For 20 or more years, a small almost unnoticed ministry of the church took place every week.  Two or three or four or more men would meet at 6:00 each Tuesday morning in the library to pray with and for one another.

I used to tell the fellows I work with that I’d be getting up at insane o’clock to meet at church at stupid o’clock.

We would share in the occurrences of our lives.  We would spend time in devotion to God.  We would tell stories sometimes and laugh with one another all of the time.

We welcomed an occasional new guy to the group; more often than not we said goodbye to fellows who needed to find God in some other ways and places—but mostly, other times.

Earlier this year our ragged band decided it was time to change course altogether. I’ve discovered that I think we are the better for it.

Now, six or seven or eight men meet at church on Tuesdays at 6:00 (PM, praise God) to eat a meal together, pray with and for one another, view a video presentation, and have a discussion surrounding topical points from the video.

What a refreshing change of pace!  What an innovative way to invite a newer, more vibrant group to share the secrets we so securely hid away in the wee hours of the mornings!  What a way to keep the Lord in our hearts past our Sunday mornings!

We have ten places around the tables in the library (and we will add more, just ask). Our discussion leader and head chef, Paul Libra, is fond of reminding us that God brings us nourishment not only for our bodies, but for our spirits as well.

We are enjoying adding the pounds from supper and to the grace from our time spent together in study (and no one has ever had to make coffee!).

Mike Shultz

Seeds of Faith

 
Growing up as a child of a farmer planting was a huge part of our lives.

My Mother always planted a large garden and then canned the fruits of her labor for the winter months ahead, while my Dad was in the fields planting corn and peas. It was a regular Sunday afternoon routine to go for a Sunday drive to look at the crops and fields in the surrounding area and looking forward to the harvest to come.

Many farmers right now will lose their planted crops from all the rain we have had. While we at Glendale may not be farmers in the literal sense, we are planting the seeds of faith to everyone we encounter.  It may be at church camp, Sunday School, VBS, worship, working in a community garden, at work or school just to name a few. In Second Timothy we are asked to look back to our teachings and roots of our faith, the seed that was planted by someone in our past. Can you think of someone that touched you and planted your seed of faith?  Draw upon your seed of faith and let it grow and bloom.

Plant a seed for someone you know or encounter for today is here and tomorrow holds the promise of everything new.

 

Shelley Shultz

Rev. Jim Ross

“The Liberating Power of Habit”

Generally when we speak of habits, we mean bad habits; eating between meals, using improper grammar, interrupting someone else’s conversation, and so forth.  Actually, habit is a liberating feature of human personality and practice.  Tying our shoes is habitual and liberating, we don’t have to think about it, we just do it.  As with so many things like saying “please” and “thank you”, practicing courtesy, etc.

 

When Professor Shaler went up to Harvard, he made the decision to attend chapel services every day.  He testified as to how much easier and more efficient it was to make the decision once and be done with it, than have to wrestle with the decision every day.  So with the practice of mealtime prayer, scheduled Bible reading and regular church attendance.  Make the decision once and be done with it.  We are then free to occupy our minds with other things!  Think creatively!  Read Luke 4:16 – “Jesus went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day.”

Hospitality

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.  Hebrews 13:2  (New Revised Standard Version)

What comes to mind when you hear the word “hospitality?”

When my ears hear hospitality, my mind immediately goes to my maternal grandmother’s home.  No matter when I walked in the door there was a lavish spread of food out on the table, a smorgasbord of goodness on which to feast while we visited.  She made me feel like the most welcomed guest, pulling out foods she had that she knew I loved. 

When my ears hear hospitality, my heart remembers that my mother taught me to cherish and love without reserve every guest that enters your home.  I learned that most clearly on a wintery and icy night.  A woman had an accident outside our home.  It was clear that even an ambulance would have challenging travel conditions and that a wait might be lengthy.  So my mother welcomed this woman into our home, propping up the woman’s broken leg on a few pillows, while we waited for the ambulance. 

When my ears hear hospitality, my soul remembers the way a woman, we’ll call her Lois, was welcomed into the church community, just as she was, coming straight from the middle of her substance abuse rehab program. Rather than steering clear of her, lavish love and generous welcome was given to her and the church was the church at it’s best.

Christian hospitality  in the church is a generous and lavish demonstration of welcome to anyone who comes among us.  In the church true hospitality isn’t a program we do or an act of membership recruitment.  True hospitality welcomes the stranger among us that they might experience in us God’s gracious welcome of them.

How might the people of Glendale provide hospitality…
…to guests to worship?
…to our Russian School tenants?
…to the members of the Hispanic Church that meets here?
…to our youth?
…to our “seasoned” members?

I am listening for your voice in the conversation…so what do you think?

Blessings!

Pastor Becky Jo Messenbrink