The Sin of Envy
I attend a 7:00 AM Bible study twice a month at a company where I serve as a chaplain. A few weeks ago the topic was one of the 7 deadly sins: Envy. When I think about my own struggle with sin or council others about their sin, I rarely think of envy as a serious sin. The study led me to rethink how envy is a forgotten sin that often brings destruction into our lives.
It helps to understand that our healthy American economy is fueled by the sins of greed and envy. Marketers sell us products by creating a desirable image of the good life, procuring enough envy in us to spend money on their product. Dave Ramsey has said, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
One of the most counter-cultural stories Jesus told was the parable of workers in the vineyard in Matt 20:1-16. In summary the landowner hires a number of workers throughout the day. He had agreed to pay the workers a fair wage of a denarius. When the day is done, the landowner pays those who had only worked one hour a denarius. To the anger of those who worked a full 12 hour day, they also received a denarius. In verse 15 the landowner says, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
The point is that life is not fair and we get in trouble when we look at the blessings of others rather than our lot in life.
I wish I could say that envy is primarily a sin of our culture. The truth is that life in church is impacted by envy as well. We envy gifts and talents in others. Parents compare successes in their children as though there is a competition to grow super-kids. Even pastors compare ministries, envying God’s most gifted servants.
A few days ago I was enjoying a book called Satisfied by Jeff Manion. My wife had read it first and left it for me to read. Part way through the book I looked up the author and the church he leads. He is about my age and has pastored his church for a little longer than I have been in Fort Lee. When I went to his church’s web site I learned that his church is huge and I felt a wave of envy. Thankfully after about a minute of being ungrateful for my life I came to see the foolishness of comparison (also one of the themes in his book).
Most of you reading this would not be tempted to envy a pastor of a big church. What about the person you work with who has the better job, goes on more exotic vacations, seems to have a happier family, lives in a bigger home, or has talents and gift you envy. Do you celebrate her blessings or secretly hope more hardships would come her way?
A good verse to counter envy is Heb. 12:1-2 which says, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” God has a race for you to run. When we run our race and fix our eyes on Jesus we can bless others who are running their race well and pray for others who are stumbling in their race. Envy will kill your joy and ruin your life. It is one of the deadly sins and should be seen as such. Be blessed! Stay grateful!
Vacation Bible School: August 19—23
Plans are underway for our Annual Vacation Bible School during the mornings of August 19-23, 2019. We continue this tradition in teaching children, as our church has done for many years.
The history of Fort Lee Gospel Church includes Vacation Bible Schools in the 1950s and 60s where at times 60 or 70 children from the community would attend. The ‘modern’ version of VBS started in 1992 and has continued almost every year since then.
Our program includes crafts, music, skits, Bible stories, Bible studies and games. It combines fun, learning and activities. A key part of a successful VBS is that many in our church invite family members or neighbors. Over the years VBS has been a first step for a number of families in becoming a part of our church.
As you prepare you summer schedule, consider joining us for our VBS which takes place from 9:30 AM until Noon for this one week. We welcome youth and adult leaders to sign up at this time to be leaders in this ministry. VBS is for children ages 3 through grade 6. Prayerfully consider who you will invite this year.
Scripture Union Trip: August 4—9
This month we are recruiting teen and adult leaders to serve at a Scripture Union SuperKids camp in Sharon, Connecticut. This ministry will take place Monday through Friday, August 5th through 9th. The plan is to set up for the camp, leaving Sunday, August 4th.
The host church in Sharon has offered to provide housing in member’s homes for the week. Likely afternoon activities will include service projects and an outing on a lake.
The youth ministry has had a history of going on trips to lead SuperKids camps (or VBS) in Plattsburg, NY, Haverhill, MA (twice) and Jamaica, West Indies. While this summer ministry will include the purpose of developing teen leadership, adults are welcome to be a part of the team.
The month of June is a time to bring together the team and plan for the trip. Please speak with Sonia Dobson of Scripture Union or Pastor Rick for more information on this ministry.
Youth Group Weekly
This is the time of year when school schedules lighten up and many of our students have more time. Starting on June 15th Youth Group plans to meet every Saturday, starting at 6:00 PM. The hope is that our teens can invite friends and see the youth ministry thrive this summer.
Youth group is for those who have completed the 6th grade through those attending college. The teaching time will be divided by age.
The adults in our church can be supportive in praying for our teens and encouraging involvement from our youth.
Our youth ministry is developing a presence in social media and looks to find mew ways to stay connected. See Jonathan Mancilla for further details and information about this ministry. Pray for God to work among this generation and among our youth ministry.
June Events at Fort Lee Gospel Church
11:00 AM Worship Service Our weekly service including worship through singing, prayer, preaching and fellowship. Nursery and three children’s classes are available.
9:00 AM Chinese Worship Service The Chinese worship service is led by Pastor Sandy Xie and she can be reached at 917-593-0420.
1:30 PM Korean Worship Service Contact Pastor Jaedoo Lee for further details at 646-464-2448.
5:30 PM Spanish Worship Service Contact Rev. Esteban Canales at 973-510-8834 for more details.
7:00 PM, June 16 Evening Service Our Sunday evening service usually meets on the first and third Sunday of the month, but will only meet once this month.
1:30 PM, June 9 & 23 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
1:15 PM, June 16 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
12:30 PM, June 23 Church Dinner Our monthly meal will take place after the worship service.
12:30 PM, Tuesdays Men’s Lunch & Bible Study We meet for a meal before we study the Bible and pray together.
7:30 PM, Tuesdays Bible Study The group is studying foundations of the faith..
6:00 AM, Wednesdays Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
6:00 AM Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting combining personal and group prayer meets every Saturday.
6:00 PM, June 15, 22 & 29 Youth Group For those in 6th grade through their teens.
Pentecost Sunday: June 9th, 2019
For those who need a quick and basic understanding of what Pentecost Sunday is, below is listed 10 things you should know about the holiday.
- Pentecost Sunday marks the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.
- Pentecost Sunday occurs 50 days after Easter.
- The Bible records the Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13.
- Pentecost comes 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus Christ.
- Pentecost is also known as “the birthday of the Church”.
- Pentecost fulfills Jesus’ promise to send the “Counselor” and “Spirit of Truth” in John 16:5-15.
- Pentecost launches the large-scale spreading of theGospelafter Jesus’ ascension. Acts 2:41 records that after Peter spoke to the crowd after receiving the Holy Spirit, some 3,000 people were baptized.
- The Pentecostal movement derives its name from the New Testament event in Acts 2.
- Jews also celebrate Pentecost, but not for the same reason as Christians. The celebration by Jews of Pentecost is to observe God giving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai 50 days after the Exodus. The Pentecost in Jewish tradition takes place 50 days after Passover.
- In Western Churches, Pentecost is usually represented with the color red, which symbolizes the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Father’s Day: June 16
Many people like myself look forward to Father’s Day both out of gratitude for our fathers and for the privilege of being a father. I am also well aware of the fact that Father’s Day is not welcomed by all in our culture. Many families have been abandoned by fathers, others grieve the death of their fathers, and some relive painful memories on Father’s Day.
To both those who look forward to Father’s Day and those who do not, God invites us to know Him as our heavenly Father. This is one of the most profound teaching in the Bible, that we can start our prayer with, “Our Father . . .” Not someone else’s father, but Our Father. Paul writes in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” This word ‘Abba’ could well be translated ‘Daddy.’ God calls us to an intimate relationship rather than a set of rules and rituals.
One of the most hopeful verses in the Bible in light of our culture, which is so impacted by broken families, is Psalm 68:5 which describes God as “a Father to the fatherless.” Wherever our fathers have failed us, God can mend the hurt and fill the void. We can only be healthy adults when we address the father wounds of our life, by experiencing the love of our Heavenly Father.
This year on June 16th, we remember Father’s Day with varying experiences from joy to sorrow, and often a combination of both. My prayer for you is that you look beyond your earthly father to also recognize and celebrate your Father in heaven, who extends his love to us 365 days a year. Happy Father’s Day!