I admit it, I’m a procrastinator. There, it’s out. I was just not feeling Christmas this past year. I barely got any Christmas cards out. I started from the beginning of the alphabet and got maybe to M. I have no excuses. 

I did get a Christmas card from Lisa Turnquist. Lisa and I had worked together in New York. When Mike was in Minnesota and I was still in New York waiting for our house to sell, Lisa made me take a vacation day with her and we had a day of Glamour Shots and an extravagant lunch…it was just what I needed!  Lisa and I continued to write to each other throughout the years. I opened her Christmas card and she had written on the back “It has been a tough year for us. Our 15 year old son Alex was diagnosed with brain cancer and is undergoing treatments. He is a strong boy and we have lots of support. We would appreciate extra prayers.”  These past couple months I would continue to come upon her card, say a prayer and remind myself that I really needed to shoot her a note. Well, today was the day. Mike had left at 2:45 AM to go with the Wesley Foundation on a mission trip to Appalachia. I planned to get a lot of those things piling up in my to-do bin taken care of today and discovered Lisa’s card was at the top of that pile. I found a beautiful card and started to write a cheery note hoping that Alex was doing well.

AND THEN I GOT AN URGENT NUDGE… Google Alex. I did and his obituary filled my monitor screen. He had died March 5th. NO!!! I read on and discovered that his funeral was to be Saturday March 14, 2015 at 1:00…I looked at my watch it was Saturday March 14, 2015 11:55 AM (central time). Five minutes before Alex’s funeral was to begin. I wrote that long delayed letter to Lisa through many tears.

I’m not sure the lesson here. What strikes me (over my guilty feelings of procrastination) is the urgency I felt to write to Lisa right that moment and the huge nudge I experienced to do a little exploring. I hope I have learned pay closer attention to God’s voice and be quicker in my responses. At any rate will you please send a special prayer for Lisa, Paul, Erick and Nick? Thank you.

Paula Gaboury

Resurrected Life

“Jesus-the Divine Christ!  He experienced a life-giving birth and a death-killing death.  Not only birth from the womb, but baptismal birth of His ministry and sacrificial death.  And all the while the Spirit is confirming the truth, the reality of God’s presence at Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion, bringing those occasions alive for us.  A triple testimony:  the Spirit, the Baptism, the Crucifixion.  And the three in perfect agreement…

My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in His presence, freely asking according to His will, sure that He’s listening.”

                                                                                                                                                ~ 1 John 5

Jesus is our evidence of eternal life, thanks to His resurrection, and the eye-witness accounts of His followers.  He came that we might begin to understand and to comprehend that we, too, have lives that transcend Earth. 

He came that we might begin to understand and to comprehend that we, too, have lives that transcend Earth.  What a profound statement! What a transforming experience for humankind!   What a transforming concept for us! 

We are challenged to begin thinking beyond our immediate circumstances; beyond the boundaries of our human life in the 21st century.  How will our Souls carry on what we are learning here during our lifetimes?  How will we, for all eternity, continue to honor God’s great gift to us?  What is the Spirit; that still, small voice deep inside, calling us to become?

I’ve always felt grateful that our Lenten season, in the northern hemisphere, coincides with the coming of Spring.  It is so easy to feel hopeful in Spring!  The temperatures are warming, the snow is melting, the birds are returning, the grass is greening….  What a beautiful metaphor for our Soul’s growth!  This is a perfect time for personal transformation.  Take this opportunity to consider how God is calling you into more perfect union with Him.  How can you become more “whole”?  How can you become more uniquely “you”?  For this is what you were created to be-your Self.  God has created you, endorsed you, upholds you.  You are the living flesh; a manifestation of our God’s creative skill!  I encourage you to ponder your life beyond the bounds of this singular existence; to imagine how you will exist with God throughout all eternity…  Looking at the Big Picture often brings the small picture into clearer focus.

May God bless your questioning, your searching, your discovering!  May the example of Christ inspire you, encourage you, and fill you with the thrilling confidence that God loves you. 

 ~Ann Scarborough

I appreciate the educators in our church, I have learned so much by taking a class or participating in a small group study.  I’m thankful for the leaders who dedicate their time and effort towards education.

I am currently taking a class on United Methodism 101 which has been a very helpful class for me, especially since I was raised as a Catholic and joined the Methodist church about seven years ago.

I now have a new awareness and appreciation of John Wesley.  I appreciate how a key part of his ministry was to travel and preach outdoors to reach the common person; many of the early Methodist clergy would be circuit riders who were assigned to travel around specific geographic territories to minister to settlers and organize congregations.  This is in line with Jesus’ message; Jesus did not stay in a temple.  Jesus took his message to the people – and not just with other Jews, but with Gentiles and Samaritans as well.  Jesus was there for everyone.

This reminds me of some of the recent feedback we have had from the HCI recommendations.  We’re encouraged to get out of the building to reach the “nones”.  We’re encouraged to free up our Pastor’s time to be out in the community.  But this is not a new idea; this is something our church has done before and is now being reminded that it has worked well in the past.  This was done thirty years ago when Pastor Wayne Walther and the charter members started Glendale; and this was done over 200 years ago when John Wesley and the early Methodists traveled around America.  I have found studying our church’s history has opened up my perspective of who we are as a church, and I’m excited to be part of the next stage.

Matthew 5:14-16 (NRSV) You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Lisa Duffy

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;

We are the clay and you are our potter;
We are the work of your hand.”   (Isaiah 64:8)

Eddie Espinosa has written a hymn called “Change My Heart O God” in which he uses the imagery of God as Potter and our lives as the clay being molded.

Perhaps the question we need to be asking is not “What have I been doing?” but instead, “What is

God molding me to be and do in the future to further God’s Kingdom?” 

Ron Nicholas

8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9not the result of works, so that no one may boast.10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

I’ve had the opportunity to study with a great class these past Lenten Sundays (and Wednesdays).  The Adam Hamilton study called “Making Sense of the Bible” has been a real ‘eye opener’ for all of us.  We’ve been looking at not only the words of scripture from the books of the Bible, but also how those words got there and how they are arranged there.

This passage is an excellent example of how great scripture is tucked away into the Bible for us to find and relish.  It is not written at the beginning of Paul’s letter to the folks in Ephesus; it isn’t highlighted in bold; or repeated over and over the way we would author such a profound statement of faith.  It is just there for us to find.  And to study, and to talk with each other about, and to use in our faith journeys.

God bless us today as God blessed those who wrote our scriptures of faith.

Mike Shultz

                                              A New Heaven & a New Earth

It will be 11 years in April since the loss of my Mother. At her funeral my daughter sang what is one of my favorite hymns.  #707 the Hymn of Promise.

Lent can sometimes be a dark place thinking of the day’s leading up to the death of Jesus and we do need to remember and travel through those, but this hymn for me is a reminder that we have a wonderful promise from God.  When things in our lives are dark and cold he is there waiting for us to be in relationship. In the death & resurrection of Jesus we are made new and forgiven.

This hymn seems to be a favorite each Wednesday during our Lenten soup suppers.

As we are experiencing warmer spring like weather this week we are hearing the birds singing and will be looking for the bulb to be a flower along with cocoons to turn into beautiful butterflies.

God makes all things new. It may not always be something that we can see (as the hymn says) but God can.

This hymn is not a song about death but one of life and hope made new in Christ Jesus.

May your journey through lent be one where you can see God’s promise in a new heaven and a new earth.

Shelley Shultz

“The Courage to Witness”

 

I suppose all pastors have couples in their congregations where one member attends worship, but the spouse does not.  There was a young pastor with such a couple in his congregation.  Both were members.  The wife worshiped faithfully and devoutly each Sunday, but he, never.  This bothered the young minister until one day he decided to visit the husband.  He phoned the man and made an appointment to see him.  Arriving at the man’s office, he was shown into a finely appointed office.  After a little polite conversation, the young pastor began to say why he came.  He reviewed briefly the family’s situation and then went on to tell in simple words just what Christ and the Christian community meant to him.  Finishing, the executive across the desk said nothing — not a word.  Feeling utterly uncomfortable and wishing he had never come, the young preacher tried again using a few different words.  He concluded by saying, “Now, I think you ought to do something about this one way or the other.”  The figure across the desk said nothing and was expressionless.  The young preacher fidgeted nervously.  At last the man took a scrap of paper and scribbled a few words and shoved it across the desk.  Feeling like an utter failure the preacher took the note, almost afraid to read.  Then everything changed.  The note read, “I   am   so   deeply   moved   I   cannot   speak.”

Consecrated actions sometimes produce greater effect than we sometimes realize.

Rev. Jim Ross

Sacred Deer

It happened again this morning.

I looked out in the trees in my back yard to see a family of deer hunkered down.  Now and then we notice them more readily when they are standing to eat something.  But very often they are in our back yard lying down and very still.  When the light wasn’t as much, in the months of December and January, we would have to ask ourselves if they were there or if we were mistaking rocks for the deer.  In March, it is obvious.  There are deer in my backyard and I love seeing them there.

They remind me each morning to slow down a bit.  It’s so easy to rush into the day, with the appointments to keep and the to-do lists to accomplish.  These deer lay in my back yard as reminders to slow a bit before heading so fast into my day, to take time to pause, time to allow my spirit to catch up with me, time to be still and know God.

What is it in your life that reminds you to take time to “be still and know God?”

May you be flooded with regular reminders that you are a precious child of God, a human being and not a “human-doing.”

Blessings!

Becky Jo