Second Harvest!

Wow. God moved in Linwood on Tuesday…and in a mighty way. With our church’s new partnership with Second Harvest out of St. Joseph, we were able to have a fresh food drop and gave food to about 400 people in just a couple hours. Thank God and the good people at Second Harvest! We also want to thank Cindy, LES principal, Assistant Superintendent Reeves, Arlene, Arlie, Lianne, and so many others.

As we move forward with our partnership with Second Harvest we will be able to provide a pantry. We are hopeful that Second Harvest will come back with the fresh food truck, but that is under review as they need a space and volunteers I believe we have the volunteers and can find the space. If you are interested in helping with that service or with the pantry, contact Pastor Bianca. Many hands make the work light. God bless you bunches.

And now, a couple pictures.

July 12, 2020

Romans 8:35-39 Common English Bible (CEB)

35 Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
We are being put to death all day long for your sake.
    We are treated like sheep for slaughter.
37But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us. 38 I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers 39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.

As we read and pray over these verses for this series, it is easy to let our minds wander. We may wonder if these verses are true…they are. We may wonder if it is all doom and gloom…it is not. We may wonder if anyone understands our feelings or situations…maybe. This last point is the one I want to address briefly here. Feeling alone can be devastating and even a “killer” (of dreams, hopes, or life for example). And feeling alone is very strong. We, as the social beings that we are, like to belong and connect with others. Even introverts! But being alone together is tough. We may, especially if depression is lurking nearby, feel some of these emotions Paul described in these verses. But as God’s representative to you, please be assured that you are not alone…at all…ever. That is one of the promises in this section. Look at verses 38-39. Paul is convinced…that is a choice…that God in Christ Jesus will never be separated from him. Nothing can separate Paul from God. Paul lists a few things that some people may think will separate Paul from God. I would add to Paul’s list that a pandemic cannot separate us from God…job loss can’t separate us…people leaving us can’t separate… even ____ (you fill in the blank) can’t separate us from God. I pray you are convinced of this truth.

What we look at has our attention and our energy. Please consider focusing on what you have in Christ that cannot be separated from you and less attention on the other items. It is not to be Pollyanna about these things. They do matter and God knows they do to you. But, they will pass, they truly will. Staying focused and being fully convinced that God is with you allows you to relax and see options that were there all along…how much God loves you and is with you no matter what. It is tough right now. And we have God’s Word, the Bible, to help us face and overcome whatever we are dealing with right now. And, what’s really wonderful, God will be there during and after all of this. Amen.

Jesus wept then…and now

And Jesus wept | NZ Catholic Newspaper
At this time and in this place, wherever you are, let me remind you that you are not alone. Jesus, Emmanuel (God with us), is here. He weeps with you…and for you…and for others. He feels all you feel and probably more intensely. You can weep with Him. And some day, He will dry all tears. But until then. go ahead and cry with Him.

Below are two prayers from a prayer book. Sometimes we don’t have the words but another does. There is nothing magical in saying these prayers. Let them be a springboard for you to use your own words. Do not be afraid if your words are not “pretty” or if they are “bad” words. Rest assured Jesus already knows your heart and still loves you. Go ahead and pray what you need to pray, and then…listen for Him to comfort you in, during, and through the pain.

GRANT, O God, that Your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hears of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, who has created us in Your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to content against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our own communities and among the nations, to the glory of Your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lies and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

What is in your hand? (Exodus 4:2)

“Whatcha got?” asked grandpa.

“A pencil and some paper,” replied his favorite grandson.

“Whatcha making?” grandpa asked as he moved closer to the boy to see the image better.

“I am drawing a picture of God,” said the wee one.

“But, no one has ever seen God,” grandpa said softly.

“They will when I am done,” replied his precious grandchild.

This story, in all of its permutations, has been around a long time because it has a grain of truth to it. No one has ever seen God (1 John 4:12) and that verse has additional thoughts one can explore later. But the focus for this devotion is the child who took an abstract need and actively attempted to meet that need. The child did not worry about the complexity or the impossibility of drawing an image of God. He just knew that people needed to see God and used what he had at hand to the best of his ability to meet that need.

Making Jesus real to people, helping them meet and interact with Him is what Christians do. We give Jesus permission to use our hands and feet and anything else He wants to use in our spheres of influence. He doesn’t ask us to be successful; simply faithful. Laity and clergy all work under the same Commission (the Great one) and we all do what we can do with what we have at hand where we are just as the boy did, and as in the Scripture, Moses.

What is in your hand? Don’t be afraid to use it for God’s glory (Colossians 3:17).

Dear God, as a child I come to You asking that whatever I have in my hand, may I always and only use it for Your glory. In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bianca Elliott, PhD