Weep With Those Who Weep

"Weep with those who weep" - Romans 12:15 For the last few days, I've been consumed by sermon writing and recording. This morning, as I caught up on news, I was saddened to hear about the violence in Minnesota. For today's devotion, here are reflections from Bishop Sally Dyck, the resident Bishop of our Northern Illinois Conference. "Endangered lives of black people. People out running, people watching birds, people driving to a new job, people out getting a snack, people playing at the playground, people walking, people driving, people doing normal things that people like me who are white don’t have to worry about, much less fear losing our lives or being arrested. Sometimes someone may

Memorial Day

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." - John 15:13 Earlier this week, I read an article about World War II veterans, who passed away during this current pandemic. The writer noted that our country was quietly losing some of our national treasures. As we begin this year's Memorial Day weekend, let's acknowledge that a lot has changed. The military ceremonies and high school marching bands are cancelled. There won't be crowds cheering along the streets and sidewalks. There won't be family picnics in the park. On the other hand, there are things that remain true this Memorial Day. As a nation, we'll reflect on the sacrifice of our service men

Friendship

A cord of three strands is not easily broken. - Ecclesiastes 4:12 Eighteen years ago, I married the woman, who has become my best friend. She listens to me moan and groan. She lets me crab and cry. She watches me grow up and give up childish ways. She encourages me to dream and dance. She's not perfect and neither am I. Somehow, our differences have become more a source of laughter than frustration. Somehow, our differences are not as divisive than before. There's a beautiful passage in Ecclesiastes about friendship. I've quoted v12 above, but here's the fuller passage. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down,

Congratulations, Graduates

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun. - Ecclesiastes 3:1 A wise cinematic sage once said, "Life is like a box of chocolates..." Sure, there are good times, but there are also bad times. Yes, there are sunny days, but there are also stormy days. This is all part of the rhythm of life. May is usually a season to celebrate graduations. Students wearing cap and gown walk across the stage and receive a diploma that marks the end of one chapter and the start of another. Families gather to congratulate graduates and ask them the all-important question, "Where's the ketchup?" followed by "What are your future plans?" While celebratory plans have cha

Uncertainty

If you joined us for worship this past Sunday (5/10,) you saw the Pathfinders band close our service. One of the band's leaders, Mike Brown, is a teacher, coach, and long time-member of our church. Today's devotion is offered by Mike: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. Isaiah 41:10 Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 If you are like me, you probably strive to have control of the things that can affect your life. You strive hard for financial independence; you give sage advice to your children and you pursue things that can make your life more rewarding. I don’t think we are being control freaks by doing these things.

Thank God for Moms

This Sunday (May 10) is Mother's Day. It's a day to do what most of us should do every day anyway - celebrate moms. All of us have them. All of us need them. So, let's think of ways to thank and bless the women, who shower us daily with love. Perhaps she's your biological mom. Perhaps she's an "adopted" mom. Perhaps you call or visit her daily. Perhaps your only connection is through cherished memories. Whoever she is - wherever she may be - embrace the opportunity of this day to bless the special women in your life. Speaking of special women, here's a poem by Erma Bombeck called "Why God Made Mothers." When God created Mothers, It's certain that He knew We'd need the loving, th

Draw Near to God

"let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth." - Hosea 6:3 The prophets play a pivotal role in our faith. Namely, they are the ones who "call us out." They warn us when we've fallen into sin. By definition, they are the bearers God's message - God's word for us. Sometimes, this message was good news. More often than not, the news was bad. Frankly, this is why many of us don't like to read (nor preach from) the prophets. Too often, prophets were the bearers of bad news. They called people to "repent" and "change our ways." They sounded the alarm when we chose a path leading

Gratitude

"I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Jesus Christ" - 1 Corinthians 1:4 It's natural to complain and grumble. When life doesn't go our way - when plans change or are cancelled - our instinct is to scream and shout and throw our fists into the air. Truth be told, there's a lot to grumble about these days. During these last 7 weeks of the Stay-At-Home order, we've missed friends and family, birthdays and anniversaries, spring sports and formal dances, parades and graduations. It's in times like this when we most need to give thanks. Gratitude vaccinates our mind from the poison of bitterness. Thanksgiving guards our hearts from falling into the pit of despair

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Oct. 2020 Newsletter

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