From Pastor Tom for October: “Will We Recognize Him When He Comes?”

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It’s fun when you recognize a famous person. We were in New York number of years ago, just walking down a street in midtown Manhattan, and we noticed a guy with a TV camera and another with a microphone and out of a black car emerged George Clooney. We watched him give a brief interview, and then he was gone. That was probably the closest I’ve been to a star. It was easy to recognize George because we have seen his face a hundred times, but in the days before mass media, famous people were harder to recognize. Carl Sandberg, … Read More

From Pastor Tom for September: “It’s Nice to be Nice to the Nice”

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Frank Burns from the TV series, “M.A.S.H.,” said a lot of funny and stupid things. But one of his more memorable lines was, “It’s nice to be nice to the nice” (for those of you who have no idea who Frank Burns is or what the show “M.A.S.H.” was all about, please catch some reruns—it’s one of the best TV series ever!). I think most of us would agree with Frank’s words. We have been taught from the earliest age to be nice. When we describe someone we will often say, “He’s a nice guy.” We want to be seen … Read More

From Pastor Tom “New Vitality”

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Churches are struggling these days. Almost all mainline Protestant denominations are facing dramatic declines in membership and attendance. Our church has been no different. When I was called as the pastor of this church 30 years ago we faced an older and declining church. The Lord blessed us with growth. We soon had many young families and lots of young children. But as those children grew and went off to college we didn’t see most of them again. Many families moved out of town and some simply no longer attended services. And, of course, the Lord called many of our … Read More

From Pastor Tom “A New Adventure”

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Faith is an adventure. Sometimes God allows us times of stability, comfort, and safe routines. But more often than not God calls His people out of theircomfort zones and into times of adventure. God called Abraham, when he was an old man, to leave the comfort and security of his home and to travel to a new land. God promised Abraham descendants too numerous to count and to give those descendants a wonderful land overflowing with milk and honey. Even though Abraham and his wife had no children and were well beyond child-bearing age, Abraham trusted God and left his … Read More

From Pastor Tom “The End of Your Story is Already Written”

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We don’t know much about heaven. Do we go to heaven right away or do we sleep until Jesus returns in glory? What will we do for the rest of time in our heavenly home? Won’t it get a little boring just sitting around on the clouds? Will we fish or garden or (one of my burning questions) play golf in heaven? The Bible doesn’t give us very many clear details on this topic. So apparently God doesn’t want us to focus on the next life but to live in this life with the hope of heaven. The hope of … Read More

From Pastor Tom “Singers of Life”

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“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy” Psalm 126 I love the image conveyed by that scripture. A farmer goes out into the field and his tears fall to the ground. And, in due time, those tears yield a harvest of joy. Our God loves to turn sorrow into joy. He can redeem even the worst of our days and turn them into the greatest times of joy. God took the sorrow of the cross and turned it into the great joy of the resurrection. He took the pain and suffering of our Lord and transformed … Read More

From Pastor Tom “Reasonably Happy”

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“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled. Life is difficult. It is one of the great truths of the Christian faith. Jesus never promised His disciples a life of ease, comfort, and happiness. He promised instead that they would … Read More

From Pastor Tom “Trusting God”

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Walter Wangerin, in his book, Mourning into Dancing, tells about an event that occurred when he was a young boy. He had a hiding place in the cherrytree in his backyard. One branch formed a horizontal fork, which was perfect for him to lie on facedown and read, think, or just be alone. His parents had no idea that this was his hiding place. Then came the thunderstorm. I’ll let him tell the rest of the story: One day suddenly, a wind tore through the backyard and struck my cherry tree with such force that it ripped the book from … Read More

From Pastor Tom “Silent Night—Sounds of Glory”

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“Silent Night” is my favorite Christmas Carol. It portrays in a beautiful way the quiet and humble birth of our Lord. He came into this world largely without fanfare. There was no glitz and no glamour. No media attention. No crowds swarming to see this amazing event. Jesus’ birth occurs without any of the events that we associate with great moments in history. It was a silent night with God in human form, sleeping in a borrowed manger, in a lowly barn, in a little town called Bethlehem. Few people knew that one of the greatest miracles of all time … Read More

From Pastor Tom “This is the Day!”

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“This is the Day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 How easy it is to get stuck in the past. How often we are filled with regret for mistakes made and opportunities lost. How easy it is to get into the “if only” trap. If only I had done this instead of that. If only I had decided differently. How much better my life would have been today if only I had made better choices. And some of us want to just turn back the clock and relive a certain time in … Read More