Sunday, October 15, 2017

"What If..."

Announcements
--Great Fish Fry yesterday... a blessing for all of us. $1800 made through the Fish Fry and silent auction.
--Family Night has started for Wednesdays.  6:00 meal, with meeting 6:30-7:30
--October 29 the semi-annual congregational meeting after the service.
--Terry's small group meets tonight at the Moses' house.

Pastor Terry read a passage from Isaiah 6:1-5. And then we entered into a time of worship.

Mission Moment: Jan shared about the Agape House of Hope, an all-volunteer ministry for the women who come to visit their incarcerated loved ones in our Duluth prison. Matt 22:37 and 39. 

The offering was taken while the worship team ministered to us in song. Darlene led us in a time of prayer.

"What If..."

Pastor Terry  began by sharing why he likes coaching girls basketball, how things happen fast and kids work hard so they get a chance to play.

Something Terry does consciously in his youth ministry is to get older kids to have relationships with younger, that they might impart knowledge and experience to the younger. 

What often happened was when the older mentor kids went off to college the younger would be saying, "I want to be like John" instead of having seen that John was that way because of Jesus in John. 

Galatians 2:20 has been my life verse for a long time. "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me."

What does this look like?

Here is the passage Terry spoke about this morning, Galatians 2:15-21.

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Think about your week... What would it look like for you to have been crucified with Christ this week? What if Christ was living your life in that moment, what would He have done? How different would that have been from what you did?

When I am coaching and in the zone, all my efforts are to help the kids on the team become the best they can be. The same for us in the world... when we interact right, our focus is on helping others to be the best they can be, our co-workers and family and neighbors.

Unfortunately we often revert to having it be about our selves. We want recognition for our self-sacrifice. We want the team to win for the sake of my ego.  This distortion has consequences.

What would life for us look like if we were wholly allowing Christ-in-me to be ascendant? Think about it.

* * * 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Made In Christ


Greeted by sunny skies, we gathered again in the sanctuary for worship.

Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and then turned to announcement.
1. Fish Fry Fund Raiser next Saturday. Volunteers welcome to help prepare or clean up. The cost is $8 per person and will run from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
From 10 to 1:00 p.m. the Bloodmobile will be here also.
2. Joanne mentioned that Family Night is starting up again Wednesday eve for pre-school to adult. Start time is 6:00 p.m. with a meal followed by activities. Assistance in clean-up after dinner welcome.
3. Thursday at 10:00 a.m. Faith In Fabric will meet to make things for Meals on Wheels. Bring a bag lunch or something to share.

The music team opened the service with a beautiful, heartfelt rendition of  "The Lighthouse"... followed by "I'm Feeling Fine" and a pair of beautiful hymns.

Pearl and Susan Jessico had the puppet theater set up for a Children's Message about Autumn Harvest Season, and how God's word grows in us like acorns to oaks.

Gail had the opportunity to help with the hurricane clean-up in Houston, so she shared pictures and showed stories in pictures.

During the offering Ed sang Bob Dylan's insightful "Every Grain of Sand" accompanied by Darlene on the keyboatds.

Cheryl Borndal led us in a time of praise and prayer for the needs and answered prayers in the church body.

Made In Christ

Pastor Terry White began by noting how long the week has been, that the shooting in Las Vegas seems like a month ago. It is shocking when one person can take another's life, how do you come up with an answer for a situation this evil and horrible.

"What's heartbreaking for me," he said "is how Christ doesn't even enter the conversation. The media describe it as a gun issue but never say it's a God issue."

Pastor Terry made reference to a book that described the religion of our times as Moral Therapeutic Deism. This is the "faith" of our modern world. If we all just learned how to get along we'd be O.K.

The Bible offers a clearer, more precise perspective. We are fallen, but can be redeemed. Paul wrote:

Col. 1:24-27
24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

We're living an adventure, but too often the world is missing the point.

Jesus Christ changes everything. It's a lifelong journey to get to this point. It's way bigger than just fixing peoples' moral.

Our hope: Christ can redeem anything.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Overwhelmed? In Good Company

There's plenty happening these days, which might be why today's message is titled "Overwhelmed?" Nevertheless, here are a few upcoming events to be aware of in the life of the church.

1. After church today there was supposed to be an Open House at Pastor Terry and Leah's. 6442 Tresdan Road... It has been postponed till Next Sunday.
2. The Council is seeking a Worship Commission Chairperson.
3. There will be a Fish Fry /Silent Auction / Bloodmobile, October 14, 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
4. Youth Group has resumed for Wednesday evenings.
5.  Pot Luck is next Sunday...
6. Oct 21 Handbag Luncheon. See Paula for details.

Terry opened our time of worship by reading Psalm 137 and the worship team then led us in several songs. The offering was taken while the worship team sang "I Am Yours, You Are Mine."

Cheryl Borndal led us in our time of bringing petitions to the Lord and then Pastor Terry brought the message.

Overwhelmed? In Good Company

Today's message will be drawn from Exodus 18. Terry stated that he wanted to make three points this morning: (1) The nature of being overwhelmed. (2) That others outside of your own circumstances sometimes have good insights for you. (3) Letting Christ reign supreme in your life.

Today's Bonsai tree was a dwarf variety of a Ponderosa Pine. It's actually an amazing, and old, tree. But many people just see it as a shrub. People often miss things that are quite special, things that might expand our appreciation for God's creation.

Today's story from Exodus is about when Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, visited Moses. In their conversation Jethro reminds Moses that is is God who brought you out of Egypt. The two are in agreement that what God has done is very great.

In the next paragraph, beginning in verse 13, Moses is taken aside for a moment of correction. After seeing Moses judge and rule for a day Jethro asks, "What are you doing? Why are you doing this?"

Often, what we think is normal is often not normal at all. Why do we do the things we do? Often we are so far off base we don't even realize it.

Moses answered Jethro, explaining his rationale for running things this way.

But Jethro states directly, "This way of doing things is not good... Listen to me. I will give you some advice, and God be with you."

Moses' father-in-law then told him to select capable men to whom he could delegate the task of resolving issues. The capable men can make decisions for anything not complicated, and the most difficult cases would be brought to Moses.

Summing Up: The Spirit of God gives gifts to each of us individually to bring to the greater whole, that we might fulfill God's purposes as a body of believers. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

You never know where the seeds you sow will become effective. But as it is written, "Let us not be weary of doing good."

It is an important piece of God's plan, that we learn how each of us fits into God's larger purposes. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Being Bold

Our services have returned to a 10:30 a.m. starting time. It was thrilling to see that we were short on space in the parking lot. Sunday school started up again, 9:00 a.m.

Announcements
--Darlene shared that Sunday October 8 after church there will be a meeting to discuss ideas for our Christmas program.
--Joanne Winship indicated that Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. there will be a planning meeting for future Family Nights. And Youth Group will be meeting at 6:30 p.m.
--Saturday, October 14 there is a Fish Fry & Silent Auction fund raiser planned.
--The church has hired Chris Hagameyer as church administrator. There will at some point church office hours established, but for now Tuesday and Thursday will be times to call the church.
--The Emotionally Healthy Church is the book that has been selected for study this year.

Chuck opened the service reading the story from the New Testament in which Jesus calmed the storm as a lead in to what he said was his favorite song, Master of the Wind. "He can calm the storm and make the sun shine again. I know the Master of the wind."

After an uplifting time of singing, we greeted one another for an extended time before taking an offering while singing a lively "I Saw the Light."

There were numerous needs shared during our time of prayer.

Being Bold

Today's message is based on the passage from Matthew 14 in which Jesus walked on the water.

Pastor Terry began by asking "How many of you here see yourselves as Bold? How many of you are the opposite of this? Some boldness is just the way we are. That is, it's our nature. Sometimes caution is the right attitude though, too. How do we know when boldness is safe and when it's not?

The full story in Matthew 14 is quite striking. It tells how the situation came about in which Jesus walked on the water, and invited Peter to join Him.

* * * *

At one point Pastor Terry talked about Mark Zuckerberg's comment that was in the news this week, "Why (after all these years) are we still dealing with racism?" Terry noted that the Bible answers this. The heart is desperately wicked. But humanism believes humanity is essentially good and simply needs to be educated. Truth be told, cruelty, racism, man's inhumanity to man should not shock us.

What's amazing though is not how bad the storms are. Rather, what's astounding is how resilient people are.

So Jesus invited Peter to step over the railing of the boat, to walk on the water. Peter responded by ignoring his rational thinking and took several steps in faith.

There are moments where we step out boldly and the payoff isn't there because it wasn't Jesus' voice telling us to step out. This is where being part of a community of faith is helpful. If something seems outrageous, we can get a confirmation of sorts.

Homework: How are we going to listen to God this week? Who do we need to forgive this week? Who do we need to go to lunch with? What would be the bold thing you could do this week? How much do we give up our time to help another?

What does God have for you this week?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Together

During the service Chuck interviewed Callie
about her trip to Africa 
Next week is the beginning of a new school year, and here at New Life Covenant we'll have our RALLY SUNDAY, with worship, lunch and activities both inside and outside. Our summer hours will yield to fall, which means worship starts at 10:15 a.m. There will be pre-service dialogue at 8:30 a.m.

Other announcements included the following:
--Darlene shared that Friday & Saturday is kickoff of our Faith & Fabric group which meets the Second Saturday each month 10-2. There will be soup on for all. Bring some other fixin's to share pot luck style.
--Paula shared that she will again teach a painting class. Contact Paula Saxin for details.
--September 17 will be the first day of Sunday School for the new year.

Chuck and the worship team led us in worship this morning with Darlene on piano. They opened with "He's Everything To Me." This was followed with "I Just Keep Trusting My Lord," a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans favorite. After several other songs from with blue hymnal an offering was taken and we spent some time in prayer led by Cheryl Borndal.

At one point in this early part of the service Chuck noted that Pam and Callie Johnson had just returned from a two week trip to Tanzania, Africa, where among other things they went on a safari and also climbed the 19,341 foot high Mount Kilimanjaro.

Together

Today's message came from Ephesians 4:1-16.  But he began by commenting on the key to climbing mountains: keep taking another step.

Terry has been a coach of team sports much of his life. What he's observed is that track and field is completely different. Team sports require practicing together and learning how to work together. In track you have a bunch of individual activities. Javelin throwers do not practice with pole vaulters or cross country runners. They are all doing completely different things.

Church, he said, is often more like an individual sport than a team sport. If we were working properly together we would see that each of us is part of a greater whole.

Ephesians 4
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Terry noted that there is something innate within us, the way we were designed, that desires to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It is excellent and right.

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  8 This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high, 
 he took many captives 
 and gave gifts to his people.”

Paul has referenced a passage from the Psalms, and then follows with an aside explaining its meaning:

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 

In the following segment Paul makes a list of gifts from God, explaining the purpose of these gifts. The list in this case is people. Each of us has a wide variety of gifts that we bring to the body of Christ, to our fellowship.

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Terry stated that one of the excuses people sometimes make when they leave a church is that "I'm not being fed." Often this occurs because individuals have gotten used to being recipients of the Word, and forgotten that they are in turn being fed for years in order to turn around and feed others. God's aim for us is to become a blessing to others, to help them attain the full measure of faith.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

As each part in the body does its part, then body life works. The body is called to grow together. If one finger grows huge and another finger remains the size of an infants, we end up a monstrosity.

This problem is a contemporary broken part of many churches today. Lay ministry is absent. The need for teachers is vast. Participation is at an all-time low.

As we enter into others' lives through ministry, our faith will become more real.

* * * *
At this we closed with a celebration of the Lord's Supper.



Monday, August 28, 2017

Congrats? You're Gifted

Pastor Terry White's message this week focused on two familiar passages, Romans 12:1-8 and I Corinthians 12.

He introduced his theme by sharing one of the things he likes about football. Football is a team sport. Not only that, but a football team has players of all shapes and sizes. Some are smaller players who are fast and agile. Others are very big men. There are a couple kinds of kickers, and there's the quarterback who call the signals and throws the ball. Receivers have good hands and lots of courage. In contrast, most of the players on a soccer team are similar to some extent except the goalie.

The football team, to some extent, serves as a metaphor for the body of Christ that Paul wrote about in his letter to the Romans. We are one body with many members. Each of us in this body brings different gifts, and in Romans 12 we see some of these outlined.

Terry then applied this to us as a church family. How has God gifted you? How are you adding to the body life of this group?

He asked another pointed question. If this church disappeared, would it be missed? What are we contributing to the local community?

To each of us individually, he asked, "Are you chipping in? How can you add something to the common good?"

He closed by stating, "It's your task to figure out how you are contributing."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Holy Spirit and Theology

Pastor Terry welcomed us, and thanked everyone who helped his family move last weekend.
Announcements included a reminder that Sunday August 13 we will be meeting at the home of Walt and Gwen Cressman, a service that will include baptisms.
Pam shared that we are seeking to fill a part-time office position on the staff. Contact Pastor White.

Terry read from Ephesians 1:3-14, to set us on fire for today's theme, the Holy Spirit. We spent time in worship,gave generously and were led in prayer by Pam Johnson.

* * * *
The Holy Spirit and Theology

We turned to John 16 for our message today. Terry began by noting that the Spirit is a part of the Gospel we do not talk about a lot, so for the next few weeks this is our theme.

In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is explicitly talked about as a seed planted within our hearts to bring us to salvation. In the Old Testament the Scriptures approaches this differently. In Book of Judges we see again and again how "the Spirit of the Lord came upon" so and so and they did mighty things for God.

The Old Testament also talks about the Spirit of the Lord in conjunction with prophets and prophecy.

To some extent the way we use the word "spirit" can create confusion. The Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Trinity. The way we use the word is different. "Jack is a good-spirited fellow."

In the New Testament, Jesus talks about how He is going to be leaving soon. (John 16:1-16) What He promises is that the Spirit will be coming in His stead, counseling, revealing, comforting and guiding.

One of the words to describe the Holy Spirit is advocate. The advocate is one who speaks on our behalf, watches over us to protect and represent us. The Holy Spirit is with each of us and can be with all of us at all times. Jesus, in bodily form, He reminded them, could only be in one place at a time.

The Holy Spirit inspired and drove the writing of the Bible while simultaneously illuminating our own souls as we read the Bible. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes the Bible come alive for us.

Another part of Jesus' last talk with the disciples is that the Spirit will receive from Jesus what He makes known to us.

In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit fell with flaming tongues of fire and they spoke in other languages. In another place Paul writes about the gifts of the Spirit and in Galatians he details the fruit of the Spirit. And in another places there is a command to be filled with the Spirit.

What is the meaning of all these things? In one place it is written that the Holy Spirit is a downpayment, or a deposit. In another we're commanded to be filled. How do we go from the deposit to the fulness, to the place where we are filled? This is what Pastor Terry will be talking about next time he preaches.

The Good News is that every time the Holy Spirit came upon people in the Old Testament it was for a great task that was humanly beyond them. God can do the same for us in this day and age.

* * *

Sunday, July 9, 2017

He Knows My Needs

Upcoming Events
--Women's Bible Study will be starting up again in September. A sign up sheet is in the back of the sanctuary.
--There will be a baby shower after church next Sunday, July 16, for Braelynn, daughter of Levi Landsverk.
--Pastor Terry is moving to his new home this month and could use help moving his Bonsai trees next Saturday. To help moving other things ask Terry for recommendation on best ways to help.

Children's Sermon
Susan Jessico invited the little ones up to the front and began by sharing a blueprints of our church building to show and share how important plans are. The key takeaway was how God has a blueprint for our lives, and that is what the Bible is. The children took turns sharing verse that address the various features of God's blueprint... to pray, to hide God's Word in our hearts and to trust God.

Baptism
We set aside time for the baptism of Lydia Glesner, daughter of Tom and Mary Glesner. Terry shared a few insights on how there are different views on baptism in different denominations. Most believe one view or another when it comes to baptism of infants or baptism of new believers. The Covenant Church holds a both/and position as opposed to either/or.

The Glesners came forward along with godparents and Pastor Terry blessed and prayed for Lydia and baptized her in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The family then came forward and all were prayed for.


* * * *

The ushers came forward and took the offering as the congregation sang "'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" followed by a time of prayer before the message.

* * * *

He Knows My Needs

In order to grow in the life of faith we need to know God better, to know who God is. As an illustration Terry brought a package of bread from Great Harvest.

This familiar passage from the Sermon on the Mount was our text: Matthew 7:7-14. What Jesus taught us was to ask each day for our daily bread. Ask, seek, knock...

If you, then, know how to give good gifts, how much more will God take care of you, give you good gifts. God is good. Do you believe this fundamental truth? God will take care of you.

The Lord's Prayer outlines the essentials of His care, that His kingdom would come and His will be done, that that our debts/sins would be forgiven and that we we be able to forgive others, that we be delivered from evil, that He would protect us from temptation,

Today we live in a moment of great promises. Sometimes they are short in coming and other times they are long in coming, but God is faithful and he will fulfill what He has promised.

Hold on to God's promises. God is good. Trust that He can do what He has promised.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Serve With Love

Terry White welcomed us and then invited us to join in pre-service discussions about faith and life. Among other things we received a reminder that the second Sunday in August we will be eating at Cressman's for church.

As we turned to worship Terry read from Psalm 150. We then sang a mix of hymns and worship songs

After taking an offering and spending time in prayer we received the message for today.

Serve With Love

Terry began by reacting to the worship and prayer time, expressing that it's a blessing to experience unity, as a body of believers or as families. He then gave an update on things that are happening with regard to the sale of his house and the transition from what was to what will be.

Through the month of June Pastor White has been sharing a series of messages based on the acronym BLESS. The message today features the letter S, for Serve.

One of the best ways to live is to live as servants. But our natural inclination is to serve ourselves, not others.

Terry cited the TV show Survivor and how many things we do and choose are for the benefit of others or for the benefit of ourselves. The more that is at stake, the more we see what is in their hearts and ours.

Today's text was John 13:1-18, the story of Jesus watching the disciples' feet.

Terry points out how God doesn't ask us to do things that God wouldn't do. In this case we see Jesus humbling Himself, serving, modeling servanthood.

The key verse here is verse 14: "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet."

We're called to serve, and sometimes we do and it feels good. But there are times and situations where it feels like we are doing all the work. Resentment sets in and we wonder thoughts like are we being enablers for bad behavior?

A life of service is a powerful witness.

Terry read from Rich Mullins, paraphrased here: God has called us to be lovers...  Most of us give up ourselves as long as our investments pay off. We even resent those who we pretended to love.

We are called to be the hands, feet and voice of Christ to the world. This is our calling, our responsibility. Matthew 25:31-45. Service is the heart of the Gospel.

We also read Philippians 2:1-8. There's a reason it feels good to do good. It's because we're aligning ourselves with who God is and His purpose for us. It feels right.

We closed with the song Take My Life & Let It Be.... Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Eat Together

Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and then invited announcements before we began a time of worship.

Announcements
~Thursday June 29 there will be a baby shower for Alicia Benson and Jacoby, 10:00 a.m.
~New Dimensions W.L Group, Wednesday 6:30
~Faith in Fabrics Kickoff, Friday and Saturday September 9 & 10
~VBS was awesome this year with over fifty kids every day and ample numbers of volunteers.

Chuck read a passage from Jeremiah about the prophet's visit to the potter's house, in which God showed Jeremiah this truth:: "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand."

After a time of singing from the blue hymnal an offering was taken with the VBS young people singing a song they learned this week. "I was made for this, built  for a purpose," a truly important message in our post-modern age with its cynical messages that say life has no real meaning or purpose.

Darlene led us in prayer this morning, beginning by reminding us that God is always there for us, even when we don't feel it.

Eat Together

Terry began by sharing the uplift he received from watching everyone serving during VBS this week, the ways they shared and showed their gifts and abilities. It was another way of getting to know our church family better, seeing more than just our faces on Sunday mornings.

The current sermon series is called BLESS, an international evangelism initiative. The Acronym goes like this:

BEGIN with prayer
LISTEN with care
EAT together
SERVE with love
SHARE your story

Eating together is one of the special times in our holidays, a time in which we connect, tell stories, listen to stories. It's a time we share with our families. It's a moment of intimacy and of hospitality.

Pastor Terry turned to Luke 19:5-10 and the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, one of the most hated people in the community. Yet Jesus, who saw him, said he would welcome the opportunity to go to his house and dine with him.

We then turned to Acts 2:42-47. Notice how the common things of eating together is listed in the midst of these other "spiritual" activities they share, prayer and teaching.

Eating together is a way we connect.

He then asked us what Hospitality was. Words like caring, friends, welcoming, inviting and sharing were shared.

"One of my favorite authors is Henri Nouwen who said hospitality is the ability to invite people into your home and life without making them keep all their stuff outside." Being able to have them in your home as they are, including the baggage they bring. We need to let them bring who they are into our presence, not make them drop that at the door.

Intimacy is the ability to be close with someone else. We've sexualized it so much that we can hardly talk about it anymore.

Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. The aim of intimacy is freedom so that we're able to have interactions in which we can be ourselves.

* * * *

We love God because He loved us first. That love teaches us that we're accepted as we are. And we're invited to extend that same kind of "as you are" love toward others.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Listen With Care


A dreary Sunday morning brightened when we entered the sanctuary where the walls were decorated for our upcoming week of Vacation Bible School theme, Maker Fun Factory: Created By God, Built for a Purpose.

Announcements
1. Dawn shared that we want to update our directory. A sheet is being passed around. Update or add your information.
2. VBS starts tomorrow!
3. Pastor Terry shared the news that their house has sold their home, but on the flip side the house they were seeking to purchase fell through. Pray for their next step.

Terry shared from Psalm 31 before leading us into a time of worship.

Karen shared details about the week ahead. In conjunction with VBS there is always a mission for which we raise money, in keeping with providing a vision beyond our own walls. Melissa shared what this year's mission will be supporting: clean water. Kelly then provided details, noting that every 20 seconds a child dies due to lack of access to clean water. Kelly read a letter from an 11-year-old girl from India who described their struggles to have water. The need is great in many parts of the world for this precious resource that we take for granted.

A massive thunderboom wiped out the power just as the children prepared to lead us in a song, We stood to sing but waited as the sound system was re-booted. High energy and a romp filled the church once the music returned.


Cheryl Borndal led us in a time of prayer before Pastor White came forward to share the message.

Listen With Care

Terry began by talking about the Ponderosa Pine he brought to today, to accompany his Azalea. Ponderosas are resilient. In contrast, the Azalea, so beautiful, is tender and not so resilient.

The sermon today was about evangelism and the Gospel. The theme for five weeks uses the acronym BLESS to bring home five points. Last week Terry spoke about the letter B.

B: Begin with prayer.
L: Listen
E: Eat
S: Serve
S: Share

This week is about listening. How well do you listen? How well do you hear what is said by others or by God?

The truth is that we don't listen well. Terry asked, "What are some things that keep us from good listening?"A number of responses followed including:
Distractions.
Thinking about what we're going to say while the other is talking.
Hearing aids.
Sometimes a person wants to talk and we try to fix things instead of just letting them share. Assumptions are a problem.
Changing the subject.

He then shared how there are inner questions many people have and we can hear what is taking place inside others if we become better listeners.

Am I alone in this world? People have a longing for community and friendship as well as purpose. By listening we can affirm people's value, and also help them feel connected to a community.

There are certain questions that rattle around in inside people no matter where they come from. Here are four basic struggles people have questions about:

Is there meaning to life?
Is there any hope in this world?
Do I belong in this world?
Is there anything beyond this?

All this served as a preface to a sermon on John 4, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.

The disciples had gone into town. Jesus is by a well when a Samaritan woman comes along. He asks for water. She then asks a question, to which He replies in an indirect manner. Terry pointed out that only 3 times in NT does Jesus answer directly. More than 200 times He is asked questions, and Jesus' answers frequently move the dialogue to unexpected places.

We live in an era in which the basic truths of Christianity are no longer a part of our national understanding. Terry shared how missionaries have to approach their work in different ways based on the culture they find themselves in. They are sensitive to where the culture is at and it affects their approach to dialogue.

Ultimately, the basic questions are universal. Why am I here? Is there hope? What is life all about? What comes next after life?

Your assignment this week will be about learning to listen, and finding ways to turn conversations to the Lord, with the aim of hearing what is really happening in people's hearts. Your objective is not to convert people, but to sow a seed. If that person ever decides he wants to come to the Lord, they will know who to come to.

* * * *

Here is the passage from John 4 which Terry read from today.

John 4 (NIV)

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 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.)
10 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.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 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?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 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.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Not New, New Things

A grey morning outside but warm spirits in the sanctuary as we gather for worship again. Chuck welcomed us and shared how things change. Chuck told a story about how he bought a bike in an effort to lose weight and be healthy. When he was riding his new bike he kept hearing a click-click-click sound. As he tried to figure out where the clicking sound was coming from he finally discovered what it was. It was his knees!

The story was shared to bring home thid point: Next week we will move to our summer hours, so the church service will start at 9:30 a.m. next week. Things change, and our schedule is changing for the summer.

Darlene played a beautiful introit on the piano, and then we turned to our hymnal and sang some great ones.

Cheryl Borndal invited the ushers forward to collect the offering, We then shared a time of praise and prayer.

Pastor Terry introduced a guest from the Gideons, Tom Engelmann. The Gideon's are not simply people who place Bibles in hotel rooms, but also are our partners in saving souls. Tom shared a story about a college student who became so depressed she wished she could take her life. By chance a Gideons Bible was there, arranged by circumstances orchestrated by God.

Not New, New Things

Terry opened with a story underscoring the importance of God's Word. He then had us turn to the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Terry's in the middle of a renovation at his house and he shared that it can be  real challenge. In order to move forward you have to often move backward to make progress. Like mountain climbing, you see that when you reach the current peak there is a lot more ahead of you still.

This is the cycle of life, not only in a house renovation project but also in our personal life goal. So we turned to Ecclesiastes 2:17-23.

17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

Sometimes we complicate life. We overthink it.

God has given toil to us as a gift. Why do we see these things as a weight, as anything but a gift?

Eccles 3:22 says,
So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?

Ecclesiastes 9: 9, 10
9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

It's all worship. Whatever you do,

Ecclesiaster 11:1-6 also addresses our relationship to work.

In closing Terry had us look at Jeremiah 6:16 ...
This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.  

What does it look like to have rest for your soul?

And when we find the good path, we're encouraged to walk it. As you walk it, you will find rest for your souls.

Physical reality, emotional reality, social reality... these realities are all linked. And they all need to be healthy and well.

Every single moment every day, God wants us to love what we're doing and to honor Him.
Ne

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Life's Classroom

Today is Mother's Day and as is a custom here the men produced a marvelous breakfast spread for the Mothers and the church family. Wonderful breakfast flavors wafted through the lobby and lingered in the sanctuary to bring a satisfying lift to our spirits. Special thanks to Duayne Anderson for helping organize this noteworthy feastlike celebration.

Pastor Terry welcomed us with enthusiasm. In addition to announcements and a Happy Mother's Day welcome he noted that today is Confirmation Sunday.

Announcements
--We have two small groups meeting and you are invited to join. The Terry White group meets on the 1st and 3rd Sundays. The second group meets at the Cressmans. Contact Walt and Gwen for details.
--VBS is coming, a sure sign that summer is near. Volunteers always welcome..
The Rummage Sale raised over $600 which will be used to send kids to Camp.
Duayne stood and thanked all the men who helped make the breakfast and reminded us that this was especially for the Moms.

Pastor White read from Deut. 6:4-9 and then we entered into a time of worship.

Cheryl Borndal called the ushers forward to take the offering and then led us i a time of prayer before inviting the youth were confirmed today. There were many needs on our hearts which we lifted to God.

Terry began with a humorous story and then reminded us that tradition for tradition's sake doesn't mean it's useful. Nevertheless, there are reasons confirmation makes sense at this age. He explained that in 6th, 7th and 8th grade our frontal lobe is growing faster than ever, and the brain is being rewired for adulthood. For this reason, Junior High aged young people are the age we have training in the faith and for life.

Joanne Winship, who has been teaching confirmation for a number of years, came forward to share and then introduced McKenzie Lysher, Nolan Mehle, and Spencer Smith. Confirmation, she said, is a time in which young people learn to be sure about God and themselves, and their place in the world and the church. The program is two years of study, beginning with how none of us are in the same place as regard faith and experience. Next there is Bible study. And then the youth came forward and shared their faith journeys.

Each of the confirmed was given a Life Application Resource Study Bible, which was followed by a brief message from Terry.

Life's Classroom

What does it look like to be good parents and good parishioners? Deuteronomy 6:4-9 addresses this. Our children watch us and learn from our example. This is why it is essential for us to model our faith by living it, not just give lip-service.

If we would live out just the first line from this passage it would change us. "Hear Oh Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

Terry shared insights about how pride leads to fancier philacteries and braids and symbols of faith so we can show off how holy we are. The Pharisees were perfect examples of Adventures in Missing the Point.

One of the points Terry made was that being a good listener as a parent is important. If we listen to our children, our children will listen more to us.

The Bible is something to live out, and our kids will learn about God and our faith by the manner in which we treat one another. How we respond to hardship, disappointment and neighbors will teach them much.

What God does for His people: 10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

God's desire is to bless us. In the same way that we watch out for our kids' safety while they are clueless of your watchfulness, so also God is watching out for us, watching over us, keeping us from falling into pits and other traps. God is faithful, and we closed the service singing about His faithfulness.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

"What's God Up To In Your Life?"

Pastor Terry White: "Good morning! It's a good day to be in God's house."

Announcements
Ladies Bible Study & Pot Luck, May 2, 10:00 a.m. till Noon.
Wed. May 3, Youth Group: Who Are You In Christ, at the River Church
May 7: Last Sunday School till Fall
May 9: New Life Gospel Singers, Edgewood Vista
May 14: Confirmation Sunday and Mother's Day Breakfast. Men: there will be preparations Saturday evening at 7:00 if you would like to help honor the mom's in your life.
May 12-13: Church Rummage Sale at Grand Lake/Twig Town Hall
Vacation Bible School is on the horizon, June 12-15. Volunteers welcome. We'll be happy to fin a place to plug you in.

* * * *
Today's service is designed to be a time of sharing what God is doing in our lives lately. The operative word being "lately."

One Day At A Time
I'm only human, I'm just a woman
Help me to believe in what I could be and all that I am
Show me the stairway that I have to climb
Lord for my sake teach me to take one day at a time
One day at a time, sweet Jesus, that's all I'm asking from you
Give me the strength to do everyday what I have to do
Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine
So for my sake teach me to take one day at a time

* * * *
Terry shared a few words from John 9 which is the story about the man born blind, a powerful story made moreso by the honest testimony of the young man.

We then sang Holy, Holy, Holy together and prepared our hearts to share and hear from one another.

Gail Carlson began with her story of how she came here and how she was not the kind of person who sings in front of people, but she sensed God nudging her, and has pushed her out of her comfort zone. God said it's not for her glory, but for His glory.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Jeff Larson shared his gratefulness for God's peace at this time in his life, despite many things going on.

Roseanne shared how when her husband Bud passed and she met Pearl the Lord showed her that going to church every Sunday isn't what it's about. Rather, it's more than that, and God showed her what it means to live it more.

Terry told us about A Severe Mercy and the story it contains in which a young man's heart is broken and correspondence with C.S. Lewis leads him to a deeper understanding of the love of Christ.

Janet shared how she was raised in a home with a God-fearing mother, but did not know what it means to have a relationship with the Lord. She shared the challenges she faced when her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident when she was in her early 40s. None of us is perfect, but God is ever at work removing things from our hearts that shouldn't be there. She closed by encouraging us to read John 15.

Terry said it's not always easy to have honest conversations about our faith so we have to practice this.

We closed by singing Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound things.

* * * *
After the service we stayed for our Annual Meeting to address church business, which included election of new council members. Today we elected the following:
Christian Education: Dawn Walsh
Fellowship: Paula Saxin
Missions: Kelly Smith
Treasurer: Melissa Ringger

Church Updates were provided by Harry Eliason (Missions), Paula Saxin (Fellowship), Susan Jessico (Christian Ed.), Pam Johnson on behalf of Cheryl Borndal (Worship), Jeff Larsen (Facilities), and Chuck, who gave an update on additional facilities initiatives and financial matters on behalf of LeeAnn Vanderscheuren.

Thank you to everyone who has served in whatever capacity you have been able to share your time and gifts.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"Oh Yeah, Don't Forget

Pastor Terry White welcomed us and found reasons to rejoice, despite the sudden snow in the aftermath of yesterday's fabulous sunshine Saturday.

Announcements
--Next Sunday is 5th Sunday, and Pastor While would like to give us opportunity to share what God is doing in your lives.
--This Wednesday is the last Wednesday evening Supper, Kids Club and Youth gathering till Fall.
--Bake Sale and Rummage Sale, Saturday May 13. Can use volunteers to help coordinate donations, pricing, etc.

After a lively time of worship, an offering was taken as the worship team performed a song about the alabaster jar that was given to Jesus as an offering of devotion.

Cheryl Borndal led us in a time of praise and intercession for the needs in our church family.

"Oh Yeah, Don't Forget

II Timothy 4:9-22


We've been talking about leadership and parenting.

How many of you have a "lost drawer"? That is, a drawer full of stuff and junk, and whatever you put in there will never be found again. What's the solution? This is the way the end of II Timothy feels, a hodgepodge of elements all thrown together.

In the midst of all this there are some interesting insights. Paul cites some of the failings of some people close to him, but God knows what it is like to be abandoned. Jesus has lived amongst us. He, too, was betrayed and abandoned by friends.

The world is not perfect. In the midst of living on earth there are heartaches and letdowns, so we need to learn how to live in forgiveness.

Paul also sends Timothy some warnings about some people. Forgiveness does not mean that we automatically trust.

Terry then singled out a verse that he considered of special importance, verse 17. Paul, after stating that he had been deserted by friends he trusted, states, "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth."

God is present in our times of need. He does not abandon us when we're down. He is present and by our side. Trust that God will do what He has promised.

Here is what the Lord wishes to do for us. Verse 18: "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Paul's confidence was not in his own strength. His confidence was in God. Likewise for us, our ability to be leaders is not about feeling competent, feeling ready. If we wait till we are ready, we will never be leaders.

Pastor Terry closed with some comments about the Kingdom of God. To better understand the Kingdom of God we should read, study, the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7.

Refuse to waste your life. Seek God's agenda for you. There will be difficulties, but God stands beside us, and that is more than enough. "Let's build God's kingdom together."

* * * *

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Take A Deep Breath

The sun has come forward to greet us as the congregation filters into the sanctuary. Chuck welcomed us today and invited Paula to come forward to remind us of events surrounding Easter breakfast. There will be an Easter Egg Hunt as well.

Tuesday there will be a number of our members going to Chris Jensen to sing to residents there, 2 p.m.
June 12-15 will be VBS this year, 9:30 to noon. Volunteers welcome.

Chuck read from the Psalms to lead us into worship. "Create in me a new heart," David wrote. "Restore to me the joy of my salvation."

Chuck and Darlene then sang "Create in me a clean heart... Cast me not away from Thy Presence, O Lord... and renew a right spirit in me." Our congregational song selection came from the blue humnals this morning. Paula then called the ushers forward to take the offering before our time of sharing pur prayer needs and praises.

Take A Deep Breath

Pastor Terry White took the podium and greeted us warmly.

Our message today will be based on II Timothy 3.

Terry began by noting our embedded beliefs, which are beliefs that are so embedded we are not even aware of them. There are many things in life where we have been taught things a certain way and they seem to be "the right way" as if other ways of doing things are "wrong." He shared, to illustrate, the process of having people help him do drywall work at his home yesterday.

Embedded beliefs are sometimes useful, but sometimes toxic. Changing wrong beliefs or lifestyle patterns is not easy.

Verses 10-17 became his springboard:
10 You, however, know all about my teaching,y my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconiuma and Lystra, the persecutions I endured.c Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse,g deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Sometimes the greatest lessons we learn are not learned in the classroom. They come to us during the course of life. This is especially true when it comes to matters of faith.

"Everyone who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

One of the enbedded mistaken ideas in the world today is that popularity is the measure of success. Bigger is not necessarily better. Small churches are not failed churches. Mega-church does not mean better or good.

Similarly, when things are hard does that mean something is wrong? Sometimes the correct path is the harder path. In fact, Jesus spoke clearly about the narrow way that few find. Here Paul states straight up that being a follower of Christ will result in persecution.

Paul encourages Timothy to remember the lessons he has received from the Scriptures which he has studied from his youth. All Scripture is God-breathed, and necessary to help us better correct our incorrect embedded beliefs.

What are the embedded beliefs that you hold that God would have you let go of? As you read the Scriptures this week look for those messages that may dislodge or correct our incorrect and imperfect understanding of God's message for us.

In closing Terry asked us to pray for God to illumine us in a new area of our understanding this week.

At this, we celebrated the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Take A Deep Breath

On a morning damp and grey we have gathered again to worship Christ at New Life Covenant, a body of believers where hope springs forth. Pastor Terry White welcomed us, then gave a heads up regarding upcoming events,

Announcements
Wednesday April 12 after supper, youth and adults will stuff Easter eggs.
Palm Sunday is April 9 this year with children waving palm branches.
There will be a special Good Friday service on April 14.
Easter morning will include a breakfast and egg hunt in addition to our celebration.
A church rummage sale will take place May 12-13.
VBS will be June.12-15..

Today's service would revolve around Summer Camp so during our worship we were encouraged to go through summer camp actions during the singing.

The ushers were invited to take an offering as the worship team sang My Lighthouse. "You are the peace in my troubled sea."

Before entering into a time of prayer Cheryl Borndal had everyone who has been to camp stand and then we had a commercial for Covenant Park. Costs have gone up this year but our church has always generously helped those for whom camp is a hardship cost-wise. We were encouraged to give again.

A number of prayer needs were shared and we spent a time in prayer.

Take A Deep Breath

Terry began with a camp report. After a video overview about the camp, Cayla, who has been hired to be Camp Director, shared what is happening there now. Covenant Park has been undergoing a re-evaluation as it lays foundations for the future.

"We're super excited for campers to experience relationships that can be life changing."

Each summer the camp also hires 15 college-aged students to fill in at various roles to keep camp going.

The reason costs have gone up is because the price used to be inadequate to cover its costs.  Also we want to be good stewards of that which we have been given.

The aim of camp is to help people meet Jesus.

One way to partner with camp is to sponsor a child or several to attend camp this summer. Another was is to pray with us and for us. You can also volunteer in other ways.

And thank you for your support. Campers are growing spiritually in a lot of different ways. You play a part in that. Thank you.

* * *
There are also other special events including a women's retreat with more than 100 women last year.

Many churches share this camp and it's an opportunity to meet others in the bigger body of believers.

* * *

Today we received a number of new members into the church family. They were:
Gus & Courtney Brewer
Paula Tuominen
Dan & Melissa Ringger
John & Mary Gerszewski
Emily White
Jan Frederick
Pastor Terry & Leah White

After reading the reception litany Pastor Terry shared several Scripture passages including the following:

John 13: "I give you a new command, that you love one another..."

Romans 15:5, 6
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The together we recited the Apostles Creed.
Amen.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Honesty is the Best Policy

Pastor Terry welcomed us and pointed out the addition of a few new sound panels to help dampen the echoes, but he quickly added that this is just a start.

Announcements
~The Worship Committee is seeking people to help usher, greet and help in other ways during the service.
We are also looking for people to help in small skits and readings during the service. Volunteers should contact Cheryl Borndal.
~Ladies Bible Study, Tuesday from 10 a.m. till Noon here at the church.
There will more painting in the church this Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.. We're talking about art, not walls. There's room for one more. Contact Paula S.
Camp brochures are printed and available. The rates have changed so note that. The church does have a camp scholarship fund to assist.

The theme of today's worship revolved around the power that is in the blood of Jesus. Afterward while the offering was being taken one of the young people in the congregation played Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.

Honesty is the Best Policy

We've been working our way through the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy, and  today's message zeroed in on II Timothy 3:1-9.

The message is about renovation and Pastor Terry began by citing issues one deals with when a house renovation project. Similarly people with gardens have the challenge of deciding how much weeding is enough. Many decisions are not black and white.

Terry told a story about a set of classic Baptist revival meetings in which the opening night included being given a handout that listed two pages of sins and congregation was instructed to circle all the ones they had ever done. It was a pretty overwhelming list, and honestly assessing actually could become quite depressing.

Washington Crosses the Delaware.
He then projected on the monitor the famous painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze of Washington crossing the Delaware. Seeing that the title of the sermon had something to do with honesty, it would not have been a surprise to begin the message with the tale of young George Washington chopping down the cherry tree. Terry may have considered two GW anecdotes, but instead chopped that one out and offered up this one.

In point of fact, though famous it is not really a truthful painting. The painting, which was painted in 1851, was not accurate in several respects. First, the flag in the boat did not exist for another year. Second, in real life the general would not have been standing in a canoe full of people going through a turbulent river. They would have been on barges or pontoon style boats. The painter was German and the river was the Rhine, not the Delaware.

The artist was not painting this for patriotic American reasons. Rather, he was into painting about revolutions and his aim was to foster revolution. There was a problem with this idea. The American Revolution was about something wholesome and noble. It was not revolution for revolution sake. The artist lost faith in a German revolution because the German people were not good.

What follows are several points Pastor Terry made during the rest of the message.

Good means that we're aligned with God. As a nation we can't be great again if we are not Good.

What does it look like to be aligned with God? It's about reconciliation, one with God.

Being a Christian is about more than being against sin. What are we for?

We were then sent to II Corinthians 5. By being joined to God, we can all be joined together.

We need to be forgiven, and then we need to extend that forgiveness to others.

The darker our sin, the greater we will value the grace that God gives us.

What does it look like to be one with God, to be reconciled to God?

Hell is not a tragedy because it exists. Hell is a tragedy because nobody has to go there.

We only get truly fixed when we are mended by God through faith.

Terry then had us turn to II Corinthians 5:14-21, which begins, "Christ's love compels us..." We have been given a message of reconciliation, and a ministry of reconciliation.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Yes, what a gift. It's a gift that is simultaneously a process, an ongoing renovation that is an invitation to life.