Pastor’s Desk 2020-12-29

Chuck Sheridan Avatar

Good Morning Church family,

While rolling the credits of an old tv show, we are left hearing the tear-filled words, “Mommy, its Over.” Maybe these are your joy-filled words as we close out 2020. Depending on your personality, its either been a “crazy”, “unique” or an “interesting” year. We all have our own ways of defining our situations.

Personally, we’ve had some frustrating experiences this year, but we’ve had some fun experiences and created some memories we’ll never forget. Jeannine’s highlight was spending a month (on and off) helping friends harvest their crop, a totally new, fun-filled experience for my “city” girl. I’ve even got the video showing her driving the tractor and grain cart down the field. She looks like a natural.

Another personal highlight is we’ve had our son with us for Christmas – what a treat that has been. He did some things to that turkey I’ve never seen done. I mean I’d like a back rub the caliber of what the turkey got prior to entering the oven. Whatever the purpose, it worked and even the leftovers are moist and tasty. We are grateful for a wonderful neighbor who took him golfing a few times, so I didn’t have to, hallelujah! He whooped me in cribbage, so I taught him a new game so that I could win. Also hallelujah!

Jeannine and I are so grateful for the many good wishes, cards and gifts we received during this Christmas season. Thank you for your many acts of kindness.

Church has been “crazy”, “unique” and/or “interesting” as well in 2020. From the “normal” in Feb to a “dead stop” in mid-March, to “Drive in” services in April to “Closed Doors and Facebook Live” in May, June, July and August. “Open Doors with Protocols” in September while Facebook Live continued. Youth Nights with Mayra also restarted. Church chairs are socially distanced, masks hide the identity of attendees and cause those attendees to sing with newly muffled harmonies. Cookies no more! And on and on!

But, but, but, “God’s nor Dead” folks and He continues to work in our midst. Christmas Day was our largest attendance since March 15 and Sunday surpassed that – 94 adults plus a bunch of children. Announcements from three ministries, each of which will restart in mid January. Three new sound people raised up and trained by Stephen Musser in 2020. Amidst the protocol signs, greeters continue to make the family feel welcome. Worship is at its best whether traditional or the brand new, its been great.

People joyfully greeting each other and enjoying conversations together before and after church. Amazing instances of caring for others through this Christmas Season have been part of who we are. Food Hampers are still going out under Mayra’s oversight. Caring for those with questions and needs continues to be our privilege. Prayers are being answered as we’ve seen improvements in a number of those who requested prayer and some have been restored to wholeness.

Financially, we have NEVER ended a calendar year so securely. A year end financial report will come out shortly, but as I understand it, it looks good as we enter 2021. Your belief in what the Lord wants to do in and through SCCC has to certainly be part of the reason for your generosity.

It might be different, unique or unusual, and we really have no idea of what 2021 will look like. Whether “its got to be better” or “its already great”, whatever your perspective, the Lord is alive and well and wonderfully at work through you, the SCCC church family. And in light of that, I am cautiously hopeful about the coming year. NO, NO, NO – Bring it on! Lord! Amaze us with who YOU are! Change hearts within our community and within our church. Cause us to be in AWE! Take your Liberty!  

Sunday Message: Forgiveness, in my mind, is one of the most misunderstood themes in Scriptures. “Forgive and Forget”, “Just move on” and other “deep slogans” seem to be common instructions from the spiritually stable. Even Jesus made it clear in Matthew 6, that if we don’t forgive others their sins, he won’t forgive us of our sins. So what do we do with the thoughts we still have rolling around in our minds when we’ve been hurt, abused, rejected, offended or criticized? How do we forgive? How do we let go? How do we move on? Even when we understand that forgiveness is for our freedom, not the offender’s, it can still be a huge challenge.

In Genesis 45, we observe one of the most authentic stories of forgiveness captured in the words of Scripture. I’m not sure there are many who have gone through such an undeserved attack on their lives as Joseph did, other than Jesus. Yet Joseph navigates the issues he faced by implementing a process of forgiveness which allowed him to heal while he worked through the abuses initiated by his brother’s abuses.

As we look at Joseph, we see a process of forgiveness which we can employ when the hurts and unfair experiences come our way. I won’t take time to flesh out each of these points in this venue, but you can watch the message on the church’s facebook or listen to the audio format on our church website. Here is the process Joseph followed:

  1. Choose to Forgive!
  2. Don’t wait to forgive
  3. Let God take care of the outcomes
  4. Establish Relational Boundaries
  5. Don’t confront until after you’ve forgiven

Each of these steps were a part of the process which allowed Joseph to heal as he came to this place of truly forgiving his brothers.

Allow me to share a few key points observed throughout the message:

  1. Time by itself won’t heal my wound, but it does take time to heal my wound.
  2. Forgiveness is first and foremost for your healing, not for theirs.
  3. Forgiveness does not mean acting like nothing ever happened.
  4. Walls keep people out, Boundaries teach people where the door is.

This model not only creates a healthy process for personal healing, but it creates a path toward potential reconciliation, if it is at all possible. The “Forgive and Forget” process is is incapable of dealing authentically with past hurts and leaves so many people in a place where the offender is either thrown under the proverbial bus or where we are left creating a pseudo relationship with the offender. Joseph’s model creates healing.

Next Sunday, Pastor Chuck will guide us into 2021 with the first message of the year. We will also be celebrating Communion. Those watching online are encouraged to be part of the communion service. Prepare your emblems prior to the service and we will guide you through this wonderful time of remembrance of our Lord. (Note: Wafers or crackers and grape juice are appropriate for the Communion time.)

Happy New Year,

Pastor Glenn & Jeannine

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