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Summary: THis sermon is preached by my wife and I myself as we celebrated our 13th anniversary as pastors of the church. It’s a history of what God has done in and through the lives of the people during that period of time.

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That We May Know Christ

3/3/2002 Jeremiah 29:10-14 Philippians 2:1-11

Rick

Saints it was 686 Sundays ago that we marched down the aisle at 11:00 am to begin the morning worship service as the newly elected pastors of the church. For 13 years we have continued coming down the aisles, first for Glenville Presbyterian Church, then Glenville New Life Community Church PCUSA, and now both Glenville New Life Community Church and New Life Fellowship.

Toby

We have come down singing God’s praises first at 11:00, then 9:30 and 11:00, then 9:15 and 11:15, then 9:15, 11:15, and 12:00, and now 9:15, 11:15, and 11:15. Today we really confused everyone by coming in at 10:15.

Rick

Why have we come down that aisle again and again and again. The answer is simple. We have come down that we might know Christ. We have wanted to know who Christ is, and what power does He have available for us to change the course and direction of our lives. We have come seeking to minister to others and to be ministered to by one another.

Toby

Our Songs have varied from ‘Have Thine Way Lord, Have Thine Way”, to “Somebody Needs To Catch On Fire, Catch On Fire”, to “We Walk By Faith And Not By Sight”, “I’ll Say Yes Lord Yes, To You Will And To Your Way”, and on “To Give Glory To God Saints, Give Glory To God.”

Rick

We have come down that aisle again and again expecting to receive some comfort and encouragement from the hand or the embrace of another saint during our passing of the peace. For whether we were singing “Why Don’t You Greet Somebody In Jesus Name”, or the” Jesus In Me Loves The Jesus In You”, or “Smile God Loves You, Come To Think Of It I Love You Too”, we have been learning to move beyond ourselves to try to make someone else feel welcomed.

TOBY

Slowly but surely, these songs were mere instruments in us getting to know Christ. You see when we touch somebody that’s in need of a touch, we’re really touching Jesus. For Jesus said, “truly what you have done for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.”

RICK

This church began in 1962 when God called several of you to rise and to start a new church. Those of you who were charter members please stand, because without you, this day of celebration would not be possible. Our lives have been forever altered by your faith and your obedience to the call of God upon your lives. It was you that God used in order that the rest of us today might know Christ.

TOBY

Our church had a healthy start during the sixties, but in the decade of the 70’s and 80’s we began to stumble as a church from the strong beginning we had. Our community was changing, and many of our members moved away and joined churches further out in the suburbs. This took a toll on the membership and finances of the church. But it could not rob the church of its faith in God.

RICK

There were many of you who stayed in the community, and others who did move out of the community but you kept your heart and commitment to Glenville. Together you formed the nucleus of a body that simply refused to die. Our Presbytery did its best in trying to move the church forward based on its knowledge. It poured dollars into the church and sent it ministers in various roles.

TOBY

Presbytery suggested perhaps the church’s future lay in a merger with St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church. The merger talks went nowhere. It was not a good match. Presbytery finally decided, it would have a better return on its dollars by investing in doing mission somewhere else. Over a five year period, it ended its financial support of Glenville’s operating budget. 1988 was the last year of the support. The late 80’s were not a positive looking time for the future of the church.

RICK

There was a time in the nation of Israel’s history, when its future looked very dim. Their army had been defeated by the Babylonian army. The people were carried off into exile and forced to live in the land of Babylon. Many knew that they would never ever see their homeland again. They had suffered tremendous personal losses in terms of the deaths of family members, through the battles and famines during the siege of the cities. Some thought it would be best to simply forget about their homeland, and give up all hope of possibility of return.

TOBY

It was in the period of darkness and defeat, that Jeremiah came through with a word from the Lord. In Jeremiah 29:11-13 it says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” In one of our darker moments in the life of this church, there were still people who wanted to know Jesus Christ and to make Him known. Just as God had good plans for the nation of Israel, God had good plans for Glenville..

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