Be a hand that reaches out.
Be a smile for those who have no reason to smile.
Be a light for those who live in darkness.
What Got Left Out of the Sermon
An occasional piece that answers the question, “Could the pastor possibly drone on any longer?” The answer is, “Yes, he could. It may be hard to believe, but he actually leaves things out that could be included.” The advantage of one of those things being here, and not in the sermon, is that it’s easy for you to skip it.
Calling goes both ways. God calls out to people. People call out to God. God calls to people, and asks for their help. People call to God, and ask for God’s help.
Sometimes, when God calls, people answer, and say “Yes.” In last Sunday’s readings, God called Isaiah, and Isaiah said “Yes,” and Isaiah became a prophet. Also, Jesus called Simon and James and John, and they said “Yes,” and they became disciples. Also, Paul reminded his readers that the resurrected Jesus had called him. Paul said “Yes,” and he became an apostle.
The call that was not mentioned in the sermon was a call that went in the other direction. It was in the Psalm for the day. When the writer of Psalm 138 called, God answered and said “Yes:”
“On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.” (Psalm 138.3)
There is some symmetry here, some evenness, some flowing of calling and responding in both directions. Our relationship with God cannot totally symmetrical, of course. We owe God all that we have. God owes us nothing. We are utterly reliant on God. God does not rely on us.
But what God appears to be after is a relationship is which there is serious mutuality. I think it’s part of what’s going on when Jesus says to the disciples, “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” (John 15.15)
Obviously, we don’t always answer when God calls to us, and there are quite a few Psalms that ask, “Um, Lord, why do you keep not paying any attention when I call to you?” There is freedom for us, and for God, not to answer a call.
You have friendships with other people, right? How do those friendships work? How would you like them to work? Would you like for your friends always to be required to answer you when you call? Would you like to be free of any obligation to answer them when they call you?
Is that the way friendship with God should work?
What do you think?
Behind the scenes at Grace…..by Gretchen
- The most wonderful mouthwatering (and some crying from cutting onions) smells came down the hall from Brenner Hall kitchen this last Saturday! The Youth Group had their Pasta drive – through on Saturday and the kitchen was the Command Center. Thanks to all who made this a great success.
- God and Mother Nature provided us with a beautiful view of winter on the campus of the church. The fir trees on the west side were draped with snow almost like lace. It did not take long before our menagerie had critter tracks all over the place as they were anxiously waiting for snacks.
- Our “Blankets Warm a Heart” is in full swing. A blanket chest is outside the office. Thanks to those who have donated. The blankets are typically taken to Tent City in October but if there is a need before then they will be donated earlier.
- Please note that the big refrigerator in the storage room at back of Brenner Hall is ill and has been unplugged until it has been checked. Any items that were in the refrigerator have been move to refrigerator in Brenner Hall kitchen. Until it has had a diagnostic workup, please leave the doors open so it does not smell.
- As you go in and out of the parking lot check out the beautiful new American Flag! A big thanks to Connie Thomas for working on this project. The old flag was in very sad shape.
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission.
Grace Anatomy continued …
Bathrooms (Men and Women’s)
These are in the hallway outside of Brenner Hall facing the windows that look out on the entrance. So why are these important? Two reasons – one is that is they are an often-needed room and two these are a safe area in tornado warnings and watches as they do not have windows. In addition, there is a baby changing table located in each bathroom.
Hallway from the Office to Room 16
Sunday School rooms, the Youth Rooms, the Theater Room, Brenner Hall. Library and Sunday School Office, Pastor Office and Parish Nurse offices are all located off this main hallway. It is also important as it is a safe area in a tornado warning and watches. At the end of the hallway there is an exit to the outside facing the furniture store.
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
February Is Heart Month
Are you taking care of yours??
A heart reminder!
- Eat a nutritious diet. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables along with high fiber whole grains. Did you know that the darker colored fruits and vegetables tend to be more nutrient dense so give us more bang for the buck! Think broccoli, blueberries, darker lettuce not just iceberg. High fiber helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides and increases the HDL (good cholesterol). If you are “not a fan of bran” then check and compare labels on bread and cereal for higher fiber.
- Choose heart healthy fats. If you must use oil, go for the olive oil. It contains monounsaturated fat which lowers LDL (bad cholesterol). Omega – 3s are also good and are found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, nuts and seeds.
- Keep your blood pressure low. Smoking, caffeine and alcohol all contribute to higher blood pressure. The other culprit is salt /sodium. Many of the prepared foods we buy are loaded with sodium – check your different soup labels – it is quite interesting! Many times, food advertised as being low fat makes up the flavor by adding more salt – check the labels. Eating more fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and finding an activity that reduces stress helps to reduce high blood pressure. Make a goal of trying different herbs instead of salt – you will be surprised how some herbs make food taste even better than shaking the saltshaker.
- The “E” word – exercising regularly is a big help. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 5 x week. Exercise helps increase the HDL or good cholesterol, helps regulate blood sugar, promotes good blood flow. So, I am stuck in the house – have a path to walk inside the house, do a little dancing – “the tango for 2” or “line dancing for one”, exercise along with a program on TV. Once the snow is gone get outside and walk on cleared sidewalks, sign up for an exercise class, get to the parks to walk, fat tire bikes? etc.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing even a small amount of weight if you are overweight helps the heart. Think long term weight loss and good health .
- Reduce stress. Yep, easy to say but not always the easiest to do especially in the last 2 years. Stress can make us eat more, make blood pressure go up, influence the ability to quit smoking and increase alcohol intake. Did you know that taking as little as 15 minutes a day to do something that calms us can help lower our stress levels? Unplug from your phone, the TV and the computer and just sit. Watch the birds, read a fun book, read the Bible, walk outside and focus on nature. Take a deep breath …..
- If you have diabetes, it is important to manage your blood sugars. Elevated blood sugars have a negative effect on the heart and blood vessels.
- Know your family history. Talk with family members. If there is a history of heart disease make sure you notify your MD. We can’t control our genetics, but we can change our behaviors that increase our chances of getting heart disease or having a stroke.
This is not new information, but we all need a reminder to work towards good health as God would like us to do.
- Recharge your willpower – eat a snack (make it a good one)!
- Stick to a schedule – write in a journal the 3 things you are grateful for at the end of the day!
- Sweeten the self-talk – decrease the negative chatter in your head.
- Never stop playing!
- Serve others!
- Keep the faith!
- Be open to change!
- Develop your sense of purpose!
- Cherish your crowning years!
Do you have a clue who might follows these lessons?
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. (Author Unknown)
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!