The Pastor’s Noah’s July Message
It is no denying that the crazy hazy days of Summer are here evidenced by the thunderstorms, the humidity and the hot sunshine are all combined to make the summer season. This summer we also concluded the Northern Illinois Conference sessions. Usually before the conclusion of the session we pastors are informed whether we are appointed to new church appointment or re-appointed where we are. I did not hear from the Bishop or any other District Superintendent otherwise. Therefore, it is my belief that I am again re-appointed to Malta as your pastor. Something like you are stuck with me or we are stuck with each other. Also this summer we just concluded and very successful Vacation Bible School. We also acknowledged the able leadership of our Christian Education team, all the teachers and volunteer helpers in making this community event an Outreach Ministry to our community and beyond. We give our kudos and thanks to them but most of all, we give the praise and glory to God!
Many years ago in my previous church appointment, the Christian Education team decided to go around the community and give out or drop off flyers promoting the Vacation Bible School sponsored by the church. Just like we do with promoting our Vacation Bible School. Along with it is a small copy of the Bible where the flyer was inserted. I was delighted when one of the team dropped off and gave a copy to one of my neighbors. But that neighbor one day talked to me and said that she stopped reading the Bible. She said she could not understand, why God would be so unfair as to reject Cain’s offering. After all, she said, “as a farmer he simply brought to God what he had. Did God expect him to buy a different kind of sacrifice?” Sadly, I think she has missed the point.
I shared and said, I think it wasn’t that God didn’t like his sacrifice. Rather, God knew his offering was masking an unrighteous attitude, He was not fully committed to God, as expressed by the fact that his heart wasn’t it and not living according to God’s ways.
For us Christians, it is easy for us to worship God on the outside while stubbornly keeping territory from God on the inside. The letter of Jude writes outwardly to religious people who use religious activities to cover the reality of their lives not according to God’s ways. He says; “Woe to them! For they have gone in the ways of Cain”. Yes we can serve God, worship God, and give sacrificially to God’s mission and ministry. But God is not pleased without our hearts in it! It means that we should put our hearts in whatever we do, whatever we plan for the ministry we are called as individuals and as a church. When we express to God that God is more worthy than anything or anyone else in our lives, then it is a sacrificial offering God won’t refuse. May our service, our presence, our offerings, our time, our gifts, our resources, our worship and praise from the bottom of our hearts be surrendered to God’s ways, be worthy offerings of love from all God’s blessings from above. Friends, this summer I know some of us, if not most of us are travelling to many places, visiting places, family loved ones and friends. Please do not forget that we still have a commitment to God’s mission and ministry in our church. Therefore, we still look forward for your gifts, pledges and sacrificial offerings that will support all these. Enjoy the hazy crazy days of summer, take care, be safe and be well.
Finally, my daughter Reanna and I would like to express once again our gratitude and sincere thanksgiving to you and to God, for giving us another opportunity to serve you, the body of Christ here in Malta in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ.
To God be the Glory for Great Things God Has Done!!
Yours because of Jesus,
Rev. Dr. Noah R. Panlilio