February 4 Service: The congregation was welcomed by Pastor Bonnie Higgins at 9:30 a.m. to begin the service. The Invocation/Lord’s Prayer were recited. The hymns that were sung were “In the Garden” “The Old Rugged Cross”, and “Amazing Grace”. The service ended with Communion. Linda Lyman is the organist each week. Lew Lyman leads the music for the congregation each week.

The sermon, titled “In Pursuit of Happiness” and scriptures from Luke 18:18-30. Pastor Bonnie began by saying that in the Declaration of Independence it states that we are guaranteed the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. But what does that mean according to scriptures?

In our scripture passage, a wealthy ruler met up with Jesus on the road toward Jerusalem and asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. In other words, how does he get into heaven. Many people ask that question themselves. There are three main questions that need to be answered. First, do you understand who Jesus is and what He did for you on the cross? There are a lot of people who have read the Bible, memorized the verses, can talk a good talk, but they don’t understand Jesus Himself and what He did for them. You must know Him personally as your Savior. Secondly, we need to know our sins. Too many times we don’t consider sins that we do as sins because everyone else is doing them. As Jesus was explaining the some of the laws from the ten commandments, and the rich ruler said that he had not done any of those so he should be okay to get into heaven. But the commandments Jesus was asking the ruler about were ones about man vs. man relationships, not man vs. God relationship. All of us know people who are good, moral, and decent people and they all think they are going to be spending eternity in Heaven. Jesus tells us that the only way to Heaven is through a relationship with Him. And to have that relationship with Jesus, we must repent of our sins. Lastly, we need to remove any obstacles to salvation. Jesus knew the obstacle of this ruler was his wealth. When Jesus asked him to give away his wealth, the ruler felt sad because he didn’t want to. The ruler was looking at the here and now, and not the future in eternity. Jesus had touched on the sin of this ruler, greed. This rich ruler shows us a couple of things. He showed us that both the believer and the unbeliever who wants a Christian faith needs to change their values and their lifestyles. Jesus may never ask us to give everything away, but He will ask us to put Him first in our life.

We can all find things that bring us happiness on this earth. God has created this world for our enjoyment and happiness. We find happiness in our families and friends, the foods we eat, laughter, spending time doing activities, watching, or playing sports, to name a few. God has given all this and more to us, but He also has given us Himself. The one true pursuit of lasting happiness is in God Himself. When we turn from our sins and trust in His righteousness purchased through His blood, we are united to Him. We are perfect in Christ, holy in Christ and happy in Christ. The only pursuit that will lead to true happiness is in the pursuit of coming and following Jesus.

Announcements listed in the bulletin are that the congregation will be collecting canned Carrots for the Food Pantry in February. Bible Study: Tuesday at 1 p.m.

You can email the church at nlbcmaine@gmail.com. Pastor Bonnie’s office hours are Tuesday’s from 9 a.m. to noon.

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