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Tuesday Tidings February 28, 2023

Dearest Members of Bethlehem,

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” -Psalm 139:14 “

Don’t accept any friend requests from me, I think I have been hacked.”

“Don’t click on any links I send to you, I think I have been hacked.”

“Don’t send gift cards to anyone pretending to be me, I think I have been hacked.”

I am sure you’ve seen messages like the ones that appear above and, maybe there’s been an unfortunate occasion when you’ve had to write those words on your own behalf. Yes, I suppose by this point it has happened to most of us… and I am assured that in some cases we’re not actually getting “hacked,” that these are just “phishing” schemes. But the fact of the matter is, there are folks out there brazen enough to borrow our identities for their personal gain. But I pray you may take some little consolation in this… no one can truly “steal your identity.” God has blessed you with wisdom, gifts, and an energy that is uniquely your own. No one can bring joy to the world, quite like you bring joy to world. No one can serve their neighbor, quite like you can serve your neighbor. You are utterly and absolutely distinctive, truly one of a kind.

How can I be so sure? Because, God has been at work in you and God will continue to shape and inspire you in meaningful ways. I have had the privilege of sitting with so many of you as you have shared your stories. It is astounding to hear of the places you have been, the challenges you have overcome, the milestones that you have relished… perhaps more importantly, so many of you so clearly see the way in which God has been at work in your personal lives. Here’s the deep truth, no one can have the experiences you have had… all the wisdom you have garnered along the way, the lessons you have learned are entirely your own. You can never be truly “hacked,” and while the most important parts of who we are can never be taken from us… they certainly can be shared when we feel the time is right to bless those around us with our singular wealth of experience. We are “wonderfully” made, and I know that so very well!

Question for reflection: You don’t necessarily need to share them with everyone, but what are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned throughout your life?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

God of power and might, we pray that you would gently remind us to persevere through these 40 days. Encourage us to invest in the spiritual practices of Lent. Now is the time for fasting, prayer, and service… may our renewed investment in our spiritual lives result in spirits that have truly been renewed. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen

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