Faith, Trust & Hope
“Once all the villagers decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer, all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That is faith.” Does our faith show (like an umbrella)?
“When you throw a baby up in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them.
This is Trust.
Do we trust God to catch us (no matter what) so that we can live fully (laugh) in the moment?
“Every night we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning, but we set alarms to wake up. That is hope.” Do we have a living hope in Jesus that we can set an eternal alarm to?
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1).
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jerimiah 17:7-8).
Upcoming Events in July
Sunday, July 9th – Sunday School for kids during worship:
We reached our goal of signing up 20 volunteers that will rotate as teachers for Sunday School during church. Now we can split the kids into two sperate classes. Thanks to everyone that signed up! We’ll be having a scheduling meeting at the end of the summer for the fall, as Sunday School will be back in full swing (3 Sundays a month).
Sunday, July 23rd – Outside Worship (in the parking lot next to the church):
Wearing Hawaiian style dress (fun colorful patterns) as we gather outside.
Blessings, Pastor Michael
U.S. Independence Day, July 4, 2023
What does freedom look like to you? In GraceLaced, Ruth Chou Simons lists examples such as running unhindered, viewing a mountaintop overlook and enjoying iced tea with lemon. Because our good, creative God made us each different, our descriptions of freedom vary too. I think of deep breaths, an unhurried pace, genuine smiles, lack of regrets and deep belly laughs.
I love to laugh. Recently, during a demanding season of family celebrations, hardships and surprises, I realized I was laughing less. I felt bound to the next task on my long to-do list, but even good efficiency can shackle our spirits.
A good laugh — beyond a quick chuckle — offers many physical and emotional benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter relieves stress and pain, boosts the immune system and stimulates organs and endorphins. So today I’m determined to laugh loudly and joyfully while remembering my freedom in Christ. —Janna Firestone
Prayer for July 4th
The following lines are from a long prayer, “That America Fulfil the Promise of Its Founding,” by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. Though written in 1945, it rings true yet today.
O God, who is Liberator and Redeemer, Lawgiver and Judge, …
May America remain loyal
Keep out of our life all manner of oppression,
Instruct us in the art of living together,
That the Star-Spangled Banner,
God’s Got You
In Roman 4 Paul writes: “If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. … For this reason the promise depends on faith, in order that it may rest on grace” (v. 14, 16, NRSV). Here and elsewhere, Paul firmly explains that we are saved through God’s grace, or unconditional love, made known most profoundly in Jesus Christ. But this passage raises a question: If belief (trust, faith) reckons us as righteous before God, what if we don’t trust, can’t believe, have lost all faith?
Pastor Martin Luther (1483-1546) assures us that even this is a gift of God: “I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith” (The Small Catechism; emphasis added). Later in Romans, Paul declares that when we feel so lost (unbelieving, lacking in faith) that we don’t even know how to pray, the “Spirit himself intercedes for us” (8:26, NIV). Rest assured, dear one: God’s got you. —Heidi Hyland Mann
Prayer brings Heaven to Earth
When you received Jesus as your Savior, you began to live in two homes — earth and heaven. You were born the first time into your earthly family. Now you have been born again into the family of God. You are a citizen of both worlds. Your new heavenly home is the biggest one. It is God’s home. It is yours because you are united to Jesus, and heaven is where he lives.
But we don’t need to wait until we die to visit heaven. Prayer is the airline to our heavenly homeland. We walk heaven’s streets and view its wonders each time we fellowship with the Lord. Ben Jennings
“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” —Helen Keller
July Mission of the Month: It’s All About Kids
Grafton Food Pantry Wishlist Item: Macaroni and Cheese