Daily Archives: January 1, 2021

Pastor’s Ponderings

Looking To Find Grace

Almost all of 2020 is behind us and in just a few days a new year will begin- 2021. 2020 has had its long shadows which at times have been difficult to overcome. Early in 2020 we began to hear the term “Covid-19” and we did not fully understand how it was going to affect our lives so dramatically and take so quickly the earthly lives of so many. Covid-19 created much sickness for so many and lingering effects on health which are still being measured and sought out. Our daily routines have been affected and adjustments have been made. As our life continued on with many alterations we still feel the many obligations that must be satisfied and standing on the sidelines at times has been very difficult. Many in our community, country and around the world have felt the losses of lives near them, loss of employment, and the struggles of putting food on the table, paying the rent or mortgages and the utility bills. Our social life has changed dramatically as we only gather in small groups, social and family pods, wear face coverings, keep a social distance and practice many other health-related activities to protect our families, loved ones, friends and our community. We interact in new ways such as in Zoom meetings and Facetime. We spend much more time with our phones in conversation, checking our messages, working with email and spending more time in Facebook than ever before. While all these possibilities for interaction have allowed us to stay in touch with each other, we miss the personal direct human contact that we have experienced throughout our lives which now has become very limiting.

It is possible that the absence of these things has limited the inertia that we bring to a new year and may be sweeping away the excitement we have when a new year approaches as it does beginning in January of every year. Let us not forget what Scripture tells us – that “God’s grace is sufficient” and that is essential in our lives. God’s grace is transformative in the renovation of our hearts and minds as we look to fulfill the expectations of a new year. We know as followers of Jesus Christ that He will never leave us alone or forsake us. Let us not dwell so much on what we have lost during 2020 but look at how 2021 can move us to the better places for our lives. May we learn to respect and appreciate life lived more fully, appreciating the small things that we see and do, thanking God for what has been provided to us by recognizing that God’s grace was sufficient to get us through this past year and we will experience the abundant sufficiency of God’s grace in 2021. Yes, we all know life will be different as we go forward.

Our families may be somewhat different, for sure our gathering in church worship as we enter a new year will be different for a period of time, other activities will still need to be adjusted. Yet, it is through the love that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ that we recognize the grace that Jesus will provide us is more than enough grace for the living of our lives more fully in the upcoming year.
Blessings and stay safe until we can gather together once more safely in community and let’s stay in contact with each other. Happy New Year!

Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

Thank You

Suzanne, Reba and I want to thank you for the gifts and cards we have received from you during this Holiday Season. May the joy we share with each other be a lasting greeting of love for all to appreciate and remember.

Pastor Gary

Scriptures on Hope

Fill in the Blanks! (self-correcting quiz!)

Job 13:15
Though he _ me, yet will I ___ in him: but I will maintain mine own ____ before him.

Proverbs24:20
For there shall be no reward to the ____ man; the candle of the ____ shall be put out.

Romans 8:24-25
For we are saved by ___: but hope that is not seen is not ___: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with _ wait for it.

1 Corinthians 15:19
If in this ___ only we have hope in ____, we are of all men most _____.

Hebrews 11:1
Now __ is the substance of things ____ for, the evidence of ____ not seen.

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the _______and Father of our Lord Jesus _____, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the _____ of Jesus Christ from the _.

1 Thessalonians 5:8
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a ______, and the hope of salvation as a _.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
BY ROBERT FROST

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

New Year’s Traditions and Celebrations

In many countries, New Year’s celebrations begin on the evening of December 31—New Year’s Eve—and continue into the early hours of January 1. Revelers often enjoy meals and snacks thought to bestow good luck for the coming year. In Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes-symbolizing their hopes for the months ahead-right before midnight. In many parts of the world, traditional New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success; examples include lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern United States. Because pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries. Ring-shaped cakes and pastries, a sign that the year has come full circle, round out the feast in the Netherlands, Mexico, Greece and elsewhere. In Sweden and Norway, meanwhile, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve; it is said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.
https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years

Prayer To Begin The New Year

Lord, grant me a joyful heart and a holy sense of humor. Please give me the gift of faith to be renewed and shared with others each day. Teach me to live this moment only, looking neither to the past with regret, not to the future with apprehension. Let love be my aim and my life a prayer.


Upcoming Worship Schedule

January 3, 2021
Isaiah 60:1-6 / Matthew2:1-12
We Have Visitors

January 10, 2021
Psalm 29 / Mark 1:4-11
Saint John the Baptist

January 17, 2021
1 Samuel 3:1-10 & 11-20 / John 1:43-51
Here I Am, Lord

January 24, 2021
Jonah 1:1-3:10 / Psalm 62:5-12
Jonah, A Reluctant Servant Of God

January 31, 2021
Deuteronomy 18:15-20 / 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
False Prophets and False Gods