A Word From Bro. Joe!

Dear Church Family,

1 Peter 1:3-5 give us living hope! The Bible says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Today, fears of terrorism, incurable diseases, and economic collapse rank high on lists of common fears. But behind modern fears looms the fear to which terrorism, disease, and destitution lead: the fear of death. The writer to the Hebrews talked about people “who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).

We have no certain hope against terrorism, pandemics, and the like. But we have great hope against death! And that hope is called the resurrection. The apostle Peter said that Christ’s resurrection is the basis for our “living hope,” a hope that characterizes our life daily. Why does Christ’s resurrection give us hope? Because, God’s Word proclaims that His resurrection was only the firstfruits. Because Christ was resurrected from the dead, all who believe in Him will be resurrected too. The apostle Paul wrote that our faith is hopeless if Christ wasn’t resurrected from the dead, but because He was resurrected, we have a living hope! If we have a hope in the face of death, we can have hope in the face of anything and everything else.

During the past two months my wife, my brother, and two very close friends have left this life for Glory. Death has loomed all around me, rearing its ugly head. But I don’t fear death. As I said this past Sunday, death loses, because it is “swallowed up in victory!” The apostle Paul asks the rhetorical question in 1 Corinthians, 15: 55-57, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. James S. Stewart, the great Christian Theologian, once wrote “Christianity is essentially a religion of resurrection”.

As you read this I will most likely be in Virginia burying my brother, Jimmy, who was seventy-five years old and a retired Baptist preacher. I look very forward to being reunited with him, when God is ready to take me out of this world and into His presence! I plan to return Saturday night and to be in the pulpit this Sunday morning. I would appreciate your prayers for safe travel. Please join us at 10am and bring someone new with you!

Love always,

Bro. Joe

P.S. Don’t forget we will have a “Celebration of Life” service for Ellen Myers immediately following our worship service (at approximately 11:30am).