Beauty in the Pruning

This post is submitted by our Children’s Ministries Director, Erin Skifter Many years ago I was given a hydrangea plant.  The hydrangea is characterized by large, lush leaves and beautiful, full flower clusters in shades of pink, periwinkle and white.  The flowers can be so full that when my sister and I used to play “bride”, we’d use a single stem to represent the bouquet.  They are also known for changing color depending on the composition of the soil.  These characteristics make up the identity of the hydrangea and we recognize the type of plant from them.  But this week we had work done on the porch and my lovely, full hydrangea was moved out into the full sun.  Today, I found it scorched-the full leaves black and dry in the worst parts.  There was nothing to do but cut it down to the lowest buds. I also have characteristics that make up my identity.  Some external like pastor’s wife and twin mom.  Some come from what I’ve done like foster-care advocate or homeschooler.  Others come from within like leader, dreamer, exhorter or networker.  What happens when the areas where I expressed my identity are taken…

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Chicken Little or Big God?

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Those famous words of a make-believe chicken that was a notorious worrier provide incredible lessons for these times we are in. The reality is, we are all prone to worry. During this time some are worried that things will never be the same again, while others are worried that things will go back to the same as before without any changes. Even if the current times don’t have you worried there’s something you’re worried about. It could be your 401k. Maybe it’s your children’s college fund. Perhaps you’re worried about deeper things, like the salvation of your spouse, parents, children, siblings, etc. Whatever the case is, we’re all worried about something. This is the reason that Jesus’ command in Matthew 6 hits us like a ton of bricks…or an acorn from the sky, as it were. Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for…

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KNOW FEAR

When I was in high school there was a brand of gear (clothing, stickers, etc.) called “No Fear.” Their logo looked like this: I had that very sticker on the rear window of my 1988 Chevy S-10 pickup. I thought I was cool. I realize now, and in reality I knew then, that I’ve never been cool, but that’s beside my point. As is often the case, Christians capitalized on the popularity of the “No Fear” brand by creating their own line of products called “Know Fear.” This was their logo: The idea behind the “Know Fear” brand was a couple of verses found in Proverbs regarding fearing the Lord. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;fools despise wisdom and instruction.Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.Proverbs 9:10 The concept of fearing God is lost on most of us. It’s also one that, at the outset, can be easily misunderstood. When we think of fear, our minds naturally wander…

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Pastoral Thoughts on COVID-19

We have all been affected by COVID-19 in one form or another. Whether your workplace is closed down, your kids are out of school unexpectedly or you’re just out of toilet paper, this virus has changed the world in a short period of time. I have been praying and processing through how to respond to this crisis.  GOD IS SOVEREIGN An overarching theme of the Bible is God’s complete and utter control over all things. There is nothing that happens without Him knowing it. This virus, and its global effects, have not taken Him by surprise. As Christians who worship this sovereign God, we need not be afraid. Even the elderly and immunocompromised (the two most susceptible categories) saints need not be afraid. Through Jesus, there is victory of death, Hell and the grave. We are not guaranteed to survive plagues and famines, but we are guaranteed an eternal inheritance in the presence of our Savior! “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 SUBMIT TO THE GOVERNMENT …

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