Paul & Janet Lehmann        65 years on September  10th 

Rick & Pam Brewer              50 years on September 12th  

Raul (Junior) & Brenda Santana  13 years on Sept 15th 

Russell & Sara Nank            19 years on September 22nd 

Larry & Cheryl Williams     32  years on September 22nd 

Sean & Carol McDonough   26 years on Sept 23rd 

Karl & Laura West                    4 years on September 24th 

Alyssa & Nick DeAngelo         5 years on Sept 26th

 

Congratulations and many more blessed years are wished for you! 

            SEPTEMBER     BIRTHDAYS

 Scott DeShetler  6th               Steven Sears  26th    

  Joanne DeShetler  10th         David Hughes  26th           

 Ethan Stewart          17th         Ashley DeShetler  27th 

 Michele Kuehne       17th          Avery Nank        27th       

 Samuel DeAngelo    18th          Alaina Metzler   28th

 Cheryl Harting          22nd        Doug Braun        30th

  Alex Schroeder        25th 

(“Rights” Continued from last month’s newsletter)

Of course, if we want to talk scripturally about our rights in relationship to God according to Scripture, two more things must be said: 1) We have no right to sin. 2) We in our sinful selves have no right to anything before God. The truth is God owes us nothing. Everything we have is an undeserved gift from God. Occasionally the Bible might say we have a right to something before God, for instance in John Chapter 1, we hear that we have “been given the right to become children of God”, but the text makes us know without a doubt this status was not something owed us, or anything we are entitled, too, but it has come to us from God’s free generosity to the undeserving. It is yet another example of “grace upon grace”. The party that has any “real” rights at all in the “God-and-us relationship” is God. He has the right to destroy any of His creation who have rebelled against Him (Law). But in love He foregoes the exercise of this right (Gospel). He even goes so far as stripping His own Son of His right to be treated as His Son, and instead treats Him as His enemy on the cross, so that we could become His children. Once again, was this something we had coming to us because we are so good? Was this owed us? Were we entitled to this? No. It was a gift. No rights here; only gift. So to sum up last month’s and this month’s article so far: 1) The rights found in ancient Israel’s legislation do not directly apply to us today. 2) Paul uses his personal rights as a Roman citizen to get a fair hearing for the Gospel. 3) The typical way that Paul deals with rights is that he gives them up for the good of the Gospel and love for his brother. 4) A person who is always exercising his rights and not willing to sacrifice for his neighbor is selfish and on an undisciplined path that ends in destruction. 5) No one has the right to sin. 6) We have no rights before God. 6) God has rights but He chooses to not use them! Praise His Gracious Name! OK. What does this mean for us? We live in a country where the concept of rights is intricately woven into our collective psyche. On a national, state, and local level we are taught to “stand up for your rights.” One of the first national flags this country had, had the emblem of a coiled rattlesnake demanding “Don’t tread on me.” We have rights in our country that nobody better try to take away from us, or else! Many Americans place the nation’s rights-filled legislative documents, like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights to the Constitution, on the same level as Holy Scripture; it is no wonder than that “rights” talk becomes almost the near equivalent of religious proclamation. Inside such a “rights happy” environment well-meaning Christian men and women can forget that Christianity is not about rights that we are owed, but about gifts that we don’t deserve; Christianity is not about “standing up for one’s rights” but about loving my neighbor and even my enemy. “Don’t tread on me,” is replaced with “Turn the other cheek.” Exercising your rights is replaced with surrendering them. This is the way of Christ, Christians follow that way. It is not easy, but our Savior is with us, and He knows a lot about paths not being easy; He walked the way of the cross.