Reflections on the Life of Kobe Bryant
The last Sunday of January 2020 will be remembered at the day we learned that Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter accident. One did not need to be a basketball fan to feel the loss of one of the best known Americans of his generation. Here are three reflections on a life that ended too soon.
First, Kobe Bryant was known for his discipline and hard work. To become the best basketball player of his generation, Kobe was known to start practicing at 5:00 AM. While God gave Kobe the body and talent to be a basketball player, Kobe would work harder than almost everyone to be the best he could be.
The lesson for us is that God has made each of us with unique skills and talents. It takes discipline and hard work to be our best selves. A minimal effort may get us hired to a respectable job. It takes discipline and hard work to thrive and succeed in the work God has for us.
This applies to our spiritual life as well. The Apostle Paul was an example of discipline and hard work. He wrote, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14)
A second lesson from the life of Kobe Bryant is that he redeemed a bad reputation. In 2003, the married Kobe Bryant was accused and charged with raping a young lady. At the time he became one of the most hated men in America. While charges were dropped and a settlement made, he was able to keep his marriage and redeem his reputation.
Kobe has stated that his faith in God and support of his Roman Catholic priest were key to surviving this difficult time. Just hours before he and his daughter Gianna died, they were in church together.
Only God knows Kobe Bryant’s heart, but by the time of his death he was known as a good family man and advocate for women’s basketball. II Cor. 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
We serve a God who changes people. Some in our society will always focus on past sins, but Jesus came that we might be forgiven, cleansed, and made new.
A third lesson from the life of Kobe Bryant is that long life is not promised any of us. Millions of people are impacted by Kobe’s death because he was only 41 and his daughter was only 13 years of age.
Every day that we live brings the possibility that it may be our last. It is a truth that we often ignore.
For followers of Jesus Christ, death is both our enemy and our friend. We can say with Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) Jesus came that we might have hope beyond the grave.
The recent death of basketball icon Kobe Bryant is a sober reminder that life can be short. I grew up with a poem on the living room wall by missionary CT Studd that said, “Only one life, so soon ‘twill pass. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Presidents Day Quotes
The following are quotes are attributed to Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, for whom we celebrate Presidents’ Day, Feb. 17
Abraham Lincoln said:
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”
“Take all that you can of this book upon reason, and the balance on faith, and you will live and die a happier man. (When a skeptic expressed surprise to see him reading a Bible)”
George Washington said:
“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
“When I contemplate the interposition of Providence, as it was visibly manifested, in guiding us through the Revolution, in preparing us for the reception of a general government, and in conciliating the good will of the People of America towards one.”
Pastor Rick’s Ministry Trip to Ghana
Pastor Rick Spenst will be joining Rev. John Hwang and a few others on a ministry trip to Ghana, West Africa. This trip will take place from March 16th through March 27th.
The focus of the trip will include ministry at a church in Accra and sharing in teaching at a three-day pastors conference. Of added benefit is that Pastor Rick will get to experience a culture where many past and current church members have their roots.
In preparation for this trip our church is invited to pray for health and effective ministry. As the majority of costs are covered, there is an opportunity to contribute to a fund that will be used to aid the local Ghanaian church, including a medical clinic outreach. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.
Lead, Grow, Move in the Spirit: 3/14/20
You are invited to “Lead Grow Move in the Spirit” on Saturday, March 14, 2020 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Hosted by the Metro District at Princeton Alliance Church.
This is a leadership event to refresh every leader who desires to grow in the power of the Spirit for their lives and lead in the power of the Spirit for their ministry.
Bring your leadership team, spouse or friend! You will not want to miss worship ministry by Rev. Kelvin Walker and Gabe Tringale. Speakers including Dr. Rob Reimer, Dr. Ron Walborn, and Dr. Martin Sanders, hosted by Dr. Wanda Walborn. Cost is $30 and includes lunch. See Pastor Rick for details before March 1st.
Breaking the power of shame in our lives.
Unlocking keys to spiritual authority
Releasing keys of spiritual authority to others
February 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.
12:30 PM, Feb 2 Annual Members Meeting A review of 2019 and plans for 2020.
1:30 PM, Feb 9 & 23 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
1:15 PM, Feb 16 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
12:30 PM, Feb 23 Church Dinner Our monthly meal for fellowship and sharing.
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 the book of Joshua.
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.
2:00 PM, Feb 8 & 22 Women’s Bible Study Study from Life in the Vine: Increasing the Likeness of Jesus in You!
5:00 PM, Feb 8 & 22 Youth Group For those in 7th grade through 12th grade.
Church Discipleship Goals
We are all a work in progress. This list was developed 8 years ago and continues to be a guide for what is important for us today. Our hope is that this list would reflect who we are becoming in Christ.
1. Our congregation spends daily time engaging God through prayer and the Bible. Josh 1:6-9 II Tim 3:14-17
2. Our congregation has their character shaped by the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Gal 5:13-26 John 13:34-35
3. Our congregation understands their spiritual gifts and they are ministering in their giftedness. Eph. 2:10 Romans 12:1-9
4. Our congregation are actively engaging nonbelievers in conversation about faith. Matt 28:16-20 Acts 1:8
5. Our congregation are involved with some justice or compassion ministry. Matt 25:31-46 James 1:27
6. Our congregation understands biblical stewardship and they are using their time, treasure and talents to build God’s kingdom. I Tim 6:6-19 II Cor. 9:6-8
It is the prayer of our church that we would make a difference in this world, both locally and globally. We will never be fully the people described in these goals, but they stand as markers towards where God is leading our congregation.
The Story of St. Valentine’s Day
It seems that there is nothing Christian about the way our culture looks at February 14th – St. Valentine’s Day, but it is a day named for a Christian martyr from the third century. The details of the story may not have happened exactly as reported, but a man named Valentine was a godly man who courageously died for his faith in Jesus Christ.
Valentinus lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. At that time is was a crime to be a Christian which lead to Valentinus’ arrest and imprisonment. The jailer recognized that Valentinus was an educated man and asked him if he could teach his blind daughter, Julia. Julia was an attractive young girl with a quick mind. They spent hours together as Valentinus taught Roman history and described nature and the world to Julia.
Valentinus also talked about faith in Jesus and one day Julia asked if God really answered prayer. Julia asked Valentinus to pray for her that she might see. As they prayed, there was a brilliant light in the jail cell and Julia was miraculously healed of her blindness.
On the eve of his death Valentinus wrote Julia a letter encouraging her to keep the faith and he signed it, “From your Valentine.” It is believed that he was executed for his faith on February 14, 270 AD.
Be reminded that “love comes from God” and “God is love” (I John 4:7,8). The world can only imitate and distort true love. May we never settle for the shallow understanding of love that our society portrays, when we serve the author of true love. May God’s love encourage and sustain you this Valentine’s Day!