Sunday, August 18, 2013


Clearing the land.
We gathered this morning on one of the most beautiful summer weekends in memory to celebrate the 13th Sunday after Pentecost. Pastor Brad welcomed us warmly, stating that today's message would be about "what's most important." His message would be taken from a passage in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

Announcements first.
Joanne noted that the new Sunday School season is fast approaching and that in order for us to better know what the needs were for materials and teachers it would good if everyone could sign up in the rear of the sanctuary, the number of children they have an their ages.
This past couple years Gwen spoke about how the acronym GROW was our watchword for the mission of our Sunday school program.
G -- God's Word
R -- Relationships
O -- Obedient Living
W -- Worship
Also, next Saturday morning we're having a "clean out" day to prepare the classrooms for this coming school year.
Gail reminded us of next Saturday's Fish Fry Fund Raiser which will be Saturday afternoon from 1 - 4 p.m. (or until the food is gone) here at the church. After the service today Ken fried up samples and, oh my oh my, they were tasty. A special thank you Ken, Gail and Gordy's Hi-Hat for today's treat. The best is yet to come.
Janzyn shared about an event some of our youth attended called "Feed My Starving Children" in the Twin Cities. Essentially everyone helped package healthy food for starving children in other parts of the world, in this case for children in the Philippines. Over 14,000 meals were assembled.

John and Nancy Peyton became members today. Welcome to our church family. (smile)
After a time of worship, the offering and prayer Brad took the podium to give the message.


Brad began by noting that we all tend to operate under the illusion that we are each in control of our lives.

His message would be built around the important theme of priorities. All of us have known times when our lives were simply too full with commitments, and even the basic responsibilities of brushing teeth, flossing, getting enough sleep, exercising, working and everything else we wish to accomplish. Our lives are full, no question about it... so full, in fact, that what ends up on the back burner is our relationship to God.

Brad illustrated this by having a large bag of rice poured into a somewhat small jar. The rice represented our activities and commitments. The problem is this: we only have 24 hours in a day, but we have way more rice to put into that jar which represents one day of life. If you live 75 years you will have less than 30,000 jars (days) of life to fill. How will you fill your jars?

The message drew upon the passage from Matthew 6:25-34.  What does this passage mean?

1) Transformation.
First off, God is desirous to transform us. To do this we need to set aside time to me alone with God.

2) Love
We are to be exemplars of God's love.

3) Calling
Our calling is to get in the game. Use the gifts you have been given and make a difference.

4) Joy
Set aside your worries. Discover anew the joy of God's presence in your lives.

As for the troubles of life, Jesus offers this advice. Don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will have enough trouble of its own. Take each day on its own. Trust God about the morrow. And trust God with today as well. "His mercies are new every morning.

Below: A current progress report in photos.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Inside Out

The big surprise this morning was seeing the progress that had been made across the street in the vicinity of our parking lot. Trees had been cleared and logs of various lengths set aside for removal.Looks like we're underway.

After welcoming us, Pastor Brad shared that today's theme would be along these lines. We live in a world that glorifies giftedness. But there's something more important.

Today's chief announcement had to do with the upcoming Fish Fry, Saturday, August 24, from 1-4 p.m. with fish donated from Gordy's Hi-Hat in Cloquet, plus donations from Sam's Club, Super One, and McDonald's as well as Ken and Vicki Smith. (Thank you all.) Your only responsibility is to bring bars and spread the word about our event.

The service opened with the Trio singing "You Raise Me Up."  Brad made note of Elsa's presence with us as we entered into worship. She is leaving soon for Pasadena, California where she will be attending Fuller Seminary. 

Today's message, titled Inside Out, dealt with these contrasting sets of values, between the world we live in and God's values. There have been many sermons over the years about God's gifts and discovering our own gifts, but the giftedness spoken of here has to do with talents and skills, which may be valued by our celebrity culture but can be at odds with Kingdom values when not accompanied by Christlike character.

Judges 14-16 formed the basis for today's sermon. It was the story of Samson, a Nazarite from birth who was himself gifted but lacking in character. In the end, people without character become their own worst enemies.

Brad underscored one of the saddest verses in all Scripture that appears near the end of Samson's story after he's violated the third of his three Nazarite vows. "But he didn't know the Lord had left him."

Near the close he shared this maxim for Christians of all ages: We overestimate what can be done in the short term; we underestimate what can be done in the long term. This is our basis for hope.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Another Look At Worship

"We are not an institution; we are the body of Christ." ~Brad Shannon

After welcoming us, Pastor Brad shared that our theme would be on worship. A fish fry was announced for Saturday, August 24, from 1-4 p.m. with fish donated from Gordy's Hi-Hat in Cloquet, plus donations from Sam's Club, Super One, and McDonald's as well as Ken and Vicki Smith. (Thank you all.) Your only responsibility is to bring bars and spread the word about our event.

We dedicated Everly Anne McGregor today (daughter of Scott and Cheyenne) in the midst of our worship time.

The message today was about worship. The sermon flowed from Psalm 73, which Brad read with paraphrasing at times and commentary.

Ultimately, we were made for worship, with our amazing God as the object of our worship. Brad cited a quote from Dallas Willard who said, "There is no limit to the goodness of His intentions or the power to carry them out."