The Weather Report June 2017

Scripturally, the word “road” is used in the ordinary sense describing a pathway leading from one place to another. Displeased with the wicked prophet Balaam, God directed an angel to “stand in the road” impeding his progress (Numbers 22.23). Ever peripatetic Jesus of Nazareth likely entered Jerusalem by the Jericho Road.
In addition, the word “road” is used in a metaphorical sense denoting a “manner of life.” The initial Psalm acknowledges the variety of paths one may choose from in living his/her life. It speaks of the blessedness that ensues when walking the right path, the way of the Lord. Interestingly, Luke described the early Christians with the distinctive term “Way.” The early Christians were referred to as “Followers of the Way.” (Acts 9.2)
From the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we learn something of their “manner of life” of the “Followers of the Way.” They were devoted to fellowship (v. 42). Those who believed were together and had all things in common (v. 44). They shared meals together with glad and generous hearts (v. 46). The first Christians were distinguished by their simplicity and generosity. In time, the Way became synonymous with Christianity itself.
The church year at Immanuel Baptist runs from May 1 to April 30. Church officers, deacons and committee members were elected to positions of leadership at separate business meeting in April. At a similar meeting in May, the congregation will receive the final report of for the fiscal year just completed. By New Testament standards, there is evidence of “glad and generous” hearts among the community of faith named Immanuel Baptist.
I write to express gratitude to God for your faithful giving. Your steadfast generosity fully funded the ministry of Immanuel Baptist Church last year. Offerings and gifts exceeded our best estimates for income made in the winter of 2016. The result was a net income of slightly better than $11,000 as of April 30, 2017. In addition to these gifts, the congregation faithfully gave toward special missions, such as the $5,000 given at Christmas to build a house in Haiti, and the Fellowship Offering received at the conclusion of the Lord’s Supper to support local missions. 
The good doctor Luke intentionally presented together the koinonia (fellowship of believers) and salvation in his book of Acts. The late Frank Stagg said that it “is precisely in this Christian fellowship, that personal salvation is consummated.”1 The work of grace and salvation is God’s alone, but through Christ, God makes a new family of us. And when we are faithful as a church family, there is joy. This blessedness has its roots in fellowship, working together, and giving with glad and generous hearts, thanks be to God. AMEN.   —Steven
 
1Stagg, Frank. The Book of Acts. p. 70.