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.

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.

--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.