A Party for All Ages
It is hard to believe that our youngest son is now three years old! As the saying goes, the days are long, and the years are short. This is the first year that we threw a real party for him with a couple of friends coming over and games for them to play. In addition, he had some family and family friends there for the party. All told, he wound up having more adults over than kids, and he liked it that way. In fact, he kept asking if other adults like his preschool teachers were coming as well. He's at that age where age truly doesn't matter. Your friends are just those people that you love and that love you, regardless of age.
The weather was so nice on Saturday afternoon when we held his party that we decided to move the games outside. As the birthday boy and his two young friends played games, his older brothers helped me keep things moving from one game to the next as a gaggle of adults watched on and chatted in amusement at the antics. When it was all said and done, the two older boys and the adults had had almost as much fun as the kids themselves.
I had a friend once tell a piece of advice that had been passed on to her. "You should always have a good friend twenty years older than you and one twenty years younger too," she said. The point of this advice is that it is good to have friends of the generations that came before you and those that have come after you, and that if you don't you should make an effort to do so. Living in community means living not just with one's peers but also with one's elders and juniors. What a blessing it is when we truly live together as good friends regardless of age!
I remember another party - a senior women's group were hosting a Christmas party, and they invited their husbands as well as me and my family. One of the games was a take on Hot Potato but with a stuffed snowman instead. When the music stopped, whoever got caught holding the snowman was out. As the group played round after round, the contest came down to the final two: our then three-year-old middle son and an elderly gentleman - in fact, the oldest man in the church at 90 years older than our son. It was so funny and absurd to see this kindly old man and a joyful toddler quickly tossing a toy back and forth at each other as fast as they possibly could that the person in charge let the music go for several minutes. True friendship in Christ Jesus knows no age limits - not even 90 years!
May God bless our church to be a party for all ages!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Getting By in the Wilderness
Throughout this season of Lent - a time of spiritual reflection and growth, we will travel alongside the prophet Elijah as we witness how his journey through the wilderness formed him to be the prophet God was calling him to be.
Last Sunday's Sermon Snippet:
Getting By (1 Kings 17:8-16)
Once the brook of the Kerith Ravine ran dry, Elijah had nowhere to go and no one to turn to for help, but God had another plan. Elijah was sent further from home than ever before to the foreign town of Zarephath where God said that a widow would take care of him. As he approached the town gates, Elijah saw a woman picking up sticks and asked her for a drink of water. As she went to fetch it, he asked also for some bread, but this woman had only enough flour and oil to make one last meal for her and her son before they prepared for starvation's slow and agonizing death. Elijah promised her that, if she brought him bread first and then made her own, her flour an oil would not run out until the rains returned. Amazingly, this woman trusted in this stranger's words and believed in the power of his God. Because of her faithfulness, both Elijah and her family were able to get by in the midst of the drought. When we find ourselves wandering the wilderness of our own lives - uncertain about the future, holding deep questions and doubts within, wondering where God is in all the mess of life - the great miracle is when we have strength to wake up and face another day faithfully. It is not so much our words as it is our decision to continue to live faithfully in dark days that reveals the depth of our faith. Merely keeping on keeping on when we have great doubt is perhaps the greatest act of faith many of us will create in our lives. When we continue to strive to live faithfully in the wilderness, God pours the grace we need to get by by bringing us together with others on the journey. While we tend to want to hide our struggles and questions of faith, God brings us together so that we do not have to journey alone. May God grant us the grace to see those who struggle alongside us in the wilderness that together we may just get by!
Elijah and the widow with whom he was staying in Zarephath were getting by on her last bit of flour and oil - that is, until her son fell gravely ill. Although God had looked after him all this time, it looked like Elijah's good fortune had finally run out. Elijah finally took things into his own hands and prayed to God to help the boy. Join us this Sunday to see what happens in the wilderness when we stop hiding and start "Becoming God's Servant"!
Last Chance to Pre-order Cookbooks
This week is your last chance to pre-order cookbooks in support of our window renovation! Please let Sue Good know how many of these three-ring bound books filled with almost 1000 classic Port Republic recipes you want in time for her to place the order this Thursday. The cost is $22 per book. For any orders in the future, the cost will increase to $25.
Living in Community
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, February 24
9:30 am - 2:00 pm - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, February 25
9:30 am - 12:00 noon - Office Hours
Sunday, February 28
9:30 am - Worship Service
"Wilderness: Becoming God's Servant"
11:00 am - Sunday School
Youth Sunday - April 3
VBS Training - May 22
Vacation Bible School - June 27-July 1
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!