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Issue 37, January 2023

Guess What Won't Change in 2023?

By Pastor Joe O'Neill

        We live in a world of constant change. Our world is full of things that didn’t exist just one generation ago: personal computers, email, cell phones, drones, space shuttles, Twitter tweets and TikTok videos.  Someone pointed out the inevitability of change in life when they said, "The president of today is the postage stamp of tomorrow."  They are right.

    Our earthly bodies are changing too.  We may call it "maturing", (which is a nice way to describe it), but this year may bring more unwanted changes to our bodies, such as more wrinkles and more aches and pains.  The present earthly tent God gives us in this world is greatly affected by the effects of sin and death.


    But though we are in this world of change, one of the great truths taught in the Bible is that God doesn’t change! God is constant in His nature. Hebrews 13:8 says:
   “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”


Since the nature of our Lord Jesus cannot change, we can be assured in 2023 that:


1.  God’s goodness towards us will not change.
   James 1:17 reminds us that: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
  God is the Father of lights.  This means that He is the Creator of the stars, planets, and all the heavenly bodies.  Now the heavenly bodies do change in brightness from our perspective.  Sometimes we can see certain planets and sometimes we cannot, depending on the time of year and the position of the earth and the sun.


   But there will be no variation and no change in the goodness of God towards us. “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:6).  We can rest on the fact that this new year will not affect God’s goodness at all.


2.  God’s promises will not change.
   Malachi 3:6 states: "For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”  About four thousand years ago God made specific promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The sons of Jacob (also known as Israelites) often sinned against the LORD and could have been justly destroyed many times.  But God, because He doesn’t change, faithfully kept His promises to the patriarchs and their children, and Israel as a nation was not consumed.    


   We too can depend on the great promises that God has given to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are accepted by God through faith in His beloved Son, and He has promised to never leave us or forsake us, no matter what may come into our lives. Because of His eternal nature, God cannot change.  And “He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “God will supply all our needs, according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).


   Our Lord and Savior has always been the same.  The past, present, and future is in His eternal hands.  He has taken care of His people in time past and He will take care of us in 2023.  He is dependable.  Glory be to God!  Trust in Him and sing with confidence the great hymn:

 

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”



 

Spotlight: Pastor Chuck Steiner

     Some from Nortonville know the Steiner's well, but some of us haven't had the opportunity to meet them.  We hope this brief article will help you to get acquainted.  They will be with us Sunday,
January 15th, at 10:45 am, and again at 6:00 pm, so make sure you invite people to come and hear the good word of the Lord.

    Chuck grew up in the Ann Arbor area.  He joined the Navy in 1956 and became a submariner.  He had some church background, but didn't know the Lord.  He said, "I was as lost as a blind goose in a snowstorm."

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    Chuck came home on leave one weekend, and a cousin invited him to go on a blind date with a girl from Bad Axe named Mary Lu.  He didn't know the date was with a born again Christian, and that he'd have to meet her at church.  Mary Lu's brother shared the Roman's Road with him (the Romans Road are Bible verses from the book of Romans that show the need for believing in Christ).  Chuck wasn't interested in the gospel, he was just interested in Mary Lu.  But, a seed had been planted.  Not long after that, while underwater in a submarine, Chuck called on the Lord and was saved.

    After his naval duty were finished, Chuck went to Grand Rapids Baptist Bible College and graduated in 1971.  He had an insatiable desire for the word of God and devoured it.  He also did a lot of "confrontational evangelism."  He's not sure how many he turned away with this direct approach, but he did lead some to the Lord.  His approach was to win them to the Lord, and then to teach them. His life ministry verse was II Corinthians 4:5, "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake."


    The Lord lead Chuck to be pastor at the Ithaca Baptist Church, then the Oakfield Baptist Church (near Greenville), and then the Maplelawn Baptist Church in Grand Rapids.  During his ministry he found out that many Christians had a desire to tithe, but were in debt from poor financial habits.  So, Pastor Chuck learned from Crown Financial Ministries and became a certified financial planner.  He has used this knowledge to help churches and colleges and seminaries in both Iowa and Michigan.


    The Steiner's have had many interim opportunities, assisting churches that were in-between pastors.  The Lord sent them to Nortonville in 2005, and they were a great blessing to the people.  By faithfully teaching the Word of God, much healing took place and many hearts were encouraged in the Lord. They faithfully served at Nortonville for two years and prepared the church for Pastor Dennis Snyder to come. 

    Now in his mid-eighties, Pastor Chuck is still serving, like mighty Caleb and Joshua of old.  He still has a passion for learning the Word of God and preaching.  He is living out Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."

 

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