Our parents met while both were serving in the Navy as hospitalmen. After serving one term, they moved to Montana where they lived until my father passed away 11 years ago. My brother and my families are meeting soon to bury her with full veteran honors and to celebrate and remember our mother’s life.
As I prepare for her memorial, I’ve been going through stacks of pictures that I received from her. I started digitizing and labeling them over the past few years and want to give copies to the family at the memorial. Along with the pictures are records and mementos of the life she and my father lived. Our mother lived a very full and meaningful life that our family should not forget.
As we remember the life she lived, we also have hope that our mother has new life with Christ. The Lord saved my brother and I as young adults but our parents were not saved until after we were out of the home. As the Lord transformed our lives, my brother and I had many opportunities to share Christ with our parents. Sometimes witnessing to family is hard because they know who you were before Christ. They can be skeptical that God really changed you or if the change is a passing whim. God has been gracious to our family as we prayed for our parents to be saved. I had the privilege to watch my mother place her trust in Christ in 2007. My brother had the privilege of watching our father do the same before his death in 2011.
I’m thankful that God stirs the hearts of people to have the faith to believe in Him. He is the only one who can give the hope that God gives to those that put their trust in Him.
In Christ, Stephanie
Think about all the things we do as a church like: Family Promise, Ecumenical Food Kitchen, CDAIDE, Mission projects, Deacon’s projects, knitting prayer shawls, volunteering with Children and Youth programs, making our church a friendly and welcoming environment, providing worship music, providing cookies for funeral receptions, serving on committees, and donating food for the Food Bank. These are all things you do that are the hands and feet of Jesus.
As the chair of Community Outreach, my goal this year is to encourage everyone to find a way that they can serve--whether that be big or small. No one should feel that they have to do it all. If we each help in a small way, His light and love will shine through.
Remember the song we sing, “Is it I, Lord, I will go, Lord, if You lead me. I have heard You calling in the night.” (Here I Am, Lord by Daniel Schutte)
Maybe He is calling you to bring some food this month for the Food Bank, because hunger doesn’t take a vacation. You will never know where the food goes or who it might help, but He knows.
I feel so blessed to be a part of this church and community of believers.
In His Name,
Gamache series she recently binge-read. Gamache is smart, humble, ethical, and most of all kind. He lives by a code: in all of his interactions he asks himself: “Is it true? Is it kind? Does it need to be said?” And he teaches his new recruits there are four things that lead to wisdom, four sentences we learn to say, and mean: “I don’t know. I need help. I’m sorry. I was wrong.”
The Bible gives us similar advice. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” First Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind,” and in Galatians 5:22 we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness.” Kindness was the whole point of Pastor Neal’s recent seven-week course. If you missed the course, read the book he co-authored with Nicole Phillips: Workplace Positivity. I really don’t read books, but this one is a keeper. . . and so is the Word of God.
In His Name, Kent
Twenty-five, a quarter of a century, marks a season change. I am not in spring anymore; now I must transition into early summer. You know, the right-now part of the year where there is a lot of sudden rain, but sunshine for five minutes, and then hail (start praying for me!). Beyond the weird weather at the start, summer still has growth, like spring, but it is the time where the newness of growing fades, and growth starts to look more like tiny little fruits starting to grow on vines and branches. Then, autumn transitions into the most beautiful colors, and winter holds a lot of reflection and warmth despite the cold surroundings.
What does bearing fruit in life look like?
There is no perfect path in life, as much as society likes to try to push their idea of some sort of perfectly posed picture: God made us all different from one another. Some people thrive in college or trade careers, some people are just as successful on their own. Some people define that success monetarily, and some define it as generally enjoying what they are doing and not having as high of a stress level. Some people are married in their twenties, some in their thirties, and some are Paul’s blessed singles. Some people have kids, and some choose not to. Kids are a blessing to their family, just as people without kids are able to bless people in different ways that they would not have been able to if they had children. Dogs to cats, houses to apartments, and apples to lychees or peaches: God gave us all unique places to grow and show fruit in life. None are better than any of the others; God made you with your own combination!
What does bearing fruit according to the Bible look like?
Most people are familiar with Galatians 5:22-23: the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Right before that in verse 14, a reminder about, “loving your neighbor as if they were another self,” also shows your fruit. Having gratitude and thanking God for what He has and has not given you is also important. I also think that blessing those around you is another important fruit!
Take a look at your fruit this week, and reflect a bit. Is it growing? Blessing others? Then, thank God for it, no matter what it looks like, or even if it is different from what you expected!
In His Name,
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.