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July 13, 2020

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Please read at least the first three paragraphs there is on update re: future “Checking In” emails.

Pastor Trent here:  when I started these daily emails, we had no idea how long this “disconnect” would last.  In fact, they were not intended to be daily, but we received feedback that people were encouraged by them and some were using them as daily devotionals.  After several weeks, it seemed wise to ask the other pastors to share their “voices” as well.  And on behalf of all the pastors, allow me to say, “it has been an honor and a privilege be allowed into your inbox daily since March 13, 2020.

As a staff, we understand the “screen fatigue.”  We are experiencing it too.  The sheer number of emails I receive from various ministries is astonishing.  There are several that I used to read and now, I simply delete them because I don’t have the time or energy to get through them all.  We do not want your church to be one of those “auto-delete” messages, so we find ourselves in a strange spot.  Some count on these “Checking In” emails and others don’t have time to look at something daily, so they don’t look at any.  BTW:  this is not a complaint, it’s just how it is.  ☺  

In trying to meet expectations (too much to keep ‘em coming to everywhere in between) we have decided the following.  1). You will receive half the “Checking In” emails in a week but will have the same daily content.  Monday’s will have a thought/devotional for both Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday – Wednesday and Thursday, Friday – Friday, and Saturday.  2). We will place any news/announcements at the beginning of the email, so if you are looking for information but not devotional content, you can get your info early.  3). Pastor Doug will be polling the ministry staff to see who else is willing to offer their thoughts, so you will likely be “hearing” from people other than just the Pastors from this point forward.  4). We will try to keep the devotional thoughts concise (shorter).  ☺

Devotion for Monday, July 13, 2020 from Pastor Trent

With the spike in Covid 19 cases around the country and the new Executive Order from Michigan’s Governor the hopes that the near future will be more normal than not seem to be misplaced.  The pundits predict more deaths and illnesses, economic collapse, election result certainties (no matter which candidate you support) and more and more violence.  Oh…and… it’s always someone else’s fault.  In other words, it’s not an easy time to either be alive or to be a Christian.  

So, what does God say about it?  Is there scripture that tells us what will happen?  As with the pundits, there are as many opinions on this as there are denominations.  But one thing remains the certain….God.  Hebrews 13:8 tells us: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  

I imagine God’s people in Egypt, the desert, coming into the promised land in the book of Judges, had many of the same questions of God we have today.  When is the going to end?  Why don’t you do something?  Where are all these miracles I read about?  Don’t you care?  Where are you?

But when I look at God’s deliverance from Egypt, the Exodus, the books of Joshua and Judges…when I look at the whole of scripture, one thing remains constant.  God says, in one way or another, “Trust me!”

Which brings me to a familiar passage: 

Proverbs 3: 5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight. 

And for me, the most difficult line in there is “lean not on your own understanding.”  If Adam would have trusted with his whole heart, if Jonah would have just said “yes Lord,” if the Israelites would have chosen God over the “gods” of other peoples, much pain, hardship and death could have been avoided.  

None of us knows the future, but we do know the One who does.  Be encouraged, the One who knows the future calls you His daughter or son.  He knows what’s coming and He loves you deeply.  Trust Him!

In His Grip,
Trent

Devotion for Tuesday, July 14, 2020 from Pastor Andrew

Hello!

Pastor Andrew here to share some encouragement, grace, and love. A quick update on the growing Moore family. Elliot is growing out of newborn clothes! Personally I didn’t think he would ever get any bigger… He’s eating like a champ, sleeping well, and he’s starting to hold his little (but not so little) head up more and more each day. :) I love watching him grow each day, but I sure am going to miss these moments.

Those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. It’s okay to love what God is doing in your life, and to miss what was. Any change in your life requires a loss of what was, and every loss needs to be grieved.

I’ve been thinking about this reality a lot these last few months. When I was younger, I switched schools a lot. Kindergarten and 1st grade were at Pine Creek Elementary; 2nd and 3rd were at Great Lakes Elementary; 4th and 5th were at New Groningen. I attended Creekside Middle School in 6th grade and Cityside Middle School in 7th and 8th grades. I won’t go into great detail about why those changes happened; we moved around a lot when I was younger.

Each time I switched schools, I lost the friends I had made along the way. Each time I walked into a new school, I carried with me the grief of saying goodbye to those good things. What I didn’t fully understand at the time was that in order to celebrate the new things that were happening, I had to let go of what was. I had to grieve its loss in my life. If I didn’t, I would never be able to thrive in these new environments. Things worked out in the end, but if I could go back and tell myself one thing as a child, I would tell myself that it’s okay to say goodbye to what was; it’s okay to grieve, and it’s okay to welcome new things in their stead.

Today many have to make the difficult decision to do the same thing. So many of the blessings and good things in our lives have been put on hold now for months. “Normal” if there ever was such a thing, is almost a forgotten memory.

I have been holding so tightly onto what was, that sometimes I miss what God is doing today. If the leaves never browned and fell to the forest floor in the fall season, our springs would never be full of blossoming new life.

The Gospel of Matthew remembers Jesus calling His disciples like this:

“Matt. 4:18   While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

When those disciples left their lives and livelihoods to follow Jesus, they must have felt like they were losing everything even as they were gaining Jesus! Sometimes we get so hung up on what was, that we forget that God is calling us to what will be.

So my questions for all of us today are simple: What is God calling you to? What is God calling you from?

Grieve what was; celebrate what is to be.

Have a wonderful week, brothers and sisters. Be safe, and be well!

With peace,
Pastor Andrew

We are currently in Phase 2.

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