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Thursday, November 30 2023

Good Morning Partakers and Sharers of the Bread of Life--Bread from Heaven! In John, Jesus proclaimed, "I am the Bread of Heaven" and went on to explain that He brings life and sustains it. He talked about ingesting Him, feeding on Him and allowing Him to satisfy our heavenly hunger and fill us to overflowing to share this "mana" with other hungry seekers. He has been faithful to use us and our ministries to do so as we feast on His Word and bring it alive to others as we share bread and clothing! PTL!

Let us celebrate and worship for all God is doing in, through and around St. Matts' bread and clothing ministries and for those who serve our community and bless God and many as harvest workers through meeting many needs. Thank God for His provision of bread, cloths, food, funds, care givers and harvest workers. Thank God for using us and making His love, care, and help known to many in need around us! Thank God for drawing some to Him and our fellowship thru these ministries of His love and care! Thank God for the surplus of bread weekly that is used to bless the feeding ministry of another church in Macungie. (it's kinda like the 12 baskets of bread and fish left over after the feeding of the 5000 weekly as God supplies more than enough!) He is El Shaddai--our powerful, all-sufficient God! He is lovingly caring for the least of these through us and blessing us back as we bless. It is really cool to experience all the ways God uses this simple ministry as we do what we can with what He provides and as we offer ourselves to be used! Thank You Yahweh Jireh--our Sufficient Provider, El Shaddai!

Next Wed. Dec. 6th from 10-12 is our next Bread Ministry Donuts and Conversation Day. Please consider joining us! Pray ahead for what God wants to do, to come to life next week. Pray ahead for our Brunch Christmas Eve and for God to draw and connect many of these to Him through our loving service and fellowship! Pray expectantly for Him to grow this ministry and feed the growing harvest with Bread from Heaven!

Yvonne and Chris are joining our church and have come to us through a brief donut day encounter last month as they were searching for a church that loved well. We prayed for Chris a few Sundays ago for stomach surgery he was having. He made it through that ok but is having complications now with that and his feet and may need some toe removal. Yvonne came for some bread yesterday but really for some prayer and ministry. God used us to comfort, pray and bring some mana into her need. Please pray for a healing miracle for Christ, for God to meet their many financial needs (they have custody of their teen grand daughter) and for shalom to over come them. Chris has become weary of this health journey and wants to give up. Pray for spiritual, emotional. mental and physical healing.

Isabel joined us Sunday at brunch. We have been praying for her for what sounds like Gall stones and for lack of help and concern from docs. She has severe pain for over a month as she awaits a doc visit and answers. She has connected to a few of us as we continue to love on her and pray with her and comfort her. Thank God for using us! Pray for a quick resolution, favor for timely doc care, and that she would experience the overwhelming love of God. She sometimes show up on bread day, not for bread, but for loving mana an ministry.

These are but two of the many stories that happen weekly as we offer bread and Bread from Heaven to our neighbors in need. Keep praying for this ministry and for God to become very real to not yet saved neighbors as they see God at work through us and see and experience true Love, hope and help come to life. I am just overwhelmed weekly as the workers and I process and experience all God is doing. PTL! Come sit and experience it yourself next Wed. as we share some Bread and eat some donuts.

Check out our devotionals below as they tie to this. God threaded them together for a reason. Sit at His feet, process with an accountability or "faith friend" and ask God to continue to prosper His work through us and raise up some small groups and new ministries of love. He is at work! Praise Him, continue to pray and commit to joining Him as you do your part. Again remember that prayer is a vital part of all we do. Thank you to our prayer warriors! Keep at it! God is answering in mighty ways! PTL! Someone said, "The Church's greatest deficiency today is in power--not in programs, strategies, materials, or ideas. And power for ministry can be released only through prayer." How true. We know the all powerful one and are experiencing His power being released through your partnering with Him and our ministries in prayer, giving and serving! Thank you! Ask God how we might help some of our own who are going through some very hard and troubling times as well. Christmas may be very hard and dismal this year. Ask God to connect you to one of these and show you how to come along side and bless them. And thank God and ask Him what plans He has for you for such a time as this with a heart ready to follow. 

It is truly an honor to experience your hearts for God and His plans and willingness to do your part as we grow into His dynamic movement together. We may be small, but we are being used by the All-Powerful, All-Sufficient, Care Giver in mighty ways! Amen! Come and see! Great fruit and greater things are on their way. 

Thank you all! I love serving together and am so thankful that God has called us together for such a time as this to bring Good News, healing, hope, help and His love alive together. There is much more going on in the spiritual realm than meets the eyes as we continue to walk by faith and not by sight! PTL! His great plans for us are coming alive through our faithfulness to who and Whose we are and allowing Him to use us for our custom made purposes! Rejoice! Worship! Keep at it! Amen.

Charles Stanley

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Trusting God

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

READ Psalm 20


I needed two medications urgently. One was for my mom’s allergies and the other for my niece’s eczema. Their discomfort was worsening, but the medicines were no longer available in pharmacies. Desperate and helpless, I prayed repeatedly, Lord, please help them.

Weeks later, their conditions became manageable. God seemed to be saying: “There are times when I use medicines to heal. But medicines don’t have the final say; I do. Don’t place your trust in them, but in Me.”   

In Psalm 20, King David took comfort in God’s trustworthiness. The Israelites had a powerful army, but they knew that their biggest strength came from “the name of the Lord” (v. 7). They placed their trust in God’s name—in who He is, His unchanging character, and unfailing promises. They held on to the truth that He who is sovereign and powerful over all situations would hear their prayers and deliver them from their enemies (v. 6).  

While God may use the resources of this world to help us, ultimately, victory over our problems comes from Him. Whether He gives us a resolution or the grace to endure, we can trust that He’ll be to us all that He says He is. We don’t have to be overwhelmed by our troubles, but we can face them with His hope and peace.     

By Karen Huang


In your personal battles, where or in what do you place your trust? How might trusting in God’s name change the way you cope with these challenges?

Heavenly Father, give me the courage to trust in You. Help me to believe that You’re all that You promise to be.


A careful reading reveals that Psalms 20 and 21 are related. Psalm 20 is a prayer for the protection (vv. 1–2) and victory of the king, God’s anointed (vv. 6, 9). The prayer of the psalmist, “Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!” (v. 9) is shown to be answered in Psalm 21. There, in a more direct way, the writer talks to God about His dealings with the king (vv. 1–7) and his enemies (vv. 8–12). The idea of trusting in God (20:7) is reiterated in 21:7: “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” Psalm 20 closes with petition and Psalm 21 with praise: “Be exalted in your strength, Lord; we will sing and praise your might” (v. 13).

Arthur Jackson

UR: God's Great Care

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you — you of little faith! - Luke 12:28 (NIV)

About 10 years ago, there was a huge playground just beyond the walls of my house. The chattering of adults and the giggling of children always gave life to it. Now it is abandoned, but to me it is more beautiful than ever. Grasses have taken over the whole playground, painting it green. Giant trees continue to grow, and their yellow, pink, and red flowers glow against the blue sky and white clouds. Occasionally a gardener cuts and burns the grasses, allowing new grasses to sprout up even greener, moving with the morning breeze and sparkling in the sunlight that shines among the leaves of the trees. What a perfect picture of God’s creation!

Just as that playground was abandoned, we may at times feel forgotten by our friends, our family, or people around us. But we need not become discouraged. People abandoned the playground, but God redecorated it, making it more beautiful and peaceful. When we encounter situations that challenge us, we need not be anxious. The grasses are cut and burned, but they are always reborn with perfect beauty. If God wonderfully cares even for these small things, God will surely care for us. We can rest assured that God will care for us because we are God’s beloved children.


Dear Lord, thank you for never abandoning us. Encourage us with your love. When we are overwhelmed by life’s problems, remind us of your care. Amen.TWFYT:

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Thursday, November 30 2023

Good Morning Hearing, Singing, Serving Body of Christ! Thank God for music, being able to hear His still small voice, mouths and hearts to praise, bodies willing and able to fulfill their part in God's Good News Deliver Co. and for Jesus' sacrificial, saving love! Rejoice! Tis the season to be busy, anxious, sad, mad, frenzied or it can be the season to relax, receive, rejoice, refresh and enjoy as you share love and do what you can with what you got! Even though God's love was expensive beyond measure and came to us through Jesus' blood, sharing His and our love can be shown at very little or no expense. PTL! Repent of the materialistic thinking and striving and just show love with your presence, help, encouragement and sharing what you got. Choose shalom, joy and love this season as you share Jesus and His love. Help us Lord!

Check out the UR below. What's your part in our Good News Delivery Co.? What has God gifted you to do and is providing for you to use? We all matter and we all have gifts, talents, abilities, encouragement, prayers and yes maybe even treasure to share. Live and love like Jesus this holiday season. You are blessed to be a blessing and then blessed back for blessing. How cool! Thank you all for being a blessing and doing what you can with what you got to bless God, others, and our fellowship! May God abundantly bless you with His peace and joy! Remember the reason for the season! And remember, Jesus offers rest to the weary!

Keep dreaming BIG! God has great plans for you as you continue to listen, follow, grow, and do what you can with what you've been blessed with! Shalom!

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UR: The Fifth String

God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. - 1 Corinthians 12:24-25 (NIV)

One Sunday I gave the children’s message during my church’s worship service. Since I enjoy playing the five-string banjo, I used it as an example of the church, the body of Christ. I showed the children that the banjo has five strings, but that the fifth string is much shorter than the others — just as they are shorter than the adults in our church. Also, the fifth string usually is not noted or fretted as often as the others, so it gets a little less attention — just as they, the children, may not get as much attention as the other members of the church.

But this doesn’t mean that they are any less important to the life of the church. I showed how that shorter, fifth string is tuned to the highest pitch of the five strings, which enables it to sound a bright, cheerful tone — without which any tune played would not be nearly as pleasing. I played a short tune without striking the fifth string and then the same tune using the fifth string. What a difference!

All members of the church are important in spreading the gospel message, as well as in the many other functions of being the church. The talents of all members, children included, should meld with others to spread the love and joy that Christ gives to everyone.


O God, keep us mindful that we are all vital to you and your work on earth. We pray and serve in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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Tuesday, November 28 2023

Good Morning Compassionate Shalom Bringers! We know the Prince of Peace and are filled with His overflowing compassionate love that can change this world. We are sent to bring shalom to the chaos just as God did for the chaos in our lives. True worship is taking care of widows and orphans, visiting those imprisoned, setting captives free with Christ and entertaining strangers and aliens. That is our heart at St. Matts. that is reflected in our ministries! PTL! He's using what we got as we do what we can to be a blessing to Him and many. Tithing is not only treasure, but time and talent as well. And biblically, the Tithe is just the beginning of giving that God receives and expects. God has gifted us to fulfill His mission of love and is with us loving and helping through us. What an awesome God we worship! Who is God stirring you to bless with what you've been given?

Remember last year all the great stories that arose as you were given $50. to go bless others? This year you won't be getting $50. from the church, but God has blessed and gifted you with time, talent, treasure, spiritual gifts and His heart of compassion to go bless others and lead them to our Source. Those who are faithful with little are promised to be given more to manage and share. God is faithful to that promise. Try it! He challenges us to test Him with our giving and watch to see how much more He adds to us. (not necessarily treasure but uncountable blessings squished down and shaken to fit more!) I can't wait to hear the stories of what is doing through your generous and sacrificial giving!

Check out Our Daily Bread and Upper Room devos below that relate to this. What's God stirring you to do? Who does He want to compassionately love through you? The Romans 12 passage is one to study and apply and even memorize as you bring it to life. 12:12 is a life verse for me, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer." But the rest of the passage flows from that for me--sincerely loving, being full of zeal, serving, sharing and being hospitable, blessing, even enemy, allowing space for God to bring His blessings through me and His wrath to those who deserve it. Work on some of those words the rest of the year! Allow God to show His loving compassion through your living, giving, helping and sharing. Work on bringing His peace to those struggling too. You will be worshiping well and promised to receive back many blessings!

Today is what is called Giving Tuesday. All these charities are crying out for help. Some should be supported and some are abusers of the giving. Do your research. Your church has a need as well, as our General Fund is running in deficit. But you know, like Thanksgiving, and days we are reminded to love others, we should not need to be reminded to give. Everyday we should love, thank and give! Those are commands from God with promised good returns. Sacrificial giving and living and loving are God's specialty and Jesus exemplified that when He came to earth and poured out His love for us on that cross. As we read John 19 this week, it ends with Jesus' burial. But, as Paul Harvey used to say, "And now for the rest of the story..." That journey of love began in a lowly manger and traveled through the cross and grave to triumph. Jesus gave His all and desires for us to give our all for His glory and to expand His Kingdom. What is your custom part that He is stirring you to right now? What will you do about it? Who might help you?

Remember, we have some needs at St. Matts that could use some year end giving. Our General Fund, our pantry needs non-perishable items, and we are hoping to bless the Kindness Project with games, toiletries, bed in a bags, and gift cards so they can continue to help local foster families that have great needs. We know and have received THE Gift freely and are expected to share that compassionate love with zeal and joy. Who is God sending to you to bless? Yes to those who have been given freely, much is expected as we give freely back to God and others. Choose to live and love like Jesus--sacrificially and compassionately! How does He want to bless and love through you today? Go love well and bring His shalom and share your joy in the Lord well! Follow and know God's peace as you bring His compassionate love alive!

Check out this blog from Harvest Prayer for praying for business people. Matt and Erin Kay and I are praying for local Christian business leaders and will be opening our church in the New Year for prayer gathering for them. Pray for them and our people to be blessed and want to bless back. Pray for us to find a day and time that allows many business people to join us in praying. Thanks!


The Skill of Compassion

Be devoted to one another in love . . . joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:10–12

READ Romans 12:9–21


“A thorn has entered your foot—that is why you weep at times at night,” wrote Catherine of Sienna in the fourteenth century. She continued, “There are some in this world who can pull it out. The skill that takes they have learned from [God].” Catherine devoted her life to cultivating that “skill,” and is still remembered today for her remarkable capacity for empathy and compassion for others in their pain. 

That image of pain as a deeply embedded thorn that requires tenderness and skill to remove lingers with me. It’s a vivid reminder of how complex and wounded we are, and of our need to dig deeper to develop true compassion for others and ourselves.

Or, as the apostle Paul describes it, it’s an image that reminds us that loving others like Jesus does requires more than good intentions and well-wishes—it requires being “devoted to one another” (Romans 12:10), “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (v. 12). It requires being willing to not only “rejoice with those who rejoice” but to “mourn with those who mourn” (v. 15). It requires all of us.

In a broken world, none of us escape unwounded—hurt and scars are deeply embedded in each of us. But deeper still is the love we find in Christ; love tender enough to draw out those thorns with the balm of compassion, willing to embrace both friend and enemy (v. 14) to find healing together.

By Monica La Rose


When have you experienced the healing power of compassion? How can you cultivate a community of healing?

Loving God, thank You for Your compassion. Help me to love others like that.


Paul’s description of a life of loving service in Romans 12:9–21 begins by emphasizing, “Love must be sincere” (v. 9). Sincere here is literally “not hypocritical.” The word hypocritical at the time could refer to an actor’s mask. So the idea the apostle is warning against is putting on a mask or pretense of loving each other that’s only superficial. In his commentary on this passage, the Reformer John Calvin described how remarkable it is that almost everyone is prone to pretend to love others when they actually don’t. He said, “they not only deceive others, but persuade themselves” that they love those whom they actually both neglect and treat badly. Because the danger of self-deception in how we relate to others is so great, Paul describes in detail what a life of genuinely loving and serving others looks like.

Monica La Rose

UR: God's peace

The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

My husband and I had a good life. We had both experienced previous turbulent marriages, and we thought we would have a happy future together. But after four years, he began having trouble swallowing his food.

After several consultations with doctors, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The prognosis was not good; his disease was terminal. We prayed for healing and then left everything to the Lord.

At worship one Sunday evening, the minister spoke about heaven and everlasting life in Christ. Suddenly light filled my heart — as if God were saying to me, “I am waiting for him. The very best is to come.” I felt a sudden and wonderful peace.

My husband died five months later. I mourned him deeply, but I also knew that he was delivered from all pain. I thank God for giving me such assurance and peace, which made it easier for me in my loss.


Dear God, thank you for surrounding us with your peace, comfort, and love, especially in times of grief. Amen.

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Monday, November 27 2023

Good Morning Cyber Worshipers and Prayer Warriors! Well we don't worship the things of the world or get caught up in hoarding things of this world or the materialistic or being consumer church members (what can the church give me?). We are other worldly and to travel lite. Have you ever seen a hearse with a u-haul trailer behind it? But the internet is a great tool to be used for God things. We have an awesome Zoom huddle every Tues. at 10. We connect to new and searching neighbors through our website and Face Book post. We share prayer requests and these blogs in emails. I have trainings on line and our meetings are now on Zoom, saving time and travel for our church leaders. Adapting to the ever changing opportunities and ways of the world is a God thing that can be done for His glory as He says, "Behold! I am doing a new thing!" Being in this world but not of it brings opportunities to join God as He reaches people in new ways and allows us to worship, meet, share and even encourage and love in all new ways! PTL! I'm all about doing things differently that will attract new people to God today. God gives us new tools all the time to serve Him, others, worship, and make disciples. PTL! However, we always have to be careful that we don't allow those tools to lead us away from God and His best. One of the greatest choices we made almost 20 years ago was to unplug from the cable. That means no mindless TV shows, sports, commercials, newscasts. How refreshing! We are not beholden to a cable company (except for internet. They need to deregulate the internet like electric and gas companies). We are not being brain washed by commercials that run longer than TV shows and propaganda from TV shows and news casts. What a blessing! Seriously consider pulling the plug and turning off the noise. 

God is always up to something and allowing us to use many new tools to reach new people. How many of you still have black and white 3 channel TV's with no remotes? It's the same with the way we worship. Why do many churches observe obsolete and man-made traditions? Nostalgia? Comfort levels? It's-just-what-we-always-did-but-not sure-why? I think often about my guide in Israel making fun of the different Jewish Sects for their silly outfits and traditions because some founder 100 years ago dressed like that or did that. It's kinda like the Amish. Why do we do the things we do and observe the traditions we do? Do they point to God? Do they lead us from being one way to another as God molds and shapes us and leads us to be usable today? That's a filter we need to run every thing through that we want to or are reluctant to do as God leads us to His new things and new ways. Think about the irrelevancy of doing VBS today, King James Bibles' language, maybe even stained glass windows, hymns and organ music. How does God want to use the things we do to point those He is sending to Him? God is always refining, pruning, and leading us to His best. Yeah we used to have those three channel black and white TV's but what we have today is much better (yet still a tool of Satan!)

Learning to walk by faith and not by sight and following God to the new things He is doing can be uncomfortable but we are called to die to self, take up cross, be crucified in Christ and follow Him. We are working on becoming the people we were created to be and doing the things we were created to do. We are working on becoming all we can be--our fullest potential in Christ. We were one way, but now another and maybe another next year as God refines and leads us. Becoming our best possible person in Christ means constant change, constant movement and is preparation for things to come. We are gathered as God's Good News Delivery Co, St. Matts. Division for such a time as this and to make disciples that will impact the world for generations to come. How are we doing? Where is God leading? How are we preparing? The answers to these questions are what we need to always be evaluating and then adapting as we follow Jesus. Pray hard into this! What new things is God leading us to do? What good but obsolete things might we need to shed? Pray for our vision team meeting in January for us to seek, understand and follow God to what's for now and what are some new or next things to invest in. Pray for buy-in for all of us as we trust God and follow Him well into 2024 and beyond. If things don't change, we may only have a few more years left. Let us pour ourselves out as an offering for God to use and commit to investing into His future plans for us! He does have great plans for us! Plans to prosper and not harm. He is working all things together for the good of those who believe or will come to believe. Let us commit to trusting and following well together and encouraging and helping each other into God's best future for us!

So what's God saying to you right now and what are you willing to do about it?

I had no intention of going here today BUT GOD was typing through me. I wanted to talk about our great devos below! We are committed to walk by faith and not by sight and to allowing God to have His way with us as He refines and guides us to His best. I've been crying out to God for direction to lead us from the Become Me in '23 Challenge to what He has planned for us ahead. I keep hearing "Seeking More in '24." God wants to do immeasurably more than we can think or imagine. But to get there, it will continue to require our full fellowship stepping into their roles, being open to trying new things and growing in trust and obedience. We are all created and gifted in Christ for God's plans for us for such a time as this. What measurable way are you stepping into your part? 

Years ago, before we were called to St Matts, Pastor Al and I were attending a church where the pastor challenged us to pray this prayer, "Wreck me God!" It is a prayer for dying to self and being all-in. God has been faithful to do that and lead Al and me to some great things and ministries as He refined, grew, and continues to lead us to His new and next things. Once in awhile we have to remind each other that we prayed that prayer with each other like 15 years ago and that God is still faithfully answering our heart felt plea and the sacrificial offering of ourselves. We were one way and God keeps transitioning us to new and better things and ways as we continue to ask Him to carry on His good work.

OK so there's Sunday's sermon--maybe? Prayerfully engage with our devos and God and ask Him to speak to your heart and direct your steps. Pray for dreams and vision from God to lead us to His BIG things as we process them and prepare together. Pray for us to hold loosely and allow God to take us to new heights. Turn off the noise. Kick Satan out of your mind. Tune into God. And commit to being all in as we allow God full access and control. Cry out for more of Him and less of you. Cry out for more in '24 as we believe for new things for us and for many to be drawn to Him as we reach our neighbors and make disciples. God has very good plans! Strap on the helmets and God's armor good and tight in prayer! Let's Roll! We are custom made, gifted and sent for such a time as this! YEE HA! Daylight's burning!

Charles Stanley:

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UR: Beyond Appearances

The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

The student dining hall has shelves full of fruit. Usually I grab a few apples on my way to my next class. But I find it difficult to choose the best apples. Many that are spotless and bright red are actually flavorless or bitter. I prefer the yellow apples. They are bruised, dirty, and look unappetizing. But despite their inferior appearance, they are the sweetest apples I’ve ever tasted.

Likewise, God looks beyond appearances when viewing us. God doesn’t care about our bodies or how we appear; God looks at our hearts and sees our true worth.

David’s brothers were taller, better looking, and more heroic than he was. Any of them would have been an obvious choice to be the next king of Israel. But God saw their appearances and their hearts — and at God’s direction Samuel chose David. Though he was not as impressive outwardly, David was someone after God’s own heart.

If we want to be like Christ, then we should learn to see people God’s way — not for their outward presentation but for their hearts. May we learn to see how God sees and to love how God loves.


Dear God, give us eyes to see people’s true worth and the conviction to ignore worldly standards. Help us to see as you see and love as you love. Amen.ODB:

Serving for God’s Sake

They are to . . . [fulfill] the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. Numbers 3:8

READ Numbers 3:5–9


When England’s Queen Elizabeth passed away in September 2022, thousands of soldiers were deployed to march in the funeral procession. Their individual roles must have been almost unnoticeable in the large crowd, but many saw it as the greatest honor. One soldier said it was “an opportunity to do our last duty for Her Majesty.” For him, it was not what he did, but whom he was doing it for that made it an important job.

The Levites assigned to take care of the tabernacle furnishings had a similar aim. Unlike the priests, the Gershonites, Kohathites, and Merarites were assigned seemingly mundane tasks: cleaning the furniture, lampstands, curtains, posts, tent pegs, and ropes (Numbers 3:25–26, 28, 31, 36–37). Yet their jobs were specifically assigned by God, constituted “doing the work of the tabernacle” (v. 8), and are recorded in the Bible for posterity.

What an encouraging thought! Today, what many of us do at work, at home, or in church may seem insignificant to a world that values titles and salaries. But God sees it differently. If we work and serve for His sake—seeking excellence and doing so for His honor, even in the smallest task—then our work is important because we’re serving our great God.

By Leslie Koh


How might knowing that you’re ultimately serving God change the way you work? How can you do it with pride and excellence for His sake?

Father, thank You for giving me this opportunity to serve You. Help me to be faithful with the talents and strength You’ve given me to work for You.


Who were the Levites? Levi was the third son of Jacob (Genesis 29:34). The Levites were his descendants through his sons Gershon, Kohath, and Merari (46:11). What was special about this tribe? They were a sacred “special forces” group within the nation who were assigned tabernacle duties. Because of their role in Israel, they were exempt from military service (Numbers 1:44–49). During the period of history that included the portable tabernacle, the Levites alone were tasked with its set up, take down, transport, and protection (vv. 50–54). Numbers 4:1–33 provides a breakdown of their specific tasks. What considerations were given to the Levites for their services? “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting” (18:21).

Arthur Jackson

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Monday, November 27 2023

Don't forget! Brunch after church today!!! ALL welcome! Come enjoy food, fellowship and fun after worship and invite a friend! Plenty of food to enjoy!

Thank you to the church decorating team and brunch prep team yesterday! The sanctuary looks great and the food will be awesome! Thanks Danny, Marshall, Mary, Gail and Karen (deco team) and Lori, Baylee, Bethany, and Karen K. (prep team)


Don't forget the gifts for the Kindness Project (assist foster families in the area). Place on table in rear of sanctuary

Pantry in need of non-perishable items (canned soups, veggies, fruit, and boxed cereals mac and cheese, etc)

Year end giving to our general fund as we do have a deficit again. (Please withhold giving at this time to our other funds as their balances are adequate for needs at this time, except missions could use a boost)


Good Morning Loving, Giving, All-in, Servants of the Lord! That is a great synopsis of our fellowship! PTL! And pronounce this over you and us in prayer and over those who will come! Today Sarah is teaching about John 17 and 18. In John 17 Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples and for all future believers (us). Our Lord and Savior thought of us, not only on the cross, but in prayer before being taken there. Pause and think about that great love! Allow the gratitude for all Jesus has done overflow from all you do! Think about what He's revealing to you about you and your custom made purposes and how much you have been forgiven and helped to move towards your fullest potential in Christ! Then just worship!

Today we begin our St. Matts Advent journey to the manger that held God in the flesh who came to die for you! What, love, mercy and grace we have been shown and offered! PTL! Over the next two weeks (John 19 for next Sun) we will finish up our reading through the Gospel of John in preparation for Christmas Eve and our journey into next year. What's God saying to you and what measurable responses will you be taking? He has some awesome custom made plans for you to step into and your fuller potential and His greater things are awaiting your step of faith! PTL!

Check out our devotionals below. God is threading them together through His Holy Spirit and wanting to knit His Word into you today and into our Good News Delivery Co. as well! What's He saying to you and what will you do about it, even today?

Let us prepare our hearts to worship, fellowship, love on each other and others and pour ourselves out for God's glory! He is with you and working all things together for the good of those who believe and will come to believe. Every good gift and everything we have been given is a gift from God to be used for His purposes. He has provided and is guiding you and us to be givers and thanks-livers as we receive his good gifts and share His best gift, Jesus this season. Thanks Lord! Guide us and use us well as we follow You! bring salvation and new life and disciples of Jesus! Thanks! Use us! Send us! Love through us! Thanks! Who are we Lord that you love us and want to hang out with us and love through us? Thank You for Your great love, mercy, grace, kindness and help! Thank you for allowing us to come as we are and be forgiven and loved! Help us to accept, love and bless those You are sending as we have been loved. Help us to remember that all we have is a gift from You to be used for Your glory. Help us to continue to work on becoming who we are created to be and doing all we were created for, including our time, talent and treasure, for Your glory alone! You are so worthy! May our lives be an act of worship! Less of us Lord and more of You! Multiply our gifts, giving, tithes and service and use them for Your glory. Bring in the harvest and raise up sold out harvest workers! Thank You as we ask in the name of our Gift, Jesus. All for Your glory! Amen

Charles Stanley:

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Who Am I?

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? 1 Chronicles 29:14

READ 1 Chronicles 29:14–20


As a member of the leadership team for a local ministry, part of my job was to invite others to join us as group discussion leaders. My invitations described the time commitment required and outlined the ways leaders would need to engage with their small group participants, both in meetings and during regular phone calls. I was often reluctant to impose on other people, being aware of the sacrifice they’d be making to become a leader. And yet sometimes their reply would completely overwhelm me: “I’d be honored.” Instead of citing legitimate reasons to decline, they described their gratitude to God for all He’d done in their lives as their reason for being eager to give back.

When the time came to give resources toward building a temple for God, David had a similar response: “Who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?” (1 Chronicles 29:14). David’s generosity was driven by gratitude for God’s involvement in his life and that of the people of Israel. His response speaks of his humility and his acknowledgment of His goodness toward “foreigners and strangers” (v. 15).

Our giving to God’s work—whether in time, talent, or treasure—reflects our gratitude to the One who gave to us to begin with. All that we have comes from His hand (v. 14); in response, we can give gratefully to Him.

By Kirsten Holmberg


How has God been involved in your life? How can you give in response?

Dear Father, please help me to respond to Your love and care with a generous heart.


In 1 Chronicles 28:1, David addressed an assembly he called together for the purpose of building the temple. All the important officials of Israel were there: national and tribal leaders, military commanders and heroes, palace officials, and those in charge of the royal property. Having been denied by God the opportunity to build the temple himself, David had resolved to set his son Solomon up for success (22:7–19). In so doing, he led by example by giving generously out of his own wealth (29:2–5). But he understood a critical truth: he and the people were only able to give from what God had already given to them. Every gift had come from God in the first place (v. 16).

Tim Gustafson

UR: More Than I Thought

Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee. - Acts 3:6 (KJV)

I had been out of work for months, and expenses were mounting. When another phone call came from someone requesting a donation to his cause, I told him I was not in a financial position to donate the amount he suggested. He asked, “Couldn’t you give anything?” I replied that as soon as I had available funds, I would be sure to remember his charity.

However, our exchange started me thinking, Didn’t I have anything to give? In the story of the widow’s mite, the widow gave her last two coins to charity. I didn’t even have two coins to share, but I did have other ways to give. I had time, an open heart, and a desire to help others when I could. So during that period, I gave more of what I did have by helping out at the community food pantry, assisting an elderly relative, and comforting a grieving friend in whatever ways I could.

In today’s scripture, Peter illustrates so beautifully that blessings shared can be worth more than all the money in the world. We always have something to give.


God our provider, thank you for the gifts of time and talents. Guide us to share these blessings when and where they can do the most good. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Monday, November 27 2023

Good Morning Worshiping Servants! This is the day the Lord has made and we have so many opportunities to worship, serve, serve as an act of worship and praise the Lord! What custom made endeavor does God have in store for you today and for the week ahead?

Maybe helping decorate the church today at 10? Maybe worshiping at 10 tomorrow and joining us with your invited guests for brunch afterwards? Maybe helping clean up, serve, greet, or make guests feel welcome? Maybe joining us for zoom huddle on Tues at 10 or Family Ministries gathering Wed at 6? So many ways to serve and worship! PTL! And each one is custom made for those custom made to do them! God is so good!

I have a lot going on physically and mentally right now. I have had little sleep and been up since 1, but I continue to sit at Jesus' feet in worship, being still, listening, worshiping in my storm and receiving His wisdom, healing and restoration. Yes the Lord gives and he takes away...Praise be the Lord! He is always good even when we are sick, grieving, anxious, worried, troubled. He is our shalom and specializes in bringing peace to the chaos and often using us to do so. Thanks Lord! I'm about to hit send and go back to bed and rest after spending some time with my comforter and shalom, my strength and my provision.  Time alone with God is the best medicine for whatever ails you! PTL! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Shalom! Be still and know!

I thought I'd just share these prayer starters for today..."Praise God, the One who keeps you in perfect peace (Isa. 26:3). Give thanks for peace which is far beyond understanding (Phil. 4:7). Confess that you sometimes look to the world to bring you peace rather than God. Commit yourself to living in peace with others (1 Thes. 5:13). Ask God to give you a peaceable spirit. Pray for the peace of God to spread throughout your home. Ask Him to bring about peaceful resolution to any ongoing strife in your family. Ask that God's peace will reassure those who tithe regularly and give sacrificially in your church. Pray they will not suffer due to their commitment to financial stewardship. Jesus promises to give peace to those who believe in faith (Jn. 14:27). Pray for one unsaved person you know to receive Jesus' precious peace." Amen!

See you soon! God loves you! Shalom!

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Friday, November 24 2023
Thanks God I'm Forgiven! Proclaim that with much thanksgiving!
We received sad news that Sarah's mom passed yesterday. Family was praying with her as the angels ushered her to Jesus' arms. Although they are mourning, they also are celebrating her delivery from pain and suffering and know they will see her again. Mom was longing and praying for this homecoming. Please Keep Sarah and her family in your prayers. Pray for wisdom as well for Sarah to choose well as she is scheduled to and wants to preach Sunday. (I'm ready to go if needed) Sarah's new address is Sarah Boyer 3072 High Hill Rd. Slatington, PA 18080 if you'd like to send a card.
Tomorrow at 10 we decorate the church for Christmas. We can use your help, even if for half an hour or so.
Sunday, we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent and have our after worship brunch. Bring someone along! We will also be celebrating Althea Perry's 94th birthday with cupcakes during brunch. (Note: Advent is not a tradition observed by all EC churches and is not part of our EC tradition, although many churches do observe this Catholic and Lutheran tradition in preparation for Jesus' birth. So we have freedom to observe it if we desire and how we desire. Advent is traditionally the four weeks before Christmas. This year that means Christmas Eve we would light the 4th and Christmas candle. We decided to start a week early so that we have four weeks to prepare for the lighting of the Christmas Candle on Christmas Eve.)  Sarah is planning to preach on our John 17 and 18 readings this Sunday. It will be helpful to prepare by reading them and remember we are trying to answer these three questions as we read through John: What's going on in this passage? What is God saying to me? What measurable action will I take in response?
Good Morning Forgiven and Thankful Worshipers!
Sarah, we love you and know God is with you and has received your mom into His arms and healing love. Our deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. We are praying for you all! Shalom!
My grandmother passed on Thanksgiving day many years ago. Yes it was hard to celebrate her homecoming those first few years but what a better day than Thanksgiving to be reminded how thankful we were for our time together, her full healing in heaven, and for knowing we would see her again someday. Many of you are struggling through some hard holidays. May you know we are praying for you and God is with you. Open your heart and arms and receive His healing love and strength for the journey. God really does love you and is with you always. lean on Him and His promises! And reach out to a brother or sister in Christ to journey with you through your difficulty. We are family and we are here for each other.
There is much rumbling through my mind this morning and God sure has been speaking! Although our devotionals are a mixed bag today, He has been speaking through each one as I still myself at His feet, worship, listen and receive. I've been asking what He wants to share with you and I'm getting several different ideas. I think it best for you to engage with God yourself today as I'm sure He has a word or three for you as well. I do like ODB (below) with their thinking that He is worthy of all praise! Amen! Answer their questions as you offer yourself to God and receive His love. Maybe lift your hands in praise and tell Him how much you love Him. Then open your hands and receive His love, words, corrections, strength and wisdom. Then reach out and ask Him to help you bring that to life today to others.
See you tomorrow and/or Sunday! Have a blessed day and share some love today with much joy and thanksgiving! Be still and know how much you are loved and cared for! Amen! Here's a vocal blessing to end your time with God...The Blessing: The Blessing | Kari Jobe | Elevation Worship [LYRICS]

Worthy of All Praise

I love you, Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1

READ Psalm 18:1–6

Many consider Ferrante and Teicher to be the greatest piano duet team of all time. Their collaborative presentations were so precise that their style was described as four hands but only one mind. Hearing their music, one can begin to grasp the amount of effort required to perfect their craft.

But there’s more. They loved what they did. In fact, even after they had retired in 1989, Ferrante and Teicher would occasionally show up at a local piano store just to play an impromptu concert. They simply loved making music.

David also loved making music—but he teamed up with God to give his song a higher purpose. His psalms affirm his struggle-filled life and his desire to live in deep dependence upon God. Yet, in the midst of his personal failures and imperfections, his praise expressed a kind of spiritual “perfect pitch,” acknowledging the greatness and goodness of God even in the darkest of times. The heart behind David’s praise is simply stated in Psalm 18:1, which reads, “I love you, Lord, my strength.”

David continued, “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise” (v. 3) and turned to Him “in my distress” (v. 6). Regardless of our situation, may we likewise lift our hearts to praise and worship our God. He’s worthy of all praise!

By Bill Crowder


In what ways do you share your love for God with Him and with others? What might be standing in the way of your worship?

Heavenly Father, You’ve put a new song in my mouth. Please help my worship to express Your true goodness and greatness.

For further study, read Understanding the Bible: The Poetic Books.


Second Samuel 22 is nearly identical to Psalm 18, and the previous chapter (2 Samuel 21) provides some historical background for the psalm and the danger David faced. He’d gone into battle with his men when a mighty warrior challenged him (21:15–16). The text reads, “Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels [about 7.5 lb. or 3.4 kg] and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David” (v. 16). David’s warrior Abishai intervened and killed the Philistine. David’s men then insisted that he never again go into battle with them “so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished” (v. 17). But who were the descendants of Rapha? They were exceptionally large warriors (vv. 18–22) whose size easily intimidated their opponents given the nature of the hand-to-hand warfare of the day.

Tim Gustafson
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Friday, November 24 2023

Good Morning Thanks Livers! I'm thankful that I don't have to eat liver or gizzards, or scrapple, or garlic! I'm thankful for freedom to choose! I'm thankful that I git the best hot bacon dressing recipe from my grand mom! I'm thankful that we are able to arrange another day for family to gather. I'm thankful for technology that allows us to communicate across the miles. I'm thankful for cherry and peach crumb pies with vanilla ice cream. I'm thankful that sugar and calories don't count on holidays! Kinda sounds like a kids thank you list, huh? But God loves to hear our thanksgivings for every little blessing we receive. What are you thankful for? Check out our devos below as you sit at Jesus' feet and offer some thanksgiving in preparation for this day. Breathe out all the junk and anxiety this day may bring and rest in Jesus a bit as you turn off the noise, still your soul and refresh for a peaceful and joyful day ahead.

Keep in mind an pray for those who are struggling today. Yesterday at the Bread Ministry we got to pray with some for health concerns, missing family member sorrows of loss or struggle with personality clashes, and some needing some food and financial help. For some, holidays are not very much fun. Be thankful for what you have been blessed with and turn that sorrow into praise as you refocus on all the other many blessings you do have! God loves you, saved you, is with you and promises to provide His love, joy and peace as He helps you through everyday. Rejoice!

So, I am really thankful for all of you, the love of God and His forgiveness, and the opportunity to serve together! And I'm thankful for the ability and want-to to get some work done today before dinner later tonight and family brunch tomorrow. God is good--all the time! Amen! Hallelujah! PTL! Praying you all have a blessed day and that you have many things to be thankful about as you reflect back on today as you lay your head down to rest! Shalom!

Sarah's Blog and prayer requests:

Hi everyone,

I can only imagine how many of your kitchen will take on the smells of Thanksgiving soon, if they

have not already done so.  Many of you are looking forward to time spent with family and friends.

Enjoying a good meal and then sitting back and engaging in conversation with family/friends, that perhaps

you haven't spoken to in a long time.

Thanksgiving - if you think seriously about it, should be celebrated every day of the year.....we do, have so much

to be thankful for. Even though we may experience times of difficulty, doubt, fear, illness, joyous times, seeing God

at work.....we need to always find at least one thing to say thanks for.

I want to share these thoughts with you, Thanksgiving is understanding that blessings are hiding all around us and

we must find and focus on them. It's the attitude of knowing we have a God in charge of all. It's the habit 

of pausing to whisper "Thank You Lord" throughout the day.  It's finding good times even in bad times and rejoicing even in sorrow. It's

noticing the color of flowers, the shape of clouds, the smell of fresh bread, and the comfort of a soft pillow at night

Thanksgiving is the opposite of grumbling, the antithesis of fault-finding, and the antidote for a complaining spirit. The

Bible tells us to replace "foolish talking" and "coarse Jesting" with "giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:4)

Gratitude leads to "glad-itude". Counting our blessings is a positive step toward erasing our heartaches. The psychology of

thanksgiving comes from the very mind and heart of God who told us to be vigilant in thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2) and "in everything

give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you'  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

So our lesson for life is learn to give thanks in the good times.  AND give thanks in the bad times too, for that will make them better!

Try it.....and you will see!

Why not, before you begin eating your family dinner, Read Psalms 100.....and then give thanks for all the blessings, good and bad!

Prayers requested:

Harry (Pop) Waterman has asked for prayer. He is experiencing a lot of shoulder and upper arm pain. None of the rubs/medicine are

taking the edge off. So he asked if we could all keep him in our prayers for healing and strengthening....and that the pain subsides.

Take time to pray for one another - for the gift of friendship, for family both biological and church family.

Pray for our Sunday brunch this coming Sunday. Many of those that came to bread ministry today were invited. Pray that

they are interested in finding out more about Jesus.....and spending time being surrounded by His children that share His love.

May God bless you all!!!

    Have a great Thanksgiving!




A Thanksgiving Blessing

When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Luke 14:13–14

READ Luke 14:12–14


In 2016, Wanda Dench sent a text inviting her grandson to Thanksgiving dinner, not knowing he’d recently changed his phone number. The text instead went to a stranger, Jamal. Jamal didn’t have plans, and so, after clarifying who he was, asked if he could still come to dinner. Wanda said, “Of course you can.” Jamal joined the family dinner in what has since become a yearly tradition for him. A mistaken invitation became an annual blessing.

Wanda’s kindness in inviting a stranger to dinner reminds me of Jesus’ encouragement in Luke’s gospel. During a dinner party at a “prominent” Pharisee’s house (Luke 14:1), Jesus noticed who was invited and how the guests jostled for the best seats (v. 7). Jesus told His host that inviting people based on what they could do for him in return (v. 12) meant the blessing would be limited. Instead, Jesus told the host that extending hospitality to people without the resources to repay him would bring even greater blessing (v. 14).

For Wanda, inviting Jamal to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner resulted in the unexpected blessing of a lasting friendship that was a great encouragement to her after her husband’s death. When we reach out to others, not because of what we might receive, but because of God’s love flowing through us, we receive far greater blessing and encouragement.

By Lisa M. Samra


When has an unexpected invitation encouraged you? What blessings did you experience?

Heavenly Father, may my invitations reflect a heart that wants to bless others as You lead me.

For further study, read Giving It Away.

Giving it Away

“We must remember we will always feel uncomfortable, because we were created not for this kingdom, but for anoth...


Jesus’ instruction to invite the poor and the outcast to a meal (Luke 14:12–14) is something God wanted the Israelites to do. God commanded His people not to mistreat or oppress the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the foreigners living in their midst but instead to love them (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 19:33; Deuteronomy 10:19). Even as the Jews were blessed with material prosperity so they could enjoy the good life, they were commanded to be generous and share with others. They were to include the foreigner and the poor in their celebrations and feasts (Deuteronomy 16:9–12; 26:8–11) and to give a tithe to share God’s provisions and abundance with them (26:12). The Israelites were to treat foreigners as if they were native-born Jews and love them as they’d love themselves (Leviticus 19:34; 24:22; Deuteronomy 27:19).

K. T. Sim

UR: Many Thanks

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another. - Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. The weather here in Southeast Texas is usually cool, and the respite from work and the daily routine is always appreciated. Many years ago, I decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I bought ingredients, prepped and cleaned silverware and cookware, and spent nearly an entire day making food. I managed to prepare the side dishes with careful attention to temperatures and instructions from family recipes. In the early hours of Thanksgiving Day, I dozed on the sofa while the turkey roasted. As a result, I overcooked the turkey, rendering it crispier and drier than I had intended. Yet my family was gracious and feasted upon the meal anyway.

I am grateful for the gift of my family members accepting my culinary blunders and personality quirks. The word thanksgiving is defined as “a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness.” So recipes and meals aside, I plan to spend this Thanksgiving holiday simply acknowledging God’s goodness, offering thanks for all God’s blessings, including family, good health, and the gift of time spent together. As a Christian family, we should celebrate the bounty of mercy and forgiveness available to us all through Christ.


Thank you, Father, for your gifts of mercy and salvation. Help us to follow your example to forgive and love one another daily. Amen.

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Wednesday, November 22 2023

Good Morning Thanks Living Brothers and Sisters in Christ! May God abundantly bless you as you share all the blessings He has given and choose to live life out of your true identity with contagious joy that flows from living life out of deep gratitude! 

We had a great gathering to feast, celebrate and fellowship last evening at our Thanksgiving Eve Eve gathering. Today we get to share bread, God's love and blessings with our neighbors in need. Thursday and in some cases Friday or Saturday, we get to share family time and gather with much thanksgiving. Saturday we gather to decorate and prepare for our Sunday Brunch and Sunday we get to worship, celebrate, feast and bless. We have so much to be thankful for and so many blessings to share. I can't wait to hear the stories of what God did this week with, in, and around you and our gathering opportunities. Sunday at Brunch we will share some Kingdom stories of what God has been doing. Come prepared to share and celebrate with our brunch guests. Let us restart Kingdom stories Sundays during brunch. Our guests need to hear the Good News of what God is doing and see us celebrate!

Check out the devos below and talk to God as you pray expectantly and thank Him for all the blessings! Live thankfully every day. rejoice! Praise the Lord! Share your story and some Good News with some others the next few days! Shine Bright children of the Light! Shalom!


Shining Stars

You will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:15–16

READ Philippians 2:12–16


The first thing I noticed about the city was its gambling outlets. Next, its cannabis shops, “adult” stores, and giant billboards for opportunistic lawyers making money off others’ mishaps. While I had visited many shady cities before, this one seemed to reach a new low.

My mood brightened, however, when I spoke to a taxi driver the next morning. “I ask God every day to send me the people He wants me to help,” he said. “Gambling addicts, prostitutes, people from broken homes tell me their problems in tears. I stop the car. I listen. I pray for them. This is my ministry.”

After describing Jesus’ descent into our fallen world (Philippians 2:5–8), the apostle Paul gives believers in Christ a calling. As we pursue God’s will (v. 13) and hold to the “word of life”—the gospel (v. 16)—we’ll be “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation” who “shine . . . like stars in the sky” (v. 15). Like that taxi driver, we’re to bring Jesus’ light into the darkness.

A believer in Christ has only to live faithfully in order to change the world, historian Christopher Dawson said, because in that very act of living “there is contained all the mystery of divine life.” Let’s ask God’s Spirit to empower us to live faithfully as Jesus’ people, shining His light in the world’s darkest places.

By Sheridan Voysey


How can you focus on Christ today, rather than the world’s evil? How can you shine His light today in your neighborhood?

Dear Jesus, thank You for being the Light of the World who brings me out of darkness.


As believers in Jesus, we’re to “shine among [nonbelievers] like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15) as we obey the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). Christ said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). He brought light into the world, yet many people still loved the darkness (evil) (3:19). Knowing He’d be with His followers on earth for only a short time, He called them (and all of us) to spread the good news of the gospel—to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). As “people of the light” (Luke 16:8), we have the Holy Spirit to help us “not run or labor in vain” (Philippians 2:16).

Alyson Kieda

UR: Praise God!

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. - Acts 16:25 (NIV)

I have usually made a point to arrive early to worship so that I have time to listen for God’s message for me. But then my church began playing praise music ahead of the service — music I am not familiar with and really do not enjoy. So I started arriving just prior to the sermon, thinking this is the only thing I need from God.

One Sunday the sermon was based on Acts 16:16-40. The story of Paul and Silas in prison spoke directly to my heart. Rather than dwell on their pain and suffering into the night, they began to pray and sing praises to God! That message had a powerful impact on me. Praise is a sign of love we can always offer to God, who is faithful, generous, and compassionate. More than that, praise is the affirmation of God’s love for us.

Moving forward, I began to join in every praise song, whether I was familiar with it or not. Later, I would search the internet for the less familiar songs so I could learn them. Now I don’t want to be late for worship because I don’t want to miss the songs of praise. Being present and fully prepared to participate is something I have come to value — and enjoy!


Heavenly Father, attune our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth. May we all find joy in praising you. Amen.

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Tuesday, November 21 2023

Good Morning Very Loved, Loving, Becoming to God Becomers! I just can't get off that theme as we have been working on becoming all that we were created to be and be all-in working on our custom made and custom gifted to achieve assignments for God! What blessing and joy we can know as we live more fully like Jesus and go love better like Him! God loves us and calls us by name and sends us to love like Him! He loves us so much and desires for us to reach our fullest potential that he shows us refining, patient love too as we get pruned to produce more and better fruit. PTL! And thank God for our freedom to choose Him, His ways, His best and to die to self, take up cross and follow Jesus. Check out our devos below and worship, adore and offer much thanksgiving! Also check out the praying a Psalm idea with Kim's Blog from harvest ministries below. See you today on Zoom Huddle and / or tonight at our Thanksgiving Eve Eve taco Tues celebration. Come and worship! PTL with hearts filled with gratitude and thanksgiving. Be ALL you CAN be!

Here's some prayer starters from Harvest Prayer that tie to our devotions today. How awesome is our God! PTL!

"Praise God, the One who is your "Light and Salvation" Ps. 27:1). Thank Him for shining His saving light in your darkness, Confess times when you've prefered to live in darkness of sinful actions and habits rather than in the light of Jesus. Commit yourself anew to living in His light. Ask God to surround you every day this week with His Light and Salvation. Pray for opportunities to spread God's light in the lives of family members and friends who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Ask God to touch lives with the Gospel. Intercede for outreach ministries of your church and denomination. Pray for financial needs to be met. Ask that they will clearly show forth the light of the Good News through their ministries. [PTL for doing that already at St. Matts.] Ask that the love of Jesus will meet needs and sooth every hurting heart. Pray by name for someone you know who has yet committed to life in Christ. Ask God to reveal how you can be a spiritual help to that person. " Amen and ask God to show you who to invite OR BRING ALONG TO ONE OF OUR GATHERINGS THROUGH CHRISTMAS AND FOR COUAGE AND THE OPPORTUNNITY TO INVITE.

Pray with much thanksgiving and expectation for BIG GOD things and every little one too! he loves to answer our prayers from hearts filled with thanksgiving and love!

Kim's Blog:

ODB: Pronounce this Isaiah verse over you...He who created you...calls you by name...(read it all out loud inserting your name for Israel. Pronounce your prodigals returning!)

Precious to God

You are precious and honored in my sight. Isaiah 43:4

READ Isaiah 43:1–7


As a boy, Ming found his father harsh and distant. Even when Ming was ill and had to see the pediatrician, his father grumbled that it was troublesome. Once, he overheard a quarrel and learned his father had wanted him aborted. The feeling of being an unwanted child followed him into his adult years. When Ming became a believer in Jesus, he found it difficult to relate to God as Father, even though he knew Him as Lord of his life.

If, like Ming, we haven’t felt loved by our earthly fathers, we may face similar doubts in our relationship with God. We may wonder, Am I a burden to Him? Does He care about me? But while our earthly fathers may have been silent and distant, God our heavenly Father comes close and says, “I love you” (Isaiah 43:4).

In Isaiah 43, God speaks as our Creator and as a Father. If you wonder whether He wants you to live under His care as part of His family, hear what He said to His people: “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth” (v. 6). If you wonder what you’re worth to Him, hear His affirmation: “You are precious and honored in my sight” (v. 4).

God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to pay the penalty of sin so that we who believe in Him can be with Him forever (John 3:16). Because of what He says and what He’s done for us, we can have full confidence that He wants us and loves us.

By Жасмин Го


What’s your experience of relating to God as a Father? How can you remind yourself that you’re precious to Him?

Father, I want to live each day as Your child, precious and honored in Your sight.


Twice in Isaiah 43, God’s precious people are commanded not to be afraid: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you” (v. 1), and “Do not be afraid, for I am with you” (v. 5). The pattern of “fear not . . . for” followed by a divine action is consistently repeated in Scripture when God instructs His people not to be afraid (see Genesis 15:1; Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 41:10). To restrain fear, some promise, action, or truth about God is stated. Redemptive action (an act of rescue or salvation) comes into view in Isaiah 43:1. Though a tough path lay ahead for the Israelites (v. 2), their Savior would be with them (v. 3). God’s presence restrains fear (v. 5). How reassuring to know that regardless of where life leads, we needn’t fear. The psalmist said, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4).

Arthur Jackson

UR: The True Gardener (BLOOM you children of God!)

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” - John 15:1 (NIV)

Every spring I anticipated the white and lilac blossoms of my wisteria bursting from the branches. I was always surprised by their beauty. But for the last two years my plants have had fewer blooms. Virginia Creeper vines were slowly strangling my wisteria. Every time my husband and I removed a vine, another one would take its place.

Similarly I have allowed my own circumstances to stifle my relationship with God — losing my son in a car wreck, caring for my mother as she slowly slipped away due to Alzheimer’s, and watching my husband struggle with cancer. I was trying to handle all of this alone and found it hard to give control over to God. Instead, I began questioning the challenges. Why was I experiencing so much heartache?

As time passed, I realized I could never bloom alone. I needed to remember the promise of Jesus. He is the true vine, and when we remain connected to Christ, we can find new life springing from heartache or despair.


Dear Lord, help us to turn to you for help so that our love for you can bloom, bringing joy to our lives and glory to you. Amen.Charles Stanley: (Is this you? Bringing Jesus alive? Letting Jesus live and love through you?)

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Posted by: AT 01:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 20 2023
Good Morning Thankful Children of God! Bow in worship. Lift hands in praise. Always be thankful! Amen! So what's on your gratitude list today? We do have so much to be thankful about! Tell God some of your thank yous today. And remember like when you tell someone why you love them, get specific with your thank yous as well. Why are you thankful? Why do you love God? There are countless reasons! And countless ways to worship our awesome God! Amen!
Below are some devotionals and thoughts that may spark some prayer, praise and thanksgiving as we prepare for a very busy week. Begin at Jesus' feet and allow Him to be your Lord this week. He has great plans for you that won't burn you out! Plans that will bring much joy too! Thanks God!
We are reading John 17 and 18 this week as we head toward the cross. Does it seem kinda weird to study the  death of Jesus during the Christmas season? Why did He come? To die for us! Sunday we begin Advent with all the longing minor chord songs crying out from the longing for the Messiah to come. When He came there was great celebration but as He grew He was rejected and allowed Himself crucified. BUT GOD! That was His plan all along to allow us forgiveness and eternal life, if we choose. Dying to self and asking Jesus to be the Lord of your life is a sacrifice of praise that will always be received by God! PTL! In John 17:4 Jesus said that He brought God glory by completing the work He was assigned. Are you glorifying God? Are you working on completing your assignments? Are you pointing people to Him by the way you live and worship? Living Thankfully daily is a choice that allows others to see the joy of trusting Jesus and following Him and His ways!
You may struggle with letting go of things and trusting God. Check out the Upper Room below and the reminder that we are able to look back at hard times and see Jesus carrying us, leading us, correcting us and preparing us. PTL! Don't be anxious about anything is a command. Phil. 4:6 reminds us that in whatever difficulty we are finding ourselves, God is there and awaiting partnering with us so, "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." AMEN! Thanks Lord!!!
Our Daily Bread reminds of the priceless joy we can choose and know by trusting God. Living thankfully leads to joy and more joy and trust that overflows in a life of peace and productivity. We get to and want to, out of deep gratitude to God, love on God and others and others are attracted to God through our thankful, joyful lives lived well. It's a great circle of blessings! PTL! Allow His love and your joy to overflow into much thanksgiving! Light up this dark world with joy in the Lord!
God created us for His purposes. We are custom made and gifted to accomplish all He has for us. PTL! Charles Stanley discuss today Gal. 5:22-23 and the fruit of the Spirit as God's presence in us in action. Many of you can name the fruit. Are they coming alive in and through you? Maybe one of those fruit are a word to work on next year? Love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control are gifts the Holy Spirit brings to us as we produce good and lasting fruit that we are created to produce. God lives and loves through us as we grow in these and overflow these to others. Thank God for such marvelous gifts that start with sending His Son and then His Spirit and the free gift all can open, new life in Christ. Thank You Lord! Amen! 
What an awesome God we know and love! Have a joyful, thankful, peaceful, love filled day of worshipful living in Christ! Shalom!
UR: A Letter to God

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. - Philippians 4:6 (NRSVUE)

When I was a teenager my father died, my university admission was unsuccessful, and I barely had enough food to eat. I was overwhelmed and struggled to pray. So I wrote a letter to God, asking my heavenly Father to please take over. I read it a couple of times, tucked it into an envelope, and forgot about it. It seemed naïve and silly to me, and I wasn’t sure God would listen.

Years later, I found the letter, and I knew God had been aware of the sorrow in my heart all along. And as I looked back, I could see all the ways God had been present in my life.

Sometimes we feel so beaten down by our circumstances that we struggle to tell God how we feel. It doesn’t matter whether we write, mumble, or cry in God’s presence — God hears! All we need to do is give our burdens to God and leave them in God’s hands. When we worry continuously after handing our troubles over to God, we take back our burdens. It is important to trust God to handle our situation in God’s time and way.

Heavenly Father, hear the heart cry of those of us who are weary and in need of help and comfort. Amen. 

Priceless Results

A cheerful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22

READ Proverbs 17:12–22

On every school day for three years, Colleen has been dressing up in a different costume or mask to greet her children as they exit the school bus each afternoon. It brightens the day of everyone on the bus—including the bus driver: “[She] bring[s] so much joy to the kids on my bus, it’s amazing. I love that.” Colleen’s children agree.

It all started when Colleen began fostering children. Knowing how difficult it was to be separated from parents and to attend a new school, she began greeting the kids in a costume. After three days of doing so, the kids didn’t want her to stop. So Colleen continued. It was an investment of time and money at thrift shops, but, as reporter Meredith TerHaar describes, it brought a “priceless result: happiness.”

One little verse amid a book of wise and witty advice, largely by King Solomon to his son, sums up the results of this mom’s antics: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). By bringing cheer to all her kids (biological, adopted, and foster), she hoped to prevent crushed spirits.

The source of true and lasting joy is God through the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; Galatians 5:22). The Spirit enables us to shine God’s light as we strive to bring joy to others, a joy that offers hope and strength to face trials.

By Alyson Kieda


When has someone done something to bring you joy? What was the result?

Dear Father, thank You for giving me joy. Help me to spread it to others.


While the sayings in the book of Proverbs aren’t always arranged in an easy-to-discern order, often themes unite sections of proverbs. Chapter 17 focuses on relationships. The writer warns against the damage caused by being vindictive (vv. 9, 13) or willfully stubborn (vv. 10–12), quarreling (vv. 14, 19), unjust behavior (v. 15), and misusing money (v. 16). Conversely, loyal and protective relationships are lifted up (vv. 17–18). Verses 20–22 focus on how our hearts can shape our lives and relationships. A corrupt or foolish heart brings trouble and suffering (vv. 20–21), while a “cheerful heart is good medicine” (v. 22). So perhaps verse 22 has in mind the joy and healing that healthy relationships can bring.

Monica La Rose
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Wagner's news:

In our last update, we had quite a few prayer requests. Here are a few updates.


We asked you to pray for Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW). The speaker spoke from his heart and his own experiences from his time at RVA to where God currently has him serving. It was awesome to see how God used him to speak to so many of our students. God was and is moving on campus!

This morning we heard the testimonies of eight students making a public declaration of their faith in Christ. Several shared how God did a significant work in their lives during SEW. It is always a joy to hear our students sharing how God is working in their lives and watching them point others to Jesus. It was extra special as one of the students being baptized was in our dorm just two years ago. Thank you for your prayers!
Our Fabulous Five
We asked you to pray for our dorm boys and for dorm parents for terms 2 and 3. The boys are thriving and the 5 will become 6 starting in January. We are excited to share that a couple has volunteered to come to RVA for 7 months to cover our dorm. They already know some of our boys as they covered our dorm when we were in the States for Micah and Lynnsi’s wedding in May. Thank you, God for a great answer to prayer!
Admissions and AP Calculus
Missy was relieved to step out of the Admissions Office this past week as she completed the training for her replacements. The two people who will be working together are just the right ones for this time. There is also a really good coverage plan sorted out for the AP Calculus classes. We are thankful for God’s provision in all these areas…not just people who can fill-in, but people who will excel!
Baby Update
We have been praying earnestly for our grandson whose scheduled arrival is early December. He has been very relaxed and was not really interested in turning around to prepare for his upcoming entrance into the world. We are thankful that the doctor was able to get the baby turned in the right direction this past week and we look forward to his arrival soon.
A few remaining prayer requests
It is hard to believe that we will land in the States in just 10 days! We still have one BIG need. We are looking to purchase a mid-size, reliable vehicle, with good gas mileage, as we will be traveling many miles to visit with family, friends, churches and RVA alumni. Our son is currently using our car, which will cover our need, but then he will need a vehicle to get to work. He has decided that his dream vehicle is a Honda CRV (we’re not really sure why). All this is to say that we still need one more vehicle…either for us or for Micah. Please contact us if you have any good leads for us to explore. Above all, would you commit to PRAY with us for the right vehicle? We will need to find a vehicle by December 12.
Although our first month will be quite full with family time – new grandbaby and family Christmas, we are working on our schedule for the rest of our home assignment. Our schedule is wide open in January and February! It gets much fuller in the spring. Contact us directly in the next few weeks if you’d like us to come and share with your church or small group. We really enjoy sharing with smaller group gatherings, so feel free to ask about daytime or evening events during the week. We are excited to connect and share the exciting ways God is moving all over Africa. PRAY with us for opportunities to share what God is doing in Africa and around the world and why it is so important for us to be concerned about the unreached.
You are a blessing! Thank you for your prayers.
Brian & Missy
Posted by: AT 01:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 20 2023

Good Morning Glorifying God, Persevering Servants! It's worship day! Woo WHO! We get to gather, worship, pray, celebrate, learn, encourage and glorify God. We were created for His glory! We get to chose to bring Him glory as we hallow His name, persevere in faith and service to and for Him. What a wonderful life we have in Christ! or is it? 

Check out our devotionals below as we think about God's refining love and sometimes hard journey of faith we endure. Can you see past the hurts and hardships and trust and praise God? He has great plans for you, us and all believers! Plans to prosper and not harm. We are promised an abundant life in Christ, but how does that work out in pain and suffering? God loves you--deeply and eternally! He has great plans for you that sometimes require His tweaking you. We live in a fallen world and are promised hard times. We are called to persevere in faith and glorify God through it all. Pruning and dying to--humbling self-- are never very pleasant. BUT GOD! And for His glory! When we are weak then we are strong in Christ! PTL! 

Your will, Lord; your way! Have Your way with me and us! Thank You for loving us enough to correct in love, refine, prune and prepare us for Your best. Thank You for Your loving help and strength along the way! Thank You that we can know Your shalom in the storms and trials! Thank You for wanting the best for us and helping us to move towards it! Come! Have Your way with us and may we bring You glory and honor each step of the way! We love You and trust You! Help our unbelief and forgive our grumbling. No matter what we face, You are worthy of all glory, honor and praise! May Our lives be poured out for Your glory! We love you and desire Your best for us however You need to get us there! Come! You are our refuge and strength! We ask these things in Jesus' name and for His glory! Amen! Thank You!

This is the day the Lord has made and He made this Sabbath day just for us! PTL! Rejoice! Be refreshed and strengthened. And Come all you weary and heavy laden with hearts of worship and thanksgiving! What are you thankful for today? We will be digging down deep to offer deep thanksgiving and worship today! Come and celebrate our awesome God! Prepare your hearts for worship! Come, Just as you are to worship! He loves you and is waiting with open arms of love, healing and hope! Come! 

Here's a song to help prepare the way for today: Phillips Craig & Dean - Come, now is the time to worship (with lyrics)

Phillips Craig & Dean - Come, now is the time to worship (with lyrics)

Charles Stanley:

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Gathering Strength in God

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

READ 2 Corinthians 12:2–10


Grainger McKoy is an artist who studies and sculpts birds, capturing their grace, vulnerability, and power. One of his pieces is titled Recovery. It shows the single right wing of a pintail duck, stretched high in a vertical position. Below, a plaque describes the bird’s recovery stroke as “the moment of the bird’s greatest weakness in flight, yet also the moment when it gathers strength for the journey ahead.” Grainger includes this verse: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The apostle Paul wrote these words to the church at Corinth. Enduring a season when he was overwhelmed with personal struggle, Paul begged God to remove what he described as “a thorn in my flesh” (v. 7). His affliction might have been a physical ailment or spiritual opposition. Like Jesus in the garden the night before His crucifixion (Luke 22:39–44), Paul repeatedly asked God to remove his suffering. The Holy Spirit responded by assuring him that He’d provide the strength needed. Paul learned, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Oh, the thorns we experience in this life! Like a bird gathering its strength for the journey ahead, we can gather up God’s strength for what we’re facing. In His strength, we find our own.

By Elisa Morgan


Where are you experiencing weakness today? How can you—in that exact weakness—gather God’s strength for your journey?

Dear Father, help me gather my strength from Yours as I face what’s ahead in my life today.


Paul deliberately boasted about his many spectacular visions (2 Corinthians 12:1–7; see Acts 9:1–9; 16:6–10) to refute false teachers who said he wasn’t a genuine apostle because he didn’t have ecstatic spiritual experiences. Although such boasting was distasteful to him (2 Corinthians 12:1, 5), he believed it was necessary to deal with the misguided spirituality and pride of his opponents. He was given a “thorn in [his] flesh” (v. 7) so Christ’s power might be proclaimed (vv. 5–10). The word thorn was used for anything pointed, such as a stake, the pointed end of a fishhook, or a splinter. This implied that Paul had endured severe pain. We don’t know what the thorn was. Some think he had an eye affliction (see Galatians 4:15; 6:11) or a chronic ailment. But we know its intent: to keep him humble on account of his “surpassingly great revelations” (2 Corinthians 12:7).

K. T. Sim

UR: Parenting

God said, “I led [Ephraim] with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.” - Hosea 11:4 (NRSVUE)

I recall how excited my husband and I were when our sons took their first faltering steps as we led them by the hand. I also recall messy mealtimes as we fed our infant sons, with food ending up on our sons’ bibs, on the floor, and on us. My husband and I enjoyed being fully involved in parenting.

In today’s reading from Hosea, God is fully involved in parenting the Israelites. I envision God as a loving parent teaching Israel to walk, lifting them up in an embrace, and bending down to feed them.

What a beautiful and powerful image of our Parent God. We are God’s children, and God continually nurtures us with grace and mercy just as a loving parent does. When we stumble, God is there to pick us up and guide us. God leads us with cords of kindness and bands of love, embraces us, and feeds us lovingly and patiently.

The role of a parent never stops, even after the children have become adults and left home. Like human parents, our Parent God keeps guiding and directing us no matter how old we get. Let us be grateful children!


Thank you, God, for parenting us always. Help us turn to you as our main source of love and care. Amen.TWFYT:

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Posted by: AT 01:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, November 18 2023

Good Morning Worshipers, Warriors, Watchmen (and Women), and Workers! That is a prayer I have been praying over St. Matts for years. Praying for God to raise up worshipers, prayer warriors, watchman (and women) on the wall and harvest workers bringing the prayers to life. It's happening! PTL! Can you see it? All four of these are vital roles and assignments for our Good News Delivery Co. too. How is God assigning you and using you in these? 

Today as I was re-reading our John 16 passage for this week I was reminded of Jesus teaching about praying in His name. (Next week we read Jesus' prayers in John 17) In the Old Covenant, people needed to go to God through a priest but in the New Covenant we are all priests of the Lord and as such have full access to God ourselves. How blessed we are! And what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! Amen! Check out our devos below for more on prayer, your part and some things to pray about.

Everything of value in God's Kingdom and every good and sustainable work is birthed, informed and sustained in prayer. Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer! God has some awesome plans for you and us awaiting being released in prayer. Some things are awaiting direction, informing, provision, correction that comes through prayer and processing with others. All things and workers need a prayer covering too. It can be hard but very rewarding and profitable work to be a prayer warrior and watchman in prayer. Then we get to worship, celebrate and thank God for glorifying His name and prospering His works as a result of our prayers! Keep plowing those fields in prayer and sharing what you are hearing!

Each of us and our fellowship is a work in process. We are directed in prayer and perfected through accountability and processing in small groups. Pray for God to raise up some more small groups in the new year, for some leaders to arise, and to help us help each other to hear God, process and even correct in love as needed. He has great plans awaiting releasing and empowering through prayer and processing and enacting through small groups. GO TEAM!!! Every time I think of you all and the prayers and workers and love, I thank God! He is leading us to some awesome fruit! Keep investing time, talent and treasure as God leads. It's time to sow lavishly in prayer, choices, actions and love! Day light's burning, Lighthouses! The harvest IS plentiful. PTL! Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send more workers in to the fields and PTL for the harvest He is growing and preparing! What's your role in that? Some have been delineated here. Talk to Abba about that and process with some others! Then Go, love, harvest and make disciples of Jesus!

Here's some prayer starters for today:

"Praise God for the good gifts He gives to those who ask Him (Mt.7:11). Give thanks, even in the midst of pain all around, that God's gifts are good. Confess your lack of quality time with God in prayer (Rom. 8:26). Commit yourself to modeling Jesus' example of praying in solitary places (Mk. 1:35). Ask God to give you a real devotion to prayer--being watchful and thankful, making the most of every opportunity (Col. 4:2-5). Pray that your church members will give generously of their time and money so that pleas for more will not be necessary (2Cor. 9:6-7). [Pray for our members to bolster our general fund with year end giving] Pray that God will instill in Christians around the world the desire to pray fervently and faithfully (Prov. 15:8; 29). Ask God to use emergency or crisis situations in the lives of unsaved people to bring them to the foot of the cross. Pray for eyes to see how you can help in such situations." [Thank God for answered prayers and for all our prayer warriors] Amen!


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Charles Stanley:

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UR: Work in Progress

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

One day I was walking down the street and passed a building site full of rubble. A sign at the site announced, “Work in progress.” The builders continued working according to the plan given by the architect, and eventually the building was completed. A couple of months later, I passed the building again. This time I was amazed by its beauty and marveled at the finished product.

We are also works in progress. We are God’s masterpieces; the Holy Spirit is shaping us according to the Lord’s design. At times we may appear unfinished from the outside, but the Holy Spirit is at work in us day by day. Ultimately, God, through the life-giving Holy Spirit, will bring to completion the good work that God has already begun in us. Keep believing and trusting that God will finish that work in us.


Loving God, thank you for sending Jesus into the world. Through your life-giving Holy Spirit, inspire us to be Christlike in character and mind. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.ODB:

Confronting in Love

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry?” Genesis 4:6

READ Genesis 4:1–12


He did many things well, but there was a problem. Everyone saw it. Yet because he was so effective in accomplishing most of his role, his anger issue wasn’t adequately addressed. He was never truly confronted. Sadly, this resulted in many people being hurt over the years. And, in the end, it led to the premature close of a career that could have been something so much more for this brother in Christ. If only I’d chosen to confront him in love long ago.

In Genesis 4, God provides the perfect picture of what it means to confront someone’s sin in love. Cain was infuriated. Being a farmer, he’d presented “some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord” (v. 3). But God made it clear that what he brought Him wasn’t acceptable. Cain’s offering was rejected, and he was “very angry, and his face was downcast” (v. 5). So, God confronted him and said, “Why are you angry?” (v. 6). He then told Cain to turn from his sin and pursue what was good and right. Sadly, Cain ignored God’s words and committed a horrific act (v. 8).

While we can’t force others to turn from sinful behaviors, we can compassionately confront them. We can “speak the truth in love” so that we both become “more and more like Christ” (Ephesians 4:15 nlt). And, as God gives us ears to listen, we can also receive hard words of truth from others.

By Tom Felten


Why is it vital for us to confront others in love? How do you receive hard but helpful words?

Father, help me to have the courage to confront others in love and to receive hard but true words with grace.


The Bible has much to say about anger. God warned Cain that anger is a response that must be reined in quickly (Genesis 4:7). The psalmist David warned, “Stop being angry! . . . It only leads to harm” (Psalm 37:8 nlt). Solomon, the wisest man on earth, likewise said that an angry man will do foolish things (Proverbs 14:17, 29). The New Testament warns, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you . . . for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26–27 nlt) and “human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires” (James 1:20 nlt).

K. T. Sim
Posted by: Lori AT 10:37 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, November 18 2023

Thank God I'm Forgiven Friday! There is such a richness in this statement that flows to much thanksgiving and praise! What are you thankful about your forgiveness! Keep building those gratitude lists and using them often! He is so worthy of all praise and glory and honor! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Amen!

Here's a couple of different songs with the same title. Great songs to start praising with: 

Praise the Lord:

Praise the Lord:

Good Morning Spirit-Filled, Secure, Adventurers! Check out our devotionals below from which this truthful salutation springs forth and pronounce it with anticipation, praise and much thanksgivings! Read and meditate on the Eph. 1:3-14 passage that ties to Our Daily Bread. What's God revealing to you that leads to thanksgiving as you do? Read and meditate on our John 16 reading for this week. Jesus teaches about the Holy Spirit, prayer in His name, and talks about His soon cross encounter. What lavish love He has shown to us! Yes Praise the Lord!

After Jesus' death and after His ascension to heaven the disciples felt lonely, afraid and uncertain until they received the Holy Spirit. As we follow Jesus we sometimes will encounter hard and lonely times too. But we do know God is with us and allowing things to draw us closer, stretch our faith, and prepare us for the new things He has. Check out the Upper Room and remember those new comers that are and will be joining us and go out of your way to welcome and get to know them. We know how to love each other well. Let us always do the same for those God is leading to our fellowship. And for those you already know well, you sense and know when something isn't right. Reach out in love, encouragement and prayer to those who are putting on a good face in their struggles. 

The Word for You Today reminds us that we can sense and see God at work. God wants us to see and know that He is busy with and all around us and wants us to join Him. He doesn't hide from us even when we try to hide from Him. PTL! Ask God for a spiritual awakening today and pray for Him to "show you what He wants you to see, teach you what He wants you to know, lead you step-by-step in the path of His perfect will." He is pleased to answer that prayer. Keep your eye on Jesus and keep watch for God to be busy around you. have a ready and willing heart to respond as the Holy Spirit reveals. And keep growing into God's character which includes sacrificial love, compassionate help, and faithfulness. That leads to much thanksgiving.

God is leading us on a great adventure! Even refining and hard things can be an adventure as we keep putting our trust in God, keep our focus on Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to have His way with us! PTL! We are secure in Christ! We have the Holy Spirit! We know God and He calls us friend! There is enough right there to thank and praise all day! And to keep us busy being about His business. PTL! We are so blessed!

May your day be filled with much thanksgiving, joy and peace! God has some great adventures awaiting!

Here's a song to end your quiet time with praise today! Praise:


The Adventure

In him we were also chosen . . . that we . . . might be for the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11–12

READ Ephesians 1:3–14


“Christianity is not for me. It’s boring. One of my values I hold on to is adventure. That’s life to me,” a young woman told me. It saddened me that she hadn’t yet learned the incredible joy and excitement that comes with following Jesus—an adventure like no other. I excitedly shared with her about Jesus and how real life is found in Him.

Mere words are inadequate to describe the adventure of knowing and walking with Jesus, God’s Son. But in Ephesians 1, the apostle Paul gives us a small but powerful glimpse of life with Him. God gives us spiritual blessings directly from heaven (v. 3), holiness and blamelessness in God’s eyes (v. 4), and adoption as His own into the King’s royal family (v. 5). He blesses us with the lavish gift of His forgiveness and grace (vv. 7–8), understanding of the mystery of His will (v. 9), and a new purpose of living “for the praise of his glory” (v. 12). The Holy Spirit comes to live in us to empower and lead us (v. 13), and He guarantees eternity in God’s presence forever (v. 14).

When Jesus Christ enters our life, we discover that getting to know Him more and following Him closely is the greatest of adventures. Seek Him now and every day for real life.

By Anne Cetas


How would you describe the life of knowing and walking with Jesus? Who might God want you to share this with?

Dear Jesus, thank You for loving me and always walking by my side. You’ve given me more than I could have imagined. I love being known and loved by You and sharing You with others.


Paul delivers Ephesians 1:3–14 in the form of a doxology—or praise—to God. Paul, a Jew, writes to gentile believers in Jesus, assuring them of their adoption (v. 5) into an unparalleled inheritance. When he says, “we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ” (v. 12), he’s speaking of the first believers, who were Jewish. Yet he’s quick to include “you,” that is, the gentiles, who also believed (v. 13). And he gives us great hope: we’re “marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (vv. 13–14).

Tim Gustafson

Charles Stanley:

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UR: Lonely Hours    

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me. - Psalm 120:1 (NIV)

I had always wanted to travel and see other places. I got my wish when I married a meteorologist whose career took us away from our families to the San Francisco Bay area of California. We didn’t know anyone except the people my husband worked with, and none of them lived nearby.

With the cost of housing so high, we had very little money, and I had to find thrifty ways to keep our young son entertained. I took him to the park where he climbed on playground equipment, and we fed ducks in the pond. We rode our bicycles to church, the library, and the grocery store. We had fun, but I struggled with our limited resources and with loneliness. Although we joined a church, the members had known each other for such a long time that it was difficult to fit in as newcomers.

During the lonely hours, I called out to God in prayer, and I became so close to the Lord that I heard God speak to my spirit. Some people have doubted me when I say that the Lord speaks to me. I don’t hear audible words, but I hear God in my heart. As my relationship with God has deepened, I have come to understand that when we reach out to God in difficult times, we may receive a blessing we never imagined.


Thank you, dear Lord, for being with us when we feel alone and for answering our prayers in ways that we could not have imagined. In the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.TWFYT:

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Posted by: Lori AT 10:36 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, November 18 2023

Charles Stanley:

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Psalm 77

For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of Asaph.

1 I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
    Oh, that God would listen to me!
2 When I was in deep trouble,
    I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
    but my soul was not comforted.
3 I think of God, and I moan,
    overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude

4 You don’t let me sleep.
    I am too distressed even to pray!
5 I think of the good old days,
    long since ended,
6 when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
    I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
7 Has the Lord rejected me forever?
    Will he never again be kind to me?
8 Is his unfailing love gone forever?
    Have his promises permanently failed?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude

10 And I said, “This is my fate;
    the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
    I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

13 O God, your ways are holy.
    Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
    You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude

16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
    its waters looked and trembled!
    The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
    the thunder rumbled in the sky.
    Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
    the lightning lit up the world!
    The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
    your pathway through the mighty waters—
    a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
    with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

Upper Room: Serving with Love

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” - Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

For several years, I’ve led a prayer group for mothers in my home. We meet in the morning, Monday through Friday. One day, a friend asked me to accompany her to an early-morning medical appointment. I truly wanted to go with her, but at the same time there were other considerations: the great distance to the hospital by public transportation and the relatively slow walking pace because of her need for a walker. Would there be enough time to get her to the appointment and still make it back in time for my prayer group meeting?

My desire to assist her proved far more important than any inconvenience. I asked the Lord to favor us with two gifts — wise planning and good transportation. We left quite early, our ride was on time, and she made it through her appointment successfully. Then I accompanied her home and arrived on time for the start of the prayer group.

That day, I was grateful that with God’s help I was able to perform two works of love that pleased the Lord.


Tell of God’s Goodness

Let me tell you what he has done for me. Psalm 66:16

READ Psalm 66:5–12, 16–20


Testimony time was the segment in our church service when people shared how God had been at work in their lives. Auntie—or Sister Langford as she was known by others in our church family—was known for packing lots of praise into her testimonies. On the occasions when she shared her personal conversion story, one could expect her to take up a good bit of the service. Her heart gushed with praise to God who’d graciously changed her life!

Similarly, the testimony of the writer of Psalm 66 is packed with praise as he testifies about what God had done for His people. “Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” (v. 5). His deeds included miraculous rescue (v. 6), preservation (v. 9), and testing and discipline that resulted in His people being brought to a better place (vv. 10–12). While there are God-experiences that we have in common with other believers in Jesus, there are also things unique to our individual journeys. Have there been times in your life when God has particularly made Himself known to you? Those are worth sharing with others who need to hear how He’s worked in your life. “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me” (v. 16).

By Arthur Jackson


How can you more readily share your experiences of God’s goodness with others? How have you been inspired to trust Him more when you’ve heard others share His awesome deeds?

Heavenly Father, I rejoice in the varied expressions of Your kindness to me. Help me not to keep these things to myself.


Psalm 66 is a worship song praising God for rescuing His people from an enemy threat. Though the specific circumstances aren’t mentioned, nor the author named, some scholars suggest that King Hezekiah wrote this thanksgiving song after God miraculously defeated the Assyrians in response to his prayer for deliverance (2 Chronicles 32:1–22; Isaiah 36–37). The offering of rams, bulls, and goats (Psalm 66:15) are what a king would sacrifice to God (see 2 Chronicles 30:24). The psalmist recalls the miraculous deliverances in their history—how God led them out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the wilderness, and into the promised land (Psalm 66:1–12). The second part of the song is a personal thanksgiving for God answering his prayers (vv. 13–20). The psalmist speaks of an important condition for answered prayer: “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (v. 18 nlt).

K. T. Sim
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Wednesday, November 15 2023

Good Morning Connected Children of the Promise! Be still and know! Check out our devotionals below. God was busy threading them together with what His purposes are for you and us to enlighten, encourage, equip, and for using us today. Sit at His feet a spell and reload. Turn off the noise and ask for Him to lead you to His best and for help to release the good and better things that keep you from His best. Ask the Holy Spirit to light your path and for wisdom and courage to complete your purposes for today. Then go love the unlovable like Jesus did. Our call as a church and as people is to the least of these that God is drawing. Day Light's burning! Pray for BIG God-sized vision and trust and willing hands and feet. He does have great plans for you today! Reload, rejoice, get ready and go, cat, go!

Thank you for praying for our Finance Team Budget Meeting last night! Thank you to our team for seeking God and trying to be the best stewards while trusting God for the BIG thing that He wants to do. We know that where He guides He provides. It's obvious that we continue to operate with a deficit BUT GOD! We are asking that you suspend all giving at this time to Family Ministries, Benevolence, Outreach, Bread Ministry because these accounts are well funded at this time. Giving to those funds should be above and beyond your normal tithe since they are not funded by our church budget. Please focus on giving to and bolstering the general fund which pays for electric, heating, salaries and all the fixed expenses of the church. Even the rebuilding fund is good for awhile and the general fund could really use that giving. Thanks for understanding. We are trying not to cut and have cut the budget to bare minimum already. So, thanks for all your generous giving! Please help us bolster our main fund and if a need arises we will ask for your help. Also remember that you can designate that your church tithe would continue in your will. Thanks for being givers and great stewards. Just wanting to help direct your giving where needed most. Seek God and allow Him to direct your tithe and offerings where he is directing. He is our Provision, Portion, and Widom! Thank Him!

Charles Stanley

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One Thing Needed

You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Luke 10:41–42

READ Luke 10:38–42


One weekend in March, I led a retreat on the theme of Mary and Martha, the sisters in Bethany whom Jesus loved along with their brother Lazarus (John 11:5). We were in a remote spot along the English coastline. When we were snowed in unexpectedly, many of the participants remarked how the extra day together meant they could practice sitting at Christ’s feet as Mary did. They wanted to pursue the “one thing . . . needed” (Luke 10:42 nkjv) that Jesus lovingly told Martha she should embrace, which was choosing to draw close and learn from Him.

When Jesus visited the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, Martha wouldn’t have known He was coming in advance, so we can understand how she could have been upset with Mary for not helping with the preparations to feed Him and His friends. But she lost sight of what really mattered—receiving from Jesus as she learned from Him. Christ wasn’t scolding her for wanting to serve Him but rather reminding her that she was missing the most important thing.

When interruptions make us irritable or we feel overwhelmed about the many things we want to accomplish, we can stop and remind ourselves what really matters in life. As we slow ourselves down, picturing ourselves sitting at the feet of Jesus, we can ask Him to fill us with His love and life. We can revel in being His beloved disciple.

By Amy Boucher Pye


What distractions keep you from receiving from Jesus? How can you sit at His feet today?

Dear Jesus, thank You for loving to instruct me in Your ways. Help me not to get distracted by my activities, but to focus on You.


Martha and her siblings often hosted Jesus in their home in Bethany. When we first meet Martha, she’s busy preparing a meal for Christ and His disciples and is upset that Mary isn’t helping (Luke 10:38–40). In John 11, we learn of Lazarus’ illness, death, and resurrection; and we see the sisters’ reactions. When Christ says to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live . . . . Do you believe this?” she replies, “Yes, . . . I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (vv. 25–27). The last time we see Martha, she’s again preparing a meal, but this time she doesn’t protest that Mary isn’t helping (12:1–2). Perhaps she’d learned the importance of the “one” thing (Luke 10:41–42)—listening to, learning from, and worshiping Jesus.

Alyson Kieda


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UR: The Power of Acceptance

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to [Bartimaeus], “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” - Mark 10:49 (NIV)

I often recall our eldest daughter’s deep emotional pain and disappointment when a group of adolescent girls rejected her. I suspect if one girl in the group had supported her, she might have been accepted by the whole group. Few of us understand the powerful influences that we can have, either for good or for evil, in group settings.

In Mark 10, we read the story of blind Bartimaeus, who was expendable in the crowd’s eyes. But when Jesus showed compassion and respect for him, others began to see Bartimaeus’s worth as well. Their rebuking tone changed to one of acceptance because of Jesus’ respect for Bartimaeus. They called to Bartimaeus, “Cheer up! On your feet! [Jesus] is calling you.”

It takes courage to accept and love those who have been rejected by society. But we are called to follow Jesus’ example of showing compassion for all. As we love those whom our peers deem unworthy, it will empower our peers to follow our example.


Father God, sometimes it’s not easy to accept and love those who are disrespected by others. Through your grace provide us with courage to love all people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Tuesday, November 14 2023

Good Morning Listening, Receiving, Following Pray-ers! Prayer is that and so much more! Check out what Mother Thresa said, “Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive him and keep him as your own.” Be still and know that He is God, He loves you, and wants to hang out with you forever, especially today! Check out our Upper Room devo below too.

Sometimes prayer is easy and sometimes hard, but always profitable! Check out this Harvest Prayer blog for today about praying for God's will to be done. Are you open to that? Praying for that? Ready for that? Be still in prayer today and spend sometime at Jesus' feet as you prepare for the day ahead. God loves you!

November 14 - His Will Be Done

See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.  Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will concerning you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do no despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:15-23, NASB)

The way the material is shaped, all of the above commands are modified by the phrase “for this is God’s will concerning you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This gives us clear direction for praying “Your will be done.” It is always God’s will to pray for these kingdom initiatives to succeed in your life, in the lives of others, and in your local church. To pray for the kingdom to come and the will to be done then includes at least the following:

  • It is always God’s will to pray for a gracious nature that doesn’t return evil for evil.
  • It is always God’s will to seek after good for another and for everyone (especially when you have been slighted or done an injustice).
  • It is always God’s will to pray for and to practice joy.
  • It is always God’s will to deepen your prayer life.
  • It is always God’s will to give thanks.
  • It is always God’s will to test out when someone claims to speak for God (you do not have to immediately accept every word spoken, but you do need to listen and to test him by Word, Witness, Workers, Worship, and the Will of the believer).
  • It is always God’s will to cling to the things that Scripture makes clear are right and true.
  • It is always God’s will to avoid or turn away from evil (and in this text to reject false prophecy/spirituality).

UR: Committing My Life

The Lord said, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” - Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Checking items off my daily to-do list used to give me a sense of accomplishment and control over my life. But when my 28-year marriage ended, I began to realize I could not control everything. Before then, I hadn’t surrendered my life to Christ. I knew of God, but I didn’t know God personally.

One day, feeling full of anxiety and fear about my future, I walked to a nearby lake. I sat at a picnic table watching the geese as a cool breeze blew across the lake. It was as if God were speaking to me, wrapping me in an embrace to reassure me of God’s love.

For the first time in my life, I prayed aloud. I said, “Please give me some direction, God. I am so lost.” A sense of peace came over me. From that moment on, I have continued committing my life to God, trusting that God has a greater plan for me than I could ever imagine. My future no longer feels bleak.

In Matthew 6:33-34, Jesus told his followers to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness and not to worry about tomorrow. What a comfort it is to know God is with us and we need not worry.


Abba Father, when we are overwhelmed with life’s trials and filled with despair, help us remember your loving presence. Amen.

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Tuesday, November 14 2023

The week ahead: (read John 15 and 16 and take notes and answer what God is saying to you and what you will do about that--quiz Sunday)

Tues at 10 Zoom Huddle discussing God's provision. All welcome!

Tues at 6:30 Finance Team Zoom. (Please pray for God to lead our Finance Team to be the best stewards of God's provisions and for wisdom to meet God's visions for our church)

Wed 10-Noon Bread Ministry

Wed 6 PM Dinner, Chosen and Family Ministries Huddles

Sat. 10-1 Clothing Closet

Next Tues is our Thanksgiving Eve Eve meal and huddle worship. 6-7:30 All welcome.

Sun Nov 26th is our Brunch after church. RSVP and bring a friend. Check our website for more info:

Update your entries in our Directory in the back of the sanctuary or add your info if you want to be included. (You can also email our secretary or call and leave your info so we make sure it is accurate)

Pray for these ministries and plan to attend, help, and enjoy these opportunities!


Good Morning Becomers! Think about how much you have to be thankful about today! You were one way and now a better way and working on becoming a much better way because of Jesus and all He did and is doing for you! PTL! PTL we have the opportunity to become all we were created to be and do all we were created to do and grow into our fullest potential until He calls us home. You are a disciple (learner) becoming an apostle (sent one). You have purpose and potential in Christ that fits like a glove because you were created to do them and have help to complete them. You have a purpose and potential. You have Love! Love lives in you and shows up all around you as you live and love like Jesus. And you become better at those as you practice doing them and at allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you. You have Hope, can choose joy, are growing in faith and becoming! Everyday we have the opportunity to choose to become better at being God's ambassadors. Even in the hardest of times, we know who is holding us and helping us through. What are you thankful for today?

Yesterday was a unique day of worship, BUT GOD! We had a projector failure, heard about the Kindness Project which we will be supporting as our Christmas project (watch for more details of how we can bless them together. Here's a link to their website: The need is great for Foster Family assistance. Pray for God to direct us in our giving. And we ended worship with a babbling pastor saying what the Holy Spirit revealed about BECOMING and our John 14 and 15 readings. (I really recall little of what I said) BUT the Holy Spirit showed up, led our time, answered your prayers and brought a new family to worship with us that want to join. He answered the prayer for God to speak through me too. (Even in chaos, God is at work and answers our prayers!) I am thankful for all your prayers and your faith that God IS working all things together for good. God is so good and worthy of praise and He is using us and has great plans for us! Amen and PTL!

You can engage with God through your quiet time and with open Bible and devotionals today on your own. Keep building those gratitude lists and keep worshiping and thanking our awesome Father! Let's close with some prayer starters from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

"Praise God for your sighing is not hidden from Him (Ps. 38:9). Give thanks that you can cast all your care on Him for He cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). Confess to God the many times you worry, are fearful, or trust in something other than God (Ps. 37:5-6). Commit yourself to daily food from God's Word and time with Him in prayer. Ask God for victorious faith that overcomes the world (1 Jn. 5:4). Ask that your family will be reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness through your example of giving Him all the glory in every situation. Pray that your church will be living proof of the fact that God fulfills the desires of those who fear Him (Ps. 145:19). Pray that you will be a consistent example of God's love today and always--and thereby help to advance God's Kingdom on earth. In whatever difficult circumstances you find yourself, pray for God to use you as a springboard for salvation of an unbeliever." AMEN! Come Lord Jesus! be our Lord today and always and may we bring you great glory and honor by our choices! Thank You! Amen!

God really loves you and is waiting to sit with you, lead you, help you, and love on you and love through you. Be still and know that He is God and that you matter--to Him and us! Receive and walk in His love and shalom today! Oh what joy awaits us today! Rejoice!

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Sunday, November 12 2023

This IS the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice, worship, and be glad in it! Let us enter His courts with praise, His presence with thanksgivings! Amen!

Good Morning Becoming Becomers! We will hear more about that today as we continue to work on becoming all that we were created to be and doing all we were created to do. We were one way and becoming another by God's grace and our all-in willingness! And we are becoming to God--attractive to Him as we work on becoming.

There is so much that God has put on my heart to share today. I will try to keep it brief. One thing I need from you is prayers for God to send and draw some people that told me Wed. that they would attend today. Pray that God's grace and drawing to new life would come alive today and for all hindrances from showing up be held at bay. May His irresistible grace move many to Him and lead them to join us today. Pray for Patrick, Amber, Ramone, Arianna, Mary, and two couples whose names I forget but God knows to show up and be drawn to Him and attracted by our love for God and them. Pray for me to be led by the Spirit and bring His Word alive. Thank you! I've already been praying for this day all week. Join me and God and release His salvation power and Holy Spirit!

Maybe God is working on you too? I know some of you have chosen words to work on this year and we are seeing great fruit from that. Maybe God is calling you to work on some spiritual growth in the year ahead or to pick a new word. Talk to God about that and pray for God to continue to change our lives as we commit to living and loving like Jesus and becoming all we can be in Christ. Ask God to pair you up with some to process, pray and be accountable too. Talk to me if you are being stirred to try out a small group. Check out Charles Stanley's devo below and pray about it. Think about our Vine and our Vinedresser. What may need some pruning? How can we help each other receive that pruning in faith and with joy? Have you ever asked to be pruned? I have many times and God is faithful to help us achieve His best and produce good fruit!

This Wednesday we wrap up the Chosen season 3. It's long and covers a lot of our reading through John and other things we studied. We may need to continue to discuss this episode for awhile after this week. Like our Bibles, it is so rich in teaching, pointing to Jesus and bringing Him and His ways alive. How desperate are you for a touch from Jesus? What is He teaching you? Who is He sending you to bless? How is He helping you right now through some hard thing or how has He helped you in the past? Who needs to help you or hear about that? God is with us and very active. Do you see and sense His presence, help, love? Be still and know! He has great plans for you and us! We are on our way to becoming a dynamic movement of God because He lives and loves in and through us! Rejoice! Share His Good News with much joy and thanksgiving and partner with Him to bring revival and new life--even today. Amen!

I included The Word for You Today at the bottom. It pertains to us and today's possibilities as we hear from The Kindness Project and how we can partner with them this Christmas season. Number three particularly applies to today and how God is already using us. Keep looking for someone to help! As you do, the other two will grow. We become healthier as we connect to and bless others. I am not a slave to fashion, obviously, and am not too keen on their dressing to impress others. I yams what I yams as Popeye says. BUT as we put on Love and share it we will not only look, but be our best. Others will see us dressed with Jesus and His Love, hope and help and take notice. Why waste money on fashion? Jesus didn't dress to impress. He lived to love and help. Dress in His love today and don't worry about how others see you but how God sees you. He looks at your heart, not what you wear. And that's how we should look at others too. Come as you are and be loved. Then we will be really healthy and feel good about ourselves. Don't cave to the pressures of the world or some legalistic, Pharisaical standard. Be who you were created to be and work on who you are becoming in Christ and stand firm in Love! Amen. Go love and make disciples as you were created and gifted and know Him more! That's true worship! (Rant over!)

Shalom. Shalom. True peace to you! See you soon!

Charles Stanley:

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Cling to Jesus

She said to herself, “If I only touch [Jesus’] cloak, I will be healed.” Matthew 9:21

READ Matthew 9:18–22


Dizziness struck me in the stairwell of the office building. Overwhelmed, I gripped the banister because the stairs seemed to spin. As my heart pounded and my legs buckled, I clung onto the banister, thankful for its strength. Medical tests showed I had anemia. Although its cause wasn’t serious and my condition was resolved, I’ll never forget how weak I felt that day.

That’s why I admire the woman who touched Jesus. She not only moved through the crowd in her weakened state, but she also showed faith in venturing out to approach Him (Matthew 9:20–22). She had good reason to be afraid: Jewish law defined her as unclean and by exposing others to her uncleanness, she could face serious consequences (Leviticus 15:25−27). But the thought If I only touch His cloak kept her going. The Greek word that’s translated as “touch” in Matthew 9:21 is not mere touching but has the stronger meaning of “to hold on to” or “to attach oneself.” The woman tightly held on to Jesus. She believed He could heal her.

Jesus saw, in the midst of a crowd, the desperate faith of one woman. When we too venture out in faith and cling to Christ in our need, He welcomes us and comes to our aid. We can tell Him our story without fear of rejection or punishment. Jesus tells us today, “Cling to Me.”

By Karen Huang


What’s caused you suffering and fear? To what or whom have you turned for help and healing? How can you cling to Jesus today?

Dear God, thank You for Your love. I don’t have to feel ashamed and afraid. You accept me and call me Your child.


The account of the woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years is told in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 9, Mark 5, and Luke 8). Matthew’s telling is the briefest of the three. Despite the differing details, one element shared by all three is the essence of Jesus’ parting words to the woman: “your faith has healed you” (Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:34; Luke 8:48). It’s important to note that this faith wasn’t simply the belief that Christ could heal her (although that belief is also stated in all three gospels). Her faith caused her to act. It propelled her through the crowd to reach out and touch Jesus’ cloak. This is how James talks about faith. Faith is demonstrated by what it does, not what it claims to believe (see James 2:14–26).

J.R. Hudberg



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Saturday, November 11 2023

Thank you to all who have served and were willing to lay down their lives for our freedoms! May God bless you and your families abundantly for you heart and service!

NOTES for Sunday: 1. There is a sign up sheet for our brunch after worship on Nov 26th. Please RSVP.

2. Tomorrow is the last day to bring cans of beans for the angel network we are short about 50 cans yet.

3. Please check the directory at the rear of the sanctuary at the devo area and make sure your info is correct or add your info if you are not in the directory.

Thank you to all of you who encouraged, sent cards and blessed Karen and me during Pastor's Appreciation month! What an honor and blessing to serve with such a loving flock! May God bless you for your kindnesses! Thanks again!


Good Morning Recruits, Volunteers, Servants, Warriors, Soldiers of the Cross and Veterans of many Spiritual Battles! Thank you for your service and willingness to lay down your lives for your brothers and sisters in Christ! You are valued and appreciated and God knows all you have offered of yourself for His glory. Thank You and remember, the battle is the Lord's and the battles will continue until that final one on the Day of the Lord. Cloak yourself in His armor and continue to battle and hold firm entrenched in Christ--our Victor and Commander-in Chief. Many around us are fighting battles we have no idea about. We are brothers and sisters in the battle and the battles belong to the Lord. May we stand firm and look for a comrade that needs some reinforcements. Meditate on this song as you battle in prayer today: Battle Belongs: Yes the battle is the Lords and He is our mighty fortress! Stand firm and keep battling on your knees.

Check out our devos below that speak into and thread through this today. And remember we are reading, meditating on and journaling through John 14 and 15 this week. What's God saying to you? What measurable thing will you do about it? In John 15 we are commanded to lay down our lives for one another and to love like Jesus loves us. That is agape, sacrificial love. Meditate on this passage as we think about all those warriors defending our freedoms and battling on their knees for the Kingdom. Are you all-in and pouring yourself out for God and His Kingdom? John 15:9-17

 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Yes the battle is the Lord's but we all have a part to play in His army. And it all is ground in, birthed in, and carried out in agape love! And no matter our season in life or our circumstances we all have custom made assignments until we are called home in victory. Stand firm and battle on! Turn off the noise and tune out the chaos coming from the enemy all around us and stay focused on our Commander! Victory is coming and already won! Rejoice! Someday soon we will all be celebrating the victory dinner with our Savior! And remember until we are called home we have good fruit to bear as we fulfill our created purposes for such a time as this! God is for us! Who can be against us? It really doesn't matter, does it? We know and are in the Victor! Rejoice and continue your service unto Him! That is a sacrifice of praise He gladly accepts!


Lucky Boots

I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another. Isaiah 42:8

READ 1 Samuel 4:1–11


Too late, Tom felt the chilling “click” beneath his combat boots. Instinctively, he bounded away in an adrenaline-fueled leap. The deadly device hidden underground didn’t detonate. Later, the explosive ordnance disposal team unearthed eighty pounds of high explosives from the spot. Tom wore those boots until they fell apart. “My lucky boots,” he calls them.

Tom may have clung to those boots simply to commemorate his close call. But people are often tempted to consider objects “lucky” or to even give them the more spiritual label “blessed.” Danger arrives when we credit an object—even a symbol—as a source of God’s blessing.

The Israelites learned this the hard way. The Philistine army had just routed them in battle. As Israel reviewed the debacle, someone thought of taking the “ark of the Lord’s covenant” into a rematch (1 Samuel 4:3). That seemed like a good idea (vv. 6–9). After all, the ark of the covenant was a holy object.

But the Israelites had the wrong perspective. By itself, the ark couldn’t bring them anything. Putting their faith in an object instead of in the presence of the one true God, the Israelites suffered an even worse defeat, and the enemy captured the ark (vv. 10–11).

Mementos that remind us to pray or to thank God for His goodness are fine. But they’re never the source of blessing. That is God—and God alone.

By Tim Gustafson


How do you show evidence of your faith in God? When you’re faced with a crisis, what do you focus on to help you?

Loving Father, forgive me when I’m tempted to put my faith in anything but You.


It’s not surprising the Philistines didn’t know much about God. But it is surprising that the Israelites also demonstrated little knowledge of Him (1 Samuel 4:1–11). The Philistines had heard of God’s greatness but misunderstood it. They recalled the plagues He used to free Israel from Egypt more than three hundred years earlier but remembered them as taking place in the wilderness, not in Egypt, and attributed God’s power to “mighty gods” (v. 8). Israel mistakenly thought the ark’s presence meant the presence of God Himself (v. 3). They were seeking military success instead of seeking the One who brings that success.

Tim Gustafson

UR: Sacrifice

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - John 15:13 (NIV)

I was recently out of town with my family, and since it was Sunday, we visited a church in the area. Before the sermon began, there were a few moments of thanks for those who had served in our country’s armed forces and made the ultimate sacrifice — their lives.

I have seen many similar dedications, but that memorial struck me differently than any had before. Long after the service ended, the scripture at the end of the memorial video played in my mind: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This verse reminds us that Christ laid down his life to save all humanity from sin. Giving up one’s life is an extreme way to show love, but this verse made me wonder, What does sacrifice look like in daily life?

Many weeks after that worship service, I am still pondering that verse. Even if I am not laying down my physical life for my friends, I can go out of my way to show kindness not only to my loved ones but also to my neighbor across the street, the person at the grocery store, or an acquaintance I happen to see in town. Laying down one’s life, or simply laying down one’s busy schedule in order to show God’s love to others, is a habit worth embracing.


Dear God, thank you for giving us the example of ultimate sacrifice through Christ. Help us to sacrifice time throughout our day to share your love with others. Amen.TWFYT:

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Posted by: Lori AT 12:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, November 10 2023

YES! Thank God I'm Forgiven and so much more!!! How about you? What are you thankful for this Friday? Where are you seeing God at work and responding to His invite to join Him? Who needs to hear your story of God's faithfulness, forgiveness, love, healing, help, and constant presence and provision?

Good Morning Loving, Hospitable, Praying, CO-Laboring Worshipers! YES! That is you and our fellowship! That is How the people that gather at the building called St. Matthew's are being viewed and experienced. PTL! He is hearing and answering our prayers, changing and using us and His love is becoming experienced through us! PTL! And it all began when we were forgiven and stepped into our new nature in Christ and responded to His leading us to our purposes. Amen!

Did you catch the thread through our devotionals today describing you and us? Say that salutation out loud and pronounce it over yourself and our fellowship. I am/We are loving, hospitable, praying, co-laboring worshipers! Amen! And each of us has an age-appropriate, ability-appropriate, faith-level appropriate, gifted and created appropriate purpose in God's Good News Delivery Company called St. Matts. What's your purpose and response? Some of you are pray-ers, funders, workers, helpers, teachers, and story sharers among many roles and purposes that allow our company to run like a well-oiled machine. As we continue to discover, step into, grow into our purposes we glorify God and people experience His saving love, hope and help and His fame is spreading! PTL! God IS Love! And Love lives in us and grows as we learn to live and love like Jesus as we were created and gifted to do! PTL!

We have so much to be thankful for this Friday and everyday! Let us continue to celebrate and worship God for who He is and all He is doing in, through and around us and for our salvation, new life, and our St. Matts. Faithful servants! Rejoice! Thank you ALL for stepping into your roles and allowing God to use and grow you! He does have great plans that are coming alive and growing! PTL!

Maxie Dunnam said, "Praying for people will bring you to love them. Loving them will lead you to serve them. Serving them will be the open door through which God can move in to save, heal, and make whole." Man, are we seeing that truth come alive as we allow God to grow and use us! PTL and keep at it faithful, loving friends! I can't wait to see what God will do next! And I can't wait to celebrate as you share what God is doing in, through and around you! Amen!


Love through Prayer

Pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28

READ Luke 6:27–31


For years, John had been somewhat of an irritant at church. He was bad-tempered, demanding, and often rude. He complained constantly about not being “served” well, and about volunteers and staff not doing their job. He was, honestly, hard to love.

So when I heard that he’d been diagnosed with cancer, I found it difficult to pray for him. Memories of his harsh words and unpleasant character filled my mind. But remembering Jesus’ call to love, I was drawn to say a simple prayer for John each day. A few days later, I found myself beginning to think a bit less often about his unlikeable qualities. He must be really hurting, I thought. Perhaps he’s feeling really lost now.

Prayer, I realize, opens ourselves, our feelings, and our relationships with others to God, allowing Him to enter and bring His perspective into it all. The act of submitting our will and feelings to Him in prayer allows the Holy Spirit to change our hearts, slowly but surely. No wonder Jesus’ call to love our enemies is bound up tightly with a call to prayer: “Pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28).

I have to admit, I still struggle to think well of John. But with the Spirit’s help, I’m learning to see him through God’s eyes and heart—as a person to be forgiven and loved. 

By Leslie Koh


Why is it important to pray for even the difficult people in your life? What can you pray for them?

Loving God, You know how I feel about those who’ve hurt or irritated me. Please give me Your heart of grace and compassion to pray for them, for You love them.

Learn how to deepen your prayer life.


The challenging commands that Jesus gives in Luke 6:27–31 are clear: we’re to love, bless, and do good to others. By reading further, however, we see the rationale for these exhortations: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (vv. 35–36). When followers of Jesus “flip the script” on hate, abuse, and selfishness, they demonstrate their kinship to their heavenly Father whose care is shared without discrimination. Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:1–2 carry the same sentiment: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Arthur Jackson

UR: Hospitality

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. - Hebrews 13:2 (NRSVUE)

I grew up in a society where people are often skeptical about entertaining strangers. Often, strangers inspire feelings of suspicion and fear. But God wants us to be kind to strangers, regardless of the assumptions of others or the stories that make headlines.

Hospitality to strangers links us with God and with others. It is a wonderful way of expressing and extending the love of God to the world. Some strangers may not know about the love of God, and as Christians we should look beyond the four walls of our local church and denomination to welcome them. When we show hospitality to strangers in our neighborhoods and welcome those who visit our home or walk past our street, we have the opportunity to entertain angels.


Dear Father, encourage us to offer hospitality to strangers whenever we can. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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Posted by: Lori AT 11:40 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, November 10 2023

Good Morning Celebrating, Worshiping Thanks-Givers! God is always good and worthy of all praise! Amen! We have so much to celebrate! PTL! I just want to share in some of the ways the Lord showed up yesterday as we gathered, served, fellowshipped, worshiped and prayed! The Lord is our Shepherd! he answers our prayers! he shows up and is always at work! he is using us as we serve and bless and drawing many to Him and some to us! We are trusting, following, pouring ourselves out as an offering and He is blessed and blessing us! He is our shalom and provision! Yes and so much more! 

Yesterday God showed up BIG time at the donut and conversation day at the Bread Ministry! PTL! Honestly you have to come experience this for yourself! There are so many stories to share as God places each of us with those He is drawing and uses us to bless, help, counsel, pray and receive blessings back. PTL! Plan on showing up and experiencing what God wants to do through and in you Dec 6th at our next one. Several have indicated they want to come and experience worship with us Sunday! PTL pray for no hindrances and for God to stir many to join us. There were at least 6-8 people sharing that they want to and are planning to join us. Pray for Patrick, Ariana, Amber, Ramon, Mary, and two other couples whose names I forget for God to continue to work on their hearts and draw them to Him and us and to use us well! People are searching for the love, fellowship, relationships with god and each other that they are feeling through us! PTL and keep loving like Jesus well! We got to pray for a woman who is struggling through health issues that just came to share her struggle she couldn't eat donuts or bread. Pray for Isabelle to be healed and for God to be glorified. Praise God and pray for a woman we have been connecting and praying for. To see her you know she struggles with pain and reminds me of what the woman who gave the mite might look like--kinda hunched over but choosing joy. I don't know her name but she is so touched by what we do as a church that she gave us a hundred dollar donation to the general fund for us to use to keep blessing others. then there were all the conversations and excitement as people were feeling God's loving, drawing presence! PTL! Pray for God to continue His good works and for many to see and be drawn to Him! Thank you Father and all who show up! All God asks of you is to be you and love like Jesus as if He were you. he will send he right people to you, give you words and love through you AND we get to bless, be blessed, fellowship and eat donuts!

Then last night we had one of our largest gatherings for the Chosen/Family Ministries dinner and studies. Man did God show up again! It seems like our Fellowship hall and gatherings are anointed by God! PTL! I was very concerned as we haven't been getting as many people as usual due to outside circumstances, so, I just did leftovers. I was really worried we wouldn't have enough food, but like the feeding of the 5000 we asked God to bless and stretch what we had and he was faithful to allow us to have some leftovers for about two to four extra people. PTL! he is our provider and prayer answerer! Then we had two awesome study time! The Chosen was a powerful video of how Jesus changes people, blesses people, stretches people and ministers to our hearts, hurts, struggles and joys. At the same time Family Ministries had all kinds of good things going on and plans being made--even for our next brunch Sun. Nov 26th. (See flyer below and RSVP for another great day of food, fellowship and fun! And bring a friend!) Things actually ran late for both groups as people shared, encountered God and just enjoyed a fun evening. We have one more next Wednesday at 6 and then Thanksgiving Eve Eve meal and fellowship Tues Nov 21 at 6. Plan to join us!

Yes God is on the move and there are more stories and testimonies to share! PTL and plan to join us to get your own stories to share of how God is using and growing you! Let us continue to celebrate and share those God stories. let us commit to keep praying for BIG God things to happen and for Him to use us as He teaches us to come as we are and learn to live and love like Jesus as we grow into Hs greater things for us! I can't wait to see what's next! 

Come sit at His feet and worship! Fill up and follow your Lord and Shepherd today as He leads us to his best and uses us for His glory! Worship with much thanksgiving! And be filled with much joy! 

Shalom! Shalom!

Psalm 23:

Great Things:

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Posted by: Lori AT 11:39 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 08 2023

Hey God wanted me to add one more thing: We recharge best and find joy and satisfaction in Christ when we see and celebrate God showing up all around us. Sunday we shared some of the places God showed up in our gatherings and personal lives and celebrated.

God showed up at our PRC meeting last night. PTL and thank you for your prayers! We celebrated and shared some of those times and places God has been showing up in Sarah and my lives and ministries and the ministries of the church. 

God is with us and faithful and speaking all the time! PTL! Rest in Him and recharge as he shows up all around you and as we serve together! What do you have to celebrate? Who are you sharing that with and refreshing? Isn't our God so awesome!

Shalom and joy to you today!

Posted by: AT 01:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 08 2023

Good Morning Image Bearing Co-Laborers! We are the image of Christ and He lives in us and helps us to allow Him to live and love through us as we worship, encourage, and serve together. Today we get the opportunity to join together to bless each other and people that come for bread and donuts from 10-11. Consider picking up a homebound member and bringing them along as we feast fellowship and love on others. We also get to gather for dinner, fellowship, study and fun at 6 for our Family Ministries/Chosen Huddles. Who ya bringing? There's always plenty of food and love to go around!

Today I found an old devotional from Dec. 2021 that I had stuffed in my Bible between John 14 and 15. Remember we are reading and answering those questions of John 14 and 15 this week. There will be a on them on Sunday. What's God saying to you as you sit at Jesus' feet and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you about the Way, the Truth, and the Life and our nourishing Vine? The old devo I found is from the Upper Room and titled "Fully Charged". It uses Psalm 62:1-2 encouragement, "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him." They ask this probing question, "What will I do to recharge my spiritual batteries this week?" How would you answer that? Are you weary and heavy laden? Are you striving in your own strength? Are you feeling hopeless, lost depressed? This verse reminds us that sometimes we have to remind ourselves (sometimes we need others to remind us too), to find rest and hope in God--to choose peace and joy and rest and hope in Him. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that Faith is truly a "Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him"! And JOY comes as we put Jesus and Others ahead of Yourself. What are you focused on and from where does your help and hope come? Be still and know. Recharge!

Many of us are lacking connectedness to God and others and missing out on the healing restoring that comes for relationships and fellowship with God and each other. We do have several opportunities for you to join with fellow members and friends to refresh, encourage, and grow in joy. Isolation leads to depression and hopelessness. All the noise around us is clambering to draw us to anxiety, fear and doubt and exhaustion. Turn off the noise and connect to God and others! Work on your relationship with God and each other and even some you don't know yet. Come hang out, fellowship, learn, use your gifts, be refreshed and encouraged and experience God's blessings together! he loves us and you very deeply. He knows that we grow into our healthiest as we hang out with Him and each other. Come as you are and join one of our fellowship opportunities and bring someone along! AND did I mention there's donuts today?

ODB (below) (There's that John 10 passage again that God keeps bringing up! What do you hear as he keeps doing that?) It discusses our Good Shepherd and how His sheep hear His voice and follow. Who are you listening to and following? Some false teacher, leader, thief or our Good Shepherd? Whose voice are you most familiar with and trusting to follow? Please pray into the possibility of some new small group opportunities after the New Year. I believe it is imperative and part of God's healthy rhythms for us to gather together to tune into Him, fellowship and process together. Check out TWFYT (below) discussing connectedness and the importance of deep relationships with God and others where you can openly share what is going on in your life and bless and help each other to move towards God's best. We need each other and we need to support these opportunities! Who are you growing in relationship with? I love how our Tues Zoom Huddle is growing at this connectedness to God and each other and our Chosen gathering too. How might God want you to join in this kind of thing?  Yesterday we discussed becoming all that we can be. We were not created to be an army of one! Who are you traveling through this becoming journey with? 

All right gotta run! Geez up at 230 and still running late. hope God speaks to you like He did to me this morning. I have a 6:00 huddle to join with others sharing, holding accountable, seeking God together and praying. God loves to prepare us for the day and week with others sitting at his feet together. Thank God for that and ask who he wants you to join with in your and their becoming journey! And do something about it! be still and know with some friends today! God loves you and has great plans for you. rejoice and journey together well! 


Knowing the Shepherd’s Voice

His sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4

READ John 10:1–10


When I was a boy living on a ranch in Tennessee, I spent glorious afternoons roaming with my best friend. We’d hike into the woods, ride ponies, visit the rodeo arena, and venture into the barn to watch the cowboys work the horses. But whenever I heard my dad’s whistle—that clear sound slicing through the wind and all the other clatter—I’d immediately drop whatever I was doing and head home. The signal was unmistakable, and I knew I was being called by my father. Decades later, I’d still recognize that whistle.

Jesus told His disciples that He was the Shepherd, and His followers were the sheep. “The sheep listen to [the shepherd’s] voice,” He said. “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3). In a time when numerous leaders and teachers sought to confuse Christ’s disciples by asserting their authority, He declared that His loving voice could still be heard clearly, more distinctly than all the others. “His sheep follow [the shepherd], because they know his voice” (v. 4).

May we be careful as we listen for Jesus’ voice and avoid foolishly dismissing it, for the fundamental truth remains: The Shepherd speaks clearly, and His sheep hear His voice. Perhaps through a verse of Scripture, the words of a believing friend, or the nudge of the Spirit—Jesus speaks, and we do hear.

By Winn Collier


How do you think you’ve complicated hearing God’s voice? What’s the Shepherd saying to you today?

Dear God, I need to be reminded that You’re speaking, and that I do hear You. Help me pay attention. Help me to listen and respond.


Much of Jesus’ teaching was down to earth and practical, so it’s understandable why people were enthralled with it. We see this in John 10 when Christ speaks of shepherding and sheep, which were commonly understood in the life of the ancient Israelites. It also echoed back to Israel’s past relationship with God. In the Old Testament, Psalm 23:1 launches the imagery of God as Israel’s shepherd. That theme is revisited in Jeremiah 23:1–8; Ezekiel 34; and Zechariah 10:2–12. Jesus also pursued the shepherd/sheep motif in Luke 15 in His three parables about lost things (a sheep, a coin, and a son).

Bill Crowder


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Tuesday, November 07 2023

Good Morning Becoming to God Becomers! We don't often use that word, "becoming", very often today to describe someone that's attractive. But God loves us! We are becoming to Him as we surrender, trust, obey and try to give our all in following Jesus. When we got saved, we entered a journey to becoming more like Jesus and in growing into our new nature as we shed the old. We were one way, but now becoming another. We are on a journey to becoming all we were created to be--our fullest potential. Every day can be a day to become more like Jesus! Thank God for helping us, leading us, creating us with potential and purposes, and for helping us to become Christ in the flesh as we are learning to live and love like Him. Just meditate on that some today! Talk to God about how He wants to help you become. 

Our Become Me in '23 Challenge is winding down. I have seen some of you growing into becoming doers of the word you chose to work on. God is faithful to help us become His best! PTL! Maybe God has a new word for you to work on for next year? Becoming and doing all we were created to be and do is a journey! But God is for us and provides all we need to become His image bearers and ambassadors. PTL! Keep working at BECOMING. Remember the old marine slogan? "Be all that you can be!" Amen!

Becoming the new person in Christ that God desires you to become is often a struggle as we face pruning, hardships, trials, temptations and discomfort. BUT GOD! He is with you always, allows these things to grow you and teach you to depend on Him. Hard things are His way of helping you to become more fully His and who you were created to be. Check out our devos today below and talk to God about what He desires for you and where He wants to lead you into this journey of becoming! How awesome is our Abba Daddy! PTL! 

Maybe check out our Zoom huddle at 10 today as we will be discussing this deeper! Pray for our donut and conversation day at the Bread Ministry tomorrow and our huddles tomorrow evening as we engage with each other and others and help each other to enter and go further in this becoming journey! (It's attractive and draws us to it and it's what our journey looks like--becoming!How's your "BECOMING" Journey going? How can we help you with that? How can we pray for you as we continue to work on moving from being one way to becoming another--a better person in Christ?

God has some great things ahead, even good things in the hard times that are all part of becoming! Thank Him and continue to surrender and hold loosely to what you were and look ahead to what he knows you can become! Ask someone to co-journey with you too. That is part of God's plan--becoming together! I am praying for you and us right now! What are you choosing to become today?

Upper Room: God's Way not Mine

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1 (NRSVUE)

I was sharing early-morning coffee and donuts with our daughter, the mother of two wonderful, energetic children. We were both going through rough patches in our lives. She had been through a painful divorce. I had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We shared the Bible verse from Hebrews above. Then my daughter offered an insight that amazed me. She said, “I think it’s awesome that when we are in trouble and can’t see any way through, God will surprise us with the solution.” Three years have passed since our meeting. She is now married to a fine Christian, and I have experienced only mild symptoms.

I often think that I’ve got the solution to life’s struggles, and in my prayers I try to convince God to see it my way. Now I just ask that God’s will be done in my life. And God’s answer is usually more amazing than I could have imagined. Great is God’s faithfulness, wisdom, and power!


Dear God, remind us that you know what is best for us. We commit our will to yours. Amen.Our Daily Bread:

Destruction Destroyed

The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9

READ Genesis 3:1–10


“The baby birds will fly tomorrow!” My wife, Cari, was elated about the progress a family of wrens was making in a hanging basket on our front porch. She’d watched them daily, taking pictures as the mother brought food to the nest.

Cari got up early the next morning to look in on them. She moved some of the greenery aside covering the nest but instead of seeing baby birds, the narrow eyes of a serpent met hers. The snake had scaled a vertical wall, slithered into the nest, and devoured them all.

Cari was heartbroken and angry. I was out of town, so she called a friend to remove the snake. But the damage was done.

Scripture tells of another serpent who left destruction in his path. The serpent in the garden of Eden deceived Eve about the tree God had warned her against eating from: “You will not certainly die,” he lied, “for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4–5).

Sin and death entered the world as a result of Eve and Adam’s disobedience to God, and the deception wrought by “that ancient serpent, who is the devil” continues (Revelation 20:2). But Jesus came “to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8), and through Him we’re restored to relationship with God. One day, He’ll make “everything new” (Revelation 21:5).

By James Banks


How has Jesus destroyed the devil’s work in your heart and life? What do you look forward to in Him?

Please deliver me, Jesus, from the devil’s deception. Saving God, give me grace to live for You!


Jesus’ beloved disciple John recognized in the serpent’s temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1–7) the fundamental temptations all people face. He wrote that “everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes from the . . . world” (1 John 2:16). His words echo Eve’s thoughts as she looked at the tree: it was good for food, pleased the eye, and would make one wise like God (Genesis 3:6). We all face the same kinds of temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). Instead of giving in, however, the Spirit will help us to stand firm in the faith (Galatians 5:16; 1 Peter 5:8–9).

Jed Ostoich

Charles Stanley:

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The Word for You Today:

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Sarah's prayer updates: (Add Kelly (Don's neighbor's daughter) Her lung tumor is non-cancerous. PTL! But still needs surgery to remove. Pray for shalom and healing.)

Hi everyone.....

  Happy Monday and to the beginning of a brand new week!  Even though we don't know what this week may

hold for each of us, we can be sure that whatever it is, God has great things in store so, keep your eyes focused 

on Jesus.....follow Him wherever He leads you. Yes, sometimes the steps may be difficult BUT, God is our refuge

and our strength and He WILL be with us always!!!!

Here are some prayer updates.....God is on the move and answering our prayers:

Chad (Lisa B's cousin and a friend to many) we were praying for healing after his heart attack. Today, improvements

were made.  He is still on the respirator, but his brain is functioning. His eyes have been open more since they 

have started weaning him off sedation. He has been using an IPad to communicate. He has been moving his hands and

legs on command. He is a real fighter.  Let's continue to pray for complete recovery.   Chad's family is very thankful for

for all our prayer support.

Winnie Iobst - had a fall, and is having upper respirator problems. He is at home recovering

Barb Sommer's sister Judy, is in stage 4 cancer. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.

Friend of Josie, Starla is dealing with chronic pain and would appreciate our prayers for strength

Althea Parry's son-in-law, Nevin - has another cancer tumor in his bladder. He will need more surgery in the

very near future.

Friend of Pastor Don's, Kelly, has a mass and is waiting results from her testing. Please pray for healing and peace.

Gina is asking for prayers for Hailey (her granddaughter who is 14 years old) she is having difficulty dealing with

situations in her life. Please pray that the Lord will put people, Christian people into her life to help her deal and process


Also keep Hailey's parents and grandparents in your prayers as they support her.

Let us continue to pray for the wars that are taking place.  Praying for protection, and peace.

Hope you all have a great Tuesday......

  Don't forget Wednesday, 10-12 is Donut, Coffee and conversation - why not plan to join us!

Have a great Wednesday!!



Posted by: AT 06:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 07 2023

Good Morning Seeking, Listening, Following Disciples and Apostles of Jesus! Disciples are learners, apprentices. Apostles are sent ones. We are learning to be like Jesus and sent to represent Him to the world just as we are, right where we are placed for such a time as this. I don't think we can fully wrap our heads around what that actually means or how that will look as we step out in faith and trust God to use us and grow us. Al used to talk about building the airplane while we're flying it. That can be quite unsettling! Right? Too often I am reminded of my inadequacies and failures along the way as the Holy Spirit pinches me or Satan tries to rattle my faith and get me questioning God or myself. God has us right where we need to be when we have to depend fully on Him and not our own understanding. When we get to the end of ourselves and we have no clue what to do, where He is leading us or what's next we start to see His faithfulness and Proverbs 3:5-6 coming to life as we release ourselves and our efforts and desires and seek God and His help and direction. That takes faith! Often it begins with mustard seed size faith as we give it all to God and pour ourselves out before Him.

Trying to lead and shepherd God's flock while building the airplane can get quite perplexing, unsettling, uncomfortable, and well, lonely sometimes feeling like you're the only one seeking, trusting and willing to do what He desires. It's hard to build the airplane when the blue prints are only revealed as you go. It's hard to know where to lead and how to invite others along on the journey when you don't know where you're being led or if anyone is willing to ride along. I saw this Calin and Hobbs comic today that really summarizes this: Inline image

All this comic needs is to have them in some kind of handmade airplane trying to get off the ground. Life in Christ and trying to learn to shepherd His flock like Him can often feel like this. The Tom Petty song just came to mind: "I'm freefalling"! And as I sit at God's feet and seek Him with all my heart, surrender my wants, hopes, dreams and desires to His Lordship, and trust Him to lead, direct and bring about His plans, you all come to mind. How unsettling to trust that God is really leading me and us. Satan prods and get's us questioning, "Did God really ssssay?" Is God really speaking to our leaders? Are they really following Him? Can I trust God and them enough to be all-in? What's my part? Am I willing to do it? Tomorrow evening our Pastoral Relations Commission meets to help Sarah and me discern if we are hearing and following God and leading His church well. Pray for them and us to hear God, discern together and recommit to following well. If you have any concerns about Sarah and me, if anything is bothering you or any encouragements please contact our PRC so they can be informed of the atmosphere of our fellowship and if some corrections are needed. Thanks! (Danny Reinsmtih, Kathy Canfield, Gail Lichtenwalner, Gina Fuhrman are our PRC. Thank you team for your service, faithfulness to God and willingness to help us be and do God's best!)

God has commanded us to humble ourselves before Him and examine our hearts to make sure we are right with Him. He knows us and still loves us and wants to help us move towards His best for us. The difference between us and the world is our willingness to humble ourselves, receive God's patient, correcting love, and take steps to repent (change our thinking and ways) and to move towards His best. Yesterday during our circle-up time we began to discuss what God is saying to us as we sometimes don't represent Him well in the world. I wish we would have had another hour to process together. Again, that is why it is so important to have some accountability partners and small huddles to grow together in Christ well. Who do you have to process with? What are you doing to make that happen? That is part of what God wants us to learn and work on with the reading the gospel of John challenge this fall. He's calling us to the next step. It will be uncomfortable for most of us. It may feel like jumping in the wagon with Calvin and Hobbs. Are you willing? Are you wanting to be all-in like Lazarus' sister Mary and pour yourself out before Jesus? Are you moving towards being like the virgin Mary and offering yourself to God to have His way with you even though you have no clue what that really means? Are you willing to trust God like Abraham and follow Him to unrevealed destinations or to listen to His voice when He asks you to sacrifice something so precious as your child? We really need to humble ourselves before God and examine our hearts with Him! And we need the help of others to process well! Really pray into that! Ask God to lead you to some intimate fellowship and accountability. Pray with me as I am seeking God for this to become alive at St. Matts in the new year and actually start some accountability huddles or small groups that seek and process together. People willing to be all-in and help each other move towards that.

God has great plans for you and us. Remember that when you feel like you are freefalling! God sees, knows, cares and will catch you before you crash and burn. He's in front of you leading the way and lighting the path. He's beside you encouraging you and whispering His loving directions into your heart. It doesn't matter if you are 12, 30, 60 or 90 years old. God has custom made you for His custom purposes for such a time as this. He is at work in and around you to lead you to His best and for the good of those who believe or will believe. We, our faith, and all we have are a gift from God, enabled and enacted as we come to Christ, willing to become more like Him as we strive towards our fullest potential in Him. When we offer all to Him with faith the size of a mustard seed, He is faithful to allow us to know His love and see His hand in everything and to lead us to it. He is faithful to direct our steps to His best and perfect plans. So are you willing to die to self, take up your cross and follow Jesus as commanded? Or do you think you have a better idea like Judas and Lucifer? Or maybe you are, and I think this is most of us, more like the disciples that are still learning and hesitatingly sort of willing to do what Jesus reveals, even when they don't get it and it often seem like He is asking them to jump in that wagon with Calvin and Hobbs?

Jesus gave His all for us. All He's asking is that we give Him all He's given us and trust Him to lead us to his best. He is faithful and trustworthy! Amen! So, I'd really love to hear what He is saying to you right now and what you think He may be asking you to do about that? I'd love to hear who He is stirring you to process with and how you are planning to make that happen. Text, email, call, or chat with Sarah or me about that! God DOES have great plans for you and us to discover together as we fly that plane and launch that wagon off the cliff! Rejoice! Get in that wagon! Keep plugging away with the Lord until your part is complete and He calls you home. He's preparing you for a great eternity! The best lies ahead for those who keep humbling themselves and inviting Jesus to be their Lord and joyfully trusting and following Him. Is that you? Is that our church?

Geez, maybe God just wrote Sunday's message? What is He saying to you? I'd love to hear and process with you! Check out these devos from today that thread through this and led me to share my heart today. Meditate on John 14 and 15 and answer and journal those three questions too: What's going on? What's God saying to me? What measurable response am I willing to do? Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life--life to the fullest--abundant life! He is the Vine and we are His branches that often need some pruning of our Vine Dresser. He has placed us in this Body for such a time as this and called us to encourage and help each other to His best. Come on! Jump in the wagon with me! Help me to build the plane as we follow our Shepherd together! We are on our way to becoming...! Becoming the people and church we were created to be! Becoming Kingdom expanders! Becoming Jesus to those around us! Becoming a dynamic movement of God! Becoming! PTL! How "becoming" are you to Him?

We are in for the ride of our lives that takes us to our eternal purposes! Amen! PTL! Jump in the wagon! Shalom Shalom! 

Charles Stanley:

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UR: The Spirit Intercedes

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. - Romans 8:26 (NIV)

My faith journey is not always smooth sailing. I often face challenges that cause me to lose my close connection with Christ, sometimes even to the point that praying becomes difficult. Loss, guilt, grief, stress, and unanswered prayers can derail my prayer life.

An inconsistent prayer life weakens our relationship with Christ. In those moments, we may wonder, Where do I begin? How do I rekindle my relationship with Christ? Often we have so much to say, and yet it seems as though the right words are just not there! It can seem like we should wait to rebuild the connection at the right moment when we know the right words to say. But Romans 8 reminds us that the Spirit intercedes for us.

The Lord knows our hearts, so we don’t have to be discouraged by the obstacles we are currently experiencing. We don’t need to wait for the perfect moment to reestablish our relationship with Christ. All we need to do is ask the Spirit of God to intercede for us, either through silent prayer, or when we cry out to the Lord.


Dear Lord, you know our hearts. We have much to share, but words may fail us. We need your Spirit to intercede for us. Amen.


Persistent Pizza

Let us not become weary in doing good. Galatians 6:9

READ Galatians 6:2–10


At age twelve, Ibrahim arrived in Italy from West Africa, not knowing a word of Italian, struggling with a stutter, and forced to face anti-immigrant putdowns. None of that stopped the hardworking young man who, in his twenties, opened a pizza shop in Trento, Italy. His little business won over doubters to be listed as one of the top fifty pizzerias in the world.

His hope was then to help feed hungry children on Italian streets. So he launched a “pizza charity” by expanding a Neapolitan tradition—buy an extra coffee (caffè sospeso) or pizza (pizza sospesa) for those in need. He also urges immigrant children to look past prejudice and not give up.

Such persistence recalls Paul’s lessons to the Galatians on continually doing good to all. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). Paul continued, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (v. 10).

Ibrahim, an immigrant who faced prejudice and language barriers, created an opportunity to do good. Food became “a bridge” leading to tolerance and understanding. Inspired by such persistence, we too can look for opportunities to do good. God, then, gets the glory as He works through our steady trying.

By Patricia Raybon


How does your persistence glorify God? In your life, what deserves more godly persistence and loving charity from you?

When I consider giving up, dear God, inspire me to endure in You.


In Galatians 6:9, Paul counters the human tendency to quit with these words: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” The Greek word translated “become weary” (enkakeō) means “to be utterly spiritless, to be wearied out, exhausted.”

The word for “give up” (eklyō) can mean literally “to dissolve,” but here the idea is used figuratively to mean “weaken, relax, faint, exhaust.” In the Gospels, this word is used to describe what would happen to the multitude—“collapse”—if they were sent away without nourishment: “I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way” (Matthew 15:32; see Mark 8:3). Put positively, the message for believers of any era is to press on!

Arthur Jackson
Posted by: AT 06:43 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, November 05 2023
Good Morning Resting in the Lord Worshipers! Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day! We have an extra hour to worship God today! Woo Who! How does God want to bless you or others through you with that extra hour today?
Today we will not only discuss John 10 and 13 during worship, but this will also be a day to celebrate all the things God is doing in, through and around us. God is very active through us and our serving! PTL! What might you have to share today about how God has used you or us to be a blessing? What has God done in you that you want to thank Him for? What testimony has He given you to share with thanksgiving! Come! Let us adore Him! Let us celebrate with much thanksgiving today!
I had a wonderful time with the Lord this morning and I'm praying you all do as well. Did you notice the thread through our devotionals this morning. We are God's custom crafted masterpieces. We are forgiven much and given Christ's mind and Spirit to help us to renew our thinking and to understand and follow Jesus well. We are custom made for custom purposes. Those are to be done right where God has placed us just as we are right now. Those things help us grow into His greater purposes if we persevere and don't give up until He calls us home! PTL! We are custom made for custom purposes and enabled to go live sacrificially and love lavishly like Jesus for such a time as this, right where we are! How's God allowing that to play out through you? What thanksgivings and praises do you have to share that bring Him great glory? What fruit is budding, growing, maturing and being harvested in our branches today?
God is speaking! What's He saying to you? What are you doing about that? Who are you processing with? God has great plans for you and us! PTL! Let our lives be an act of worship that leads to much thanksgiving and glory to God! Amen
See you soon in person or on Zoom as we gather together to ask the Lord's blessings and celebrate Him and all He is doing as we enter His courts with praise! God, you are awesome! Thanks for loving and using us! Please continue Your good work in and through us until completion. Bring great fruit to maturity! Bring revival as that fruit is harvested! Thanks! And thank you for the great plans you are bringing alive as we step into our purposes more fully! Come! Amen!
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Upper Room: Bearing Fruit
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” - John 15:5 (NIV) (Note: we will be studying John 14 and 15 this week!)

About 45 years ago, my father planted a beautiful orchard for my husband and me. For several years, we enjoyed pies, jam, and abundant baskets of fruit to share with others. But as time has passed, we have retired, my father has passed away, and our busy lives have been filled with many responsibilities and physical challenges. Our orchard has gone to ruin and has not produced fruit in years.

One day when I was mowing in the orchard, I noticed the largest, most perfect pear I had ever seen lying on the ground beneath a pear tree that had been overtaken by an invasive plant. As I looked closer, I saw that the original pear tree was still alive at the center. I shared the pear with my family.

This pear reminded me of the love of my father who planted the tree and the love of my heavenly Father who sends me encouragement when I feel choked by the burdens of aging, illness, and worry. It reminded me to persevere. I thank God that my father shared his faith with me and that my heavenly Father continues to guide me through life. I am encouraged to bear fruit by offering love to those around me.

Merciful God, we praise you for the everyday miracles you give us to remind us to persevere and to share our faith with others. Amen.

Welcomed Home by God

What great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1

READ 1 John 3:1–3

After Sherman Smith recruited Deland McCullough to play American football for Miami University, he grew to love him and became the father Deland never had. Deland had great admiration for Sherman and aimed to become the man he was. Decades later, when Deland tracked down his birth mom, she shocked him with the news, “Your father’s name is Sherman Smith.” Yes, that Sherman Smith. Coach Smith was stunned to learn he had a son, and Deland was stunned that his father figure was literally his father!

The next time they met, Sherman hugged Deland and said, “My son.” Deland had never heard that from a father. He knew Sherman “was saying it from a place of ‘I’m proud. This is my son,’ ” and he was overwhelmed.

We too should be overwhelmed by the perfect love of our heavenly Father. John writes, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). We’re as dumbfounded as Deland, who didn’t dare think someone like Sherman could be his dad. Is it really true? John insists, yes, “that is what we are!” (v. 1).

If you believe in Jesus, His Father is also your dad. You may feel orphaned, alone in the world. But the truth is, you have a Father—the only perfect One—and He’s proud to call you His child.

By Mike Wittmer


What does it mean to you that you’ve been chosen to be God’s child? Who can you show love to as a mentor?

Thank You, Father, for being my dad. Help me live as Your child.


The gospel of John; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Revelation were all written by John, who called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 21:20). As one of the Twelve, he was part of Christ’s inner circle, which included his brother James and Peter. They witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–8) and the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:49–56). And they were nearby in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36–38).

Christ’s love motivated John and is a central theme of his writings. We see this clearly stated in 1 John: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (3:1) and “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (v. 16). The magnitude of God’s love and how we’re called to love in response is a key theme of 1 John 4:7–21.

Alyson Kieda
Charles Stanley:
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Posted by: AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, November 04 2023

Good Morning Lavishly Loved, Chosen Ones of Our Father in Heaven! HALLOWED be His name! We were lovingly crafted for custom made purposes that come alive when we respond to God calling us by name to Jesus' saving grace! How sweet! Just dwell in that love today as you check out the thread through our devotionals below. meditate on God's lavish love for you and His perfect plans for you and the world. Mediate on John 10 and 13 for tomorrow's discussion and fill those gratitude lists with tons of praise and thanksgiving. What does God mean to you? How about lavish love? Salvation? new life in Christ? Second, third and hundreds of redo's? Oh how sweet to deep love of Jesus!

Praise God for an extra hour with Him tomorrow. Ask Him how best to use that time for His glory and your healthy choices. Just worship and praise and prepare your heart for tomorrow and for God to use you today. Rejoice! See you at 10 tomorrow (or 11 if you forget to change your clock!). Have a day of being filled with lavish love and sharing that love lavishly! Amen! Shalom!


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God’s Rescue

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

READ Psalm 40:1–4


A compassionate volunteer was called a “guardian angel” for his heroic efforts. Jake Manna was installing solar panels at a job site when he joined an urgent search to find a missing five-year-old girl. While neighbors searched their garages and yards, Manna took a path that led him into a nearby wooded area where he spotted the girl waist-deep in a marsh. He waded carefully into the sticky mud to pull her out of her predicament and return her, damp but unharmed, to her grateful mother.

Like that little girl, David also experienced deliverance. The singer “waited patiently” for God to respond to his heartfelt cries for mercy (Psalm 40:1). And He did. God leaned in, paid close attention to his cry for help and responded by rescuing him from the “mud and mire” of his circumstances (v. 2)—providing sure footing for David’s life. The past rescues from the muddy marsh of life reinforced his desire to sing songs of praise, to make God his trust in future circumstances and to share his story with others (vv. 3–4).

When we find ourselves in life challenges such as financial difficulties, marital turmoil, and feelings of inadequacy, let’s cry out to God and patiently wait for Him to respond (v. 1). He’s there, ready to help us in our time of need and give us a firm place to stand.

By Marvin Williams


When has God delivered you from the “muddy marsh”? How do His past rescues encourage you to trust in Him?  

When I’m stuck in the mud, I’ll wait patiently for You, my loving God.


Psalm 40 is identified as a psalm of David, but we aren’t given any other information regarding the events that prompted him to write it. Some scholars, however, find messianic significance in verses 6–9 because the songwriter expresses his commitment to do God’s will—seemingly at all costs. Jesus made similar statements in the gospel of John: “My food . . . is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (4:34); and “the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him” (8:29). Our Savior’s commitment in these verses seems to echo the words of David in Psalm 40:6–9.

Bill Crowder

The UR: God of All

There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. - Romans 10:12 (NRSVUE)

I live in a facility for independent-living older adults. Religion here is represented by Catholics, Mormons, various Protestants, and a few agnostics. One day, when the Catholic group was celebrating Mass with a young priest, I met and talked with him briefly. And I enjoyed our visit.

Another day, while I was talking with a woman who is Mormon and who had suffered a serious illness, she told me how the Lord had been walking with her in her trouble.

When I was growing up, it was not common for people to talk about their church’s theology or style of worship with people of other denominations. Perhaps we assumed that our church conducted services the right way and others were simply ignorant.

At this senior facility we have grown older and wiser. We encourage one another and know that the Lord’s saving grace is for everyone. After all, some blessings that come with age are often overlooked; and the ability to respect others’ beliefs and faith in our Lord is one of them. God is good indeed!


O Lord, guide each of us in our daily relationships with others wherever we are. Encourage us to love others and respect their faith. If someone does not know your love and forgiveness, give us the wisdom and courage to share your grace lovingly with them. Amen.Charles Stanley:

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Posted by: AT 10:04 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, November 03 2023
Thank God I'm Forgiven! What are you thankful for about your salvation, God's workings in and around you, and through our serving? Be ready to share some of those Sunday and the weeks ahead!
Saturday night we turn the clocks back! An extra hour to sleep or spend with God on Sunday! (Someone said that pastors get an extra hour to preach!)
Clothing Closet is open Saturday 10-1.
Sunday worship at 10 on zoom or in person with Children's church. Discussing John 10 and 13 and your gratitude lists. Where are you seeing God at work and praising Him? 
Tues Zoom Huddle at 10-11
Wed Bread Ministry Donuts and Conversation Day 10-12; Chosen and Family Ministry gathering 6-8 with dinner. 
Mark your calendars! Tue Nov 21st Thanksgiving Eve Eve dinner and fellowship. (No Chosen or Family Ministries Wed the 22nd); Church Christmas Decorating Sat Nov 25th at 10; and Sunday Nov 26th Brunch after worship at 11:30
All are welcome to any and all of these. Who ya bringing?
Good Morning Thankful Worshipers! What are you thankful for? Where are you seeing God at work and praising Him? 
Nov. is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. I think it is one of my favorite holidays. However it seems like every year people want to skip it and start with Christmas decorating and music the day after Halloween. Actually, thanksgiving should be a lifestyle for a Christian. We don't need a holiday to remind us to be grateful and we have so much to be thankful for! God is so good and provides all we need. PTL! Whenever we ask "What are you thankful for?", we usually get the standards: God, church, family and friends, spouse etc. I want to challenge you to dig deeper. Think about all the things you were so thankful for this past year and write them down and share them Sunday. Where have you seen God at work? Where has God invited you to join Him and used you? How has God provided for a need or answered a prayer? How is God using our servants? What trial are you thankful that God carried you through or taught you through? Write down and journal your deep thanksgiving lists to share Sunday and all month. And just worship and praise!
Sarah challenged us last week to evaluate who we are like and how devoted to Jesus we really are. Are you like Judas, the lukewarm disciples, or all-in Mary? Honestly your thanksgivings and praise will reflect that. Do you just say thank you out of habit or obligation or to look good? Are you thankful but superficially, not really thinking about all God is doing, especially when you don't understand or it doesn't fit your ideas? Or are you really thankful and always offering a sacrifice of praise for who God is and all--everything--He is and does and allows? Is you life being poured out as an offering of praise? Talk to God about that and ask for a thankful heart and faith to trust Him always with thanksgiving.
We have so much to be thankful for and celebrate! AMEN! Let us lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving today--every day! Let us offer a sacrifice of praise! Let us celebrate and share our testimonies of how good God really is and for all He is doing in, through and around us. Rejoice! Praise! Offer thanksgiving! Celebrate! Yes and amen! 
Have a thankful weekend filled with the knowledge of all God has and is doing! Rejoice!
Posted by: AT 11:20 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 02 2023

Good Morning Reflecting, Doers! We are filled with God's Light when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. His Light drives back the darkness. Amen! Jesus has called us to reflect His Light and glory and to go forth as His aroma. As we go forth in Christ into the darkness and show others the Way, we build treasure in heaven and are preparing ourselves for our eternal blessings and duties. God brings dreams and visions to us that align with our true identity in Christ, our created purposes, and His plans for us. As we process those with Him and others and pray into those plans and visions, God directs our steps and uses us to reflect Him, be His image and aroma bearers, and impact the world around us. He also reveals small corrections along the way or sometimes tells us to stop and redirect totally. Are you seeking, listening and responding well? Do you have some inner circle friends you process with and are held accountable to? I'm praying for God to raise up some of these types of huddles in our fellowship and to bring in more as He brings in the harvest through us. Check out our devos below and process them with God. Maybe reach out to a friend or two to process what you are hearing and feeling and begin making some plans.

God loves you and has created you for some special plans. He is with you. Choose to seek, listen and follow well today and then praise God with your mouth and choices! Amen! Jesus is standing before you right now with open arms of invite to join Him as He leads you today. PTL!

Sarah Prayer Letter9s):

Good afternoon, church family!

I have a few prayer requests to share with you today:

Josie is headed back to Florida tomorrow and we would all like to pray her safely there. Pray that she settles in easily

with her friend that she is staying with and pray that the contractors are able to get her apartment completed by the early

Spring so she can return to Emmaus.

Josie has also asked for prayer for her friend Ruth, she survived a last minute heart surgery and is moving into an 

apartment this Friday!  Please continue to pray for recovery and safety. She is 94 years old.

Josie has also asked for prayer for her Chestnut Ridge neighbor-to-be, Lori Epler's elderly mother. The mother

has a very bad fall this week.  Pray for her recovery from fall and God's peace to surround them.

Yay God, Ed Roher (Lori's husband) had surgery and it went well. Let's pray for his recovery and healing. Pray

for Lori and the girls as they care for him.

I (Sarah) am asking for prayer for my family. My mother's health is declining rapidly. She is resting peacefully, and 

she is ready to run into the arms of Jesus. Please pray that God will send His angels soon to guide her

home and may God's peace surround the homestead. 

We are still collecting for Angel Network - cans of beans (no baked beans or green beans - other organizations are collecting

those things) We have until November 15th. Thank you to all of you that have brought some beans in so far!

Sunday hopefully we will have a count on how many we got.  Our goal is 150.

Sunday we will be collecting for Everlasting Life Ministries. There will be a basket, clearing marked by the offering plates,

for your love gift.

Tomorrow, the Support Team will be meeting. Please keep your Support Team in your prayers

as they discuss and seek God's wisdom in all the decisions that may come up. And also keep the Finance commission in your

prayers as they discuss the budget for 2024.

Bell choir is starting up. If you are interested in playing bells or know someone who might be interested in playing bells,

please let Patti know. Bells practice is on Sundays at 11:30am - 12:30pm. 

Thank you for all your prayers and support for those on our list.

Blessings to each of you!

 Have a great rest of your week!


Just received another request for prayer:

Lisa Wenner’s boss, Ed that we have been praying for… had a heart attack and passed away.

Please pray for Ed’s family and his work family as they go through this difficult time.

May God’s peach surround each of them.

Blessings and peace,


 Don's updates:

Funeral went well yesterday. Thanks for praying! I encountered a few that were moving through fresh grief themselves. Funerals really hit home harder after a fresh loss. Please pray for God's comfort, peace and strength for the whole Bailey family, the Arnold's, Sonya G, and Brittany H and those you know moving through grief.

I also encountered the step-mom of Glen that I am praying for to be open to hear about Jesus. Thanks for praying! The door is opening. Possibility of meeting with them this week.

Pray for Erika and Chris Yob's friend who tragically lost their 15 month old after she got her routine shots. Ask God to use them to bring comfort.

Pray for Dani, Caleb's mom, for God's leading and provision as she meets about coverage and provision for her and his future.

Our neighbor Nan just asked for prayers for her daughter Kelly who was taken to ER for coughing up blood.

Pray for Josie as she heads back to Fla today for safety and for God to use her while there.

Pray for our support team meeting tonight that we would seek, hear, understand and follow God's plans for us and glorify His name. Thanks!

Pray for the Clothing Closet for Sat. May God connect us through our serving to others and connect them to Him. Thank God for all our servants!

Pray for Sunday worship for many to experience God's presence, celebrate what He is doing and doing through us, and for many to respond to our invites to join us. Ask God who you should invite and do it!

Pray for Donut Day next Wed at the Bread Ministry. Ask God to use us well and to draw many to Him. Thank Him for His provisions and for using us!

Thank God for all He is doing in, through and around us! He is at work and bring fruit alive! PTL!

Our Daily Bread:

Everybody Worships

People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. Acts 17:22

READ Acts 17:24–32


I recently visited Athens, Greece. Walking around its ancient Agora—the marketplace where philosophers taught and Athenians worshiped—I found altars to Apollo and Zeus, all in the shadow of the Acropolis, where a statue of the goddess Athena once stood.

We may not bow to Apollo or Zeus today, but society is no less religious. “Everybody worships,” novelist David Foster Wallace said, adding this warning: “If you worship money and things . . . then you will never have enough. . . . Worship your body and beauty. . . and you will always feel ugly. . . . Worship your intellect . . . [and] you will end up feeling stupid.” Our secular age has its own gods, and they’re not benign.

“People of Athens!” Paul said while visiting the Agora, “I see that in every way you are very religious” (Acts 17:22). The apostle then described the one true God as the Creator of all (vv. 24–26) who wants to be known (v. 27) and who has revealed Himself through the resurrection of Jesus (v. 31). Unlike Apollo and Zeus, this God isn’t made by human hands. Unlike money, looks, or intelligence, worshiping Him won’t ruin us.

Our “god” is whatever we rely on to give us purpose and security. Thankfully, when every earthly god fails us, the one true God is ready to be found (v. 27).

By Sheridan Voysey


What other “gods” do you see society worshiping today? What do you rely on to give you purpose and security?

Father, forgive me for placing wealth, beauty, politics, or other things first. I take them off the altar of my heart and place You there instead.

Discover how Christianity differs from other world religions.

Lecture - Our Daily Bread University


We often use Paul’s interaction with the people in Athens as a model for evangelism: know your audience and tailor your message to them. The apostle observed the religious behavior of the Athenians and demonstrated his knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and the life and work of Jesus. But we also see that Paul’s speech was a refutation of the Athenian approach to religion. In a place where they had many idols to which they offered sacrifices of food and drink, the apostle asserts that there’s only one God, and He doesn’t live in temples and doesn’t need to be served by humans.

J.R. Hudberg

   Charles Stanley:

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Upper Room: Small Corrections

Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. - Proverbs 15:31-32 (NIV)

When I was a young boy, I enjoyed watching my father drive the family car. His feet were always moving between the clutch pedal, gas pedal, and brake pedal. But it was the small movements he made with his hands on the steering wheel that fascinated me. So, when the family car was safely parked in the driveway, I would sit behind the steering wheel and pretend to drive. My legs were too short to reach the pedals, but I could make those small movements with the steering wheel, as if I were heading down the road. When I was finally old enough to learn to drive, I quickly understood that without those small corrections on the steering wheel, the car would drift off course.

I’ve come to realize that my life has been a little like driving a car. At times I’ve had to slam on the brakes to avoid a disaster in my life. But most of the time, I’ve just had to make those small corrections to keep myself on a steady course.

Now I think of God’s word in scripture as my compass and my road map. Together, they can keep me on God’s path, leading me to greater understanding of what God expects of my life.


Dear God, you know what is best for each of us. Help us to make the small corrections that will guide us to a better understanding of how to please you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.The Word for You Today:

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Wednesday, November 01 2023

Good Morning people of our BIG God! There's a kids song of old that reminds us that God is bigger than the Boogie Man! Amen! Believe it! What's your "Boogie Man" today that needs to meet your BIG God? Check out our devos below and pray through and meditate on the God we can trust always, the God we worship, the God that has invited us to spend eternity with Him, the God of assurance and promise, the God that goes before us and makes a way, the God who holds us in His strong right hand, shelters us under His wings and promises comfort to those who mourn. His loving, helping presence with us always. AMEN! PTL! Trust Him always! He is faithful!

Today many denominations celebrate All Saints Day remembering those who have stepped into Jesus' arms this past year. Maybe it's because we are getting older, but it seems like so many people we know or know of are dying. And then the tragic news of an Emmaus High School student perishing in an accident after school yesterday. People may ask, "Where's your God now?" How do we answer and bring God's comfort? Well, unless the person passing is a person of faith, it's very hard to bring that comfort of God. But for those that know Him, we can still celebrate their homecoming and find peace and choose the joy of trusting for a heavenly reunion someday. Pray for all of those who are mourning today to find peace and hope in Christ. Ask how God may want you to be His vessel for that. And ask Him to give you His passion to reach the lost.

I have the privilege of being called upon today to do that at the funeral of a very well know and loved man who tragically passed suddenly. (Please pray for me to bring healing and peace and Christ's love alive). It will be a bit awkward as a pastor from one of those "All Saints" churches is in charge and counting on baptism alone for salvation and bringing a basic Sunday service for comfort. My role is to share Randy's story and oversee the time of sharing. May Christ come alive and bring comfort and hope to all there. What are you counting on for your eternal destination? Randy believed and is with Jesus now.

I'm also trying to minister to someone on hospice that really has no time for the Lord nor does he know Him. I want to bring hope to the hopeless and keep praying for an opportunity during his last few days to meet with and lead Him to our Lord and Savior. I think he's of the mindset that heaven is boring and not fun and all his partying friends will be in Hell. We know better. Jesus reminds us that some do and will reject Him, blinded by the darkness and so choose Hell. All we can do is pray, hope, and be available for the survivors. God can use us to help them in their time of grief. Please Lord! And bring breakthrough for those who are hard hearted and blinded by the darkness.

God often allows us to go through some very hard things to test our faith and/or to help us to grow in depending on and trusting Him. He prepares us to use us to comfort and help others too. Be still. Know that He is God and always with you. Stand firm on His promises and be available for Him to grow and to use you. He has great plans for you until the day He calls you home and then the plans get better! Amen!

May God draw you close and bless you today with His overflowing love. May He give you directions and words of peace, comfort and joy to share. May He inform your prayers and direct your steps as you trust Him. Don't lean on your own understanding. God is at work bringing to life immeasurably more than we can imagine. He is our BIG God who knows everything, even you and He is bigger than any Boogie Man we have haunting us today. Amen! Choose to dwell in His shalom today. Then choose to go bring it to others for such a time as this. Amen!

Upper Room: Talking to God

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. - Psalm 56:3 (NRSVUE)

When I was young and alone in my dark bedroom at night, I would imagine the frightening scenes from my dreams like a movie playing out on my closet door. I would repeat Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you,” until I fell asleep. I didn’t know what it meant to trust God, but for me it was enough to take refuge in those words.

Over 50 years later, I’ve expanded my list of scriptures that reassure me of God’s presence and provision. But the truth is that I still sometimes wake up in the dark fearing the “what ifs.” And when I do, I pray the same verse I memorized as a child.

The psalmist teaches us that trust is the antidote to fear. When I trust in God, I don’t have to figure things out, solve those what-ifs, or know the unknowns. I do not know how things will turn out. But when I trust, I can rest in God’s presence, even if it is just for a few minutes at a time. I don’t have to be afraid because God is always near.


Dear God, when we are afraid, we can rest in your presence and know that you will always be with us. Amen.Our Daily Bread:

Worth It to Follow Jesus

Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Luke 14:33

READ Luke 14:25–33


Ronit came from a religious but non-Christian family. Their discussions about spiritual matters were dry and academic. “I kept praying all the prayers,” she said, “but I wasn’t hearing [from God].”

She began to study the Bible. Slowly, steadily, she inched toward faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Ronit describes the defining moment: “I heard a clear voice in my heart saying, ‘You’ve heard enough. You’ve seen enough. It’s time to just believe.’ ” But Ronit faced a problem: her father. “My dad responded as if Mount Vesuvius erupted,” she recalls.

When Jesus walked this earth, crowds followed Him (Luke 14:25). We don’t know exactly what they were looking for, but He was looking for disciples. And that comes with a cost. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple,” Jesus said (v. 26). He told a story about building a tower. “Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost . . . ?” He asked (v. 28). Jesus’ point wasn’t that we’re to literally hate family; rather, it’s that we must choose Him over everything else. He said, “You who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” (v. 33).

Ronit loves her family deeply, yet she concluded, “Whatever the cost, I figured it’s worth it.” What might you need to give up to follow Jesus as He guides you?

By Tim Gustafson


What’s your story of the moment Jesus became real to you? What has it cost you to follow Him?

Father, please help me choose Your Son over everything this world has to offer.


We can miss the strength of Jesus’ words and the shock the crowd would have felt when Christ said, “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). You only carried a cross for one reason—to be crucified on it—and that was the most terrifying death imaginable. As you read these words, imagine the crowd physically recoiling in horror at the thought that somehow following Jesus would be required to bear a personal cross. This is at least the second time Luke has recorded Christ using this disturbing imagery (see 9:23). These words are understood in the context of Jesus Himself bearing a literal Roman cross.

Bill Crowder

The Word for You Today:

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Charles Stanley:

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St. Matthew's EC Church

5th & Ridge Streets
P.O. Box 433
Emmaus, PA 18049
Telephone 610.965.5570


We are learning to live and love like Jesus. 

We are working on becoming who we were created to be and doing our custom made purposes well. 

We are part of the Evangelical Congregational Church

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