November 25, 2015
In the midst of our ordinary human lives we face many challenges that have the potential to overwhelm us. During these times we can feel abandoned and alone, and even in our relationship with God we can sense a disconnection from him in these difficult circumstances.
One of the passages that has helped the saints down through the ages is the 23rd Psalm. For those who entrust themselves to Jesus this passage declares, with force, the world is a perfectly safe place for those who trust Jesus as their shepherd. We see in this wonderful passage that he is the one who makes his sheep lie down in green pastures, through his gentle care he brings restoration to our soul. He leads us down the paths of righteousness in order that his name would be exalted and made known. Even as death hangs over us and enemies gather, his presence keeps us from fear and we find an abundance of provision through him and his kingdom.
Jesus tells us in John's Gospel that his sheep listen to his voice. Those who belong to Jesus' flock trust him enough to do what he says. It is a life in which we seek to bring each moment before the Lord, we seek to do all things, whether word or deed, just as Jesus would have us do it. In this way, we do it in his place, we do it as if Jesus were doing it through us. As we seek to include him, we look for our friend Jesus to meet us, to be with us on this journey, and what we find is, we are not left on our own. In doing this, we gain an interactive knowledge of our Good Shepherd, and we come to experience his availability to meet us in our need, right where we are at.
Shelly Echeverria has been at the Capitol for 26 years. She currently works as a Marketing Coordinator in the House Republican Communications department. When the ministry first began she worked as a Legislative Assistant for Rep. Art Hershey. She and another legislative assistant were tasked to learn more about the work, and was integral in recommending the value of the ministry to those at Capitol. Shelly and her family have become good friends over the years. Currently we are organizing a gathering of the staff at her house which is scheduled for December 6th. She attends the Capitol Commission Ladies Tea and the staff Bible study that I have been seeking to establish over the last year. Shelly has a big heart that cares for people deeply. It has been a huge blessing to have Shelly at the Capitol and I deeply value her partnership in the gospel.
A passage of Scripture that the Lord has recently laid upon her heart is from 1 Peter 2:15-16 - "For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves."
- It is with a mixed emotions that we share with you the passing of Ishbell's mom to her eternal dwelling with our Father in the heavens. In the midst of our mourning, we have seen the abundant provision of God through the care and generosity of his people. We are so thankful to God and the many people who provided a way for to Ishbell to travel to England to attend her mother's funeral.
- I am thankful to have been able to attend a prayer event organized by the National Prayer Caucus on November 17th. There were over 40 legislators who attended this event along with approximately 150+ pastors and Christ-followers. For me, the highlight of the event was when Rep. Bryan Barbin spoke about his desire to follow Jesus and humble himself before God. At one point, he left the podium, walked to the center of the stage, and went to his knees to communicate this desire, and encouraged all who were gathered to humble themselves before the Father and his son Jesus. What a blessing to know legislators who have this type of heart for God. I would encourage everyone to be in prayer for your leaders. You can do this in a systematic manner by going to http://www.publicservantsprayer.org/states/pa.
- I am thankful for the privilege of preaching at Grace Bible Chapel near Gettysburg, PA in October. Thank you Pastor Jury for the opportunity to preach on Sunday, and then share about the ministry in the afternoon session. I am interested to speaking to any size group about our vision of developing a movement of Christ-followers among political leaders at the State Capitol. Please contact me so we can schedule a time.
- I am thankful for the opportunity to visit The First Baptist Church in Sharon, PA, the home church of Rep. Mark Longietti. I was able to attend the Sunday school class he taught and meet his wife Tina, and his mom Pearl. It was also a huge blessing to sit under the teaching of Pastor Trojak during the morning worship service.
- I am thankful for the hearts of those at the Capitol as we seek to collect food for a local soup kitchen in Harrisburg. If you would like to participate, please contact me and I will organize a way to collect your donation. Click here for more information.
- Please feel free to forward this ministry update to those who might be interested in learning about the critical work of bringing the gospel of Jesus the Christ to the lives of our legislators, and all those in the Capitol community.
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