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Pastor’s Corner August 2017

Pastor’s Corner: August 2017Pud and Dale were our neighbors in Wayland, Iowa, living across the street.  They were “grandparents” to our children, whose biological grandparents lived a six hour drive east.  They were our “parents.” They attended Sugar Creek Mennonite.  I was their pastor.  They were actively retired.  Dale shared things from his garden with us.  Pud offered Idella flowers that became bouquets for both of them.   Together Dale and I shoveled snow off our driveways.  Pud and Dale aged.  They moved to a nursing home in Cedar Falls, to be closer to a daughter.  No more: gardening, growing flowers or […]

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Pastor’s Corner June 2017

Pastor’s Corner: June 2017God is God.  (Try explaining that to someone.)  Jesus is the fullest and most accurate representation of God’s will and personality.  (Try explaining that to someone.)  In Acts 2, the holy spirit was sent as the earthly presence of God and Jesus.  (Try explaining that to someone.) When humans invite the holy spirit in, they become the presence of God and Jesus in this age, the representation and personality of God and Jesus on earth.  (Try explaining that to someone.) It’s hard to explain the holy spirit, hard to define the holy spirit, hard to demonstrate the effects […]

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Something To Celebrate

Something to CelebrateListen to the noise of American culture and one could think that there is only doom, gloom, deep, dark depression and excessive misery.  Last Sunday, though, during sharing time, we countered such things with resounding comments about good and joyous things. Reviewing NM’s Prayer Journal, we noted that . . .Vera Lenibach’s heart cath went off without incidentMary Yoder has rebounded from health issuesRay Hochstetler’s bone marrow tests revealed “nothing”Kris El Haoudi’s “results revealed no cancer”When the microphone was passed . . .Corben Boshart revealed that he and Mara are engagedBruce and Sandy Slabaugh told us that they are […]

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Spending Time

Spending Time The average person will spend . . .20 years sleeping20 years working6 years eating7 years playing5 years dressing1 year on the phone (this must have been estimated before cell phones)2 ½ years in bed2 ½ years smoking (if you’re a smoker)2 ½ years doing miscellaneous thngs3 years waiting for somebody1 ½ years in church5 months tying shoes There are: 365 days in a year, 52 weeks, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes (if my calculator is accurate).  My grandfather: “I can make more money, but I can’t make more time.”  Everyone gets the same amount of hours and minutes in every […]

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Thoughts on Abundance (and Other Things)

Thoughts on Abundance (and Other Things Merriam-Webster on abundance: “an ample quantity; relative degree of plentifulness.”  In Scripture, “Abundance” is mentioned seventy-eight times (NRSV).  God is a God of abundance: “They asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in abundance” (Psalm 105:40).  On the Sundays of November, we will have an opportunity to share from our personal abundance, gathering material items, in baskets, for FCDC.  Watch the Compass for a list of items to bring each week.  Finally, to recognize God’s bountiful material and relational provisions, we will conclude the month of abundance with a church […]

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Keep Moving

Keep Moving It was snowing, hard, flakes the size of a fist.  I-80 was treacherous, a rutted mess, one lane in many  locations.  Abruptly traffic stopped.  Fortunately, we were at an off ramp.  We exited and stopped at a Casey’s gas station.  “What caused the traffic jam?  How bad is it?” I asked the man behind the counter (“brilliant” questions, given the  circumstances).  The man: “Cops probably closed the road or there’s an accident.”A Fed-Ex driver stomped snow into the store, arriving from Des Moines, via county roads.  I asked about directions and conditions: “You can still get through, but […]

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The Word(s) For Today…

The Word(s) For Today . . . “The word for today, boys and girls, is” (Mr. Rogers).  Well, actually there are two words for today, or this Pastor’s Corner: “ambiguity,” “laminality.” Ambiguity: “ something that does not have a single clear meaning” (Merriam-Webster).  When I consider that definition, I am reminded of NM’s current station in life.  Going forward, our  “situation” is unclear, as we attempt to understand what God is up to and how we might join God in that work (missional language).  The American church finds itself in unique territory– much less central, no longer the pivotal hinge in […]

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Repeating Myself

Repeating Myself Last Sunday, I said that when people ask me about retirement my standard answer is “While it’s not around the corner, I can see it from here.”  I added that, we, “you and I, have one more block of time together.” Below is a written version of what I tried to explain verbally last Sunday.  Please be aware that there is a marked difference between written and spoken language.  I have also included things I meant to say but overlooked.  (You know how that goes.) Please compare the Kingdom of Heaven (KOH) sermon series with the Appreciative Inquiry List.  […]

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How To Catch A Monkey

How to Catch a Monkey Monkeys can be pests (like squirrels).  In Northern Africa, residents have a creative way of catching them.  A gourd with a hole just smaller than a monkey’s fist is filled with nuts and fastened firmly to tree, at sunset.  During the night, a monkey will smell the aroma of food and its source and plunge his hand into the gourd, grabbing a fistful of nuts.  But the hole is too small for the monkey to withdraw his clenched fist, and without enough sense to release his bounty the monkey cannot escape.  Though he pulls and […]

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It Starts With Following

It Starts With Following  The desire to please people is ok . . . unless it’s taken to an extreme.  Then it quickly becomes a liability to my faith, mostly because I give away too much of my “self,” granting others the power to make me do and feel something.  So who should we please?  The Apostle Paul writes:  “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).  Followers of Jesus […]

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