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Getting It All Together

Dear Church Family, As I finish my 50th year of ministry, 3 in Kentucky and 47 in Wisconsin, I find myself thinking about many things. My biggest regret in those years has to do with the various people who shut me out of their lives because they didn’t like something I had done or just didn’t like me period. Usually they shut me out by lowering or quitting giving to the church and not coming to worship. These people saw me as the head of the church and shutting me out had to do with undermining the institution. When these people were in the majority, the church ceased to be a family of God. Of course I always have felt that God, and not I, is the head of the church. Undermining the church is only defeating God, and not me. I have always seen myself as temporary, and not permanent, like God is. I will be forgotten, but not God. If I have done anything to encourage people to remember God first, then I was greatly successful. The fact is, that in all those years, I needed people’s encouragement ... Read More »

How Do We See Christmas

“- The Shepherds said to one another, let us go– and see this thing– and when they had seen it-” Luke 2: 15,17 See What? What did those shepherds see that night in Bethlehem’s stable? Did they merely see a poor mother who was forced to make a pile of straw a birthing place, or did they see beyond the manger, and the straw, to the meaning behind the baby’s birth? Simply stated– those shepherds saw Christmas, for Christ is Christmas! What did they see? They saw what was in their hearts to see. That’s true with all of us; we approach every experience of life with our presuppositions, our memories, our prejudices, we see what we bring into the scene with us, and we bring into it what we want to see. Our eyesight depends largely upon our insight. Our reactions tell more about ourselves than they do about an outward event. Our blindness is not because the thing doesn’t exist– not because Christmas is meaningless– but because we haven’t brought the proper insight with us. We only see the things which square with our attitudes and lives, the ... Read More »

Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day, the first of all national holidays to be established in our country, is considered by many to be UNIQUE because it was initiated for the specific purpose of thanking God personally for God’s many blessings. To many Americans, however, “Thanksgiving” is anything BUT THAT. It is largely a day of feasting, football, and festivities; God scarcely rates a few words of grace at the over laden table. Yet I would hope that in every home into which this publication comes there is a more sacred and meaningful celebration. I would hope the giving of thanks is evident every day of the year and not just on the fourth Thursday of November! Of course, the real origin of all thanksgiving goes far back into the ancient world– well beyond the Thanksgiving Day (November 26, 1789). The Old Testament abounds with references to harvest festivals and other special times of thanksgiving: People have always been thankful to God. I suppose Thanksgiving Day means something a little bit different to each one of us, but certainly we would all agree that “Thanksgiving” is more an attitude of the heart than an ... Read More »

CONNECTIONAL or CONGREGATIONAL? WHY PAY OUR CONFERENCE APPORTIONMENTS?

In the United Methodist Churches I have served in Wisconsin, over the last forty six and one-fourth years, I have always had many questions about the importance of paying our conference obligations. At times I have had some parishioners who did not see our connectional obligations as a needed part of our ministry, some referred to it as a tax and saw the conference in the same light as theI.R.S. The fact that some members didn’t seem to care whether the conference obligations were paid or not always indicated a great lack of understanding of the heritage, and present make-up of our denomination, in a ministerial sense. Many of those folks seemed to be determined to remain ignorant of how our conference apportionments are distributed and handled. The best place to start in supplying a rationale for conference apportionments would be to look at our own United Methodist Heritage. Our denomination has always had a strong belief in the values of the connectional system. Simply stated, many congregations working together can make a much greater impact in the world, through various ministries, than could one single congregation. The problem some ... Read More »

A LIFE OR DEATH MATTER

In June, I observed the end of forty six years as a pastor serving churches in Wisconsin, plus 3 years in Kentucky. In those years I have observed various approaches, that lay persons take to ministry, and church activities. Indeed perhaps those two phrases can work together or be opposites. Perhaps we need to ask the question, as to whether or not, all our church activities are really ministry or not. As I began my 50th year in ministry, in July, I truly believe that ALL church activities should lead us into some form of ministry with and to PEOPLE. If we approach church activities with selfish motives and personal ambitions, true ministry seems to be lost. If we seek power or authority for ourselves in church activities, again, ministry will be lost. Selfish motives always lead to dissension and division within the church. This in turn causes the church to be weakened and if intensified can lead to both numerical and spiritual death. At the Congress on Evangelism that I attended in Chicago some years ago, I was impressed in a very deep way with the Bible Study that ... Read More »

CHURCH GROWTH THINKING

The mandate to witness is really one that all Christians should take seriously. The following poem shows two different ways to approach our evangelistic task as the Body of Christ…the CHURCH. 10 LITTLE CHRISTIANS Ten little Christians, standing in a line…One didn’t like the minister, and then there were nine; Nine little Christians stayed up very late.One slept on Sunday morning, then there were eight! Seven little Christians got in an awful fix,One didn’t like the music, and then there were six. Six little Christians seemed very much alive, But one lost his interest, and then there were five. Five little Christians, wishing there were more,But they quarreled with each other, then there were four. Four little Christians, cheerful as could be, But one lost his temper, then there were three. Three little Christians knew not what to do, One joined the crowd, then there were two. Two little Christians…our rhyme is almost done…Differed with each other and then there was one. One lone Christian won his neighbor true,Took him to the church and then there were two. Two earnest Christians each won one more, That doubles their number and ... Read More »

SENTENCE SERMONS!

Dear Friends, I hope everyone is having a good summer, and I hope you are finding time to relax a bit, and enjoy God’s beauty in nature. I have decided to include these sentence sermons, which you can read during one of your times of leisure and relaxation. I hope you enjoy them and the rest of your summer. Your PastorRev. Duane E. Andrus ~ Patience is a virtue that carries a lot of WAIT!~ One thing that money alone cannot buy is a the wag of a dog’s tail~ They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable. But couldn’t something be worked out…such as being moderately rich and slightly moody? (No spiritual lesson here!)~ Faith is like a toothbrush. Everyone should have one and use it regularly, but shouldn’t try to use someone else’s!~ It’s easier to save face if you keep the lower half shut.~ The best thing about the future is that is comes one day at a time.~ Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.~ When in doubt, don’t!~ Those who stretch the truth often find that it snaps back.~ ... Read More »

Doing Good

Several years back, the press carried a heartrending story of a young father who shot himself in a tavern telephone booth. James Lee had called a Chicago newspaper and told a reporter he had sent the paper a manila envelope outlining his story. The reporter frantically tried to trace the call but was too late. When the police arrived, the young man was slumped in the phone booth with a bullet through his head. In his pocket they found a child’s crayon drawing, much folded and worn. On it was written, “Please leave in my coat pocket. I want to have it buried with me!’ The drawing was signed in childish print by his blond daughter, Shirley Lee, who had perished in a fire just five months before. Lee was so grief stricken he had asked total strangers to attend his daughter’s funeral so she would have a nice service. He said there was no family since Shirley’s mother had been dead since the child was two. Speaking to the reporter before his death, the broken-hearted father said that all he had in life was gone, and he felt so ... Read More »

You Have Been Raised With Christ!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection, and the life; they who believe in me, though they die, yet shall they live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11; 25-26) Because Jesus is the resurrection and the life, we are not victims, either of circumstance or of death. We are victors. Huber Matos was a teacher and a journalist imprisoned when Castro sought to destroy the church in Cuba. In a letter smuggled out of a Havana prison, Matos said, “I know that I will die in prison…I am at peace. They have swords, but we have songs.” See the difference between Matos and an attractive young woman of whom I read. She was intelligent and fabulously wealthy. With energy and shrewdness, she had amassed a fortune. That young woman drove her silver Mercedes to a hotel, checked in, and then checked out for good. She left a note that read: “I’m tired of clapping with one hand.” That young woman did not know the peace Matos spoke of. She did not know Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life. The word for ... Read More »

PASTOR QUITS SPORTS!!!

Football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring and summer. Your pastor has been an avid sports fan all his life. But I’ve had it!! I quit this sports business once and for all. You can’t get me near one of those places again! And here’s why……(*) 1. Every time I went, they asked me for money. 2. The people with whom I had to sit didn’t seem very friendly. 3. The seats were too hard and not at all comfortable. 4. I went to many games, but the coach never came to call on me. 5. The referee made a decision with which I could not agree. 6. I suspected that I was sitting with some hypocrites. They came to the game to see friends and what others were wearing, rather than to see the game. 7. Some games went overtime, and I was late getting home. 8. The band played some numbers that I never heard before. 9. It seems that the games are scheduled when I want to do other things. 10. I was taken to too many games by my parents ... Read More »

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