What is True Joy? 5/29/2020

It’s pure and simple, “Joy” is a gift from God that’s available to all those who have been born again!  And it’s our choice whether we receive God’s joy and allow this gift to remain in us every day.  The joy we receive from God is “Internal.”  The Word tells us that the “Joy of the Lord is our strength.” It is possible for God’s joy to remain in us regardless of our circumstances and experiences in life. John 15:11 says “I have told you these things so that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (NKJV) Joy is so powerful for a Christian.  That’s probably why Satan tries so hard to steal it from us (John 10:10).

 

Momentary joy can be found in a lot of ways and in a lot of places.  We’re joyful on our wedding day, at the birth of a baby, at a graduation or when we land that perfect job, etc. But this kind of joy is “External” (and temporary). While these experiences can be filled with a lot of joy when they happen in our lives, the absence of them can lead to a life of disappointments, frustrations, and heartache. 

Let’s decide to choose “Joy” every day and spread a little joy to others along the way! Remember to keep a song in your heart, a kick in your step and a smile on your face,

Pastor Leon

Important Information Regarding MHCC Re-opening Their Doors May 31, 2020

According to Frederick County Executive Order No. 01-2020 – May 14, 2020, Churches in Frederick County were given permission to re-open as of May 29, 2020. 

Therefore, MHCC is pleased to let their church family know that as of May 31, 2020, their doors will re-open for Sunday morning worship services as well as Wednesday evening Bible Studies.

As you are probably aware, the information/recommendations coming from authorities/experts concerning best practices for reducing the threat and spread of COVID-19 changes frequently.  Please know that MHCC is committed to doing its part to prevent the spread of the virus and to keep everyone attending services as safe as possible.  In order to do our part, we will be following the guidance provided in both the Maryland Governor’s Executive Order as well as the Frederick County Maryland Executive Order. 

For the MHCC family that plans to attend services, please be aware that there are some important guidelines that we’re required to follow.  There are also some internal MHCC guidelines that are necessary for the immediate future.  Hopefully, none of these requirements will pose a problem or undue stress for anyone.  Nonetheless, knowing ahead of time will allow everyone to be prepared and eliminate some surprises. Also know that as time goes on, requirements by the authorities is subject to change and perhaps some will even be eliminated.

Specific governmental and MHCC requirements are as follows:

  1. No one is permitted in the building without a mask. Masks must cover nose and mouth at all times (please).

  2. There will be contact temperature taken at the door (preferred) or voluntary temperature taken at home prior to arrival (just alert the person with the scanner if you’ve already taken your temperature – please). 

  3. Keep 6 feet between individuals (other than family members) while entering and exiting the building.

  4. Use doors specified “Enter and Exit” only (doors will remain open, so no hand touching is needed).

  5. Only two people allowed in elevator at a time (unless all are family members).

  6. Stairwell doors will remain open (please remain on the landing area if someone is already on the stairs and pass each other as far apart as possible).

  7. The main sanctuary has “open and blocked” seating areas.  Families are permitted to be seated side by side.  All others are asked to sit 6 feet apart. Additionally, two overflow rooms have been set up with TV monitors.

  8. No children’s ministry/nursery will be available until further notice (parents of little ones are encouraged to be seated in the overflow room that’s known as the “youth/meeting room.” Note:  Since this room doesn’t have carpet, the rule for no munching is temporarily lifted in this room so that parents can provide snacks for their little ones to keep them satisfied during the service – hope this is helpful!) . Note: Nursery is available only for changing little ones (everyone is asked to make sure they use wipes to clean any surface that someone following them may be using – please).

  9. During and after service, everyone is asked to keep a 6 feet distance between everyone except your family members.

  10. After the service is over, everyone is asked to engage in any extended conversation/fellowship with others after leaving the building (please).   

  11. So sorry, but no coffee service will be provided.

PLEASE NOTE:  Although some guidelines provided by officials suggest that no singing should be done in church services, they are “Guidelines.”  MHCC does plan to have live worship.  The musicians/singers on the stage will be kept to a minimum and will be placed at least 6 feet apart.  They will keep that distance upon entering and exiting the stage.  They will not be required to have a mask on when leading worship but will be required to place it back on when worship has ended.  Also, Pastor will not wear mask during sermon.

For those who are not able to attend services in person, please know that every effort is being made to provide video and/or live streaming options sometime in the near future. Updated information will be provided as it become available.

In closing, we encourage everyone to remain strong in your faith.  Even in the midst of the pandemic that brought so many uncertainties, (including guidelines, guidelines, and more guidelines!), God has shown Himself faithful.  If we just stop and reflect on His goodness and His mercies that are new every morning, we can find hope, we can find peace, and we can find joy in life’s journey.  Expect God to show up every moment of every day.  See Him for who He is: “The Great I Am,” “Our Provider,” “Our healer,” “Our Counselor,” Our Redeemer, Our Savior and Friend,”  He’s the “One who never leaves us or forsakes us,” And He’s so much more!  

Even after reading and digesting all the “Guidelines/Requirements” for returning to church, we sure hope that you’ll be able to join us on the 31st!  We look forward to seeing your “Smiling Eyes,” and look forward to when we can see your “Smiling Faces” once again. 

“We love you” We pray for God’s blessings upon you” “We ask God to Bless America”

Pastor Leon and Mrs. Betty

A Message from Pastor Leon : 5/22/2020

If an unsaved person followed you for a day, would they see Jesus in you?

Jesus said in John 8:12 “I Am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life.”  If an unsaved person follows you for a day, will they see Jesus in you?

If an unsaved person follows you for a day, will they see the characteristics of Christ in you?  Will they see someone who has a servant’s heart?  Will they see someone who is slow to anger and walks in love and peace? 

While no one is perfect this side of heaven, our desire should be to grow in our relationship with Christ and take on His characteristics and “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

Just food for thought!

Blessings to you all,

Pastor Leon

A Message from Pastor Leon "Are We All "Gifted" by God for Ministry?": 5/15/2020

Are We All “Gifted” by God for Ministry?

Yes, we are!  The truth is that God has equipped every person with gifts that can contribute and fulfill needs in the life of the church family.  Proverbs 18:16 says “A man’s gift makes room for him…”   I love what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:10 ESV  “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” I believe the giftings these Scriptures are talking about, refer to the gift(s) we carry inside of us.  These gifts cover certain aptitude, talents, and abilities. The gifts in us were placed there by God and are meant to ultimately be used for His glory.

 

Some Christians struggle because they don’t feel like they have a specific direction from God regarding what they’re supposed to do. Some may not feel qualified to serve.  If that’s you, you’re in good company.   Moses, Jonah, and Gideon were three men who felt unqualified for what God asked them to do.  God called them first and then equipped them for their assignments.

 

I encourage you to seek opportunities of service that fit with your gift(s). If you’re unsure or don’t know where to serve, look for opportunities to just be of help where there is a need.  Luke 16:10 (NLT) says “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones…”  I’m sure God will reveal and give you opportunities to serve in your area of gifting. In the meantime, you can be serving while your waiting.    

 

 I encourage anyone who isn’t already using their gift(s) to serve in the ministry of the church, to take time to pray about where God would have you serve.  Then, when our church doors are open again, you’re excited and ready to bloom where God has planted you!

 

Pastor Leon

A Message from Pastor Leon "Think About It!": 5/8/2020

“Think About It!”

If anyone has heard me preach a few times, you probably realize that I use the phrase “Think About It” a lot. Maybe you wonder why I use the phrase so often.  Well, a key to the Christian life has a lot to do with the way we think.  Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  What we think determines what we speak. In other words, the way that you think controls the way that you talk. And, our actions reflect what we think. 

God wants us to shape our thinking to be like His. What we think about causes us to be worldly minded or heavenly minded.  Every day we have a choice for what we think about. We can think about the promises of God and be encouraged and walk in victory. We can set ourselves up for success or failure by what we think about. The power we need to overcome Satan every day starts with what we think about.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” When you choose to receive the Word, it goes into your heart. The Bibles tells us in Luke 6:45 “… for it is out of the abundance of the heart, that the mouth speaks.”   

So, when I stop in the middle of a sermon and say “Now, think about it,” I’m trying to draw your attention to the Word I’ve just shared because it’s important.  Sometimes when we’re listening to a message, our minds can wander.  Did you know that the devil wants us to have wandering minds? 

 

As soon as the Word is given, he’ll try to steal it from us so that it doesn’t get into our heart.  If it doesn’t get into our heart, we’ll speak from our minds when the difficulties and battles come in our lives. We will speak the problem not the answer.

So, even though there are a lot of other phrases that I probably could interject during my sermons, I’ll probably continue using “Think About It.” And my hope will be that if you hear my sermon live or on video, when I stop and say “Think About It” you’ll do just that!

Pastor Leon

Thoughts from Pastor Leon "We Serve a God that "Shows Up!": 5/1/2020

We Serve a God that “Shows Up!”

No matter how long we’ve been a Christian, there comes a time all of us face challenges and situations that can cause us to ask whether things will ever get better or maybe if God really cares about what we’re going through.  It could have been an illness we or someone we love was going through or maybe we suffered a loss that we thought we would never be able to recover from. Or maybe we experienced persecution because of our faith. It can be at those times, when we come to the place where we realize that God is all we need! “He is the God Who Shows Up.” Psalm 32:7 (NIV) says “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
 

The answers we are looking for and the help we need come from God’s Word. We just need to remind ourselves that no matter the circumstances, God is still God and He changes not.  He is the God who parted the Red Sea and made a way of escape for the Israelites (Exodus 14).  He was the fourth man in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:25).  He is the God who was with Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:12-28). When Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God at midnight, He is the God “Who Showed Up” and shook the foundations of the prison and opened the prison doors and brought them out (Acts 16:25-26).

I don’t know about you, but when I think about what God has done for others (and that He is no respecter of persons), I get excited. What He has done for others, He will do for me. I believe when I pray and praise Him for all that He has already done in my life, He is the God who is going to show up and rescue me no matter what problem or situation I’m facing. Psalm 46:1 tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

I pray that as you go through the days and weeks ahead, you will be encouraged in your faith.  I pray also that the Holy Spirit will provide opportunities for you to reach out to help someone else that may need a helping hand or encouraging word.

 

Remember to keep a song in your heart, a kick in your step and a smile on your face!

 

Pastor Leon

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