Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Eyes of the Lord


 

A note from Bernardo:

One day while I was at drill with the National Guard, we were having classes inside a building.  It began to rain.  I remember the gentle sounds of the raindrops tapping on the tin roof of the building.  I thought to myself how soothing it sounded.  This went on for a while, then it let up and finally stopped.  

We were granted a 10 minute break from class, and many of us stepped outside.  What I saw was a beautiful sky.  The sun was beginning to break through the clouds.  I got my phone and snapped a picture.  I really didn't have time to view it since we had to return to class.  Later that evening, I looked over the pictures.  To my surprise, there was this picture.  

It looked like an eye in the sky with a beam of light coming down towards earth.  I was quickly reminded of the scripture that states the eyes of the Lord go through the earth beholding the evil and the good.  Also how God guides us with his eyes.  This brought great comfort to me to know that God is guiding me with his eyes.  This also makes me more conscience of the fact that God sees everything.  This is a sobering thought for us, for we shall all give account one day for all that we have done, whether evil or good.  Let us, therefore, set aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us.  Let us run with piety, the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus - the author and finisher of our faith.  

Jesus is watching.  Let's make him proud!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Help Needed for a New Ministry of Rays of Hope

 Image result for dinner scripture



The ROH committee has taken on a new project this fall. We have been called to cook and provide one dinner a month for our church's Monday night Men's Shelter and we will be doing this going forward on the third Monday night of each month until the program is over in late April this year.

We cooked our first meal on November 21 and had the pleasure of sharing the dinner with the men and the volunteers that give their time to oversee the program. It was very satisfying to see them come up for two and even three helpings. The men were very vocal in thanking us and we are grateful that we can help in this small way.

Needless to say, it is not inexpensive to buy food for 30 hungry men and ROH would be very appreciative for any donations given to ROH for our newest mission. And if anyone would care to lend a hand in preparing these dinners or providing a dessert, please contact Jacqueline or Rod Kuehnle at 465-7152.

Video of Live Panel Discussion: Substance Abuse in Porter County



Our recent Live Panel Discussion, sponsored by Rays of Hope and United Methodist Women, was very well received! 

We've added the video to our Vimeo channel...check it out using this link:   Link to Panel Discussion Video

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Live Panel Discussion: Substance Abuse in Porter County

The entire community is invited to attend a live panel discussion, details below.

When: Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Where: First United Methodist Church of Valparaiso, 103 Franklin Street (across the street from the Valparaiso Public Library) Valparaiso, Indiana
    
Who are affected by drugs and alcohol in Porter County? How many children are affected in the Valparaiso school system? What are the statistics for Porter County? How many of us find OURSELVES dealing with this issue? Why should WE care about the abuse and addiction of drugs and alcohol in our neighborhoods and in our community?

     These questions, and many more, will be addressed in a Live Panel Discussion: Substance Abuse in Porter County. This is a topic that affects many of us in Valparaiso and in Porter County, but many are not aware of the scope of this problem in our very own community.

     This moderated panel discussion will not only cover a wide variety of thought-provoking questions, but will also bring hope by providing practical advice and information for resources in dealing with this problem.

     This discussion is about discovery, understanding, and some feasible solutions to reach people in need that include ourselves, family members, friends, neighbors and local residents . . . and those most vulnerable to the consequences of addiction and substance abuse, children and adolescents.

For further details, click on the link:   http://www.valpofumc.org/calendar--events/panel-discussion

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Our Prayer: Lord, Help Us To Really See







Committee Member, Jan Yudt, shared the following from the Unfolding Light Ministries:  

        A woman in the city, who was a sinner, stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears.... He said, “Do you see this woman?”
                  —Luke 7.37, 44

No, we do not see. To one of Jesus' most arresting questions, we have to answer: we don't see her. We see our prejudices and stereotypes. We see our fears and projections. We don't see this woman; we see what we think of her. We see a sinner. We see someone disrupting our dinner. We see someone who makes us uncomfortable. Which is to say, we see our judgment, our expectations, our discomfort. We see our own stuff. We don't see
her.

But Jesus saw this woman, really saw her. He saw her pain and her strength, her gratitude, her courage, her transformation. He saw the precious value of her gift. He saw her soul at work. He saw God's grace in her.

Jesus really saw people. He saw who they were and knew their story, not because he had ESP but because he paid attention. The woman at the well, the bent over woman, the rich man, Bartimaeus, the woman who touched him in a crowd... he really saw people because he wanted to. He paid attention. And there was healing in his seeing. What he saw in people was not their flaws but the mercy of God. And seeing the grace was like sunlight on plants: it made people heal and grow and bear fruit.

God, help me really see. Help me set aside my feelings and judgments, and see whole people, your beloved, precious souls. Help me see myself: help me notice my projections, and name my fears and expectations; help me confess my blinders and set them aside so I can see. Beloved, help me really see people, really see your grace, really see at all. Beloved, I want to see.


Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

American Independence Day Prayer

One of our Committee members (thanks, Jan!), shared the following from the Unfolding Light Ministries:



Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

On this day of independence
I give thanks for my freedom, and pray
for those who are not free:
for those in prison or living under oppression,
for the poor and exploited,
for those robbed of land and culture
         for the sake of mine,
for those who labor under heavy burdens
         for the sake of my comfort,
for those who are imprisoned
         to satisfy my race's hunger for superiority,
for those who fear for their safety
         because of their bodies.

I confess I pretend independence
         from those who suffer, or are different,
so I need not care,
         I need not see them as myself.
I repent of my independence.
         May their unfreedom weigh upon me.
May my love of freedom be not glib or abusive.
Deepen my gratitude, humility and longing for justice.
Deepen my resolve not just to flaunt my own freedom
         but to work for the freedom of all.
For until we all are free,
         none of us is free.
God of life, set us free

Amen.
       
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

Thursday, May 12, 2016

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO INJUSTICE?


Image result for desmond tutu




Here's a quote Margie shared during our Rays of Hope Committee meeting earlier this week:



 “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  Desmond Tutu.