Sunday, April 19, 2015


Brad welcomed us and noted that his wife Brooke will be giving the message today.

Next Sunday, our semi-annual meeting after the service will assemble after the service.
Shanda is going to Haiti and is seeking women's dresses to bring. See Brooke.
VBS will be here in less than 60 days. You can register online.
John said that the softball season is here. Sign up in the back of the church.

Darlene ushered us into worship with a piece based on the theme 'Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus. Brad and Darlene led us with three songs from the hymnbook, beginning with Trust and Obey.

After the offering Brooke invited all the youth and children to the front for an object lesson about trust. The youth group demonstrated a "trust fall" in which a volunteer stands up high on a chair and chooses to fall backward, trusting that the others will catch him or her. Trust can be scary, but our God is sure. The verse Brooke had us all learn was from Proverbs... "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways and He will direct your path."

We then had a time of prayer. Brad and Darlene sang a duet to prepare us for the message.


Today's message was a well-crafted weaving together of three separate stories designed to illustrate the theme of trust. One strand of this message was about climbing a mountain in Colorado called Eagle Peak in the Sangre de los Cristo mountain range. The second strand was an object lesson involving rocks of various sizes and sand. The third strand included insights from her own life experiences. The whole of it formed a message that would have been much better experienced in person than you will get here.

Having grown up in Colorado Brooke always had a good sense of direction because you always knew where West is because it was always toward the Rockies. How different to be here in the Midwest where roads wind around lakes and you never know which way you're going. Even when you are on a Northbound road it is sometimes going south as it curls around our many lakes.

How well do you trust? Brooke pointed out that our current world teaches us to trust no one, to be self-reliant. Trust is "a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something."

When I think of trust, Brooke said, "I think of assurance, confidence, reliability."

Brooke showed some photos of Eagle Peak where she went to camp in her youth. When we're young we think of ourselves and try to make a go of it on our own. She then poured white sand into a clear glass vase to illustrate what she felt she could accomplish in her own strength. It filled nearly half the vase.

Her story of growing up begins with a story of when she was in seventh grade. Her parents got a divorce and she was told to make a decision who to go with. She was given an hour, and she had to make the decision by herself. At the end of that hour all she could bring with her had to fit into a large plastic bag.

Then she returned to the story of mountain, and the challenge of climbing this mountain by ourselves. Self-sufficiently can get you so far, but even when you reach the peak alone, it's not as rewarding as it might have been because you have no one to share your victory with.

Often we let people into our lives but not really letting them wholly in. We go through the motions of relationship, and people are part of our lives, but this could be more fulfilling. It's a shared experience that brings us together.

Brooke showed photos from the mountain climb she did later with a group of people when she was eighteen. The mountain climb begins with winding through a forest, obscuring the view of your destination, but essential. Then, we pass the tree line. Crossing the meadow is beautiful even if it takes energy. After we climb across the seemingly endless meadow we finally reach the boulder field. Then we reach the top only to find out it is the false peak. It's not the real peak, which is still ways up there.

A lot of times in life we reach false peaks, have our hopes dashed and sometimes even give up.  But when we're in a group we carry one another along. Everything is easier.

To illustrate the others in our lives Brooke pour in a bowl of small rocks the size of limestone gravel. The vase itself was on a pedestal surrounded by about eighteen large rocks. By the time the sand and small rocks were in the vase, she could only fit two large rocks into the vase.

To the amazement of all (or at least to my amazement) when she emptied the vase and put the large rocks in first, followed by the small rocks, the sand sifted into the cracks and the vase still wasn't even full (see illustration on the right above.)

"What if we reverse our thinking? If we start with God first," she said.

Psalm 18:2 states, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

I am confident that God is who He says He is, that we can rely on Him, trust Him.

When I climbed that mountain, it was a lot more fun to do it with our friends, to share the experience, to help one another when we stumbled or had blisters.

Brooke applied this to our church building project, that by doing this together we have a stronger church body.

We all come in different shapes and sizes. And together, in Christ, we can do more than we could as individuals apart.

I trust God with my life, but also with my family, my church, our community and our world.

Brooke noted that mountaintop experiences can be exhilarating, but  we all live in the valley of reality. Nevertheless those mountaintops give us perspective. We trust God that He is bigger than we give Him credit for, and we let Him in.

She ended by noting that Eagle Peak, as she stated in the beginning was located in the Sangre de los Cristo mountain range, which translated means "The Blood of Christ." God is our rock, and as we trust in Him we will soar as eagles. It is by the blood of Christ that we have this assurance in Him.

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