Reflections on Time
January 1, 2020 marks the start of a new decade. In the past ten years, we have endured polarizing politics and have adapted to living with a computer in our pocket which also serves as a phone and camera. What will the new decade bring?
I have read or viewed a number of reflections on the events of the past year or the past decade. I would like to go back to a Psalm from 3,000 years ago to aid us in a reflection on issues of time.
Psalm 90:4 says,
For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
Remarkably, God is outside of time. He is the author of time and not restricted by a clock. God knows what will happen tomorrow and is never surprised by current events.
One of the benefits of being a person of faith is that we need not be anxious about the future because in the language of King David, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
If we build a value system that is dependent on temporal things like wealth, beauty or knowledge, we live life on the verge of disaster. If our value system is rooted in our faith and hope in heaven, we are better prepared for life’s challenges and disappointments.
Psalm 90:10 says,
The length of our days is seventy years— or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away
When the Psalmist wrote this 3000 years ago, people did not have access to medical care that we have today. Even if we stretch the years a little to 90 or 100, the second half of the verse is still true, life is filled with ‘trouble and sorrow.’
The Christian faith is uniquely suited to strengthen us for the struggles of life. The core event of our faith is that Jesus was unjustly killed at age 33. Nothing we suffer is as unfair or painful as what Jesus went through.
The good news is that Jesus not only understands our suffering, he brought victory out of suffering when he rose from the dead. Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Psalm 90: 12 says,
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
We all make hundreds of choices every day. Will we live to please ourselves or think about the needs of others. Will we allow fear to immobilize our lives or will we go to the other extreme and live a reckless life. Will we make choices that God will be pleased with or will we have no regard for God’s opinion of our life.
The Psalmist prays for God’s strength to make choices that will lead to a life of wisdom. May we pray the same for ourselves in this new decade.
A final verse from this chapter is Psalm 90:14 which says,
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
God’s love for us and our joy in Him are a blessing available to us. The Psalmist knew that true joy and purpose were found in walking with God.
I pray that all of us have a great 2020 because God shines His favor upon us. I look forward to continuing the journey of faith along with you in this new year.
New Members Class & Annual Members Meeting
January is a season when we adjust our active membership role and schedule an annual business meeting. If you are not a formal member of Fort Lee Gospel Church, we invite you to consider attending the class and joining our church. All members are strongly encouraged to attend our Annual Membership & Business Meeting.
We have scheduled a new membership class on Saturday, January 18th from 10:00 AM until Noon. The class will cover our church’s doctrines, history, and current programs. There will also be time to raise any question about the life of the church. Prospective new members will also meet with the pastor before joining.
After the class, new members will formally join the church. Our church maintains an active membership list with only those involved with church maintaining their membership.
We have also scheduled our annual members meeting for Sunday, February 2nd after the worship service. On that Sunday we will include a review of 2019 and plans for 2020 in our worship service. We plan to have a business meeting from 12:20—1:20 PM.
The business meeting will elect new members to the Governing Board, report on the finances and address new plans and programs for the new year. All are welcome to attend but only members can vote. All members are strongly encouraged to attend this important meeting and participate in the life of our church.
We encourage all who attend to prayerfully consider membership and participation in our Annual Business meeting.
Fort Lee Gospel Church Goals
The following are goals the leadership of our church have set to help us focus on important themes of our church.
1. The majority of our congregation spends daily time engaging God through prayer and the Bible.
2. The majority of our congregation has their character shaped by the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
3. The majority of our congregation understands their spiritual gifts and they are ministering in their giftedness.
4. The majority of our congregation are actively engaging nonbelievers in conversation about faith.
5. The majority of our congregation are involved with some justice or compassion ministry.
6. The majority of our congregation understands biblical stewardship and they are using their time, treasure and talents to build God’s kingdom.
Finding Rest in Stressful Times
We live in a time when opportunities for good have never been greater. We can communicate with people on the other side of the world and information is readily available on our phones. We should be happy people.
Studies continue to show that technology can be good, but there is a down side. People who use social media more than their peers are more likely to be anxious and depressed. Every month there is new technology to make life easier, yet, most people I meet are stressed beyond measure.
May I encourage us all to build quiet into our daily routines. While ‘woke’ people tend to advocate for yoga and meditation, people of faith have found peace for generations, meditating on God’s Word, holding onto His promises and resting in God’s presence.
In 2020, plan to take times to ‘unplug’ and spend time with God. You will not regret time investing in your walk with your Creator.
January 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.
1:30 PM, Jan 12 & 26 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
1:15 PM, Jan 19 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
12:30 PM, Jan 26 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, Jan 11 & 25 Women’s Bible Study Study from The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms & Wisdom Books
5:00 PM, Jan 11 & 25 Youth Group For those in 7th grade through 12th grade.
10:00 AM, Jan 18 New Members Class See page 2 for details.
Read Through the Bible
Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
One way to get to know God’s Word better is to read it through in a year. If that seems too big a challenge, you can read the New Testament through in a year.
The church has made available a reading guide which is divided between Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms and New Testament. If you do the four daily readings, you will have read every verse in the Bible in 365 days.
The reading guide is available at this time and can be started at any time. You can adapt it to include family readings or morning and evening readings. There is also instruction on journaling with the SOAP method.
Last year was our strongest response to this reading guide with over 30 signed up to read through in 2019. There was benefit to those who completed the readings and even those who come up short.
Plan to grow in your faith this year by investing time in reading God’s Word. The promise (reading and applying) is greater success in life according to Joshua 1:8.
New Year’s Resolutions
We have again come to that time of the year when people make promises to stop bad habits, and start good ones. The older we get, the less optimistic we become that we will actually stick to our new plan for more than a few days. One response is to quit making New Year’s Resolutions. A better solution is to tap into a power source beyond human effort. In other words, God’s strength is available to His people to even help us fulfill New Year’s Resolutions.
To be balanced, let me note that human effort has its place. Rarely does someone quit smoking by prayer alone, although prayer often helps. Going to church may not help you lose weight, but a life of faith can make you feel better about yourself, which can lead to health benefits.
II Cor. 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!” The Bible calls the followers of Jesus Christ to radical transformation. C. S. Lewis has said, “Jesus did not come to make bad people good, or good people better, but to make dead people alive.” The Bible calls the faithless person, spiritually dead, until they invite Jesus Christ to be Savior and Lord. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is the start of a transformation.
An important part of successful health transformations is accountability. God designed the church to be a community of people supporting one another.
In many ways, we as Christians should set the example of how to make New Year’s Resolutions work. God has given us new strength in Jesus in order for us to make healthy changes. Our bodies are called temples of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19) and God is for our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. May God bless us all with a healthy and blessed 2020!