News and Updates

Ministry Moments – March, 2020

FEAR

          God has blessed us with emotions, they are the feelings we experience in our lives. There is joy, anger, worried, tired, sad, excited, fear, love and I’m sure you can come up with more emotions/feelings. We all have them, we all experience joy and happiness, sadness, love and fear.

          So, what do we do about our feelings? Years ago before we went to Seminary, Mark and I participated and eventually presented at Marriage Encounter. It was a GREAT experience and we enjoyed sharing our “story” with those coming to enrich their marriages. As we wrote for our presentations our mentors would say to us “There is a feeling behind that”. Prior to writing for Marriage Encounter, I thought I was sharing my feelings, but I learned I was holding back. I was afraid to share my “true” feelings. I didn’t want to face my feelings. This wasn’t helping me, it wasn’t helping Mark, and it certainly wasn’t going to help the couples coming to strengthen their relationships. Our mentors and friends helped us discover that sharing our emotions/feelings would open our communication with each other and with others.

          Don’t get me wrong, there is a element of privacy, of confidentiality, but sharing some of our feelings/emotions with each other and how we got through some of our difficult times and how we rejoiced in the amazing times God has given us is incredibly helpful to others and to each other in understanding how God works in our everyday lives.

          God has blessed us with joys, sorrows, and anticipation of what He has in store for us. There are times when we are fearful of what will happen in the distant future, in the weeks to come, and even tomorrow. The one thing we have and can always count on is God’s blessings and His constant presence. He is always there with us, we never have to walk alone.

          When I am experiencing fear and doubt I turn to His Word and Promises. Here are a few of my favorite passages that I turn to, I hope they will help you as well.

Hebrews 13:5                  Joshua 1:5                      Deuteronomy 31:6                  

Matthew 28:20               Romans 8:37-39             Romans 8:31-35            

2 Chronicles 13:12            Psalm 46:7                     Psalm 46:11                            

1 Corinthians 4:1            Deuteronomy 7:9 Deuteronomy 31:8

Genesis 18:14 Isaiah 8:10

          These are a few of the passages I turn to when I need comfort and support. There are many more passages that you can share with others, I would love to hear some of your favorites. I may find comfort in your joy of searching Scripture for His answer. The one thing I am not afraid of is telling God Thank you for the blessings and struggles. I am also not afraid to comfort others with the fact that God has always been there for me and will be there with them. To share God’s love and blessings with others that are hurting or even joyful is truly a blessing and honor.

In God’s peace and love,

Debbie Oatman 

Ministry Moments – Merry Christmas, 2019

The Wonder of Christmas/Xmas

          It’s that time of year – Christmas/holiday season/Hanukkah/Kwanza. There’s the hustle and bustle of the “season”. A time to rush around, spend more money that you really want to spend, make sure everything is set up at home, in the church, all the activities must be perfect; it is the season after all. It is a beautiful time of year, right? Everyone is smiling, especially the retailers.

Where is the joy and anticipation we used to have? What would happen if the tree didn’t get put up on time or the presents didn’t get wrapped, and the feast didn’t get prepared?  What if no one is coming over to celebrate with us? Would Christmas cease? What are we celebrating? The Season or the reason for the season?

God came to Earth as a baby, a little helpless baby. Why? Because we needed Him to come, we are sinners and without Him there is no hope, no joy, no future. Because He came, we have hope of a brighter life, a life eternal. We have the joy of knowing we are safe from eternal separation from Him. We have a future forever with Him.

          Enjoy the time with family and friends but don’t let all the hustle and bustle of this time of year get in the way of the real celebration. If the tree goes up a bit late or maybe not at all, remember, Jesus still came for you. If all the presents to get purchased and wrapped perfectly and under the tree at just the right time, remember Jesus came for you. If part of the feast doesn’t make it to the table, remember Jesus came for you.

Enjoy your family, share the Story of Jesus from Luke 2. One of my fondest memories is my Pappa  reading from the big family Bible and all the kids sitting around his rocking chair enamored by his voice and the Biblical account. This little baby came for me! He came for you! Because of HIM, WE have a place in Heaven forever.

Keynotes – December, 2019

I don’t know if you feel like you have “permission to function as God’s church in your community” or not. I certainly hope you do! That is one of the most important goals we have as a pastor.

You are a Child of God. As you recall from Confirmation, you will recall Martin Luther talking about each of us and our vocation as a Christian in the world. We are first and foremost a Child of God. We are also ambassadors to the whole world. God has blessed us to share His Word and love not only by what we say, but more importantly by what we do.

As we go about our regular work, even in retirement, we are Children of God all day long. We have been blessed to have the Holy Spirit plant God’s Word in our hearts and to help us to believe that Word. Because of that we call Jesus our Savior.

Jesus is also our Lord. He is the creator of all things. As we heard last Sunday (Colossians 1) “All things were created by Him and for Him.” That gives Him the authority to set expectations for those under His reign. We are forever thankful to Him for His endless love and look forward to seeing Him face to face.

We are entering a new season for the Church. Advent is a time when we reflect on our Lord and Savior coming both as a small child, like us, and as our King in all His glory. We will be doing that in a different way this year using what I call “The Stories of the Bible” lectionary. A lectionary is a set of Bible Readings that we use through the year. If you look in your hymnal or in the pew hymnal you will find what we use most years. From page xiv to xix you will find Series A, B and C. (Which we just completed)

For this year I have chosen Bible passages and a series of events that are often not covered by the other lectionaries. Please bring your home Bible with you to church! There is so much we can learn as we see the Word of God come alive in a different way.

May our Lord and Savior bless us this Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas Seasons as we strive to glorify Him wherever we are found.

Pastor Oatman