SEPTEMBER 2017

PASTOR’S NOTE

The story is told: ‘A lady went to her Pastor and said “Pastor, I won’t be going to your church anymore.” The Pastor responded “But why?” The lady said “Ah! I saw a woman gossiping about another member; a man that is a hypocrite; the worship team living wrong; people looking at their phone during service; among so many other things wrong in your church.”
The Pastor replied “OK. But before you go, do me a favor: take a full glass of water and walk around the church three times without spilling a drop on the ground. Afterwards, leave the church if you desire.” The lady thought: too easy! She walked three times around the church as the Pastor had asked. When she finished she told the Pastor she was ready to leave.
The Pastor said, “Before you leave I want to ask you one more question. When you were walking around the church, did you see anyone gossiping?” The lady replied “No.” “Did you see any hypocrites?” The lady said “No.” “Anyone looking at their phone?” “No.” “You know why?” “No.”
“You were focused on the glass, to make sure you didn’t stumble and spill any water. It’s the same with our life. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we don’t have time to see the mistakes of others. We will reach out a helping hand to them and concentrate on our own walk with the Lord.” Just a thought…
Charlie

JUNE 2017

PASTOR’S NOTE

For all the gardeners and farmers out there, I found this little tidbit.
“There was once a farmer who went to town to purchase seeds for his farm. As he was returning home, one of the squash seeds he had purchased fell from his pocket on the ground. It happened that within a few feet was another seed of a different type. The place where the two seeds lay was rather fertile, and miraculously they took root.
After about a week the squash seed showed signs of growth. The second seed showed none. After two weeks the squash began to sprout leaves. The second seed showed none. After seven weeks the squash began to show fruit. The second seed still showed no progress.
Four more weeks came and went. The squash plant reached the end of its life bearing much fruit in that time, but the other seed finally began to slow grow. Many years later the squash was all but forgotten, but the other tiny seed, an acorn, had grown into a mighty oak tree.
Many people want their faith to be like the squash. They want to experience it all right now….rather than be rooted for life.”
Charlie

MAY 2017

PASTOR’S NOTE

A special thought for Mother’s Day: Erma Bombeck’s “Tribute to Her Mom”.
“When the good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of overtime when the angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.” And the Lord said, “have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic; have 180 moveable parts, all replaceable; run on black coffee and leftovers; have a lap that disappears when she stands up; a kiss that cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair; and six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands….no way!”. “It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.” “That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows; another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course, the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and says ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word….
“I can’t quit now…..Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick, can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger, and get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.” The angel circled the model of the mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed. “but tough”, said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.” “Can it think?” “Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromised and dream”, said the Creator.
Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the check. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told you were trying to put too much into this model.
“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.” What’s it for?” It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride.” “You’re a genius,” said the angel.
The Lord looked somber, “I didn’t put it there.”

Charlie

MARCH, 2017

“THIRSTY ON THE CROSS”
By Max Lucado
“Jesus’ final act on earth was intended to win your trust. This is the final act of Jesus’s life. In the concluding measure of his earthly composition, we hear the sounds of a thirsty man. And through his thirst-through a sponge and a jar of cheap wine-he leaves a final appeal. “You can trust me.”
Jesus. Lips cracked and mouth of cotton. Throat so dry he couldn’t swallow, and voice so hoarse he could scarcely speak. He is thirsty. To find the last time moisture touched these lips you need to rewind a dozen hours to the meal in the upper room. Since tasting that cup of wine, Jesus has been beaten, spat upon, bruised, and cut. He has been a cross-carrier and sin-bearer, and no liquid has salved his throat. He is thirsty.
Why doesn’t he do something about it? Couldn’t he? Did he not cause jugs of water to be jugs of wine? Did he not make a wall out of the Jordan River and two walls out of the Red Sea? Didn’t he, with one word, banish the rain and calm the waves? Doesn’t Scripture say that he “turned the desert into pools” (PSALM 107:35 NIV) and “the hard rock into springs” (PSALM 114:8 NIV)?
Did God not say, “I will pour water on him who is thirsty” (ISAIAH 44:3 NKJV)?
If so, why does Jesus endure thirst? While we are asking this question, add a few more. Why did he grow weary in Samaria (John 4:6) disturbed in Nazareth (Mark 6:6), and angry in the Temple (John 2:15)? Why was he sleepy in the boat on the Sea of Galilee (Mark4:38), sad at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35), and hungry in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2)?
Why? And why did he grow thirsty on the cross? He didn’t have to suffer thirst. At least, not to the level he did. Six hours earlier he’d been offered drink, but he refused it.
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “The Place of the Skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. (Mark 15:22-24 NIV, mine).
Before the nail was pounded, a drink was offered. Mark says the wine was mixed with myrrh. Matthew described it was wine with gall. Both myrrh and gall contain sedative properties that numb the senses. But Jesus refused them. He refused to be stupefied by the drugs, opting instead to feel the full force of his suffering.
Why? Why did he endure all these feelings? Because he knew you would feel them too. He knew you would be weary, disturbed and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul…pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is-he understands. And because he understands, we can come to him.”
As we move closer to the Good Friday event and the wonder of Easter, remember it was all done for us!
Charlie

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017

PASTOR’S NOTE
There was a young boy living in Paris at the end of World War II. He had been orphaned by the atrocities committed within his city by the occupying German forces. He scrounged around the ruined city as best as he could to find food, clothes and shelter. But everyone was living in desperate times, and he found that people either ignored him or could find nothing to give him. Even the soldiers who had freed Paris from the German army seemed to note care about his situation.
He had heard of the Priest in the church, long before war had broken out, talk about God and Jesus and living the Christian life. But with the hell on earth that the war had brought, he had since lost hope of any sense of Heaven. One cold morning, he was wandering down the street, staring into the windows of shops and cafes. He stopped outside the window of a small bakery. The smell of the fresh bread made his stomach ache with pain. He was so held by the smell and sights of the bakery, he didn’t notice the American soldier who had stopped in the street and had begun watching him with interest. The boy hardly noticed the G.I. as he walked past him and into the store. He did, however, notice the large bag the baker was filling for the G.I. with rolls, breads, pastries and other foods. And the boy could hardly breathe when the soldier exited the shop, knelt down and handed him the bag. The boy look at the G.I. with astonishment and gratefulness. Finally, he look at the soldier and asked him the question that was running through his mind: “Mister, are you Jesus?”
I think we should reflect and remember that God has called us to be the representation of Jesus in our day and age. We are called to be the hands and feet of our Lord. I guess that this then begs the question; ‘how well do we do this?’ I wonder as we go about our business day by day would anyone ask of us: “Are you Jesus?”
Charlie

CHRISTMAS LETTER FROM PASTOR 2016

Dear Members and Friends:

Did you ever have anyone come along and change your plans. I mean you are ready to head out the door, and the phone rings, and there is a need or a problem, and boom your plans change.

Well, if you want to think about changing plans, think about Mary and Joseph. They are engaged, thinking about getting married and starting a normal life and a normal family and along comes an Angel. Boy, did their plans change. Now, with the announcement of the Angel, Mary is already pregnant, and it is not Joseph’s child. It’s God’s. They aren’t married, and in those days pregnancy out of wedlock could cost you your life. I don’t think we can imagine how scared Mary and Joseph must have been. But please notice that it all worked out, and it all worked out not just for the best, but for the greatest. Why? Because the plan in motion was God’s plan. A plan to bring salvation to the world through that little baby that Mary was carrying. A plan to bring forgiveness to a broken and hopeless world. Yes, God changed their plans, but what wondrous events they were able to witness. To see God’s hand at work in the world, and to see it first hand! That may have been a change of plans, but it turned out to be quite a blessing for Mary, Joseph, you, me and the whole world.

If God was going to mess up someone’s plans, I am not sure He could have done it for any greater wonder or in any greater way. My hope and my prayer is that maybe we let God mess up our plans a little bit. That we allow him to remind us of what He did for us that very first Christmas, that amid all of the shopping, eating and gatherings, that God will warm our hearts and remind us of His son that was born to give us salvation, and that we adjust our plans to celebrate His gift and His wonder at Christmas. Maybe we will see that it is all right for God to mess up our plans.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas.
God bless us all.
……………….Charlie

DECEMBER, 2016

PASTOR’S NOTE
“The brand new pastor and his wife were assigned to their first church in Brooklyn and were to reopen it. They arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw the church, it was run down and needed a lot of work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19, a terrible driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. After the rain stopped, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit. He cleaned up the mess on the floor and decided to postpone the Christmas Eve service.

On the way home, he noticed that a local business was having a garage sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to church.

By that time, it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus which would arrive 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder and hung the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area perfectly.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. “Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were living in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week but he was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth but she told him to keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, which was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

On Christmas Eve, the church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stared. The pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall. The pastor explained and then the man said it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and wondered how there could be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the pastor when the Nazis came he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again. The pastor then asked if he would allow him to take the man for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island, to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and that day, he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine. as this husband and wife embraced each other of the first time 35 years.

Just like on that first Christmas, so long ago, God shows up in unexpected ways!
Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!! Charlie

NOVEMBER, 2016

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of Root Beer and he started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an elderly man. The man was sitting in the park just feeding some pigeons.
The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie.
The man gratefully accepted it and smiled at boy. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, the man smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the man, and gave him a hug. The man gave him his biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?
“He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? God’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”
Meanwhile, the elderly man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked,” Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” However, before his son responded, he added,” You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”
As we enter this month of feast, friends and family, let’s remember those who may have an abundance of need. We can then take the opportunity to share the blessings we have received, and we may find a glimpse into the face of God and a good way to say thanks for all God has given to us!

Blessings
Charlie

OCTOBER, 2016

A few years ago the Birmingham, Alabama, paper had a headline on the sports page: “The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life.” It showed a picture of Jack Nicklaus writing out a $5,000 check for charity. As a matter of fact, it was second $5,000 check that day. It happened because of a game of golf he lost.
A man by the name of Charley Boswell lives in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1937. He was the captain of the Alabama football team that played in the 1938 Rose Bowl. In World War II he was a captain in the infantry. He stepped on a land mine and blew his eyes out. Charley Boswell is stone cold blind! But for nine holes of golf he can shoot par golf. He hits a ball he can’t even see. The caddy rattles the pin in the cup, and the noise tells him where to putt. How does he do that? He said, “Holding mental pictures.”
Jack Nicklaus went to Birmingham to help raise money for a Boys’ Ranch and gave $5,000. They had a banquet to honor Nicklaus for helping the fund-raiser and for his $5,000 check. Halfway through the meal, Charley Boswell stood at a table in the back of the room. “Mr. Nicklaus, they tell me you play a little golf.” There was silence. “Yes, I’ve been known to play a round or two.” “So do I, and I think I can beat you! I’ll play you nine holes of golf. If you can beat me, I’ll give $5,000 to the Boys’ Club. And, if I beat you, you give another $5,000. And to make the contest fun, exciting, and fair, you choose the course where we play, and I’ll choose the time we play.”
Guess what time Charley chose? Night, of course. The Birmingham paper had a full length picture of Nicklaus writing out his second $5,000 check. The headline said “The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life.” Someone asked him about that headline. Why had he made that statement? “You have won every trophy, award, honor, accolade. Why would this be so exciting?” Nicklaus replied “I met a person today who refuses to let fear control his life.
Psalm 27 states: 1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” It is amazing what we can overcome when we do not let fear reign in our life, but we trust in the one whose light will break up any darkness we face!!
Blessings,
Charlie

SEPTEMBER 2016

An anonymous writer tells the story: “A man who was commissioned to paint a picture of the Prodigal Son. He went into his work fervently, laboring to produce a picture worthy of telling the story. Finally, the day came when the picture was complete, and he unveiled the finished painting. The scene was set outside the father’s house, and showed the open arms of each as they were just about to meet and embrace. The man who commissioned the work was well pleased, and was prepared to pay the painter for his work, when he suddenly noticed a detail that he had missed. Standing out in the painting above everything else in the scene, was the starkly apparent fact that the father was wearing one red shoe and one blue shoe. He was incredulous. How could this be, that the painter could make such an error? He asked the painter, and the man simply smiled and nodded, assuring the man, “Yes, this is a beautiful representation of the love of God for His children.” “What do you mean?” he asked, puzzled. “The father in this picture was not interested in being color-coordinated or fashion-conscious when he went out to meet his son. In fact, he was in such a hurry to show his love to his son, he simply reached and grabbed the nearest two shoes that he could find. “He is the God of the Unmatched Shoes.’”

The Good News for us is that God loves all His children, not because we have earned it, not because we deserve it but because He is an awesome and gracious God. I personally think that this would be a great picture of God, unmatched shoes and all!!

Blessings, Charlie