October 2020

The Psalmist David, often gives the Lord his praise and worship because of the ways God has delivered him. Psalm 23.4 says,
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” In Psalm 32.7, he proclaims, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble.”

Years ago in another town I received a call from a lady from church to pray for her family. Her two teen-age grandsons, were visiting at her house. It was after the fu- neral service for her husband– the boys’ grandfather. They had discovered their grandfathers gun, and one of the boys picked it up. Not realizing that the gun was load- ed, one boy accidentally shot his brother in the neck. For- tunately there was no great tragedy in this case, for there was only a “flesh wound.” As the grandmother expressed it, “It could have been so much worse.”

I wonder how often we fail to realize the times of our lives when “it could have been so much worse.” I wonder how often during each day we are oblivious to the times when God spares us from tragedy? We may barely miss being side-swiped by another car, or be suddenly awakened from our day-dreaming by the screeching of tires from a nearby car. Or perhaps your child falls and hits his head, and after the crying and hugging, and kiss- ing of that child we conclude, “it’s only a little bump.”

Have you been spared from that great tragedy? Have you seen God’s protecting hand? There have been so many times in my life when it could have been so much worse. When my son ran the van into that old maple tree, and ended up with only a small bump on his head. The van was totaled, the tree hardly affected…and he was ok. I could go on and on about the many times God protected.

Today as we go through our activities, let us be more attentive to
the hand of the Lord. Let us not be negligent of his protection, and his
care. Instead of mindlessly ignoring Him, and making our own plans, and assuming that life is ours to do as we wish, let us open the eyes of our hearts. Let us take notice of God’s shepherding. James 4, reminds us to say, “If it is the Lord’s will,” I will carry out my plans for today.

An old hymn says, “Savior like a shepherd lead us, be the guardian of our way. Keep Thy flock; from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.” Do you ever look around and no- tice God’s hand at work? Has He protected you today? Has He given you wisdom? Has he blessed you? Pay attention to what the Lord, is doing and you might just discover that you are even more blessed than you thought.

Lord, as we go through our days, may we be aware of Your leading, and protection. Teach us to make our plans in accord with Your will. Please be our shepherd, and guide. And most of all, thank You for the may times You have spared us from injury, or harm even though we were totally unaware. Amen.

Blessings, Pastor Mark

Stronger Together, September 2020


How often lately have you heard the phrase: “We’ll get through this together!” It has been a major theme of the coronavirus pandemic. It is supposed to be encouraging, and comforting to hear this. Yet, the longer the crisis goes on, the more people are feeling NOT together. People are separated, social distanced, and quarantined. People are afraid, and some wonder if we will ever get through this…let alone together.

Humans are social creatures. Most of us at least. Some people can survive being alone better than others because they are intro- verts…or because they have hobbies, and activities that they do alone. However, many are suffering greatly by being NOT together. They are of all ages. Children, adults, parents, and grandparents are feeling the isolation of loneliness. We are NOT together, as we need to be.

So, we are trying some new things to give people a little togetherness. Summer worship services at the lake, and also indoors have been one way of getting folks together. Yet we miss eating together, or going places together. We are looking forward to resuming some fall activities like Sunday School classes and youth activities. Brown bag lunches at the park have been fun. With school starting up again, kids are able to connect socially again some, despite those masks which are such a nuisance.

I believe being together is essential for Christians and churches too. Yes, there is fear and risk in being together. We might spread the vi- rus. But, being apart may tend to affect our “spiritual fire.” One great fear for people during this time of shutdown, has been the loss of strength. Older persons who become less active, and who are shut-in tend to lose stamina, and muscle tone- unless they are deliberate in keeping fit. Likewise, spiritual lives may grow weaker if people are isolated and not coming together to fellowship. Yet how can we do togetherness safely? Hopefully we can work through these things with help from one another.

BEING TOGETHER AS A CHURCH COMMUNITY IS POWERFUL! Here are reasons why it is important to figure out creative ways of gathering together, to worship and fellowship and pray.

1) TOGETHERNESS IS HELPFUL WHEN BEGINNING NEW THINGS: Acts 1. 14 speaks of the beginning of the Church. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:14” The early disciples spent lots of time together, praying, singing, eating, talking, probably laughing. As a result they grew in faith, and others joined them.

2) TOGETHERNESS IS UNIFYING: All the believers were together and had everything in common. Acts 2:44 When people are united in their hearts and minds there is a good feeling of peace. Joy and hope abound. Sharing common goals, and sharing life builds us up.

3) TOGETHERNESS CREATES GLADNESS AND SINCERITY: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Act 2. 46. We all need some gladness, and some meaningful dialogue. Caring and being cared about, makes us feel like we matter…and have a purpose.

During September I will share some messages about some other powerful benefits of being together in church with other be-

Here are some coming themes:

  •  TOGETHER WE ARE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE FAITH Together there is strength, joyful music, hope, encour- agement, victory
  • TOGETHER WE SHARE THE FELLOWSHIP OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4. 12-13) “There is a strength we discover in suffering that joins people, and brings them closer”
  • TOGETHER WE BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS (Galatians 6. 1-4). There are people who help carry the load, and who make our journey lighter
  • TOGETHER WE HAVE A WONDERFUL FATHER We’re part of the family of God. (Mt 6.9, John 1.12)As we have watched people’s reaction to the coronavirus, there has been a lot of hostility, and division, and craziness. People are not together, out there. But, as people who believe in Jesus, and who worship God let us remember: THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. We are STRONGER TOGETHER.

    May the Lord give us wisdom as we learn to stay strong, TOGETHER! Pastor Mark