March 2016 Newsletter


If my mom could see me now, she would be nothing short of amazed.  Why, you might ask?  Because the child she gave birth to on August 11, 1955 (yours truly) is not the same person he was when he was growing up.  Let me explain.

For as far back as I can remember, there were certain foods that I did not like.  No, that’s not true.  There were certain foods that I hated.  No, that’s not true either.  There were certain foods that I absolutely detested!  They consisted of certain nuts and certain vegetables.  I use the word “certain” there because when it came to nuts, I had no problem eating peanuts and almonds.  But I would not dare allow into my mouth other types of nuts like the dreaded pecan or walnut.  Consequently, when my mom made her world famous caramel rolls topped with pecans, she would always have to make a batch without those silly nuts just for me.  I know.  I know.  Some of you are thinking what a pampered little child I must have been.  And you’re probably right.  Rather than deny me the luxury of satisfying my sweet tooth on one or more of those culinary delights, she felt sorry for her youngest child and refrained from adorning them with those nasty old pecans.

And when it came to vegetables, there were certain ones of those that I avoided like the plague.  My favorite vegetable was pork and beans (if that even qualifies as a vegetable).  I also liked corn on the cob (but not off the cob) and fresh sliced tomatoes straight out of the garden (but not stewed or chunky tomatoes in spaghetti sauce or on a pizza).  I was not a big fan of peas which my mom seemed to have on the menu about every other night and all of which I had to eat on my plate before I could leave the table and go out and play.  So I learned that I could swallow a whole bunch of those green little round rascals without chewing them if I chased them down my throat with a big swig of milk.

There were 2 vegetables, however, that I turned my nose up to more than any others.  They were carrots and celery.  Now I didn’t mind eating them raw.  In fact, I loved them raw.  But if my mom tried to put them in soup or stew or chow mein, I would literally gag as I tried to force them down my throat.  I honestly had no clue what they tasted like because I never chewed them.  I just knew from their texture that there was no way they could taste good.

All of which takes me back to my opening statement for this newsletter article, that if my mom could see me now, she would be amazed to see that not only do I eat pecans and even walnuts (I love the salad that Nancy Broom makes for funeral lunches with lettuce, cranberries, feta cheese, and walnuts), but I also eat carrots and celery in vegetable soup.  And basically, all it amounted to was actually trying those vegetables without swallowing them whole and discovering that they are not the horrendous tasting, gag-producing food items that I once made them out to be.  And the best part of them is that not only do they taste good, they are also good for me!

And so it is with life in the church.  Now you might be wondering how I got from carrots and celery to life in the church, so let me explain.  One thing I love about our church is the number of Bible study and spiritual growth opportunities that we offer here.  Let’s see, starting with Sunday morning we have my Bible class where we’re doing a general overview of each book of the Bible. Then there’s the Encouragers group which typically studies topics related to young adults, like parenting, marriage, finances, etc. There’s also Terry and Trina Whipple’s class where I believe they are going to be studying Luther’s Large Catechism, if they haven’t started already.  Oh, you didn’t know that Luther wrote a Large Catechism in addition to his Small Catechism?  Well, maybe you need to stop by that Bible class and see what that’s all about.  And then there’s the P’s and 2’s for parents and their 2 year old children to kind of prepare them for entrance into Sunday School the following year.

In addition to those Sunday classes, we also offer a LifeLight class on Monday evenings where they are currently studying the Book of Proverbs.  I also teach an Adult Information Class on Monday nights which is a great review of the basic doctrines of the church.  As of right now, there are 26 people attending that.  Then I have my Wednesday morning Bible study in which we are taking a pretty in depth look at Luther’s Small Catechism.  And we can’t forget about our Men’s Bible Breakfast that meets on the second Saturday of each month.  Starting this month we’re going to be taking some incredible video tours to the Holy Land led by one of the best Bible teachers I’ve ever heard, Ray Vanderlaan, all of which are part of his world famous “That the World May Know” series.

The reason I share all of this with you is because recently I have had a number of people come to me who are attending some of these Bible studies for the first time and tell me how much they enjoy them and how much they are learning and how much they are growing.  It’s not that they were ever against going to a Bible study; it’s just that they had never tried it before and now that they have, they can’t believe how much they’re getting out of it.

Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?  Sounds like the way I used to be with carrots and celery.  I didn’t know how good they really were until I actually sat down and ate them.

So if you’re attending a Bible study right now, that’s great.  Keep it up.  In fact, if you’re able, you might want to attend more than one.  Heaven knows we can never get enough of God’s Word into us, especially in this day and age where the devil really has his sights set on those who call themselves followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And if you’re not attending one of our Bible studies, why don’t you at least give it a try?  I guarantee it won’t hurt a bit.  In fact, if anything, it will only help you to grow in your spiritual walk with the Lord and give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to open up your eyes to things in the Bible you’ve never known or understood before.

And while I’m throwing out challenges here, let me toss out one more.  By the time you receive this newsletter, we will be well into the season of Lent.  What better time of the year to draw close to the Lord through the reading and study of His Word!  So I want to challenge you to read one chapter of the Bible a day for the entire month of March, if you’re not doing so already.  And just so we’re all on the same page, so to speak, let’s start with the Gospel of John which has 21 chapters.  Then let’s read the first 10 chapters of the Book of Acts which will give us an idea of what happened in the early Christian church once Jesus ascended into heaven.  It’s quite a story that will move you and inspire you.  In fact, I’m hoping that you’ll like it so much that once the month of March is over, you will have developed a very good habit and you will feel as though your day is not complete until you have spent time letting your Creator, Savior, and Lord speak to you about things that matter for eternity.  In fact, to borrow the analogy of carrots and celery that I used earlier, I believe you’ll discover what David was talking about in Psalm 34:8 where he says: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”


God’s blessings on your reading!