Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Our National Day of Thanksgiving comes in a couple weeks.  What do you give thanks for?  And why?

It's good to give thanks; giving and receiving gratitude meets a deep need.  Marelisa Fabrega's comments clarify the goodness of gratitude:

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you've been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.   (http://www.thechangeblog.com/gratitude/)

Her point is that practicing gratitude makes us better people — healthier, happier, more adaptable, and maybe more fun to be around.  But what does our religious tradition have to say about gratitude?

Gratitude is a basic response to waking up in God's world.  God's Spirit touches us and we see: everything is a miracle!  Our life; family and friends; our world filled with beauty, danger, and joy found on the far side of risk — all these are means of grace connecting us with God, giver of gratitude.  So we sing: "I praise the name of God with a song; I magnify God with thanksgiving" (Ps. 69:30)

Thanksgiving flows through us in Christ.  "As you have received Christ…, live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him…, abounding in thanksgiving."  (Col. 2:6-7)  In Christ, we share God's work for others.  Gratitude abounds as we discover God's blessings and gifts flowing from God through us.  We feel gratitude not only for the giftedness of our lives, but for the gift our lives become for others, given to serve and bless all people and all the Earth.

Whatever reason you have for gratitude, may these weeks leading up to our national Thanksgiving holiday be a time to savor what is good and say "thanks" to the God who gives it.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"For he satisfies the thirsty and the hungry he fills with good things"     Psalms 107:9

          While I was in rehab I often looked with longing at the people who were literally one step ahead of me.  Starting with the people who I saw stand up on their own, I was excited at the prospect of being able to do that myself.  It wasn't long and that wasn't satisfying enough and I focused on the folks who not only stood up but began to walk as well without alarms going off as they moved away from their beds.  And then it was desiring to be like those who walked with the simple aid of a cane and then those who could do so without limping badly.  I am still not satisfied.  Is that a common human malady, not being readily satisfied?  There is a part of me that longs to go back to how I was before my stroke, even though foolishly I didn't always feel satisfied then.  So then, it really is a matter of finding satisfaction of another form, as the Psalmist promises God might bring us.  That satisfaction may come to us in grandly different ways.  For me, in this case it was a moment that took place after rehab, upon returning to the same place with the choir and the band, and celebrating communion for the first time.  The room was pretty much filled with strangers.  As I offered the words of institution with cracking voice and tear filled eyes it felt quite satisfyingly spectacular.  Such is the power of the grace of God, offering peace and satisfaction in all kinds of ways, at any time.

          Help us all to know your promise of satisfaction Lord.

In the peace and power of the Christ

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, November 16th
Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/ Kindgergarten (Chapel)
                    10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Randy
                    7:00 - 8:30 p  SOV Choir Rehearsal

Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p  KOK Preschool/Kindergarten

Friday           9:00 - 11:30 a KOK Preschoo
                     1:00  - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio
                     6:45 - 10:00 p Confirmation Class

Saturday      10:00 - 11:30 a  SOV Choir Rehearsal

Please Note
New signs were installed on the property of SOV on Monday indicating "Private Property No Thorough fare". To enforce these new signs the cable is being put up each day during KOK/office hours. (cable near the entrance of SOV and Cornell). Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause with SOV parking but "pass through traffic" has been excessive and the speed of which the vehicles have been driving is dangerous. Thank you for your patience.

Scrip Sundays
November 16
December 7 & 14
Thank you for your continued support

Thanksgiving Basket prep
November 21st

Thanksgiving Basket distribution
November 22nd

If you haven't turned in your stewardship pledge form or time and talent sheet please remember to do so. The pledge form is needed to determine the SOV budget and volunteers are needed to fill committees and keep SOV flourishing.