a newsletter for the friends and family of northfield Baptist church
by Eric Puff On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the east coast of Japan, literally moving the whole planet. Experts around the globe estimated that the quake, which was the most powerful to hit the nation in recorded history, appears to have moved the main island by eight feet. Reports also suggest that it shifted the planet on its axis by nearly four inches. If that were not bad enough, the resulting tsunami included 30-foot walls of water—some waves reached six miles inland— that ravaged the east coast, flooding whole towns, carrying away cars and homes, and killing thousands of people. As I write this, the earthquake-tsunami combination is known to have claimed at least 3,600 souls, with estimates of those killed or missing ranging between 10,000 and 20,000. Then there is the ongoing threat of elevated radiation levels and complete nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima. Why, God? Why?
Our hearts cannot and should not be hardened against such tragedies. Who can hear the news and see the raw images of seemingly total devastation without feeling the weight of the burden of suffering shared among all mankind? What if that latest image pictured your town and neighbors? What if that body bag was transporting your spouse? What if that little bundle was my baby? What if…? Even with heavy hearts, our minds can be armed with God’s Word so that it is possible to make sense of these kinds of disasters. Well, somewhat, anyway. After all, (Continued on page 2)
Good Friday, April 22 Service at 7:00 p.m.
Easter Sunday, April 24 Sunrise Service, 7:30 a.m. Breakfast to Follow Worship Service, 9:30 a.m. This Easter you have the opportunity to invite your family, friends and neighbors to our Easter Service with a kit that includes each of the following:
“Share the Good News of Easter” New Testament CD with audio of the entire ESV New Testament “Good News of Easter” Tract Door-hanger gift bag Easter Invitation
A $1 donation for each kit will help defray the cost of the kits. You may pick up kits at the table in the foyer beginning Sunday, April 3
2 the connection
Why? (Continued from page 1)
Theological facts and verse references will not cheer the soul on their own, but they can gently guide us to the One who can guard our hearts with peace that surpasses all understanding.
theological facts and verse references will not cheer the soul on their own, but they can gently guide us to the One who can guard our hearts with peace that surpasses all understanding. So let us look together at some biblical purposes for suffering and see how they might apply not only to tragedies on the other side of the globe, but to the hardship that touches each of us personally as well. To start, we have to remember some basic principles. In Psalm 145, David praised God as both good and the powerful sovereign. Nevertheless, mankind has long accepted that suffering is a part of this life. Job affirmed that our days are few and full of trouble (14:1). Suffering is far from the paradise of creation in Genesis 1-2 or the paradise of re-creation in Revelation 21-22 because it was brought into this world through Adam and Eve’s rejection of God’s character as good and sovereign. Since that day, God has given structure to suffering, that it may accomplish His good and righteous purposes. Sometimes He uses human agents as instruments of suffering (Cyrus in Isa. 45); other times He uses Satan or other spiritual evil powers (Job 1-2; Eph. 6:11-12); still other times He acts directly (plagues of Exod. 7-12), and this includes the natural phenomenon which we have so appropriately called “acts of God” (Job 37:2-13). Now that we are firmly planted in reality, we can move on to some advanced principles. There are at least three primary purposes for suffering. Their application frequently overlaps so that we must always be aware of all three in our experience.
Pray for wisdom
Submit to God
Spread the gospel
Glorify God in all
The first is the retributive purpose for suffering. One of the themes of Scripture is that God rewards obedience and punishes disobedience. Since the fall of Adam, mankind has had to live in a sincursed world. Not only do we live with consequences for personal sin, but all creation groans in bondage to corruption (Rom. 8:19-22). This creation corruption includes sickness and aging, wars and oppression, and natural disasters or “acts of God.” We are simply not in a position to determine if sickness or disaster is resultant of personal sin (Gen. 19) or creation corruption (Lk. 13:1-5). This kind of suffering, however, must drive us to a good and sovereign God who ultimately blesses the righteous. Only the trusting soul that has said “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is one that is open to the smile of God.
This quickly brings us to the redemptive purpose for suffering. God did not leave us to wallow in the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional consequences of human sin. We could never pay the infinite price for infinite sin against an infinitely holy God. Redemption was provided through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus (Isa. 53; 1 Pet. 2:24). Praise God that the passion of the Christ never needs to be repeated; it was sufficient for all time for any who accept forgiveness and receive the gift of eternal life. Our burden is to take that very message to a world that needs to hear it and, if necessary, see us identify with Christ’s suffering (1 Pet. 4:12-19). Thirdly, there is the educative purpose for suffering. God uses tests and trials to mature His people to the likeness of Jesus (Jam. 1). He also uses suffering in the lives of believers to prove His familial love; we call it the chastisement or discipline of a loving Father toward a child that needs correction (Heb. 12). Finally, God uses suffering to give opportunity for Christian testimony. How do we endure trials and tests of faith? How do we help those who suffer? Do we draw people to The Cross or push them away from it? There are no simple answers when suffering in the world and in our lives cause us to ask “Why, God? Why?” We pray for wisdom and God will give it. We submit to God in full acceptance of His sovereignty and ultimately good purposes. We gently and compassionately spread the gospel in a world that desperately needs it. We glorify God in all.
Eric Puff is Pastor for Discipleship & Training at Northfield Baptist Church.
We are well passed the halfway mark on the Next Step Campaign, a capital campaign to raise funds for the refurbishing of the foyer and auditorium with new carpet and new pew upholstery!
CAMPAIGN GOAL: Received through March 20 Remaining
$105,000 75,196 29,804
Fa m i ly U p dat e s
A Letter from Polly Strong And when He brings out his own sheep, he goes before them... John 10:4. I learned this principle from my father as a young girl , and saw it proved again on this last trip to Africa. They were a great nine weeks. The month at Abram’s Oasis in Ethiopia was a time of seeing, learning, serving and coming away with new dimensions of love for the Lord and for other people. Jean and I were able to testteach 2 to 4 hours a day in the school, using the English as a Second Language materials we are writing. That included Bible facts which even the government teachers wanted. I taught the older children, 11-16 years old, and Jean taught the little ones. Being around the kids before school, during recess periods, and just hanging out with them after school was really fun. They loved playing “horsey”, jumping rope, hearing stories (even in English), or just walking around holding your hand or crawling up into your lap. Three evenings a week I did Bible studies with the high school boys and the staff. Their hunger for the Word was exciting. I brought home with me new lovefriends in my heart. The five weeks in CAR was different from what I had expected, but things fell together so perfectly I knew the Lord had arranged it all. Five pastors and four other men met 3 to 4 weeks to study Bible and English. We had great discussions. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Birth Congratulations to grandparents Jim and Ada Pollock on the birth of another grandchild! Peyton Jay Pollock was born to Ben & Stacy Pollock on Friday, March 4, at 9:17 p.m. He weighed 7 lbs., 11 oz. and was 19 1/2 in. long. May Peyton bring much joy!
Sympathy We wish to extend our sympathy to Raj Javalgi on the passing of his father, Gurupadappa Javalgi. His father lived in India and passed away on January 10. We extend our deepest sympathy to Carl Boodey in the homegoing of Carl’s father, Vernon Boodey, who went to be with the Lord on Sunday, February 27. Please remember Carl, Maggie and the family in your prayers during this time of bereavement.
We offer our condolences to Gary Domanick and his family on the passing of his father, Ed Domanick, on Thursday, February 24. Please pray for his wife who is having an especially difficult time with his death and for many adjustments she must make in her life. Also remember Gary and the family during this time of loss.
Our NBCS students did exceptionally well at the ACSI Regional Meet hosted by NBCS. They netted 23 Superior/Blue ribbons and 13 Excellent/Red ribbons. We were able to schedule the event later in the day and avoid a cancellation due to the nasty snow storm that literally blew in that Friday morning.
Dorine Way’s mother, Patricia Triggs, passed away on Thursday, March 17 after entering Hospice Care. Please pray for Dorine and the family during this time of grief. Also remember her father in your prayers. She passed the night before their 60th wedding anniversary.
Kindergarten through third graders enjoyed hearing about safety at the annual Officer Phil program sponsored by the Sagamore Police Department. The 30-minute program uses music, magic and participation to review good rules to obey at home and school. This year’s Open House featured an Outback Ray show. Snakes and alligators roamed the Sanctuary along with some really gross critters like a Madagascar Spitting Cockroach and a “Skinny Pig”. Parents also visited the classrooms to hear students explain their in-class science projects. Families interested in the school were also present to tour our facility. April brings us closer to nicer weather, Easter and Achievement Test week. Be sure to tell friends and interested neighbors about our school and open enrollment that is in progress.
Saturday, April 9 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Please sign-up at the table in the foyer if you or your family is attending. .
NORTHFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH 311 W. AURORA ROAD NORTHFIELD, OH 44067
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April Events Northfield Baptist Church 311 W. Aurora Rd. Northfield, OH 44067 Phone (330) 467-7939 Fax (330) 467-1011 Newsletter E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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Saturday, April 2
Sunday, April 3
Saturday, April 9
Family Prayer Breakfast Teen Guys Paintball
Sunday, April 10
PM - Polly Strong Quarterly Business Meeting
Saturday, April 16
Sunday, April 17
Friday, April 22
American Red Cross Blood Drive Good Friday Service
Sunday, April 24
Easter Sunrise Service Easter Worship Service
Friday-Saturday April 29-30
Youth 30 Hour Famine
American Red Cross
Remember the Blood Drive! Good Friday, April 22 At the Northfield Baptist Church Ministry Center 12:00 - 5:00 p.m.