Sunday, November 27, 2016


(L to R) Emily, Pastor Terry, Joe & Megan led worship today.
Pastor Terry White welcomed us, and began by talking to us about the meaning of Advent, this time of year when we think about the meaning of Christmas and the coming of Christ. Hope, love, joy and peace are the themes during the four weeks leading to Christmas.

--Salvation Army shoes and clothing items barrel is still in the hall outside the sanctuary.
--Ladies Bible Stud, Tuesday 10:00 a.m.
--Wednesday night dinner and youth groups resume January 11
--It's not too early to think about the Father-Daughter Ball the two weekends before Valentine's Day

The Ringger family came forward and lit the Advent Candle for today, the candle of hope. The prophets spoke of the coming of the Messiah, our Hope, who would redeem the people from their sins.

Pastor Terry noted that though this is a message of hope for us, we can't help but be aware that much of the world remains in darkness and without hope. The Good News is that "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."

What was it like in the time of Jesus when He was born? For 600-700 years the people of Israel had not had any freedom. It had been 400 years since God last spoke through a prophet to His people. Terry gave us a brief history lesson of this period, from Alexander the Great to the Seleucid Empire to the coming of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire gave a lot of freedom to the lands they conquered but dealt with people in the most severe manner should they cross them, cause disruption to the Empire.

In the midst of despair we need to be reminded that we are not alone and that hope shines brightest in the midst of darkness. This has been a reality all through history, even from the first days of the church.

After sharing these thoughts we entered a time of worship followed by some very special, special music featuring McKenzie during the offering.

Cheryl Borndal led us in a time of prayer for the various needs in our church family.


Death has died, God has won. Hallelujah!

Hope and peace do not rely on circumstances.

Herod learned early in his political career that the way to make someone happy is to give them money. So to please Rome he gave them money acquired through taxes. Hence, Jesus frequently talked about taxes. Herod also divvied out land to people he liked, and the political injustice was the norm.

Financially powerless, the poor had been afraid to dream. They lived in a period of oppression. Israel had been oppressed for generations.

It was in this context of tyranny that many of His peers had hope that Jesus would overthrow their oppressors. These were the Zealots. It was not the approach Jesus had in mind.

What is your expectation? What would bring you hope? When you listen to Jesus, what do you hear?

The kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of this world.

Here are some verses about hope that were shared. You can look them up at
Proverbs 13:12  "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
Psalm 146:5
Psalm 147:11
Psalm 130:5
Where do you place your hope?
Jeremiah 14:22
Jeremiah 29:11
We then turned to the book of Lamentations, which begins with Israel's truly harsh sense of abandonment. Reading chapter three is heartbreaking, leading into... "He has broken my teeth with gravel... my splendor is gone, and all that I'd hoped for... I remember my affliction.... and yet, because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning...

But the Scriptures have much to say about hope, including Romans 15:13 and I Corinthians 13:13.

After reading each of the above passages, Pastor Terry ended by re-reading Lamentations 3:16-26
The Lord is good. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Faith or Fear

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 
Psalm 95:1-2 NIV

~Salvation Army is looking for bell ringers
~Budding actors and actresses: We are seeking volunteers to participate in skits and sketches during worship. See Cheryl Borndal if interested.
~No Christmas program practice this Wednesday.
~We are adopting a family again for Christmas again this year, a mom and dad and two small boys.
~Thanksgiving day there will be dinner at the church for those who have no place to go or desirous of extra fellowship. 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Covenant World Relief soup cans will be collected next week.
~Throughout the month of November we are filling a barrel with shoes and new underclothes for needy in Duluth.
~Christmas is on a Sunday this year. The Christmas Eve service will be at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday the 24th.

Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and after announcements invited the children to help carry the shoeboxes to the front of the sanctuary for Operation Christmas Child.

After a time of worship the ushers came forward to take the offering. This was followed by a time of prayer.for needs in the church family and praises for all good things God have given us.

Faith or Fear

Pastor Terry White began by giving us a Covenant Park update. The camp is a great camp for young people but it has not been successful at covering costs to remain open year-round. The costs to operate the camp have been exceeding the revenue being generated by participation. Terry is chairman of the board at Covenant Park, hence his involvement in the center of this ministry.

* * *
Mother's Day is one of the busiest days of the year for police, primarily due to free flowing alcohol and families gathering together, often generating sparks. Anxiety and fears bring out tension... and frequently conflict.

Pastor White shared a little bit about coaching girls basketball when he was younger. Their approach was to always keep the pressure on their competitors with a full court press. When under pressure, mistakes happen. When the pressure is relentless the other team gets flustered, anxious and makes mistakes.

Fear and anxiety will do damage in your life. This is why Jesus calls us to a life of faith.

Today's message centered on Philippians 4:5-8.

Throughout the Gospels you will notice how Jesus is a non-anxious presence in the midst of stressful situations.

"Be anxious for nothing... but in everything, in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God."

This is the perfect response to anxiety. Deliberately bring our thoughts captive to God. God's peace will be ours in the midst of this whirlwind of circumstances.

Here's another great passage to memorize and reflect on:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

II Timothy 1:7 is a companion verse for this one.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

You can have fear, or you can have faith, love and a sound mind. Are we going to live in fear or love? True love casts out fear. If you live in love you will have a sound mind.

One of the ways to get to know strength in life is to life in faith. Trusting God.

Joshua said, "A for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." It's an unwavering trust that God is in control. Even if it is not ideal, I can trust God.

It's amazing to take one little verse and decide to live that truth out for the next six weeks. Here's one: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all."

Be a non-anxious presence with your family this week. Or at your place of work. People will notice.

The peace of God transcends all understanding.

* * * *
What are some of the anxious moments in your life right now? What is bringing anxiety to you? Terry closed by having us take a few moments to pray, to lay before the Lord our anxious concerns, with thanksgiving.

Our God is a God of hope. Let's trust Him.

We closed with the classic hymn Trust and Obey.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


"Good morning, everyone!" Pastor Terry While welcomed us and then dove right into announcements.

1) The Salvation Army is seeking socks, shoes and underwear for the needy. There's a barrel in the Fireside Room to collect items for giving.
2) We will be doing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes this Wednesday.
3) Saturday is a Covenant Park fund raiser dinner and auction Saturday at Salem Covenant Church from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
4) There will be a Thanksgiving Dinner here at the church for

An offering was taken, and then we spent time in prayer.


This week was a good week to have discussions. We don't see eye-to-eye on some things, and it raises the question of how to walk hand-in-hand when we don't see eye-to-eye?
Also, how do we see a bigger picture than the one directly in front of us?
Political season brings some interesting moments. The thing that caught me by surprise was my pastoral friends that expressed things that demonstrated more fear than faith.

Do I believe God will take care of us, regardless of what goes on around us?
Is my faith in God or a political system?

If you want to have an impact, live your life out the way God has designed us to live our lives out.

It's worth remembering that very few Christians throughout history have had the privilege of living in a nation which is in accord with their beliefs and faith.

Terry asked us to take a few minutes for prayer for healing for our nation.

* * * *

Pastor White asked several youth to come forward to do a "trust fall." Then he called for a bunch of strong men to volunteer to become catchers. Four girls climbed the ladder to fall back into the arms of eight men.

This was to illustrate Ruthless Trust, which is the title of a book by Brennan Manning.

In Hebrews 11:6 it is written, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Do I really believe? Do I really trust? It is in those moments of falling that we find out if we have trust.

Falling is scary. The outcome is uncertain. We're vulnerable.

The starting point for the message was Luke 17:11-19, the story of a healing of ten men with leprosy. Leprosy is a scary disease. Terry explains the consequences of leprosy. Once the priest has pronounced that you have leprosy you must live outside town, must never be a participant in the affairs of life, must never be close to others.

The lepers called to Jesus from a distance because they were forbidden to draw near. Nevertheless, Jesus said to these men, "Go, show yourself to the priest," implying,"and on the way you will be healed." Which they were.

Only one returned to the Lord and thanked him.

We were then asked, "What goes on when fear overwhelms us and we don't trust God?"

Anxiety. Miss out on things. Lost. Get short with others. We try to control things. Lash out. Emotions override clear thought. Blame God.

When overwhelmed with fear, we say things we shouldn't.

What are some of the seemingly crazy things God asked people to do in Scripture?
Build an ark.
Sacrifice your son.
Walk around this fortified city seven times, then blow a horn.
Throw your nets on the other side of the boat.

We turned to Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith. (Read it!)

Faith is actually difficult. Do I trust God? Can I really trust Him?

Therefore... (Chapter 12)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Bottom line: Just do what God asks you to do. Do what these people did, and walk in a life of faith. Ask God, "Lord, what do you want from me?"

Terry closed with prayer and led us in the classic hymn, "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Heart Motivated By Grace

The clocks were pushed back an hour last night and our bodies will have to adjust to a new sleep schedule as Daylight Savings Time is put away for another winter season. The weather remains surprisingly kind though, unseasonably warm with pristine blue skies again today. Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and invited us to join the adult Bible study on Wednesdays.

Other announcements and reminders included....
1. We have a mission barrel in the hall outside the sanctuary for shoes, new underwear, socks and other clothing items for Christmas to be distributed by the Salvation Army.
2. Also there is a need for new or lightly used toiletries for women.

There was also a building update.
The outside lights are now up and all that is left is for these to be wired. The garage will be started this Monday. Someone will be coming to determine where and how to install the bell. A sound system upgrade and a dishwasher will be coming soon.

We then entered into a time of worship, which was followed by the receiving of our offerings and a time of prayer.

A Heart Motivated By Grace

By way of introduction, pastor Terry White noted that despite the frenzy of activity surrounding the election, God is in control. Do you believe God is in control?

Pastor White then shared about a free car wash another church he was part of used to do. People often tried to pay for the free car wash and hot dogs. They had a hard time receiving something good absolutely free.

Today's sermon would be based upon and extracted from Romans 3:21-26

Pastor White brought a couple object lessons. A law book, a robe and cross. In the Old Testament righteousness was given through the law. But now, apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known.

In Galatians 3:21 Paul amplifies this.  Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

In the old way, obedience was the only route to righteousness, though we were incapable of fulfilling it. But In Galatians Paul goes on explain that the Law was like a tutor to help keep us in line till grace was revealed. The goal is not to have a tutor, but rather to live a righteousness that comes from Christ.

There are two ways to live, under the law or under grace. The former is an enormous burden; the latter is liberation.

He then read snippets from The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book designed to bring hope to the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out, the marginalized folks to whom Jesus ministered.

Christian life, living fully in Christ, is not a game in which we try to "appear" good. What would your life look like if it were truly motivated by Jesus Christ?

The Gospel, the Good News, is not about avoiding hell or to avoid feeling shame.

What is a life of faith? Answer: it is trust. Faith means to trust God. Terry stated that you could replace the word "faith" with "trust" in the Bible and it would not change a thing.

He then addressed the matter of accepting grace. It is hard to receive grace when we are not honest with ourselves. The first step is recognition of how fallen we are. This is the heart of the Gospel. Once we realize how fallen we are we can then appreciate the free gift of God's mercy and the sacrifice He made on our behalf.

The most gracious people are those who have grown the most to understand how dark their hearts are.

What does a heart look like when it's been thoroughly immersed in grace.

The irony of this freedom is that it was bought with a price. It was only free for us; it cost Him everything.

Returning to the passage in Romans 3:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.

There is much more that can be said, but at the end of all here's the question: Have you placed your trust in Jesus Christ?

Finally, the sweet sound of amazing grace of Jesus Christ frees us from the necessity of self-deception.

The moment our focus shifts from my badness to His goodness, it means I no longer dwell on "what have I done?" and so I can focus on what He has done.

In Romans 2:4 Paul asks, "Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"

We then celebrated Communion together.