I set those thoughts aside when I became one of the many who contracted the Corona virus this past week. Plans change. So, with so much negative news and events how can we shift our thinking?
So I thought that instead of dwelling on my aches and pains, I should share this list I found of eight things to think on. Good things to think on.
By: Pastor Hal Seed
It’s difficult to focus on the good if our heads are filled with what is bad. On the other hand, our head can’t be filled with ‘news blues’ if our minds are filled with true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy thing! Dr Eger found a way to to turn horror into healing and forgiveness. Can we do less?
So, as I recover from my bout of COVID and pray for my friends who are also afflicted, I WILL spend my days thinking positive thoughts. I will hope and pray for a better, loving and healthy world.
In His Name, Janet
what I was trying to save. Despite knowledge and experience that should help me to know better, I still pursue shortcuts. This past month, I have found myself saying, “I just want to get over this year!” Or, “I just want to get past 2020!” But, there is no magic time machine that will get me over or past the next few months. The only way to get to 2021 is to go through the rest of the year.
Psalm 23 has long been a source of comfort and encouragement in difficult times. This weekend, I suddenly realized that in my search for that elusive shortcut past the rest of the year, I was missing the key concept in this Psalm: the Shepherd. Verse 4 immediately came to mind: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. I realized I have been looking for spiritual shortcuts.
This year has been filled with shadowy places worldwide. People around the world have faced sickness, natural disasters, social unrest, violence, polarizing political ideologies, and there seems to be no end in sight. With all of the daily reminders of the shadows of death, turmoil, and evil, it has been easy to fall into fear and wanting to bypass any more heartache. My eyes can’t see the end of this dark valley, so my natural tendency is to seek out a shortcut and bolt like a frightened lamb.
My reaction is the opposite of the beautiful picture in Psalm 23. God is willing to go through the difficult places with me and He knows the best way. He is with me so there is nothing to fear. These trips through the valley are opportunities to spend time with a Good Shepherd who cares for me. Shortcuts around the difficult times will not save any time or spare me any heartache. It is only when I remain close to the Shepherd, and follow His guidance that I will find safe passage through the shadowy places.
In His Name, Bonnie
However, I can’t imagine great artists, inventors, and statesmen were anything but serious when hard at work, and so much good has come about because of their dutiful, creative, and serious work. So there’s a case to be made for each: be more serious, or laugh more. As a follower of Jesus I’m torn. Then again, like the hymn says, he accepts me, “Just as I am.”
After church recently someone asked me if I was the new choir director. She had a request: would the choir please do music that was more upbeat, zippy, and fun. . . like Gospel music. I found myself wondering if she meant instead of serious and slow, more contemplative music? That brought up the question, what does scripture say about light-heartedness and laughter?
Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh,” which clearly tells me there is a time for zippy music and a time for somber music. Whenever appropriate, I’ll always choose to lighten-up and laugh. After all, Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
In His Name, Kent
Seasonal Affective Disorder, more deeply missing those loved ones whom we’ve laid to rest, adjusting to darkness and a winding-down of the typically busy summer season. But, I’m trying-on a new way of thinking about Fall.
Lately, our ChristCare group has been studying a book called, The Happiness Connection, The Bible & The Brain by Christine Schader. Its basic premise is that most of your happiness depends on your outlook, on being purposeful in finding that state. We had a guest speaker on Wednesday, Laura Jongeward, who shared with us the method she uses in coaching clients towards this similar goal.
You sort out the factual circumstances: let’s use the “dying plants and flowers” statement. Then you identify the thoughts in your head about that: these once-beautiful tomato plants and petunias are withering and dying. The next step is identifying the feeling or emotion you feel about that: sadness. So, you figure out an action to deal with that: what are the positive things I can say about that circumstance? I canned crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and shared the bounty with others to spread the joy of the fresh produce and stored on into the winter months. I’m replacing the petunias with bulbs to bring beauty in the Springtime. Then you create the results of that change in thinking: the plants and flowers produced bounty and joy in their summer season and now it’s time to find joy in the next season.
Okay, let me expand on my idea, then. Tom and I are going to take a leisurely mini-vacation next week and drive over to Montana and back into Salmon, Idaho to photograph the beauty of the changing colors of Autumn. Then, we’ll continue onto Stanley Lake and Redfish Lake, then onto Ontario, Oregon and Moscow, Idaho. Woohoo! I’m sure we’ll see some beautiful colors in the fields and forests as the trees and bushes adapt to the season. Sounds like I’m getting the hang of this happiness thing!
Sheesh! I feel better already! That’s her point: we get to choose and have power over our circumstances and thoughts. The next big step is getting in the habit of acknowledging those emotions, grieving/living in them, and then moving onto a new way of feeling and creating that wanted emotion.
Let’s see: yes, it’s darker, but nowhere near as dark as it got in Northern Alaska where we went lickety-split from 9 months of winter right into 3 months of summer! And, it’s so inviting to warm those cold toes in front of the fireplace while reading a book and wrapping-up in a fleece blanket! I also think I’ll try to call this season “Autumn” instead of “Fall,” because the word paints a prettier picture in my head.
Yes, I do feel better! I know this is a simple example, and it will take some hard work for me to get into the habit of reorienting my way of thinking, but I’m looking forward to the journey.
And, perhaps all I could have done is refer to Ecclesiastes 3 to bring me back. What amazing words from even long before Christ inhabited Earth!
Amen! What can be added to those wise words? Okay, Autumn: bring it on! I’m choosing a new way of thinking about you!
Your friend in Christ,
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.” Philippians 4:6
“Some assembly required.” It is not the most welcome sentence, but it is an honest one. Seems to me there are a lot of life journeys that should include these words in large print! Marriage, children, relationships and so many more.
Life is a gift, but a disassembled one. It comes in pieces and sometimes falls to pieces. Part “A” doesn’t always fit part “B”. The struggle seems huge and inevitably, something is missing. It is such a common problem. Who doesn’t have some area of life that isn’t working? How do you respond when the pieces don’t fit? In frustration? In anger? In prayer?
I’d like to say that I always respond in prayer, but in truth I am a recovering prayer wimp. More times than not, my mind zigs, then zags, then zigs again. When it comes to prayer, I think I am afflicted with ADD. But, I also know there is great power in prayer, even simple prayers. Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew this too.
Remember the story of the wedding in Cana? The bride wasn’t the daughter of an emperor. The groom wasn’t a prince. Apart from one detail, the event would’ve been lost in time. But we remember it because Jesus was on the guest list.
While Jesus was there, the wedding party ran out of wine. Enter Mary, mother of Jesus. Mary said to Him, ‘They have no wine’ (John 2:3). In other words, the pieces did not fit, so she took the problem to Jesus. She wasn’t bossy or critical, nor did she blame Jesus. She didn’t try to fix the problem. She just stated the problem.
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come. Mary said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it (John 2:4-5). Apparently, Jesus had no intention of saving the wedding banquet. This wasn’t the time nor the place He had planned to reveal his power. But then Mary entered the story: Mary, someone He loved, with a genuine need. So, what did he do? Jesus told the servants to fill the pots with water and the water became wine.
When life doesn’t fit, it is easy to worry or be critical or try to fix it. But like Mary, we should take our problem to Jesus and leave it there. State our problems simply, present them faithfully and humbly trust in Him.
Inspired by The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado
So far, I have had a lot of fun working on our equipment and have gotten fully acquainted with our system. I really enjoy our worship and being able to fine-tune our sound. I have been working on adding new effects for our vocalist, reverb and delay, to create a great live feel. I have modified all audio settings for our YouTube live-stream and will continue striving to create the best optimal sound to worship the Lord. Recently, I have put up new microphones for the piano and vocals. I have been working with Kent, our choir director, to find creative new ways to help our choir perform safely, which I am very excited about. We have an incredible digital mixing board for me to work with and an even better sanctuary for reproducing excellent live sound. The acoustics in the room are spectacular. Not to mention the beauty of the stained glass and peacefulness you feel entering the room. Without a doubt, you can feel God’s presence here!
I am overjoyed with the opportunity to be a part of such a lovely, God-filled, and caring church. I couldn't have asked for a better answer to my prayers. I am looking forward to meeting and building relationships with all of you here at 1st Pres. If anyone has any questions or concerns about our tech and how things have been going, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would appreciate any feedback on improvements I can make. I hope you all have a great week, and I pray God blesses each and every one of you.
God’s blessings on you,
Did you ever want to do a do-over, when something just didn't go right the first time? How lucky are we that the Deacons were able to hold our Back-to-School Clothing Giveaway for a second Saturday! As I am sure most of you have heard, our clothing giveaway on August 22, 2020 did not go so well. We only had 19 people show up, which was certainly much less than the 500+ we had last year!
We knew that this year would be different as we had to downsize and set some COVID-19 restrictions, but we were hopeful. Thanks to our many volunteers and our very willing Deacons, we decided to do it again the following Saturday August 29, 2020.
Well, let me tell you, it was well-worth the extra effort as we had 81 families show up and were able to provide coats, hats and jeans and some other items to 92 children.
If you could see the smile on the faces of those little ones when they tried on a new coat and were able to find a hat to go with it, I can’t tell you how heart-warming that was! Several of the children wouldn't take their coats off and, trust me, it was not cold.
The Deacons would like to thank those who have continued to support this project by providing us with clothing. We would also like to thank the volunteers who helped us set up and those who worked either the first day or the second day and, in some cases, both days. Without the help of the volunteers, this event would never have happened.
We continue to praise God that we are able to serve our community in such a way. Actions speak louder than words, and we are thankful that we can demonstrate our “LOVE FIRST” to those who are in need.
Linda Scheideler and The Deacons