From: Rich Carlson
Date: January 31, 2020
Subject: It's January 31; Good Morning Union

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”          Philippians 1:3

I just read the book of Philippians, continuing my idea of focusing on the message of a book, (like I just did with 1 Peter!), rather than just a verse This letter only has 4 chapters and it’s an easy read even for me! When I do this I like to use as many senses as I can, so I get alone and read it out loud so I’m seeing it, saying it, hearing it, while I’m holding it in my hand. If only I could figure out a way to smell it I’d be complete!

Like Peter, Paul is also in a Roman prison cell. It was not easy being a follower of Jesus under Roman rule. Yet as I look at history it seems that the church grew most and believers gained more strength and commitment, NOT when everything was cruising along just fine, but when they were challenged. Maybe that’s why James says, “Count it all joy when you meet trials because those are the moments you grow.”

Anyway, Paul is in prison and he’s writing to the believers back in Philippi, which today is in NE Greece and it’s claim to fame is that it was supposedly the first place where the gospel was preached in Europe (now there’s an interesting fact to hang on to in case you ever play Jeopardy!)

So, what do you pray for when you are in prison? Paul prayed for his friends. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy, because….”ALWAYS praying, ALWAYS remembering- WITH JOY; EVERY time, and ALL of that from prison! And the reason for all this superlative joy was one thing- they were “partners with him in the gospel from the first day until now.” Not just converts, friends. They had his back; he knew he could trust them and depend on them. They were both Christians and friends and when he found that combination he hung onto them, prayed for them, and found joy in them.

That’s Christian fellowship; that’s Christian friendship; that was their calling and that’s my calling too—to BE a Christian friend and to value Christian friends with whom I can successfully and positively fellowship. That brought Paul joy and it does the same to me. Thanks for being my Christian community of friends!

Have a great day choosing and thereby being a blessing and being blessed with and by your Christian friends.

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day:      “Without the Way there is no going; without the Truth there is no knowing; Without the Life there is no living.” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  Thomas a Kempis

PS        Family Worship- 7:30pm in the Church. Music Festival concert

PPS      Afterglo- right after Family worship, this week hosted by Alex and his Fine Arts friends. We’re going to Woods for hot chocolate and a “Veggie Tale!”

PPPS    I read all the prayer requests that were texted to uGather and I want you all to know that I prayed over each one. If you’re hurting or struggling please find someone to turn to for encouragement, support, or just a much-needed hug. You’re worth it and we love you all.

PP..S    Thanks again for your help. We collected $750 for the family living close to campus who had a house fire. We’ll be delivering the money early next week.