John 3:14-21

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’

“I’m grateful for work more important than how I happen to feel about it on any given day.” – Fred Croddock

Let us Pray

Metaphor – Light

Nic at night – Jesus in the Light

Evil in darkness – Justice in the light

Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent. Being that it is the fourth week there are some people who are celebrating the fact that they are the fourth week in to their discipline of fasting from a specific food or activity that has given them more time to be with God in prayer and devotion. There are others who are totally frustrated because they have not been able to keep their commitment to God and their focus on being closer with God.

During this fourth week of Lent some people are clear about what they need to do as we approach the time of remembering Jesus on the Cross and celebrating the resurrection of our Lord to deal with the temptations, frustrations and distractions that keep them from being able to hear the voice of God, move with the will of God and experience God’s best for their lives.  There are others who are clueless about what to do next because they have allowed the issues and vicissitudes of life to overwhelm them and obscure their vision of having a closer walk with the Master.

This fourth week of Lent is a time deep discernment for both groups of people. The people who are celebrating their commitment and discipline are asking the question do I continue fasting lunch on Wednesdays and giving the money to the soup kitchen.  Do I continue taping Scandal and Empire so that I can spend an entire evening in prayer and studying God’s Word.  The group of people who have not kept their commitment are asking the question to I pick myself up and recommit or do I continue to make excuses which builds walls of nothingness rather than disciplines that keep us connected to the Master of the Universe.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

For both groups of people I would like to encourage you to keep focused. Resurrection Day is approaching and the good news is that God’s grace is available to all.  Those who have kept their Lenten commitments may be finding it difficult to maintain and the temptations that you didn’t experience in the first three weeks is not staring you in the face and even hunting you down. God’s grace is available to you to have strength to endure.  Those who experienced challenges may be asking what the point is.  God’s grace is available to you to start today ad to remain faithful to the commitments to fast, pray and study.

In this fourth week of Lent we are engaged in looking at a possibly the most familiar text in the New Testament.  John 3:16 is a theme for signs at football games, street corners, soccer games, Facebook pages, Instagram pages, billboards and tracts left in airport restrooms. Non believers can even quote the text

“ ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

This verse is first a Word to Nicodemous to clarify for him the need to be born again and what that means.  This verse is also the glue and connection that explains verses 17-

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For immediate release August 1, 2013

Media contact:  Donna Dodson 410.409.5378

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HOLLAND JOINS INFINITE GRACE FELLOWSHIP LEADERSHIP TEAM

Minister Ardenia M. Holland has been appointed as Director for Outreach and Missions for Infinite Grace Fellowship by resident Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.  Minister Holland began her duties August 1. The church is located at 5130 Greenwich in Baltimore, on the city’s historic “40 West” corridor.

Minister Holland has served as an associate minister at First Mt. Olive Freewill Baptist Church in Baltimore, where she has been a member from birth, since August 2008. Over the course of her membership she served on various ministries and in most recent years served as assistant ministry leader for the Ministerial Alliance, assistant to the executive director for Ministries of Excellence which provides oversight for church ministries and was co-facilitator for Baby Dedication classes.  In addition, she assisted with teaching in conjunction with prayer vigils and Bible Study.  She lives by the philosophy that it is her responsibility to use her life experiences to empower others to realize their God-given purpose and has a passion for community outreach, organizing and advocacy, especially in the areas of public health.

Min. Holland is a native of Baltimorean, and a graduate of Western High School.  She received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. She is the Executive Officer of her own consulting ministry, All His Glory Enterprises, and has a wealth of public health, public administration and communications experience.  Her work experience includes eight years with the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and serving as Executive Director for the Heart & Soul Foundation.  In 2011 she coordinated the Heart & Soul Magazine Awards Weekend in Baltimore, MD, honoring 13 extraordinary women and men who advance healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyles. She has worked in a consult capacity with the Baltimore Washington United Methodist Conference of the United Methodist Church and coordinated Metropolitan United Methodist Church’s Full & Fit Community Outreach event in 2012.  One of her most memorable life moments is appearing as a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune in 1988.

Minister Holland is single and the mother of Aaron Holland and his wife Aerica.  She is blessed to still have the presence of her mother, Flora Holland, in her life and has four siblings.  Aware of God’s grace and mercy upon her life, she self-published her first book “Just Like Fire…God Said Testify” and believes God is capable of using our testimony to make us stronger as well as to spread the message of His saving, redeeming, and delivering power.

The Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church is comprised of 694 congregations with nearly 200,000 members. It is the home of Methodism in America, with the founding of the denomination at Lovely Lane Chapel in 1784.

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