“Can a Christian Pray for a Horse?”

Dan Patch days are nearly here in Savage.  You probably know well the story of the great harness racer.  Our city was named after the horse’s third and last owner, Will Savage.  In mid-September 1904 a brief news item appeared in the papers that Dan Patch had taken ill and would probably die.  That word sent tremors of anticipatory grief not only through the racing world, but through millions of people with no interest in horse racing but knew the exploits and achievements of Dan Patch.

Dan’s driver spoke to a Minneapolis Journalreporter and said, “Dan has no chance on earth.”  His vets agreed.  Will Savage wouldn’t believe it.  He went into Dan’s stall, sat on the floor and took from his pocket a vial of colic cure, got help getting Dan to take it, and then asked to be left alone with the horse.  He sat on the floor, took Dan’s head in his lap, petted him, talked to him, and being the devout Methodist that he was, he prayed.  Savage stayed with Dan all through the night.  At dawn one of the handlers crept into the stall, and in a few seconds ran outside smiling.  “Anyone know where we can get some apples?”  The paper’s headline, “Dan Patch Doomed to an Early Death” had to be changed.  Dan recovered so quickly that in only a few days he was back on the practice track, and by October was on the circuit.  He went on to race and was never beaten!

Is it right to pray for a horse?  Can we pray, and expect God to answer?  Yes, we can.  Whatever is of concern to us is of concern to God.  So we ought always to pray and not lose heart.  The fellowship with God alone makes prayer always worthwhile.

Jim Ross

A Fathers Day Reflection

With Fathers day this Sunday I have been thinking about my Dad.

Here find some of what I consider his God given gifts.

He had a great laugh and loved telling a joke and then seeing the reaction from others and hearing their laughter.

He was always approachable, kind, patient, loving, and gentle. He was a quiet guide in my life growing up.

He was a farmer who loved to plant seeds and then got to harvest God’s bounty in the fall.

After leaving the farm he was a manager for a business in our small Wisconsintown. He cared about others and they cared for and respected him in return.  I could share much more about my Dad but I will save those stories for another time.

This Sunday I would like you to set aside time to either remember and /or spend time with your Father or a Father figure in your life that helped shape the person you have come to be and tell them just how much they mean to you.

Shelley Shultz

When Larry and I were married, June was themonth in which to get married.  Recently July, August and September have become more popular than June for a variety of reasons. 

Larry and I turned out to be one of the trend-breaking couples.  Our reasons were that I was going to school nearly 300 miles away from where we would get married, and I wouldn’t even get home until the end of May.  We opted to get married in early August so that I would have the time to make final wedding plans. 

Sadly, we cannot predict the success of a marriage based on the month in which a couple marries.  Even though we’ve been married for nearly 46 years, we know that our August wedding had no bearing on whether our marriage would last or not. 

We have been married long enough that people are beginning to ask, “To what do you attribute your success?”  I usually tell them, “Be head over heels in love when you get married, promise each other it will last for as long as you live, be flexible because the other person will change, and then always be looking for ways to make sure you are living up to your promise.”  In other words, each person is 100 percent responsible for having the marriage work.

Larry and I recently had the opportunity to visit the Mark Twain Museum and Boyhood Home in Hannibal, Missouri.  It was interesting to see his views on marriage.  In 1852 Samuel Clemens wrote in the Hannibal Journal,

What a world of trouble those who never marry escape! There are many happy matches, it is true, and sometimes “my dear,” and “my love” come from the heart; but what sensible bachelor, rejoicing in his freedom and years of discretion, will run the tremendous risk?

However, 17 years later, he had discovered Olivia Langdon, a sister of one of his college friends, with whom he fell head over heels in love and to whom he had proposed.  On September 8, 1859, he wrote these words to her:

This 4th of February will be the mightiest day in the history of our lives, the holiest, & the most generous toward us both — for it makes of two fractional lives a whole; it gives to two purposeless lives a work, & doubles the strength of each whereby to perform it; it gives to two questioning natures a reason for living, & something to live for; it will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, a new mystery to life; & Livy it will give a new revelation to love, a new depth to sorrow, a new impulse to worship. In that day the scales will fall from our eyes & we shall look upon a new world. Speed it!

They were married 34 years, and when Livy passed away in June of 1904, Sam was so brokenhearted that he died in the fall of the same year.

We are human beings and what we plan does not always work out, but whether you are getting married, newly married, or have been married a very long time, may God bless you with the determination to have a love that lasts a lifetime.

Barbara Moore

 

Matthew 25: 15… To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.

During Annual Conference this year Jorge Acevedo, one of the worship leaders, talked about how God bequeaths all people with talents. Some people get 5 talents…they would be the UM Church of the Resurrection’s Adam Hamilton’s of the world, some people get 2 talents and some get 1 talent. Rev. Acevedo told us that we are all not equal and that God gives us the amount of talents that we are personally able to manage. We are instructed to make the most of the talents we are given. When I thought about what Rev. Acevedo said it gave me pause. I tend to get caught up in the “it’s not fair” ugly thinking cycle. After hearing that indeed, I’ve been given the exact gifts God wants me to use in the perfect amounts that I can handle to do the best job that I possibly can do without getting into a lot of trouble or be in over my head.  Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all had the talents of Adam Hamilton…chaos! God knows best. Whether we are given 5, 2 or 1 talent, our lives are full. Using those talents for the glory of God, we are living the life God intended us to live. The trap comes with the person who buries their talent, afraid of what might happen.  God did not intend for us to live scared. As Pastor Becky Jo instructed us on Sunday, we need to “Just Do It” and if that is a frightening idea, well, we need to “Just Do It…Scared”. God is with us and will see us through.

Paula Gaboury

“Just Do It!”

James 2:14-16, 23-24 “What good is it, my friends, if you have faith, but don’t put it into action?  If you see a person who is inadequately dressed or hungry, and you say, ‘Go in peace; keep warm; eat your fill, and yet you do nothing to provide help, what good is that?’ ….It’s the mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named ‘God’s friend’.  Isn’t it evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith abounding in works-in action?” (paraphrase, NRSV and The Message)

This Bible passage can be particularly helpful during times of confusion or despair.  Rather than giving more attention to those emotions that can knock us off-balance, we can engage ourselves in acts of service to others who are struggling more than we are….  This is an insightful prescription for restoring health and vitality.  It feels “good” to be of service.  It helps us feel like we’re contributing something of worth.  It helps us create meaning in our lives.

Our God is good!  When we invest in sharing our truest selves with other people, the rewards reinforce and reward our efforts.  May you risk reaching out, and may you experience joy in doing so!

In Christ’s love,
Ann Scarborough

After Jesus had dismissed the crowd, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came he was alone.   Matthew 14:23 (NRSV)  

Our Tuesday Men’s Group recently had a discussion about this scripture verse.  Reading this again brings a memory of another one of my “S E E” (Significant Emotional Experience) moments.

It was 2:00PM on June 30th, 2012, and my boss, the CEO of our company invited me in to his office for an unscheduled meeting, and he promptly said “This is going to shock and surprise you Bob; but I have decided to terminate you effective immediately!”  (He was right! – I was shocked, as I had never had a bad performance review nor had I been unethical, or breached a value in his company’s culture- it was his time to downsize and downsize 1 associate  out of 150 associates and that was associate was me).

How would I share the news with Ann, my family and my friends? Had I let them down?  Would we be OK?  Why me? Etc…etc!

So I left the office in St. Paul and proceeded to drive home, very much alone, angry, disappointed and sad. I ended up in the church parking lot, parked down by the Community Garden, and went for a walk down to the church “Fire Circle” and sat alone at the base of the cross and prayed, cried, and listened to hear God’s words of wisdom. Maybe I would SEE or hear an indication of how to proceed forward without fear and worry of the unknown–I was hopeful.

As I sat there, I looked up at the blue sky and a movement caught my eye–there was a magnificent American Bald Eagle circling above and gliding on the wind currents above the Credit River valley.  At that moment I felt the Holy Spirit gently calming my emotions and fears. I was alone with my God, and felt calmed and refreshed by the gentle breeze, the sun, and the sighting of one of God’s creatures and an American symbol of strength.

I left and did not feel alone, fearful, nor apprehensive about the future. It’s doubtful, had I headed straight home to face the uncertainty and fear that I was feeling, would I have noticed, seen, or heard anything that I described above.

God is with us all the time!  Amen.

Bob Scarborough

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

And suddenly from heaven thee came a sound like he rush of a violent wind
and it filled the entire house…” Acts 2:1-2a

The Holy Spirit of God comes into our lives like a storm and gets our attention.

It lifted the scared and inactive disciples of Jesus when it came to them and
with its power they transformed the world. When the Holy Spirit comes to us
it will activate us and force us out into the world.

The one thing the Spirit will not allow us to do is stay the same. We will become

new people when God’s Spirit touches us. Then things will get really interesting.

Ron Nicholas

There is nothing more soothing than a Monday morning, right after beginning the day, but before actually going out into it, spent with the Sunday crossword from the paper.

No, not the New York Times one; I said soothing not aggravating.

I know, I know…sometimes it takes Monday night and into Tuesday morning and most of the time I still don’t really ‘finish’…but remember the soothing.

There are many sources I use to unwrap the clues and fill in the downs and acrosses (not the internet—that would be ‘cheating’ now wouldn’t it?).  Three that I use a lot are my memory for the arcane (sea eagles are Ernes), the Hammond atlas (Cheju is the island off the south coast of Korea), and the Bible.

I am often left to wonder about the crossword authors and their use of the Bible when they construct their puzzles.  They must realize that a subset of their puzzlers are nots or nones; they have little to reference and perhaps very little memory for what is in the Bible.  Yet I still believe there are folks for which the Bible is a reference more than it is their commitment.

And I believe God is OK with that.  But I also believe God is in the middle of making subtle changes in us that broaden our uses of the Bible and our sense of who God is.

I’d like to believe that there are those who look to the Bible to see that Esth. follows Neh. and stick around to see what God wants from us by reading Micah 6:8.

Mike Shultz

Those who remember their American history will remember Marquis de Lafayette, the French general and politician who in 1777 joined the American Revolution.  After the war he returned to France and to his estates.  The harvest of 1783 was a very poor one, but the stewards of his estates at Chavaniac had nevertheless managed to fill his barns with wheat.  One of them came to Lafayette and said, “This poor harvest has raised the price of wheat.  Now is the time to sell!”  Lafayette thought about the hungry peasants in the surrounding villages and replied, “No, now is the time to give.”

For Christians, now is always the time to give.  Like you who read this, I receive five or six requests for funding in my mail box most every delivery day.  One cannot support them all, but we can do something.  We may discriminate, but are called upon by our faith to give, for that is what a Christian does.  Remember, the high point of the worship service is really the offering, for that is when I may respond to God, “Here am I, send me.”

Rev. Jim Ross

Shred Your Worries Away

Matthew Chapter 6 verses 25-34

Once a year we have a shred day at work. Employees can bring documents, papers, and some old electronics to dispose of in a secure manner with an outside company that comes in.

I don’t know about you but I tend to hold on to papers and items worrying or thinking I might need them at some point.

This shred day lead me to the Matthew scripture and about how we hold on or worry about so much in our lives.

God takes care of the birds of the air and lilies of the field, and if we have faith in what I believe this scripture is telling us we are not gaining anything by our worrying.  

Let’s shred all of our worries away and trust that if we believe and seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness we will receive all of the things we truly need.

Shelley Shultz