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July Thunderstorms

Two inches of gentle rains in July! What a wonderful gift from God we received last weekend in this part of the world! Jesus didn't dwell on the weather very much (you can tell he was the son of a carpenter, not a farmer). Yes, there was the storm on the Sea of Galilee, but if he had been the son of a farmer, there surely would have been a lot more parables that involved the weather. He would have at least mentioned needing a little rain when he talked about scattering the seeds on the soil and the rocks. And there would have been ample opportunity to talk about keeping the weeds from overwhelming the good seeds, lots of opportunity for parables there! As a farm kid growing up in central Neb

Prayer is a spiritual necessity

One of the great blessings of summertime is that it sometimes brings a slower pace of life and an immersion in the beauties of God's world, both of which provide an opportunity to think more deeply about our connection to God. Recently, I have become aware that I have neglected my own prayer life. And as usual, this has led me into a feeling of being very disconnected - - from God, from life, from spiritual energy. In the complexity of contemporary life and the many voices calling for our attention, honest prayer is a psychological and spiritual necessity! All of us are at different stages in our understanding of prayer. All of us have our own particular ways of praying - - regular planned t

Living in Hope

Praise God, summer is finally here! As I've grown older, I notice that winter bothers me less and less. When the cold wind whips off Lake Michigan, when gloves and scarves once again become required accessories, I don't fret too much. I just bundle up and wait, knowing that in a matter of weeks, spring will begin to ease its way into this part of our world. So I've grown more patient with the seasons. But this year... well, it seemed as if summer would never arrive. Cloudy, rainy, cool days were the norm through much of this spring. We slogged through with long sighs and pinched faces. And suddenly... 90 degrees! So far, this summer has more than made up for the waiting. Days have been just

Time to revisit your 2018 priorities

What? The Year Is Half Over? . . . Already? Yes, it is. Last Sunday was July 1st and that marked the start of the second half of 2018. How did that happen? Where did the time go? Do we each dare to take a quick look at how well we did... or didn't... use the first half of 2018? If we made any New Year's resolutions, how are we doing on those? If we aren't too far along, not to worry, we still have the second half of 2018 (minus one week) to get to working on them. Now that we are in the heat (real heat) of the summer, we probably can use the weather to further postpone working on those resolutions, at least until it cools down a bit. (Oops, that will even allow more time slip by and create

Gifts of Freedom

As we approach the birthday of our nation next Wednesday, I ask each of you to think about what July 4th means to you. When I was a young boy, our town just outside of Akron, Ohio, had a parade in the morning. I remember the creative floats, cotton candy, and snow cones just to name a few memories. At a young age, I wasn't really sure what the day meant, but all of the festivities seemed like a lot of fun. The years passed, I grew older (but not too old) and my understanding of Independence Day evolved a little more each year. The concept of freedom, "Sweet Freedom" as the old Michael McDonald song harmonizes, became the identity of July 4th. Then, as my education advanced, I learned of the

© 2016 by First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso

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