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Thoughts From Michael and Sharon Rusten

Dear Friends, Most of us love a good story. I am one who especially loves stories that are true. In fact, those who know me, know I prefer reality to fiction! That's why the following story spoke so loudly to me -- a story that is true, sad, and encouraging, all at the same time. It is found in "The One Year Book of Christian History" by Michael and Sharon Rusten and is the story of Doug Herman, his wife Evon, and their two children Ashli and Joshua. Though heart-wrenching in one way, it shows how the Lord can comfort and teach us through experiences we were never looking to learn a lesson from. Enjoy.   Tragedy and Strength on the Other Side "Those best qualified to teach us about suffering and hope are those who have walked through the shadows of tragedy and emerged stronger on the other side. Doug Herman is one such person. This is his story. "In a two-month period my life and faith came to a crashing climax. Evon, my wife,
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Thoughts About the History of Lent

Dear Friends, As today is “Shrove Tuesday” and Lent begins tomorrow, I thought I would pass along some interesting facts about the history of Lent. Sometimes we know about it, but don’t really know about it! So, for today, I have put together some background information about Lent. Information varies depending on the source, but I tried to weave together an accurate, historically reliable, and generally accepted summary of the basic facts! Enjoy. Lent is the approximate 40-day season between Ash Wednesday and Easter, during which Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant believers prepare themselves spiritually for Easter through prayer, Bible reading, and a focus on spiritual disciplines like fasting, self-denial, and a commitment to acts of generosity. The word “lent” comes from the Old English word “lencten” meaning “length” and was used to refer to the springtime season in the Northern Hemisphere when the days were lengthening as the sun rose earlier and set later. Lent is

Thoughts From Richard J. Foster

Dear Friends, This past Sunday I preached on John 14:12. It's the verse where Jesus says, "Anyone who has faith in me will do the things I have been doing. He will do greater things than these because I go to the Father" (that is, to send the Holy Spirit). Thus, in keeping with what I preached on, I wanted to share some thoughts by Richard J. Foster on "The Power of the Holy Spirit - The Marks of Spiritual Power.” They are taken from a book entitled, "The Contemporaries Meet the Classics on the Holy Spirit." It's a collection of writings from well-known Christians, past and present, compiled by Randall Harris. I wish I could quote the entire article(!), but alas some may feel my posts are already long in an age where we are told attention spans are getting much shorter. Therefore, I will give you the shortened and abridged version. Enjoy. The Marks of Spiritual Power "The power that creates is spiritual power, and i

Thoughts From Scott Walker

Dear Friends, I did not have a chance to send out a "thought" last week. It was a busy week with three funerals -- one completely unexpected. On this end we lost three dear saints, yet they have all gained their desired eternal inheritance. This week (since I have the time) I would like to share a devotional excerpt from a book I bought recently at a thrift shop. I'm not normally a "Daily Guideposts" type person, as some of the entries can be very light on truth and very heavy on personal subjective inclinations or circumstantial guidance. This one is not. As I glanced through this used 2018 Edition this particular entry spoke to me. It was the entry for January 27, written by a former pastor (and I assume former professor) named Scott Walker. I pray it might speak to you as well. Enjoy. "For you formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother's w

Thoughts From A.W. Pink and Erwin Lutzer

Greetings Friends, Given all the events of the last year, the conflict in relation to the election, and much of the turmoil that has so many people concerned, worried, or even afraid, I did want to take the opportunity to send out a “thought” which is taken from two authors I referenced in my recent sermon on “God’s Absolute Sovereignty Over All – Including Satan,” which was from John 13:1-30, and brought in elements of Luke 22:22 and Luke 22:31 as well. If you have no interest in this topic, these two excerpts will seem too long. If you do have an interest in this subject, you will wish I quoted more! The first author is A.W. Pink from his classic work, “The Sovereignty of God” (written in 1928). And the second is taken from Erwin Lutzer’s book, “God’s Devil – The Incredible Story of How Satan’s Rebellion Serves God’s Purposes.” (Lutzer was the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago from 1980-2016.) I encourage you to consider their words, let them (if needed) alter your understandin

Thoughts From Pastor Jeff

Dear Friends, Today I decided to do something I rarely do - send you a "thought" that is from myself, as opposed to another author. It speaks for itself. I woke this morning much earlier than I normally do because God laid the following "thought" on my heart. It's one of those times where I felt compelled in my spirit to speak into the present situation in America and would have felt as if I was in direct disobedience to God if I didn't. It's intended to encourage and remind, not rebuke. Because sometimes we get distracted, and need to be called back to the basics of our faith. Enjoy. "As I woke up this morning I couldn’t help but think of all the stuff that’s going on in our country. And like many of you, I was asking: What should I do? What should I say? How should I respond? How should the church in general respond? What would the “Christian” response be? And I ask that as a pastor who has been struck by the overall absence (among believers

A Prayer of Thanks and Compassion

Dear Friends, As I sat here at my desk thinking of what "thought" I would pass along to you today, I looked down at a piece of paper sitting on top of the biggest pile of 'waiting to be filed away' papers. "That's it," I said to myself, "I will send that out." Although I must tell you up front that it didn't come from a book. It's a very short "thought," but one that requires a little explanation. There was a gentleman in my congregation who left to be with Christ a couple years back. If there was ever an example of a devout Christian gentleman, it was him. And by that I mean a truly gentle man. A man who said to me just one year before he died at 96 years old: "I pray and do my devotions every day." It was true -- a habit he had started 80 or so years back when he was in his mid-teens. And after a pause -- choking up as he said it -- he added, "I love the Lord with all my heart and so