Our Lenten Devotion for 2014

May 20th, 2014

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   Thoughts and reflections of members.

    May they enrich your faith in Jesus.

    Lent Devotion 2014


I Thank My God

April 25th, 2012

 

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”  Philippians 1:3

I have been a member of Grace my whole life. I stopped coming for awhile, but returned to take my daughter to Sunday School. Not sure while to do while she was in Sunday School, I attended the adult class.

From the first day I went to each day after I loved the readings, the conver­sations and the discussions. I grew closer to God and the the people there. I thank them for being there when I needed them. I know I continue to enjoy coming because of those first experiences.

Mary Rossmiller


Psalm 121

March 22nd, 2012

I will lift up my eyes to the hills.  From whence shall my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth……

My favorite hiking desti­nations are those with a large vista from which I can admire God’s creation.  Regardless of where it is, though, my mind always briefly returns to my favorite outlook, the front of my childhood home, sitting by the old pump, looking downhill across the pasture at the woods on the far hills and bluff.  I contemplate all the things I don’t readily see beneath the trees:  flowers, fungi, berries, birds, deer, coyotes, insects, and more.  Each of these is in turn a complex marvel.  Looking up in the daytime are the sun, sky, and clouds while night displays a canopy of stars from the Milky Way.

The Psalmist continues and assures us of God’s compre­hensive 24–7 protection.  Our comings and goings will be watched.  Being surrounded by the intricacy and beauty of God’s creation is a reminder that there is nowhere I can go without his/her presence.  Therefore, we can face life’s challenges with the confidence that we have the ultimate companion, guide, and protector.

Ruth McAndrews


Christ at Work

March 21st, 2012

When asked where I see Christ working in the lives of people, my first thought was of the Sunday School children singing the Christmas Carols, with each group belting out the songs in both English and a foreign language during the Children’s Service. Their bright eyes and smiles permeated through out the congre­gation. It was as if their innocence broke down the gap between the gener­ations and for that moment a true feeling of Christ’s message filled the hearts of all.

The other time I saw the imprint of God’s love and under­standing was during the times I chaperoned groups of confir­mation students as we attended the Urban Immersion Program inMin­neapolis. Pastor Kristin asked me to assist her in this task either out of desperation or thinking I looked mean enough that the kids would not dare cross the line of civility.

For those who don’t know, the Urban Immersion Program gathers students from various churches throughout theMid­westand informs them of the plight of people who are those less fortunate and the programs available to them. They become aware of the multitude of people who are jobless, homeless, malnourished, abused, unable to seek help for medical or psycho­logical problems. They also become aware that there are these problem in every city in theUnited States– even kids with whom they go to school.

After the infor­mation portion of the program, the students had oppor­tu­nities to learn about the agencies and spend several hours at each site working. Much of the work was mundane, but when it was put into perspective, it was a chance for them to provide assistance in cutting costs while perpet­uating the goals of the organi­zations. To teenagers, the ego, the self esteem, their image and their acceptance by others are the centers of their lives. However as if by magic these were the last of their concerns when they began working. Once they knew what they had to accomplish and their purpose the kids found their niche and worked together and tirelessly. This included cleaning toys at a preschool at an agency that provided a safe area for single mothers while they work and attend college or a trade school.  Here preschool kids tore down the egos of a couple of boys as they were on their knees helping them with coloring. At the Lutheran Social Services, the kids helped prepared food, setting up a buffet and cleaning up for a group of people who were attending a meeting on how to best get a job. They worked side by side with people who were learning job skills. One student learned how to cook portabella mushrooms. After leaving the LSS we drove across the city to an agency who was preparing food packets to be shipped toAfricaand the local area. Again the kids learned about the goal, the job they were to perform and achieved it before we left. One group visited people who were infected with the HIV virus and listened to their stories. There was a group who cleaned a home for homeless kids. However we all ate at a “soup kitchen” for our suppers. Several kids were fearful and appre­hensive about being around the homeless until they entered the building. They were encouraged to eat at the same tables along with the homeless. By the end of the meal, the kids came away with a different feeling of the homeless. They humanized the homeless.

How this time with the Urban Immersion will influence their future has yet been determined, but I do know that God was with them during their stay and the confir­mation students were affected by the experiences. As they returned to their friends and schools.  I know they will remember their times in Minneapolis and will have a much better under­standing and empathy of the hardships of those who are suffering. Who knows how God will direct their lives.

John Lee


Worship Together

March 21st, 2012

I love worshipping at Grace.  However, I am more profoundly aware of God’s presence when all four services period­ically combine for one service.  The hymns of praise and our prayers are amplified to an entirely different level when we worship and commune as one total family.  It is an awesome experience.

Bud Johnson


Unworthy and Loved

March 8th, 2012

In John 4 we read of a certain woman at a well, a Samaritan and a sinner, who is ready and willing to receive a word of grace.  Jesus recognizes her as someone who will engage with Him, who longs to be in relationship with God.  He breaks through a bunch of boundaries and tells her there is a gift she can ask for…there is life she can receive.  She can worship God, not in the way prescribed by the tradi­tional scriptural authorities, but in a new way…in spirit and in truth.  He tells her that He is the Messiah in whom she has hoped.  So, although she’s outside the circle of accept­ability, and incredible as it may seem to her, God has directly come to her and asked for her faith, for her response.  He has walked right up to her and called her.  She believes and accepts His mission, then she responds by going way outside of her comfort zone to tell others, to go to the very people that shun her and tell them that she has met the Messiah.

I really relate to this woman.  I’m an unworthy sinner; Jesus has recognized my need to find and love Him; He has asked for my faith.  Jesus has crossed all boundaries and come to me, where I am, and offered me life.  He has told me that to worship God is about following His Spirit and worshipping in my heart, in my everyday, in my thoughts and actions and words and relationships.  I want to respond and tell others and follow Him.

I have found a like-minded community here at Grace.  This family of believers cares about a living faith, about worshipping and living in relationship with God, about being open to His Spirit and responding to His call.  I love Grace because I have found healing here, acceptance, deep joy and compan­ionship in hard times.  As I live in community here, I feel God’s profound presence.  I think and hope that Grace is about crossing boundaries, reaching out, calling to faith­fulness those who want to know God’s love.

Karen Cornish


Walk the Talk

March 8th, 2012


 

 

 

And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8

From my first time ever at Grace I have always thought of the people as humble. Even in the congre­ga­tional singing, no one stood out, all singing together as one voice. The people at Grace observe their faith by serving, in other words, “Walking the talk.” The ELCA cares about justice throughout the world and Grace is a part of that mission. At Grace you will discover helpful servants who walk humbly with their God.

Susan Senn


Child of God

March 5th, 2012

1 John 3:1 

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

This is both an encour­agement and a reminder. God’s love is ever present, unfailing and I am His child. I am encouraged daily by that. I am reminded that because God loves me, I am called to love others in thought, word and deed. God gave me gifts that are “tools” for making choices and decisions each and every day. Read and ponder the Bible, live by His commandments, confess my sins and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. I am truly blessed to be a child of God!

Chryss Hartman

 


St. Joe’s

March 4th, 2012

I love that Grace is in service to others whether in our local community, in other states or across the globe and that we are teaching our youth the value of helping others and living as Christ taught.  While my daughter Katie was in confir­mation, her class served at a St. Joe’s meal site.  While the parents provided the food, it was the youth who served the meal.  As the people came to the kitchen asking for seconds, they didn’t want to make eye-contact with the kids or even speak very loud.  I watched the kids ask questions and talk with the individuals without any judgment and how the people responded with louder voices, eye contact and smiles.  The inter­action was marvelous – I was so proud of all of the youth that night as they were truly behaving as Christ and showing how we are taught to love one another.

Cindy Savely


Music for the Soul

March 3rd, 2012

As a child, my faith grew in the old family church that I usually attended alone except at Easter.  My wonderful father responsibly dropped me off and picked me up for choirs, confir­mation, youth activities, Sunday School, and services where I sang or played my flute, always there alone or with peers.  After college, I returned to the old church quite sparsely but knew, after a near fatal accident, I wanted the strength I received from worshiping and learning God’s word with a Christian community.  I needed a church family.

When Emilia and Philip were toddlers, I knew I must be again actively involved so my children could also feel God’s active presence in their lives in fellowship with friends.  After “trying” many churches for a fit, I joined Grace with our children and my husband’s blessing.  My faith grew, and my need to recharge with life’s demands led us into the hands of a loving, supportive church family.  Both Adolfo and I together continue to grow in our faith through the support of our Grace pastors, our Grace friends, and the worship experience with regular attendance.  The music of all four services touches my soul, but I especially am moved by the contem­porary worship music.  Through my flute playing, I hope to help others feel God’s presence at that moment and in their lives.  There is a prayer on my piano that reflects my current musical faith experience at Grace:

“God, please bless my music that it might glorify your name,
May using it to serve you always be my aim.  Let it be a witness to your majesty and love, 
And remind us that you’re watching from your throne above. 
Oh Lord, I ask for guidance in everything I do, and pray you’ll make my music an instrument for you.”

Debbie Alejo