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We teach and preach a Jesus that is real and authentic … Taken straight from the gospels with no biased or politics attached. Whether you’re an active participant or a “fly on the wall” listener, we have something for you.
 
 
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B I G  I D E A 
 
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).
 
Pastor Bob
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C H U R C H   M E D I A

Recent Devotionals

October 2021

Daily Respite_ Day 61 — Oct 9th

“Daily Respite_ Day 61 — Oct 9th”.


Daily Respite_ Day 60 — Oct 8th



Daily Respite_ Day 59 — Oct 7th

“Daily Respite_ Day 59 — Oct 7th”.


Daily Respite_ Day 58 — Oct 5th

“Daily Respite_ Day 58 — Oct 5th”.


Daily Respite_ Day 57 — Oct 4th

“Daily Respite_ Day 57 — Oct 4th”.


Daily Respite_ Day 56 — Oct 3rd

“Daily Respite_ Day 56 — Oct 3rd”.


Daily Respite_ Day 55 — Oct 2nd

“Daily Respite_ Day 55 — Oct 2nd”.


Daily Respite_ Day 54 — Oct 1st

“Daily Respite_ Day 54 — Oct 1st”.


September 2021

Daily Respite_ Day 53 — Sept 30th

“Daily Respite_ Day 53 — Sept 30th”.


Daily Respite_ Day 52 — Sept 29th

“Daily Respite_ Day 52 — Sept 29th”.




 
 
 
 
 
F R O M   T H E   B L O G

Recent Posts

DAILY RESPITE EXCERPT: “WINDMILL HILL HAWTHORN” BY HOLLY WORTON

 

Have you ever listened to a tree?

 

Holly Worton has, and she “translates” for us the messages she receives from her trees in her book, “If Trees Could Talk: Life Lessons from the Wisdom of the Woods.” Holly is one of our 6 devotional authors that we are listening to for our “Daily Respite” devotional series. (All Daily Respite recordings are available at www.vinestreetchristianchurch.com under “Daily Devotions.) Below is Holly’s devotion from yesterday (Tuesday). In her book, Holly Worton offers both some opening remarks about each tree and how she found it, and closing reflections after the tree has finished speaking.

Below, I simply provide the transcription of what the Windmill Hill Hawthorn said to Holly.

 

    

 

“Windmill Hill Hawthorn”

 

You are correct in saying that this is your place.

 

      This is your home, this is your land, and this is where you belong. And in the same sense that this land is yours, this land is for you, you are for this land … everyone in this world has a land that is for them; where they feel connected, where they feel rooted, where they feel grounded, where they feel right, where it just feels like home. Regardless of whether they go out into Nature and connect with the natural land, some people may sense that one place is right for them, or not. But they can deepen that connection, they can deepen that relationship, they can deepen that deep sense of home by going to Nature around that place and connecting with it; connecting with the trees, connecting with the earth, connecting with the water, the sky, the wind, all of the elements.

 

      Many, many people have not yet found their abode, their comfortable place, their home, and their spot in the world. And this is sad – because everyone does have a place.

 

      We understand that people make decisions based on the practicalities of life; whether that be finding a job, proximity to family, friends, other things, practical things; but we would suggest that if you have not yet found your home, your place in the world; if you could just travel, visit, go to the places where your heart guides you. Whether that be the next town over the next country, or halfway around the world, if you feel drawn to a place; visit, experience, connect … and we understand that this sounds just a bit crazy, because again the practical brain comes in and says: I can’t afford that, I don’t have money for that, what if I want to go to a place that is, as you say, halfway around the world, and I just don’t have the money. We would like to suggest, again, that you put aside the practical thoughts, practical ideas, practical solutions, the practical problems, and simply allow yourself to dream.

 

If you have a place in mind, start connecting with it: by reading about this place, you can buy books about the place, you can read online, you can do searches, you can look at photographs, you can look at images, you can collect images, you can make a collage of all your favorite images of this place. And connect with this place on a digital level, on an intellectual level, by reading … and that will start the journey.

 

There is a reason you are drawn to some places.

 

And that does not necessarily mean that you have to move halfway around the world and live in this place – but perhaps, these are places that you could visit. And once you make the connection, you may find that it is easier for you to return to these places, and it is easier, and easier, for you to visit these places; and it is easier for you to return to these places, and it is easier for you to connect and feel the deep sense of belonging. That sense of, “I am home, I am here” that so many people crave.

 

And so, we would like to remind you, that perhaps this path starts for you by setting aside practical worries, and concerns and simply connect wherever you can by reading online, by reading books – connect, connect, connect. And perhaps you will find the ways, perhaps you will find the practical solutions, on how to get to these places and how to return to these places and how to perhaps even one day live in these places that you are drawn to. But it all starts with that intuitive nudge, that calling of the heart, as it connects to your heartland; to the place where you belong, to the place that feels like home, to the place of your abode, perhaps, perhaps not … but you will be surprised what happens when you answer that call.

 

This is all.

 

Note from Pastor Bob – actually, that is not all the Windmill Hill Hawthorn had to say to Holly that day. This tree had one more important lesson to suggest to all of us humans. That lesson will be featured in the Religion column of the Arthur-Graphic next Wednesday. I suggest we listen …

Amen. 

<>< Pastor Bob


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DAILY RESPITE EXCERPT: “FACING SACRED MOMENTS” BY MARK NEPO

Mark Nepo is one of our 6 devotional authors that we are listening to for our “Daily Respite” devotional series. Below is Mark’s devotional today from “The Book of Awakening,” his classic little daily reader that has helped millions of spirit-seeking people around the world, of all (or none) religious persuasions.

  “Facing Sacred Moments”

 

“The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.” – Abraham Heschel

 

Maybe it’s part of being American, this want to build things instead of facing them. After all, our ancestors believed it their manifest destiny to keep moving on until they ran out of land. But now that there’s no place left to go, a different sense of exploration, that has waited centuries, is calling.

 

Instead of building a road to somewhere, other than where we are, the life of the spirit requires us to open doors that wait before us and within us. This is what Abraham Heschel calls, “facing sacred moments”: the opening of doors into the life we already have.

 

The effort to build our way elsewhere can be admirable and even heroic, but it often distracts us from inhabiting the life we are given.

 

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with bettering our outer circumstances, but these constructions mean nothing if we never face the very pulse of life that waits like a kind mother at the edge of our exhaustion.

 

  • Sit quietly, and bring to mind a sacred moment you have known.

 

  • Breathe your way back to it, and as you inhale, face it. Let its light warm you from within.

 

  • As you exhale, face your life today and let what’s sacred find you.

 

I hope you enjoyed this little taste of our daily devotion series, “Daily Respite.” This week we are focusing on Richard Rohr’s daily meditations. I hope if you haven’t been a frequent or regular listener, that you will use our little 10 minute of so devotions to create a sacred space in your day. If you want to be added to the email list for recordings of our daily devotions, just let me know.

 

Peace & Joy,

Pastor Bob <><


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MAKING PERSONAL DECISIONS: A GUIDE FOR CHRISTIANS A summary of Pastor Bob’s message last Sunday, edited and prepared by Jackson Silvanik

Last Sunday, we took a closer look at a familiar story – a story that’s been around for a long time that describes the earliest days of the first family on earth. We saw how their journey culminated in the Age of Cain – when Cain declared to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper,” though we already knew the answer. We met Seth, born to replace Abel, and we see that he ushered in a new era, a time when people began to call on the name of the Lord, when they began to pray and live for a higher purpose.

One of the important things that I like to do when reading these old stories is ask myself two questions. 

Firstly, what is the story being told? The Bible is a remarkable literary work, and often, simply reading the story at face value is a spiritual experience. 

Secondly, though, I look for one big thing: the universal truth lurking beneath the surface. One of the great gifts of scripture is that it’s always giving us more, and in this case, we have a chance to revel in the power of being God’s children and learn more about the reason that we’re all here – what exactly does God want from us?

Somewhere in the midst of the story that I’m reading, I eventually find it: my Jesus verse. It’s the point of the story that the lightbulb flickers on for me, the reader. The big idea, the main takeaway – but most importantly, the central question. Whenever Jesus works through the Old Testament, we learn about what Jesus is doing. And one thing we notice about Jesus is that he’s always expanding. Expanding on previous teachings, expanding the Kingdom of God, expanding the purpose that we’re here for. 

In the story of Cain and Abel, the big question comes in Chapter 4, verse 9 – am I my brother’s keeper? Cian is not. 

But are we? That’s our big universal question. Ask yourself – are you your brother’s keeper? 

Jesus takes it a step further, though. He expands on it, as always. And Jesus answers it in a way that’s even bigger and grander than God did. We’re here to love our neighbors as ourselves

Read this dialogue from Mark 12:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

It gets at the very core of what it means to be a believer. What are we here to do? What does God want from little old me? What is the most important thing that I can do for the Kingdom? 

He wants us to give our free will over to Him. When you come to love your neighbor as yourself, you’re following God’s will for you. You’re engaging in the purpose that the One True God has bestowed upon us. What happens when you invite Christ into your life? Jesus comes to live inside you, to enlighten your spirit and soul. Your body isn’t just yours anymore, it’s part of the Kingdom of God. 

Because of this transformation, your body and life are no longer your own. They’re God’s, and you live for God’s will. You live to serve others just as much as yourself. 

You’re the keeper of everyone in this world!

Therefore, your decisions are certainly personal – but now they’re personal in a new way. You’re obligated to do what’s right for everyone around you. But not just the ones you sit next to in church, or around the table with at dinner. You’re called to love everyone, and particularly the ones that might not seem to be asking for your love. 

Jesus is challenging us to adapt and embrace a new theory of love. He wants us to love every person we encounter, in every situation, in every form that it may take. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to preserve your own life? What about your brother’s and sister’s?

When I have to make a decision in my own life, I take my time. Yes — I think about the pro’s and con’s. But because there’s always tension between me and God about what the right decision is, I always turn to God. And stick with God.  

You have the right to make any decision that you want. When it comes to getting vaccinated and wearing a mask, it’s your call. We can just show you what the scripture has taught us. Ultimately, it’s your free will. 

If you are a follower of Jesus, however, you are called to use that free will for God’s purpose. And He wants you to take care of not just yourself, but everyone around you. He wants an entire community where people put others first. He wants a world where people love each other unconditionally. 

So, when you make that personal decision, it’s not just personal. Jesus is our Lord; we follow his way – not our own. Our decisions are based on our love for God and our love for our neighbor. 

God will tell you what to do, but first you must be willing to listen to what God is really saying. 

Love your neighbor as yourself,

<>< Pastor Bob


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Meet Some Of Our Team

 
Bob Silvanik
 Pastor
 
Beth Jones
Office Manager
 
Ruth Ann Lowder
Music
 
 
Ed Coller
Moderator
 
 
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Cleaning Crew
 
 
 
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