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This week's "Gold Nugget" comes from Ephesians 2:1, which says, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."
Many years ago, in Waterbury, Connecticut, an evangelist emphasized the truth that men are born dead in trespasses and sins, in quite a graphic way.
The overflow crowd at church on Sunday morning were shocked to see a casket covered with flowers in front of the pulpit! They were even more amazed when the evangelist graphically described Hell from the Word of God. As he dwelt on all the isolation, darkness, pain, remorse and suffering experienced by the soul that is eternally separated from God, some began to weep and tremble. The preacher said he found it impossible to eulogize the dead person, for he had committed grievous sins, time and time again - lies, rebellion, acts of lust to name a few, which only deserve God's wrath. " The one you will view is justly condemned by God, because of sin," he said.
At the end of the sermon, the flowers were removed from the coffin, and the audience was asked to walk past the casket, keeping about 10 feet between them. They were to look once at this sinner and then return to their seats in silence.
Each person peered fearfully into the casket, but found it empty! Instead, however, a full length mirror in the bottom reflected their own faces! Then in the closing moments of the service, the solemn and convicted audience was reminded that although sin brings the penalty of death, the gift of God through Christ provides a way of escape.
If you look into the mirror of God's Word, you will find yourself laying in the "casket of sin." The Bible makes it clear that unless you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, you are "condemned already" ( John 3:18). Your sins aren't taken care of at infant baptism, nor when you joined the church, neither at a confessional, or by righteous living, but only by the blood of Christ!
On Sunday, November 24, the churches of New Milford, PA will join at an ecumenical Thanksgiving service, 7:00 p.m. at St. Johns Roman Catholic Church, Main St. Participating in the service will be First Baptist Church, St. Johns R.C. Church, St. Marks Episcopal Church, and the United Methodist Church. The Rev. Louis Kaminski, Pastor of St. Johns Church will be the host and officiant. The Rev. Canon Charles A. Cesaretti, supply priest at St. Marks church, will be the preacher.
Music for the service will be provided by the joint choirs of the New Milford churches under the direction of Kathy Holleran. Joining the choirs will be the Folk Choir of St. Lawrence, under the direction of Sharon OConnor, and the Hand Bell Choir, under the direction of Holly Snitzer. Traditional hymns and anthems are planned for the service.
Pictured is the Rev. Canon Charles A. Cesaretti, supply clergy at St. Marks, New Milford, who will preach at an ecumenical Thanksgiving service in New Milford.
The Rev. Canon Charles A. Cesaretti is a retired priest of the Episcopal Church and has been serving as supply priest at St. Marks during the sabbatical of the rector, the Rev. Canon Carol Horton. Cannon Cesaretti served congregations in New Jersey before becoming a member of the national staff of the Episcopal Church, which is headquartered in New York City. He was on the staff for 13 years serving as assistant to the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, which is a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. He was seconded to the staff of the Archbishop of Canterbury, working on peacemaking issues in Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. Following this assignment, Canon Cesaretti was assistant to the rector of Trinity Church, Wall St., New York city. He is the author of six books and numerous articles and reviews in professional journals. He retired to New Milford in early 2002.
Also participating in the service will be the Rev. Joyce Allen and the Rev. David Riley.
The offering at the service will benefit the Route 11 Corridor Ministry.
"O come all ye faithful and year after year the faithful came; sadly, longingly, to the dark, cold months of winter without a sign that God was about to fulfill the promise of the prophets. Year after year they tried to remain strong in their faith of deliverance, waiting, waiting for the peace, worshipping God in freedom and joy."
"O come all ye faithful" is the lead carol in a musical to be performed at Thompson United Methodist Church on December 1. The musical, entitled, "Touched by a Child, Touched by a King," is written by John Purifoy. The text is written by Geoff and Neil Lorenz.
Impresario Brenda Potter will pick up her conductors baton at precisely 3:00 p.m. Linda Chesnick will glide her fingers across the keyboard and the audience will be treated to a four-part harmony which is unparalleled anywhere at that time and that date.
The angels have been practicing and they are on pitch. The choir is comprised of individuals from many denominations. Its worth attending just to see the aura around their heads. The music is outstanding.
After singing "O Come All Ye Faithful," the choir will sing, "Touched by a Child, Touched by a King," followed by "Rejoice, Rejoice, All People," "Run Shepherds, Run," "I Was Touched, and I Believe," "The Truth and the Light," "Light of the World," and "Angels Song."
Narrators are Pastor John F. Grove, of the Starrucca and Herrick Center Baptist Churches and Pastor Brian Lucas, of the Thompson United Methodist Charge.
How fast the year went by. Its hard to grasp that Christmas is upon us. Wouldnt it be a wonderful way to start the "Season of Giving" by receiving this most precious gift? It sort of puts everything into perspective. For those of you who attend the Cantata each year, the seats are warmed and theres always room for a friend. For those of you who believe you have lost contact with the "real" spirit of Christmas, there will be plenty of warm seats and more importantly, warm hearts for you. The Cantata is free and brought to you by people who love to do it.
A special service of thanksgiving and praise has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 27, 7 p.m. at the Thompson Baptist Church, Jackson St., Thompson. Organist and choir master Phillip Shade from Souderton, PA will be playing a special selection of music prepared for the occasion. Elizabeth Shade Brenner will be featured soloist for the evening. There will also be testimonies from two young people from Vienna, Austria who are students at Columbia International University in South Carolina. The public is invited to attend and join in this special evening as we remember with Thanksgiving the many blessings bestowed upon us, as well as our country.
During the Christmas season, the pace of life seems to speed up. All ladies are welcome to come to the Ladies Christmas Tea for a time of "Abiding Peace" on Tuesday afternoon, December 3, at Montrose Bible Conference Dreyer Lodge, 5 Locust St., Montrose.
A program of Christmas music, drama, and devotional message by Patti Souder is planned for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and baby sitting is available. Light refreshments will be served. Reservations may be made by contacting (570)278-1001 or (800)598-5030.
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