Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
If you’ve been shopping at a CVS recently, you’ll see that the store is geared up for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a holiday for people to show affection and romantic love to their significant others (such as a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé(e) or spouse. The common cultural expression of this love is spending money on flowers, gifts, or a nice meal.
While there is nothing wrong with cherishing the ones you love, and even its one of the keys to a happy, healthy marriage, Valentine’s Day can be a pointer to something bigger, something better. Our culture sees romantic love primarily as desire and passion. Certainly, there is a type of love that is expressed through desire and passion. It is called erotic love.
Erotic love seeks to possess, to have, to delight in, and enjoy the other. These passions are right and good within the context of marriage. But they can be disastrous when expressed without the commitment and fidelity that are promised in the covenant of marriage. Like a fire that warms and glows, erotic love is good in the right context, just as a fire is good in the fire place. But fire shouldn’t be started on the carpet or floor of your living room or kitchen. You are liable to burn your house down. So too, erotic love is right and good, providing warmth and great feelings, within the context of a monogamous, committed, covenantal union between a man and a woman (as expressed throughout God’s Word).
Erotic love is good within the right context, but there is a better, bigger love. God’s unconditional love (Agape) seeks to give, to share, to invite delight and enjoyment through sacrifice, service, and submission. This kind of love moves toward the other person for the good of the other person. This type of love is also not built on passion (which waxes and wanes), but on the will of the one who loves. So Christ loves the Father and the Father loves the Son. So we love God by serving him, submitting to his will, and sacrificing what He has given us to be a blessing to others. But we do these things because God loves us, not because of any good that we have done, not because we will benefit him or others, but because of who He is. He has moved towards us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And God the Holy Spirit even continues to move towards us through indwelling the lives of those who repent and believe the good news.
So, some practical remarks: Husbands and wives – continue to love each other well. If Valentine’s Day encourages you to cherish your spouse – great! But don’t let Valentine’s Day be the only day that your spouse knows that you cherish them. Make that a regular practice. For those who are not yet married, but dating or engaged, consider how you can show the kind of love to your significant other which God has shown to us in Christ and through the Holy Spirit. For those who are single, take time on Valentine’s Day to pray that God would make you a good lover – someone who loves God rightly, so that you can love others rightly. And may each of you know the Heart of Christ – that God cherishes you!
Also, please continue to pray for the nation of Ukraine. Here is a suggested list of prayers if you are at a loss for words in how to pray: https://send.org/story/hh_pray_for_ukraine. Thank you for kneeling on behalf of the people of Ukraine and Russia, and taking a stand (or a knee in prayer) against the forces of darkness in this present age.
This Week (Feb. 10 – 16, 2023):
1. Tonight, Feb. 10, 2022, the Living Stones Friday Night Bible Study is meeting from 7:30-9:30 to study about Joy in the Place of Fear. You can read Zephaniah 3 in preparation for this time of fellowship and study. Join in person in Room A-216 or online via the following link:
Meeting ID: 685 376 249
Join by phone: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
2. The Living Stones Sunday School and Grace Ambassadors Sunday School classes are meeting on Feb. 12.
a. The Grace Ambassadors (Young Adults) will be meeting at 9:45 am (in-person in Room A-202)! We will be taking time to discuss the next chapter in Keller’s book “Prayer.” More info is found on the YAs Messenger Chat. For further info, contact Liu Jiang.
b. “Understanding the Old Testament” Sunday School is this Sunday at 9:45 in-person (Room A-216) and online via the following link:
Meeting ID: 491 248 585
Join by phone: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
3. This Sunday, Feb. 12, 2022, at 11:25 am, Pastor Raymond Lee will be preaching. Pray for him! Join us for worship at CBCGL!
a. Text: Ephesians 5:11-16
b. Title: Biblical Time Management
c. Live stream via Youtube: https://www.cbcgl.org/live-stream/
4. Each Wednesday, such as this week (Feb. 15) at 7:45 pm, you are invited, encouraged, and requested to join our weekly prayer meeting. We will not grow in Christ without growing in our dependence on God through prayer. In February, we’ll spend time praying for other churches as well as praying for CrossPoint Community. The link is found below in the section on prayer.
Administration / Events
1. We have a missions update (so check out the missions tab from the bulletin)! This week, we have an update from Candy Zhang who is serving with COCM in England. She has praises for the work done over the New Year camps, and prayer requests for her work in discipleship, evangelism, preaching and teaching (Such as her 3 preaching opportunities this coming Sunday!). Please check the missions tab in our bulletin to read through these reports and learn how you can support our missionaries.
2. If you are interested in helping refugees locally, you have the opportunity to join a local Neighborhood Support Team for an Afghan family. Resettlement is a lengthy process. A neighborhood support group ensures that the tasks are spread among a group of people.
The Neighborhood Support Team (NST) will get support from the resettlement agency and NST leaders who have done this before and have a family they are currently supporting in Lowell. This is a rewarding and life changing experience.
For more information email: Rhea Gordon, rhea (at) elevatenewengland.org
3. We will have our next baptism service on Easter (April 9). To be baptized, you must attend baptism class. If you are interested in being baptized, please contact Minister Jeremy MacDonald (prior to Feb. 26), or Pastor Nathan Willems. Come to baptism class to learn why we baptize people, what is necessary for baptism, and what rights and responsibilities you have as someone who is baptized.
4. Sunday Lunch Service began again at CBCGL on Jan. 8th with $5 lunchboxes! To place an order, please use the following link: https://forms.office.com/r/nCwQnMruKv Orders need to be placed by Friday at 11 pm so that the kitchen can prepare the correct amount of food. Note: The selection which states “Number of Meals” refers to the cooked food/lunch box/Chinese food option.
5. COVID-19: We still are following CDC guidance for travel and participation in activities following travel or exposure to a positive case. We are also tracking community spread. If we are in a high risk of community spread, we recommend mask-wearing to church activities.
a. Please note, you are recommended, but not required to wear facemasks to church.
6. All other announcements can be found here (in our CrossPoint Community bulletin).
1. If we ever become done with prayer, we will find ourselves either fit for heaven or for hell. Truly, our time in prayer shows what we think about God! Do you see your need of Him? Or are you trying to live this life without / apart from Him? Please join our Wednesday night prayer meeting (7:45 – 9:15 pm) even if you can’t participate the whole time.
Meeting ID: 758 587 937
Join by phone: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
2. We’d be glad to pray for you. If you need prayer, you can submit your prayer request via the following link: https://www.cbcgl.org/pray/
In Christ, your servant, SDG,
Rev. Dr. Nathan Willems
Associate Pastor of CrossPoint Community – A Ministry of CBCGL