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It’s The Little Things

That well known Christian, Horatius Bonar, once remarked, “It is well to remember that a holy life is made up of a number of small things: little words, not eloquent speeches and sermons; little deeds, not miracles and battles. These, not one great heroic act of martyrdom, make up most Christian lives. So too, the avoidance of little evils, little sins, little follies, and small indiscretions and indulgences of the flesh, will go far to make up at least part of what we call a holy life.” On one occasion Jesus’ disciples were impressed with the bigness of the temple. But Jesus’ eye caught a little thing…a poor woman putting a few copper coins in the temple treasury. On Christ’s scale of value, little things had tremendous worth. Now of course Mr. Bonar, whom we just quoted, was not saying that sermons, miracles, battles, and other great acts are not important in life. We know just the opposite to be true, for some of life’s great experiences tend to over whelm us. But sometimes we forget that life, for the most part, is really made up of LITTLE THINGS. Napoleon ... Read More »

It’s A Habit

Please Read Luke 4: 16-20 Dear Friends, Did you know that attending Church is a habit? Oh, I know we are quick to say, “I just don’t like to think of going to church as a habit: it means more than that to me!” But what’s wrong with a habit? I have the habit of regularly brushing my teeth. I think it’s a great habit to have, and it keeps my teeth from decaying, which is a very practical reason for having such a habit. Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, and the apostle Paul is the Christian’s examplar. It’s interesting to note that each of them had one fixed habit which made them consistent in pleasing God. Luke 4:16, “And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day.” Acts 17: 1,2 “— they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews, and Paul went in, as was his custom—.” Did you catch those two identical phrases sandwiched in the midst of those verses? Jesus went back to ... Read More »

ALLELUIA! He Is Risen

Please read Mark 16: 1—8 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43: 19 The real significance of the resurrection symbols is what they say about death; but more, what they say about life. The early Christians did not believe in the resurrection of Christ because they could not find a dead body. They believed because they did find a living Christ. In the resurrection, God did a new thing and forever made it clear that God is a creating and re-creating God. Easter says there is nothing final in suffering and death. The future is open; there is more to come. Easter says we do not have to be made powerless in the face of them. Christ has conquered the powers of sin and evil, which seek to conquer us. To believe in the creating and re-creating doing of God, is to trust the possibilities of life and to know that what will be is more and better than what has been. It is to know, in the words of Ugo Betti, “That all the rules will be fair ... Read More »

LENT—A TIME FOR RENEWAL

“For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 Like other seasons of the Christian year, Lent is a time when the church must teach the basic truths of the Christian faith, stressing in hymns, worship, preaching and service, the reality that God is with us in Jesus Christ. Lent tells us that the Christian life begins in ashes and ends in joy. Lent calls to memory our Lord’s fasting and temptation in the wilderness. We observe it as a time of self discipline, penitence, prayer, meditation, and service. The experiences of Lent—our preparation in God’s time—are crowned by Easter Day, the day of resurrection, of God’s renewal of us and our society. Lent calls us to examine ourselves in the light of God’s good news made known in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. It is a time for thinking about what God was doing with humankind when God sent Jesus to earth, a time for seeing what God is doing now by sending Jesus to all the highways of our daily life. During Lent we read Ecclesiates with corrected vision. That ... Read More »

Whatever It Takes!

The above has become a phrase that has become most meaningful in the life of our congregation. A very committed and dedicated group of people has decided to show us the way, “To Do Whatever It Takes,” to make Christ real to everyone around them, and to making service to Christ’s church a priority in their lives. One such person is our staff minister, Renee Thomas. Renee recently was offered a full time administrative position in a Christian care facility. That opportunity would include a good salary, benefits and insurance. In a society in which a priority to many is financial security, and moving up some kind of ladder to success, most would feel that she would be insane to turn it down. It would seem to most that it would nail down the future for her, and her family. The fact is that Renee turned it down because she believes God wants her to remain on the ministry staff at this church. The salary is comparatively small with no benefits, no insurance and no assurance that a change in pastoral leadership, in future years, would keep her on the staff. However ... Read More »

Preparing The Right Way

Please read Luke 10: 38—42 A mother planned a birthday party for her three year old son. She spent many hours in preparation, for she wanted everything to be perfect. She was so busy that she scolded him when he spilled his milk. When she punished him for soiling his new shirt a few minutes before the guests arrived, the boy said, “Mamma doesn’t love me.” As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of the Christ-child, there is a danger that we may be so busy with our preparation that we neglect the one being honored. In his words to Martha, Jesus has told us how he would like us to receive him. He said to her, “you are fretting and fussing about so many things, but one thing is necessary.” Mary had chosen the best way to receive Christ—being in his presence and listening to his words. Let us, like Mary, receive Christ in HONOR and LOVE. We receive Christ by accepting him as our Savior and giving Him the honored place in our lives. Blessings and good wishes Rev. Duane E. Andrus Read More »

Let Every Heart Give Thanks!

A rich person with a thankless heart reeks with poverty, but a poor person with gratitude possesses great wealth. After all, that is where real thanks comes from. Thanks from the head or lips may be polite; but it is the heartfelt thanks that rings true and warms the heart that receives it. Moreover gratitude is the test of character. Shakespeare tells us that the winter wind is not so unkind as people’s ingratitude. The wind may chill the body, but ingratitude chills the soul. Of course there may be some who say, “I have nothing for which to be thankful.” Such a one is poor indeed. These words flow only from a poverty-stricken heart– unhappy, bitter, jealous, covetous. Did you ever notice that it is the poor who are often more thankful than the rich? The reason is that they count their blessings. They have God’s sun and air, health, and life, and loved ones; the things that make life rich indeed. Thanks is not measured by the amount of our possessions. It’s the person with a thankless heart who is poor, and it’s the person with a thankful heart ... Read More »

Supporting The Increase

It is a dream come true, for the majority of our Congregation, to see that with God’s help, we have all, working together, turned things around. The Church has been growing, and indeed flourishing. We have a solid future, with lots of kids, youth and young couples, who have become quite active. We are blessed to have middle aged and older members, who encourage and support our younger members, by continuing to be active in the life of our Church, even as things greatly change. The fact is that many churches do not allow young people to become involved, and give leadership. The middle aged and older, more often than not, protect their turf, and do not want to see “our church” change. It is why many churches have NO future, and are slowly but surely dying. I am so delighted to be the Pastor of this Church, that is allowing the Family to expand. We have a future, and isn’t that awesome! I am so proud of all those middle aged and older who don’t push the young out, or quit themselves, but instead adapt and work with them. ... Read More »

Having Your Priorities Straight

Having Your Priorities Straight— A Mission Story Several years ago, one of our Fennimore United Methodist members went back to work, as a professional Social Worker, after five years of being off, due to health problems. I found it interesting, as her pastor, to hear her say that her first priority, concerning her pay, would be to support an Appalachian child, with dormitory support, to enable them to go to school, in Kentucky. Her favorite mission has always been Red Bird, a United Methodist Missionary Conference in Kentucky. Red Bird school provides education for grade school through high school, for Appalachian children. The school is dependent upon the support of members of the United Methodist Church, at large. It receives no funds from the state, and is privately run, staffed by administrators and teachers that come from all over the country, as missionaries to Red Bird. It is a unique and awesome mission program. Many children live in remote mountain regions, where school busses do not go. These children would remain uneducated, but for the fact that Red Bird has a dormitory program, so they can come, and stay and ... Read More »

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