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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

Job_ Day 11 — Oct 29th (2)

“Job_ Day 11 — Oct 29th (2)”.

Job_ Day 10 — Oct 27th (2)

“Job_ Day 10 — Oct 27th (2)”.

Job_ Day 9 — Oct 26th

“Job_ Day 9 — Oct 26th”.

Job_ Day 8 — Oct 25th

“Job_ Day 8 — Oct 25th”.

Job_ Day 7 — Oct 24th

“Job_ Day 7 — Oct 24th”.

Job_ Day 6 — Oct 23rd

“Job_ Day 6 — Oct 23rd”.

Job_ Day 5 — Oct 22nd

“Job_ Day 5 — Oct 22nd”.

Job_ Day 4 — Oct 21st

“Job_ Day 4 — Oct 21st”.

Job_ Day 3 — Oct 20th

“Job_ Day 3 — Oct 20th”.

Job_ Day 2 — Oct 19th

“Job_ Day 2 — Oct 19th”.

F R O M   T H E   B L O G

Recent Posts


As I have kept seeking spiritually, poetry has become increasingly important and inspiring for me. I often find myself these days with a book of poetry in my hand. Trust me … it wasn’t always that way. But today it is. I even have some “signature” poems that I like so much I have adopted them for myself. Three of these are “The Woodcarver” by Chuang Tzu; “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry; and, “Snow Geese” by Mary Oliver. Feel free to “Google” them and let me know what you think.  

But, by far, my favorite Haiku poet is my friend, Brother Paul Quenon, a monk at the Abbey of Gethsemane. Paul meddles in many things; photography, making soup, singing in church, traveling outside the Abbey, and a variety of other useful and/or odd hobbies for a monk. I love to read and mediate on his Haiku, and he has published several books of poetry.

Below are some of my favorite Haiku poems by Brother Paul that I want to share with you. The first one was written at the end of an email I received by Paul. He mentioned that he was working on a new book of poetry and photographs, so I guess he wanted to try one out on me. I loved it instantly. I’ve never forgot it. Though I have never seen it published, I cherish it as I do the Gospel itself. I call it “Love Crazy Jesus” because that’s the first line, and because it’s the truth. Jesus is love crazy! I hope you like it too! And the others. 

So, take a little time in quiet … Explore the poems below … and see which ones speak to you in your heart. And then … listen to them again … closely.


Love crazy Jesus

Look who he chose for his friends

Me, You, and Judas


With big, white flashlight

moon is walking its night-rounds

asking: who are you?


After long rainfall

Leftover music dribbles

Dancing on puddles


Boy with camera

Shoots at the moon, wants moon tucked

snug in his pocket


Memory of our bull —

How he let me rub his eyes

Between us a sweet trust


I’ve nothing to do

So I’ll get down to nothing



Grandmother’s house odors:

linoleum, iron, dry lace

cooking gas, roast beef


A solo cricket

plays his one-stringed violin —

stroke, pause, stroke, pause, pause


Robin keeps chuckling

at that story he found so

wickedly funny


Loopy night friends flit,

circle my desk lamp – mad moths,

imps and fairies all


Smart Mockingbird learned

to mimic my alarm clock

Woke me twice last night



It’s not a weed.

It’s a misplaced plant, he said

Let’s leave it misplaced


Peace came to my door

Without luggage or sandals

With just its name — peace


“Narrow is the way”

How narrow? Tight as the vent

babes squeeze through at birth


All of Brother Paul’s poems above, except for ‘Love Crazy Jesus,” are found in the book, “The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed” by Brother Paul Quenon, Judith Valente and Michael Bever.

Enjoy some serenity along the path,                                                                                                                                                Pastor Bob <><


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Chapter 6 of Becca Ehrlich’s “Christian Minimalism” A Sneak Preview


This Sunday night we will hold our 3rd Book Study discussion on Becca Ehrlich’s new book, “Christian Minimalism: Simple Steps for Abundant Living.” Each and every chapter for me has been enjoyable and compelling. And yes, challenging too. But the two chapters that we will be discussing this Sunday are, perhaps, the two most important.


Chapter 7 is called “Vocation.” It’s about our calling from God, something every follower of Jesus should be reflecting upon and praying about all the time. But it’s Chapter 6 – “Spiritual Growth,” that I want to highlight in this article.


Below I will offer you a few excerpts and statements from that chapter in order to provide a sneak-preview of the kinds of things we will be talking about Sunday evening – and individually should be thinking about often.


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Let’s start with this statement that opens up the chapter. As you read it, I want you to think about this: “Do I believe in my heart every word of each of these sentences?” Here it is:


Being a Jesus follower means cultivating our relationship with God. It’s a natural part of who we are. Jesus himself took time to pray, even when He was busy traveling and teaching and doing ministry. Because we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we are able to listen to the Spirit’s leading and inspiration even as we go about our everyday lives.


What do you truly believe in this statement? Which parts of it are harder to answer than others? Do you consider yourself a Jesus follower, even after reading this? Why, or Why Not?


Ehrlich claims that all the stuff we accumulate is actually garbage. She says that “we keep material possessions and bad habits and toxic people because we think we should, or because we are scared of what will happen if we get rid of it all.” Keeping these things “stinks up our lives” and builds a wall between us and God. Her point is that we need to put God first in our lives … not just by saying it, but by actually living it.


To emphasize her point, she quotes the Apostle Paul from his letter to the Philippians. Compare Paul’s view of the value of God in his life with your own view of God in your life, as you read this excerpt from Philippians 3:7-8.


Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.


Have you ever experienced the “infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus”? If yes, how has that affected the way you live in a culture where more is always better? If not, what are the things in your life that may be keeping you from “gaining Christ” and becoming one with him?


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When discussing how we use our time and money, Ehrlich uses an example that she says shows up in a lot of TV shows and movies. Read this and see if it could be a description of your own life.


… someone who works more and more hours to gain more and more money or recognition and has too little energy or time for loved ones.


Can you relate to this in your own life, or in the lives of friends and peers around you? Does this hit close to home?


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In the section called “Be Still,” Ehrlich proposes that God gives us a different way to live our lives, in contradiction to the lifestyle our culture promotes. Are you looking for an alternative lifestyle? Have you ever thought about it? Have you ever heard that Jesus promotes an alternative lifestyle? See if you agree with her statement below:


God offers us a different way of life. How are we to be still and listen for God if we are never still? How are we to exalt God and put God first when everything else in our lives crowds into our time? God did not create us to run full-speed through life, never noticing God’s actions. We were made to listen for God and notice what God is doing.


When is the last time you sat still and just listened for God? Did you hear anything? Did you feel like you had to hurry up because you have so many other things to do?


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In the section on “Surrender,” Ehrlich talks about the difficult challenge of surrendering to God. She describes her own struggle below. See if you can relate to her journey to surrender.


My whole life, I have struggled to surrender to God. I usually think my plan is better than God’s and charge ahead, never taking time to listen for what God’s plan might be. This has gotten me into trouble many, many times. You would think I’d have learned my lesson after each time, but clearly I am a slow learner.


Do you share that same experience with Becca Ehrlich? What is your aversion to surrendering to God caused by? This is how she describes her own challenge:


Since I had previously lived my life one way for over thirty years, grasping at control wherever I could, surrendering has been hard work. But here’s the thing: surrender = freedom.


What do you think Ehrlich means by “surrender = freedom”? Do you believe that? What things in your life are you perhaps over-controlling, but don’t really stop to notice it?


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My last example is from her section on “Fasting,” although for Ehrlich, the practice of fasting can (should?) apply to almost any part of our daily lives. One area she focuses on is that great American pastime, shopping. She describes her year-long fasting from shopping experience, and then offers us her “3 Biggest Takeaways.” See if any of these resonate with your life.


Takeaway #1: We often buy and consume on automatic pilot.

Takeaway #2: We regularly mix up our needs and our wants.

Takeaway #3: We need less than we think we do.


If these do relate to your own life, do you have any motivation to change? Why, or Why Not? Have you ever fasted? If not, would you be willing to try if it meant a closer connection with God?


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I hope you can join our little group this Sunday at 6pm in the overflow space. Even if you don’t share a word, you will still soak in a lot of good and useful wisdom from those gathered.


Stay well. Stand strong. Keep your eyes on Jesus –                                            Pastor Bob <><





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So God made a Farmer ~ Paul Harvey

This so deserves a repeat, I offer to you a famous poem of the late Paul Harvey which he delivered at a national FFA convention in Kansas City in 1978.

Here it is …

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker”

— so God made a Farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board”

— so God made a Farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild; somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it”

— so God made a Farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt, and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps; who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, and then pain’n from tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours”

— so God made a Farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds, and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place

— so God made a Farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark.”

It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners; somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church; somebody who would bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says that he wants to spend his life “doing what dad does”

— so God made a Farmer.


God bless our farmers!


Pastor Bob


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Meet Some Of Our Team

Bob Silvanik
Beth Jones
Office Manager
Ruth Ann Lowder
Ed Coller
Candi & Bryan Thomas
Cleaning Crew
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