Rev. Dale Walling
Interim Minister

                      

        

Newsletter Articles


Lent:  Something Worth Fighting For!!

 

            I joined a boxing gym in Shawnee last year.  For the first four months they have you in a conditioning class where you run, jump rope, hit the heavy bag and learn some basic boxing techniques.  After you gain a few necessary skills they move you to the next class, where you do some actual boxing.  It’s been fun and the “Rocky” in me has enjoyed the light sparring.  (A couple of guys got carried away not long ago and one had his eye socket broken, had surgery and will be out 12 weeks!)

           

            At times Jesus found himself in the midst of battles!  We remember Jesus in the wilderness standing against the forces of evil.  We see Jesus fighting against the forces of sin and selfishness!  We recall Jesus angrily overturning the money-changer tables in the temple.  We think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane asking that the “cup pass from me!”  Jesus fought battles both outside and inside himself!

 

            Of course, we have our own battles and have learned battles come in all shapes and forms!  Our battle may be against cancer, heart failure or alcohol.  Our battle may be against the forces of grief or disappointment!  Sometimes we battle against fear and doubt.  Certainly we find ourselves battling against the forces of the world’s hunger and homelessness!  Like Jesus, some battles are outside us and others are inside us.

 

            In the midst of his own battles, Jesus spent great time in prayer!  He turned to God, trusted in God and knew God would stand beside him throughout life!  You and I know this, too!  In prayer, study and worship, we celebrate God standing by our side throughout the joys and struggles of life!

            Lent reminds us that just as Christ was raised up in victory, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be, too!

 

            I remember a story about a man who died and saw God face to face.  God said to the man, “Show me your scars!”  The man said, “I have no scars!”

            God sadly asked, “Did you find nothing in life worth fighting for?”

 

            While Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers,” there were certainly times Jesus laced up his gloves and did battle against forces that stood contrary to the will and ways of God!  May we be willing to do the same!

            Our Lenten journey continues!  Know how glad I am to be traveling with you!

 

                                                                        Blessings,    Rev. Rocky

 

 

 

 

 

A One Word Phone-Text:  LOVE!

 

            Last year I was working with a church and someone’s cell-phone went off in the middle of worship: MINE!  I couldn’t believe it!  I (almost) always remember to turn it off but this time forgot! 

            Somebody asked, “Was God calling you?”  I said, “No, I would have taken that cal!”

           

            Actually, it was not a call but a text from my youngest son, Sam.  He must have forgotten that his father preaches on Sunday morning and so Sam decided to text me!  It was a little embarrassing but when I saw the text I had to smile.  Let me explain.

            Linda and our sons have this custom of when we are finishing a conversation with each other on the phone, instead of saying, “Goodbye” or “See you later,” we will end our conversation by saying “LOVE!”  That’s it!  Just a one word sign-off! 

            For example: “See you tonight.  Love!” 

            Or, “I’ll pick up milk on the way home.  Love!” 

            Or, “We’ll meet at the restaurant at 6 PM.  Love!”

 

            Anyway, we’ve done it for years and it has grown to where during the day when we are just thinking about each other, we will text the word LOVE to each other.  Just a one-word way of reaffirming our commitment and devotion.

            So on that Sunday, in the middle of worship Sam texts me!  My youngest son is thinking about his old-man and texts a one word message in the middle of my sermon:  LOVE! 

 

            Now, the preacher in me would say that God TEXTS us every day, reaffirming a love and devotion for us all!  God’s texting may not come across our cell-phones, but they come in the form of blue skies, sunny days, flowers in bloom, snow-covered pastures, stunning mountains, good books, beautiful music, family, friends and a million other ways! 

            Each day we are reminded that we are on God’s mind as God sends us texts with a one-word message:  LOVE!

 

            Years ago I read a book by Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.  He told a story about how a Russian cosmonaut had flown into space and said that while there he looked around and “Didn’t see God anywhere!”  Neil Armstrong said when he flew into space and looked around, that he, “Saw God everywhere!”

 

            I hope you do, too! 

 

            Wishing you a week where you see all the heavenly texts that come your way!

 

            Blessings……. and following in the ways of a family tradition…….. LOVE, 

 

                                                                                                         Dale

 

 

 

 

 

Qualities We Want in Our Ministers!

Qualities Our Ministers Want in Us!

 

 

       Our Summer Adult Sunday School Program has gone well!  Thanks to all the classes who have participated and the input and contributions everyone has made.  We have talked, laughed, learned and enjoyed our group-time together!  We have one more session July 1st, which will be led by the Pulpit Team, and then everyone gets to return to their own class!

      Again, thanks for going with this brief change and for the great dialogue and sharing!

 

       During last week’s session we “Built the Perfect Pastor!”  I asked each table to tell me qualities and characteristics they wanted in their next minister.  I heard words like FAITHFUL, COMPASSIONATE, A LISTENER, DEVOTED, KIND, WORKS WELL WITH OTHERS, DEDICATED, SENSE OF HUMOR, VISIONARY, LOVING  and others. 

        We know clearly what we want in our ministers!

 

       Afterwards we “Built the Perfect Church Member”, and I asked each table to come up with qualities prospective ministers would want in the church and their members, and many of the answers were the same.  Ministers want members who are FAITHFUL, COMPASSIONATE, VISIONARY, WORKS WELL TOGETHER, KIND, DEDICATED and LOVING.

 

       Of course, the point is that there are qualities you hope your next minister has, and there are traits your next minister hopes WE (as the church) have.” 

      Not surprisingly, ministers and congregations look for the same qualities in each other!

 

       This week I would invite you to reflect on what qualities YOU bring to the ministry of God's church.  Maybe you can read Galatians 5: 22-23, where the Apostle Paul lists the “fruits of the Spirit” and think about which “fruit” you bring to our church work!

        As we work together at spreading the GOOD NEWS of God’s love, may we always expect the best of our leaders…and of ourselves…

                                                                              Blessings,  Dale

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism!  Do We Have To?

 

           Last Sunday we talked about evangelism.  We looked at the story in Matthew where Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Jesus’ mother) went to the tomb early that first Easter to anoint the body of Jesus.  Angels appeared saying Jesus had risen from the dead and telling them to, “Go and tell the disciples!”

            Scripture tells us that the women, “…hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell the disciples. (Matthew 28:8)

 

            The same story is told in Mark’s Gospel.  Like Matthew, Mark tells the story of the women going to the tomb and how angels appeared saying Jesus had risen and to, “Go and tell the disciples!”

            But according to Mark, “…the women fled the tomb and said nothing to anyone because they were afraid!”  (Mark 16:8).

           

            We asked which of those endings best described our willingness to share the Good News?  Will we go out and talk about God’s love or leave the empty tomb and tell no one because we are afraid?

           Most people don’t like talking about evangelism, much less doing it!  We don’t want to seem pushy or preachy to folks.  It is easier to not do it or leave it for someone else to do, but evangelism is one of the most important task churches and Christians are given! 

 

         How can we all become better evangelists?

  • Invite!  Invite!  Invite!  Invite folks to worship and other special events.  For example, this      Sunday the choir from Knox Presbyterian Church is bringing a special      program during our services!  Invite a neighbor to join you for Mother’s Day worship on May 13th!
  • Pass out copies of your old newsletters to family & friends!  Let them know that the church is alive and well!
  • Take Seriously Jesus' Words to "Make Disciples!"  (Matthew 28:19)
  • Offer to pick people up, meet them at church and sit with them during worship!
  • Recognize People's Need for Spiritual Growth!  (Even if they don't!)

 

       Statistics show that 80% of people who will join churches do so because a friend or family member already attends!  The next “New Members” of this church could be living in your neighborhood, working in your office or gathering at a family event!  Find them!  Invite them!

 

       I gave you homework last week to tell someone THAT you go to church, WHERE you go to church, and WHY you go to church!  You could even add, “Maybe you could join me Sunday!”

 

       Evangelism can be uncomfortable, but it is a necessary part of our kingdom work!  Let’s get to it!

 

                                                                                Blessings, Dale