from the Lord, and a fresh week where his mercy overshadows our steps day by day.

For the ‘Sermon of the Week’ we have one by R.C. Sproul entitled, “A Great Salvation.” This was the last sermon he gave before he passed away.

The Spotify Playlist has been updated with new music for this week.

And we have included a reading from the Psalms (see below).

Our Memory Verse this week is still Psalm 1:5 – “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

For families with kids, the story for this Sunday is “A Voice in the Night” (p.160; Lesson 10). And the songs are: “How Good is the Lord” and “Peace Like a River.”

Psalm 142

You Are My Refuge

A MASKIL OF DAVID, WHEN HE WAS IN THE CAVE. A PRAYER.

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;

with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.

I pour out my complaint before him;

I tell my trouble before him.

When my spirit faints within me,

you know my way!

In the path where I walk

they have hidden a trap for me.

Look to the right and see:

there is none who takes notice of me;

no refuge remains to me;

no one cares for my soul.

I cry to you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my refuge,

my portion in the land of the living.”

Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low!

Deliver me from my persecutors,

for they are too strong for me!

Bring me out of prison,

that I may give thanks to your name!

The righteous will surround me,

for you will deal bountifully with me.

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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