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Temptation

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.

Photo of Ewan McGregor as Jesus in "Last Days in the Desert."
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The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” (Mt 4)
 

Last Sunday, we stood on the mountain of transfiguration with Jesus, fully seeing his glory, but also looking down at the valley below, knowing that the Lenten journey through the wilderness was upon us. Wednesday, we gathered as a community and listened to Rev. Cinda Isler's challenge to count the cost of following Jesus and pick up our cross.

This week, we acknowledged together our temptation to turn back from this difficult journey, to put our crosses down, to seek the easy way, or to skip ahead. Jesus was tempted by all these things. He was tempted to skip the fast, to assume power by Satan's way instead of his Heavenly Father's way, to test God's ability or willingness to save him from death.

In her sermon this week, Rev. Dr. Tina Hosler reminds us that it is not sinful to be tempted. In fact, if there aren't any adversaries standing in our way, it may be because we're not going anywhere!

Resisting the temptation, holding true to our calling is difficult. Look back to our first parents, Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. They barely gave the temptation a second thought before they gave into it! We're more like them than we're willing to admit.

Jesus, who sympathizes with our weakness, who knows our struggle, firmly and decisively combats the tempter with the word of God: one does not live by bread alone, do not put God to the test, and worship only God. Rely on Jesus to answer the temptations you encounter this week. We may not be able to survive the wilderness alone with the devil, but Jesus is with us!

Listen to this week's sermon or forward this email to share it with a friend! You can also view the archived live worship stream on our Facebook Page.

What is the wilderness of Lent preparing you for? What are you afraid of? What are you tempted by? How can you stay the course, following Jesus?

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Take some time this week to dig into the stories of wilderness in the Old Testament. Adam and Eve are sent out of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, Cain is cast from the Lord's presence in Genesis 4.

The story of Moses begins in Exodus 2, where he takes justice into his own hands, killing an Egyptian who had beaten a fellow Hebrew. He fled to Midian to escape his own death and it was from there that God calls him from the burning bush in Exodus 3. Ultimately, it is to the wilderness, for 40 long years, that the Israelites go reluctantly to escape Egypt. Read Exodus 14:10–14. The Israelites complain that they have been "brought to the desert to die," and would have rather remained enslaved in Egypt. Throughout the journey, Moses offered words of comfort, challenge, and encouragement in the wilderness. Perhaps some of those words will do the same for you on your journey right now.

If you're running from sin like Moses, remember: your story is not over. Jesus is with you in the wilderness, even now, offering you a new way. If you're not sure if the wilderness is worth the difficulty, take comfort in Moses' words to Israel: Stand Firm! Be Still!
Everybody Counts!

The 2020 Census will soon be upon us. By the end of the month you will have received an invitation to complete the census questionnaire.

In order to provide information to our community about the Census, including answering questions about the privacy of your information and avoiding fraud, we are hosting a Census Lunch & Learn session next Wednesday, March 11th at Noon.

Let's make sure everyone in our community is counted!
Join us for the weekly Community Lenten Worship services. Get to know some of the area pastors, members from other congregations, and worship God together! All services are at 7pm.

March 4th – Our Lady of Lourdes (Rev. Dr. Tina Hosler, Preaching)
March 11th – Burgettstown Presbyterian (Rev. Harry Bielewicz)
March 18th – Paris Presbyterian (Joel Peterson)
March 25th – Our Lady of Lourdes (Rev. Kenn Jacobs)
April 1st – Burgettstown Presbyterian (Pastor Toni Harrington)

Prepare Your Heart and Mind for Worship Next Week

Sermon: "Well, Actually..."

John 4:5–42

Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 

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Spring is almost here! Don't forget to set your clocks forward one hour on Saturday night!
We're looking forward to spending some time with you at your discipleship luncheon! The dot on your name tag determines which group you belong to.

March 14th – Purple Flock
March 21st – Red Flock
March 28th – Orange Flock
April 4th – Yellow Flock
May 2 – Pink Flock
May 16 – Blue Flock
We have a limited number of tickets for a showing of "Jesus" at the Cinemark in Robinson Township on April 11th. Contact Judy or Joel at the office to secure your spot.
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