If you watched Pastor Jeff’s Fireside Chat this week then you have already heard the good news/bad news. The good news is that we have a date on the calendar to reconvene corporate worship and Sunday School. The bad news is that the date is June 21st (still six weeks away). He also acknowledged the weariness many of us are feeling from the social distancing and isolation. We have an idea we hope will be a spiritual/relational lifeline for many of us. While we cannot yet gather in a large assembly, starting May 18th we will be allowed to gather in groups as large as 30. We would like to take advantage of this opportunity to begin to rekindle a sense of community together. In fact, we are calling these “Community Groups.” Think of Community Groups as miniature churches. Each week roughly 10-12 people will gather to read God’s word together, pray and fellowship together, and encourage one another in our walk with Jesus. Over time as we develop trust and risk vulnerability we will get to know each other at a deeper level and do life together, even after church services start up again. For the sake of simplicity and solidarity, we suggest that the groups read and study the Lectionary passages from the previous week (listed in the Friday News). We also encourage the groups to meet on Sunday evenings, if possible. This way, once our full schedule resumes, the groups can continue to meet with minimal scheduling conflicts. Beginning next week, each group is free to meet either in the church building or in someone’s home or back yard. If you are part of our online community, but live too far away to meet in person, please let us know. If there is enough interest, we will form an online group as well. If you are interested in joining a Community Group, please contact Pastor Darrell at beloved_ofGod@hotmail.com or call/text 785-212-9201. When you do, please answer the following questions: 1. Can you meet on Sunday evening? 2. How many family members wish to join the community group? 3. Do you have an interest in leading a group? Following Jesus was never intended to be done by ourselves. We need each other. We have always known that, but now we really feel it. We hope that Community Groups will help foster a sense of family as we journey through the next few months together. Grace and Peace to you, my friends. Pastor Darrell
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
One morning several weeks ago I was looking out the window of my room at Bethany Home, and I saw a beautiful male cardinal sitting on a branch of a tree nearby. I had never seen a cardinal in such close visibility before, and I was thrilled by the sight. The cardinal’s mate was there, so it was a nesting pair! I thought about other important windows that have meaning for us.
We have recently had one of the windows from the onion-domed church refurbished and displayed in the Heritage Room. That building was the first to stand on this corner to proclaim the Gospel and although she is gone now, that church was where my mother’s journey of faith began.
In 1929, our present church was built, and the windows on the north and south sides have a reminder of the onion-dome architecture. In the south entry, there a memorial window of Jesus welcoming the children. This reminds us that to enter the Kingdom of God we must become as little children.
One night several years ago when I was still teaching HIS Kids I was waiting in the car when I looked up and saw the lighted altar window of the resurrected Jesus among the lilies with His arms outstretched saying, “Come unto Me.” On that dark winter night I prayed that someone (who might be me or any of us) would see Jesus and be touched to respond to His loving invitation.
Perhaps we can be a window for someone else to be drawn closer to Jesus Christ.
—Dorothy (Dotty) Hedquist
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Some of you may remember the children's character, Inspector Noclue. Well, I am afraid I have some bad news: he is back. Click the link below to see a public service announcement by the infamous detective about COVID 19.
I want to recommend a TV show to you. It is called The Chosen. It is about the life of Jesus, viewing Him through the eyes of the first century people who knew Him. This series, in my opinion, is excellent. It is historical fiction, so it adds a lot of extrabiblical detail without being unbiblical. The writers have imagined the personalities and background stories of all the disciples so that they feel like real, relatable, three-dimensional people. They suggest possible explanations and motives for various characters’ actions, most of which is speculation, but makes for very engaging story-telling. At the same time, the writers have been very careful to be faithful to the biblical text of the gospel narratives.
If you would like to check it out, there are a couple ways you can do that. VidAngel is the distribution company, so if you have a subscription you should already have access. VidAngel is offering a free trial for a limited time. For mobile devices (phone, tablet, etc.), there is an app called “The Chosen,” so you can watch it directly on your phone if you like. The eight episodes of Season One are temporarily available on YouTube. Also, if you have a smart TV you can search for “The Chosen” and stream it to a larger screen. And if you just want to watch the first episode right now, click on the link below.
The Chosen is not being produced by a big Hollywood Studio, so they are financing it through crowd-funding. If they can raise enough money they plan to make seven seasons, which will take the story all the way through the crucifixion and resurrection. If that happens, this will be the first ever multi-season TV show about the life of Christ.
My family and I are currently watching it together on family movie nights. Because it closely follows the Gospel narrative some scenes may be a bit intense for younger viewers. I encourage you to check it out, and if you like it and want to see more, consider a donation to support the filming of future episodes. Enjoy the show!
Thursday, April 16, 2020
This week we have a couple of chances to hear from within our conversation on life in the church during Covid 19. Hope these are a blessing to you!
From Pastor Jeff
From Dana Bowman
From Pastor Jeff
From Dana Bowman
Saturday, April 11, 2020
Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Once again we are searching for Gold. Gather up those objects you had found on Palm Sunday. With eternal life we are brought back to the original design. Eternal life is the gift we are given and it will be spent in an unbroken world. We may spend today celebrating only with Jesus or Jesus and a small number of people. The brokenness of this world is very evident but it is a blink of the eye in light of eternity. Let us focus on the “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Friday, April 10, 2020
April 11, 2020
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
On this Saturday before Easter, you are invited to search for plant life. This may be actual plants and flowers or art and objects that depict botanical life. Study the collection before you. What similarities do you see and what variety do you see?
Today’s text brings us into the present. As believers we are the branches. Our job is to remain in Christ. The “you are the branches” is a plural you. It is not each of us solely as individuals but also us as a church body. We as a collective people must remain in Christ. He is our source and security. Look again at the variety of plant life and thank God for the variety in the Body of Christ. Together we can bear much fruit.