Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Top Ten and Thanksgiving for Dads

The two most influential men in my life have been my dad and papa(mom's dad). Today I've been reflecting on all that I have learned from them, and I realized how thankful I am for how they have shaped the way that I see the world. Earl and Bill set a standard for what I feel it means to be a good man, husband, Christian, American, and father. I know they influenced my choice for the man with whom I make decisions and confront challenges in my daily life, and I am grateful for how my husband Robbie lives by these same ideals.  May we all seek to follow in their footsteps, and laugh along the way.

1) Make friends with everyone. 

2) Sometimes you have to get lost to find your way.

3) Sometimes it's better to lose than to win.

4) A quick nap does more than a cup of coffee.

5) A quick nap and then a cup of coffee is even better.

6) Sometimes you have to take something apart to get it to work right.

7) Laughter goes further than a strong word.

8) American flag shirts and ties are cool.

9) Always remember to change your oil and check your tires.

10) Bacon and/or Ice Cream can turn an ordinary day into a special one.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Thursday/Friday: God made you for a purpose and will always love you.

On Thursday, or Jesus day, as I like to call it, Skyler the Bower Bird will remind us: God will always love you!

Our kids will memorize the verse from Psalm 89: "Your unfailing love will last forever.”

This is the time to teach kids about God’s never failing forgiveness. Even when we think we have done something unforgivable, Jesus came to die in our place and be raised to life, so that we might know that God wants us to live as forgiven people, not to die as sinners. Jesus wants to be our friend and teacher, even when we make mistakes.  Jesus wants our kids to know about the forgiveness available to them now, and he wants them to be included in our challenge to love one another.

Friday’s theme will build on this with the final message: God made you for a reason.

Abbee the Bee will share the final verse: For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Remind our kids that they don’t have to wait until they grow up to begin living for Jesus, they can do it right now.  Helping others, loving our neighbors, asking for forgiveness and giving out forgiveness, these are all things they can do now. God trusts us to do the work, let’s trust in God!

Thank you for sharing your week with these kids! Remember God has made you for a purpose, too! Join us for worship on Sunday at 10:30am and help us tell the rest of our congregation about what we’ve learned this week. May God use this week to do a “good work” in your heart, too!

Grace and Peace, 
Pastor Kati

Wednesday: God is always with you!

Wednesday we’ll learn about Gideon. You might not recognize his name, but I bet you have asked God some of these same questions in your life.  Here’s a brief section from Judges 6:

11 The angel of the Lord came. He sat down under an oak tree in Ophrah. The tree belonged to Joash. He was from the family line of Abiezer. Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress at Ophrah. He was the son of Joash. Gideon was threshing in a winepress to hide the wheat from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon. He said, “Mighty warrior, the Lord is with you.”
13 “Pardon me, sir,” Gideon replied, “you say the Lord is with us. Then why has all this happened to us? Where are all the wonderful things he has done? Our people of long ago told us about them. They said, ‘Didn’t the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has deserted us. He has handed us over to Midian.”
14 The Lord turned to Gideon. He said to him, “You are strong. Go and save Israel from the power of Midian. I am sending you.”
15 “Pardon me, sir,” Gideon replied, “but how can I possibly save Israel? My family group is the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh. And I’m the least important member of my family.”
16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you.”

On “humpday” Bubba the Humpback Whale will remind us: God is always with you!

Key verse: “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Gideon wasn’t so sure of that.  He had seen his people persecuted and wondered where was God? Maybe you have wondered that in your life.

Gideon asked a lot of questions and really tested God, even though he had seen the face of God and heard the voice of God, he wasn’t sure he believed God could save his people, he wasn’t sure he was the man to do it either.

Gideon reminds us that God wants to hear our doubts and our questions. God wants us to pray in anger and in thanksgiving. God promises that even and especially when we are in trouble, we are never alone.

Encourage your kids to ask questions, but don’t try to answer all of them. Encourage them to bring their questions to God in prayer, and let God show up in front of us.

If Jesus showed up for dinner at your house, what questions would you ask?

Tuesday: God is For You!

"Looking out it’s a big, big world, where do I go, how do I fit in, gotta keep this one thing on my mind, the maker of all the universe is on my side. If God is for me, who can be against me!”

This is the first verse and chorus for one of our songs this week. You can find it on YouTube or follow our playlist on Spotify:

On Tuesday Tina the Termite will remind us: God is for you!

Bible verse: "If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

We will tell the kids about Joshua and Rehab, how a stranger to God’s people(Rehab—a powerful woman) had protected them(Joshua and his men) in a life threatening experience.  Trusting in God also means trusting in the people that God sends to help us.  We are trusting in you, our volunteers and parents, to encourage and challenge our kids this week, and you will have the opportunity to trust each other as you travel, learn, worship and work together.  

Who do you need to trust so that you can follow your dreams and/or do what God has called you to do? Is it someone in your family? Is it someone in your school or workplace? Is it someone in your church? 

To read more about the bible story, follow the link below and have a great day!

God is For You!

Pastor Kati

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Deck-orated by God!

In Preparation for our Maker Fun Factory VBS by Group Publishing, I'll be posting daily devotions for our volunteers! Join us on the journey and remember, "We are made with a purpose, created to create!"
Remember: God made you!

On Monday "Decker" the Crab will be telling the kids that "God lovingly creates people." Here are some verses to keep in mind:

Genesis 1:26 NIV Reader's Bible

Then God said, “Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Psalm 139:13-14 NIV Reader's Bible

"You created the deepest parts of my being. You put me together inside my mother’s body. How you made me is amazing and wonderful.  I praise you for that.  What you have done is wonderful.  I know that very well."

Our curriculum reminds us that as Christians we believe we are lovingly, intentionally, creatively, and masterfully handmade by God.

I like to imagine the whole trinity at work creating us.  When I read over Psalm 139, I enjoy picturing how Jesus grinned while my hands and heart were knitted together in my mother's womb.  Did he giggle at how clumsy I would be? Did he look forward to hearing me play my flute and sing? Did he know the obstacles and barriers that would be in my way? Did he brim with pride knowing the strength planted in my being to tackle those challenges? When might Jesus have grinned or brimmed with pride as you were created?

Maybe I'm just being silly, but I think Jesus is a little bit silly too;) I'll leave you with this beautiful passage from Proverbs 8, where Lady Wisdom looks back on the creation of all things living and charges humankind for the days ahead.  May the Spirit continue to breathe life and joy into your lungs and spirit as we prepare for a fun week with our Creator and the beloved creation! Pastor Kati

"Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company, delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family. So, my dear friends, listen carefully; those who embrace these my ways are most blessed. Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life. Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure."
Proverbs 8, The Message

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Memorial Day Litany

For better or for worse, our faith and our patriotism are embedded in one another.  We could choose to separate the two, but I sincerely feel that when we honor this connection across different faiths, we also open the door to be held accountable to the message of reconciliation which accompanies the calling to fight and endure suffering for freedom.
Our congregation has a tradition of doing a Memorial Day Litany and I edited a few lines in an attempt to include this parallel message of deliverance from evil and reconciliation with one another.  Feel free to use in your congregation or family gathering.
Memorial Day Litany
Minister: Lord, you have called us to be the salt and the light of our world.  Today we come before you, giving thanks for all of the faithful who have gone before us and fought the good fight through faith, that we might appreciate the many liberties we enjoy. For justice, freedom, the pursuit of happiness and the opportunity to worship where we please,
All: We give thanks to you, O God, our creator, redeemer, and sustainer.
Minister: For those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms we cherish, in our own country and abroad,
All: We give thanks to you, O God, our protector, liberator, and reconciler.
Minister: For those who continue to risk their lives for the sake of freedom,
All: Let us support their every effort and stand by them and their families in time of need.
Minister: Guide our nation in the way of truth and peace.
All: Let our conversations reflect your teachings, wisdom, and mercy.
Minister: We pray for our President, his advisors, military leaders and Congress in these tense times.
All: Give them courage to listen and act in cooperation, boldness, and benevolence.  Guide their steps to fight against those who spread hate and tyranny throughout the world. Almighty God, you are our strength and our shield. Guide each of us as agents of peace, liberation, and reconciliation in the legacy of those who have gone before us. Amen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A thanksgiving for the gifts of motherhood

* A bittersweet reflection

The three most influential women in my life are my mom and my two grandmothers.  They not only passed down genes and habits, some good and some challenging, they also set an example for how a woman can flourish, lead and encourage the flourishing of others.  Lately I’ve been thinking about the storms they survived many years before I was born, and how their sorrow and pain would one day develop the love, faith and joy which nurtured me in my youth. Everyone who knows or has seen a photo of Vera Salmons, knows I have her grin. When my eyes are sometimes a grayish blue and other times an olive brown, I remember Rosie Benton’s caring eyes. I know I have her hips, if only I had her waist! And for anyone who knows Ann Salmons, there is no doubt I am my mother’s daughter, from our love of wonderful music, to our zealous love of crafting, we love to give our entire beings to our passions. I had hoped to share their joy in holding my own child this mother’s day, and instead I am holding the grief we share in the loss of a child. 

Over the last several months, many mothers have shared their stories of miscarriage and child loss with me in the wake of our loss.  Sometimes it is all a blur, because no matter how many months or years we knew our child, the grief is still raw and painful.  We all yearn to love, be loved, and experience that mysterious connection of body and heart. 

As we look towards Mother’s day, I am choosing to be thankful. I am thankful for the joys of motherhood I have felt for a short while. I am thankful for the many women who comforted me and walked with me through shadows and light during these past several months. I am thankful for my mother and my grandmothers.  I am thankful for their love.  I am thankful for their faith. Most of all, I am thankful for the strength I feel in my very being that they passed on to me. I am thankful that my parents can remind me of Granny and Mama’s stories, and I am thankful for the hope that I will one day share their stories with our children. Glory be to God, Alleluia. Amen.