“It is I; be not afraid” (John 6:20) was the comforting motto for the 2019 LLC Summer Services, held July 4–7 at Silver Springs near Monticello, Minn.
At the first service, Ron Honga (Menahga, Minn.) assured doubting believers they need not fear, “Come, dear one, and believe the forgiveness of all
your sins,” he said.
Be Not Afraid
Honga reminded the timid visitor that there is nothing to fear because Jesus, the One who calms the storm, is here. When the disciples of Jesus were afraid for their lives because their ship seemed about to capsize in the winds and tempest, Jesus came walking on the water. Not recognizing Jesus at first, the disciples were again fearful, but Jesus reassured them with these same words, “It is I; be not afraid.”
“With Him (Jesus) we are everything; without Him we are nothing,” Jouko Haapsaari (Hanover, Minn.) said. “Be of good courage,” he urged speaker-brothers who came to serve. The congregation has come hungry and prays for food. “God will provide,” he assured, referring also to the comforting motto.
Song Services, Additional Sermons Augment Summer Service Schedule
A new addition to the Summer Services schedule was song services at four separate times, two with selected themes. One was centered around the services motto. Songs such as “A home in heaven is prepared for me,” “Be not dismayed, O little flock,” “You are my Savior, Jesus Christ,” and “The Lord’s my Shepherd” encouraged and comforted the traveler on the way to heaven. “This message is what we needed to hear,” Aila Kallinen (Buffalo, Minn.) said.
Vesa Tahkola, of Pattijoki, Finland, also reinforced that message of comfort: “Be not afraid, Jesus has promised to be with His own.” His sermon was one of 25 during the weekend services, up from 18 sermons in previous years.
“It’s nice to have more sermons,” Joyce Martin (Brainerd, Minn) said. “I hardly even noticed there were more as they fit nicely into the schedule.” Chad Wuollet (Epping, No. Dak.) summarized the weekend, “Services were just amazing, so uplifting and encouraging!”
Music Notes: A Singing People
Scriptures relate how singing has always been a part of the lives of God’s children. Early believers sang for comfort, for strength, to be uplifted and to praise God. They understood music to be given by God and used it often. Many of their songs are recorded for us in the book of Psalms and today we sing those same psalms in our lives.
The music of God’s children, whether from Scripture or from our own Songs and Hymns of Zion, comforts and encourages me in my walk of faith. The song writers have put into words my heart’s voice and when I sing alone, in a small group or – as we did recently during our Summer Services weekend – as a large congregation, the words and music bring calm and comfort. Many of our songs are prayers, and singing them allows me to pray when I may not even know what to pray for.
Hearts Join in Praise
When I join my voice with the other believers, I feel I belong to this large throng of people. I don’t feel alone. We all become one voice singing praises to God, pleading for His grace, asking for His comfort and seeking His guidance. Occasionally I sit quietly and listen to the others and I still feel a connection. After all, it’s not just voices that join together, but rather hearts as well.
I’m not alone in these feelings, as was evidenced at our recent Summer Services at Silver Springs. There the music and songs of the believers were heard and sung throughout the weekend in the services, over the sound system, and in the new addition to the service schedule, song services. Song services were scheduled four times over the weekend, two in the afternoon and two in the evening. The evening song services, followed by a devotion, were mostly attended by the youth. Their voices filled the service tent and drifted out into the night, pulling in those that were at the campers settling in for the night.
Music Draws Us Together
It was nice to have the opportunity to sing a lot at Summer Services, which the many scheduled song services made possible. (Nicholas S. – Saskatoon, Sask.)
We enjoyed song services because singing in a large group sounds beautiful. It was awesome to have a short period of singing before services – we would like it to continue! (Belle S., Laryssa H., Kylie H. – Outlook, Sask.).
Song services were beautiful and comforting. I loved sitting in the chairs among my friends and fellow believers singing praises to God. He is the one allowing these services to happen, and hearing voices of thankfulness and prayer comforted me and made me feel there is no other place I’d rather be. (Maddy S. – Rockford, Minn.)
At the closing service, we heard from Psalm 33: “Sing unto him with a new song…” We can sing to God those familiar, beloved songs again and again. Every time we sing, they are new words of praise and fresh words of comfort.
Sunday School at Summer Services!
Approximately 500 children attended the first Sunday school held at LLC Summer Services. Jim Moll, of Prescott Valley, Ariz., gave a lesson on the services motto: “It is I; be not afraid” (John 6:20). Students actively answered questions. Moll told the story about how the disciples were rowing in a boat late at night and they saw someone walking on the water. They were afraid. Jesus said, “It is I; be not afraid.” Peter said, “If it is you, Jesus, let me walk to you.” Peter started to walk on the water but was overcome with fear and doubt and he began to sink. “Did Jesus leave him in his doubts?” Moll asked. “No, Jesus helped him back into the boat. He will help you, too.”
Moll also told about David and Goliath. Goliath was big and fierce – the whole army of Israel was afraid of him. Moll explained how David found five smooth stones, with one of them he hit Goliath in the forehead. How did David overcome Goliath? By faith. “When you’re tempted and fearful, ask for the gospel. The gospel will help your doubts and fears go away,” he said.
Moll explained how the enemy of souls is sometimes like a roaring lion but also sometimes like a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing, ready to quietly deceive us. He told a story about a time he stepped on a rusty nail and it made a tiny hole in his foot. He didn’t clean the wound but just covered it with liquid tape. It got infected. He got very sick and had to go to the doctor to get a shot to get better. Moll compared this to sin. “Sometimes sin is so small we want to cover it up,” he said. “Clean your wounds of sin with the gospel.” The gospel is our power.