Dear FPC—
How are you doing with Numbers? This week we are getting into Deuteronomy—our last book in Immerse Beginnings! It is easy to see the big differences between us and the life described in the Torah—we don’t live in tents in a desert, we don’t sacrifice animals, our culture and society are very different. But I want to encourage you to think about how we are SIMLAR to the Israelites. One thing that has really struck me is how ungrateful these people are. Time after time we find them complaining. Griping about not having the same food as in Egypt, even as they are eating food God miraculously gives them everyday! They had gotten used to miracle manna each morning, and miracle water from the rock, and miracle quail falling from the sky. And still they found ways to complain and gripe and be ungrateful!
Are we really different? Alice told me that she had been feeling ungrateful lately. Then (after reading Numbers! And talking with her Immerse Group!) she noticed that actually God has incredibly gracious to us. Let’s just look at our congregation—we are healthy and moving through this pandemic together and moving out on mission in powerful ways.
We have pulled together to make homewarming kits for refugees and people moving out of homelessness.
Over 2000 people have watched our Kirkin service online!
Our capital campaign is off to a powerful beginning with over 575,000 dollars ALREADY pledged towards our goal of 2 million!
Our congregation is moving out of two years of pandemic disruption in good spiritual, emotional and financial health
We have refreshed our Fellowship Hall and common areas
Our flood caused little damage that can’t be dried out and our roof held under major stress!
We have been blessed by Pastor Chris’ ministry with and to us for almost 8 years and as she begins to plan on moving to the next step in her ministry, we are blessed to have Pastor Bre with us to smooth that transition. How amazing that God brought Bre to us last summer!
I can go on. We have MUCH to be grateful for! Praise God for his goodness to us!
As we approach stewardship time, I hope each of us will focus on what we can be grateful for and respond to God’s loving kindness to us.

I’m praying that each of us can adopt an “attitude of gratitude!”

Pastor Steve

Dear FPC—
Today is a beautiful, sunny day. But several days this week have been quite stormy. Some folks even had trees fall on their homes (so grateful Pastor Chris and Mark are safe and sound!).
Life feels like that too—storms come and can be overwhelming. Later they end, but during the storm it is easy to cry out like Jesus disciples did when they were in a storm on the sea (see Mark 4) –Teacher, don’t you care? This week Lectio 365 reminded me of this teaching—the storms in our lives can uncover our deepest fears, including “does God really care about me?”
The good news is that he does—he will never leave us or forsake us, as the Torah teaches us. Jesus is actually with us in the storms, just like he was with the disciples in the boat. Remember how Jesus responded to the disciples’ cry—Peace, be still! Jesus’ word of peace can change our experience of life’s storms. Lectio 365 gave us this prayer: “Lord Jesus, Yours is the voice that brings peace, freedom and life. There is far more danger in me ignoring Your words than in obeying them. Give me courage to obey You today, come what may.” Amen!
I hope you can join us in worship as we look at what it means to be set apart (holy) so we can live with God.

Pastor Steve

Dear FPC—

What do you do when people are coming over? I know at our house we pick up. We vacuum. We dust. We put things away—we want everything to look nice for our guests. Think how much more you might do if a famous person were coming to visit. What if GOD was coming? This week in Immerse we are reading about what was involved in God coming to live among the Israelites. There is a LOT of getting ready when God is coming!

One of the themes all through the Bible is about God’s desire to live with us – from the Garden, to the tabernacle, to the temple, to Jesus, to the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, to the great end of the story with the coming together of the New Heavens and the New Earth– all of it is about God’s desire to be with us. As we see the laborious detail spelled out in Exodus about building the tabernacle, let’s think about what we do to welcome God into our own lives today.

In some ways our Christian life is about us becoming people in whom God’s Spirit lives. That involves us picking up our trash and cleaning up our mess, and it also involves us being transformed by God’s presence with us. How is being a Christian changing you? How are you different compared to last year because you are following Jesus?
Join us on Sunday as we look at what it means to have God living with us, right now!

Grateful for you—
Pastor Steve

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