Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021 

Greetings in Christ!

Christ is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!!  Our journey through the fifty days of the Easter season has only begun, and on this glorious spring day, let us remember that this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

What a grand Easter celebration we shared on Sunday!  Wasn’t it wonderful to be together in our sanctuaries, to sing the great hymns of the season, and most importantly to worship our Risen Lord on the most important day of the church year?  Our deepest thanks to all who shared their special gifts with us!

Now that the glorious Easter Sunday services have come and gone, the real work of the season can begin.  We urge you to set your mind on making Easter a part of every day, remembering that because of Easter Sunday, you are a new being!  Forgiven and forgiving, loved and loving, empowered and empowering, each of us have been blessed beyond measure because of the sacrifice made by Christ Jesus on our behalf.  Please don’t let go of the Good News that was shared this past Sunday, instead grab hold of it with all you’ve got and let yourself be transformed into the very best you you’ve ever been; and then allow the transformation to continue, each and every day of your life, so that you become more than you ever imagined possible.  This is the amazing power of Easter, that the limitations imposed upon us by others, and by ourselves, are broken and cast aside, and our true selves are freed to take up our proper places in the Kingdom of God.  And our true selves are truly incredible!   

God bless you!

Karen and Greg

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

Eastertide is a period of fifty days and a week of Sundays
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If you happen to be visiting a Christian Church on any of the seven Sundays after what you thought was Easter and still find that Bible readings, hymns, anthems, prayers and perhaps even the sermons still make reference to Easter, this does not signify that worship leaders are reluctant to let their greatest holiday disappear from view.

Easter is a season rather than just a day

It is actually a seven-week season called Eastertide. It is a period of fifty days beginning at sundown on the eve of Easter Sunday and lasting for six more Sundays until Pentecost. Thus Easter includes fifty days and a week of Sundays.

Like all of the major holidays of the Christian year, the season of Easter is framed around a sequence of events in the life of Jesus. In this case, it commemorates the time that Jesus spent with his disciples following the resurrection, prior to his ascension.

Tradition holds that Jesus “ascended” to God on the 40th day after the resurrection. On the church calendar this day, always a Thursday, is referred to as Ascension Day. In practice, the Ascension is sometimes “transferred” to the sixth Sunday of Easter.

The season officially ends on Pentecost Sunday, which Christians think of as the “birthday of the church.” This holiday celebrates the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and indeed, the world.

From Easter: Not a Sunday, It’s a Season (godweb.org)

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021 

Christ is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!!  Well, almost; on this Wednesday of Holy Week, we are four days away from the greatest, most important day in history, the Day of Resurrection!  Thanks be to God for the victory of life over death, the forgiveness of sin, and the promise of everlasting life!

This most certainly is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice that our Lenten journey to the tomb is almost over – almost, but not quite yet.  Tomorrow evening, we will gather as Jesus and his disciples did, to share a simple meal, a time of worship and prayer, and a time of solemn reflection on what is to come on Good Friday.  On Good Friday, our sanctuaries will be open from noon until 3:00 p.m., so that we may sit with Mary at the foot of the cross while her son, our Savior, suffered and dies for our sake.  On Saturday, we are called to be still, to think and pray, as we observe the Great Vigil of Easter; and finally, gloriously, joyfully, we will gather on Easter Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.  The stone will have been rolled away from the tomb, and we will share in the traditional Easter greeting; Christ is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!!

We earnestly look forward to seeing as many of you, our beloved congregants, as are comfortable coming out to worship at our various services; we hope to be able to live-stream these services for those of you who aren’t quite ready to join us in person.  Regardless of how we worship together, let us embrace the greatness of the days to come; yes, there will be times of darkness to pass through, but at the end of the darkness is a great, eternal light that will illumine our paths for all time.  Easter is celebrated but once a year, but its message is eternal, it is life-changing, and it is world-changing.  After the wondrous celebrations of Easter Sunday, let us join with believers all around the world and live into the message of Easter every day of our lives.  Christ is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!!

Greetings in Christ!

Karen and Greg

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 
1 Peter 1:3

Easter Bible Verses

Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021 

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in the beautiful weather over the past few days, and let us be glad in the ongoing outbreak of spring in our area!  There are signs of new life everywhere, as patches of green are showing up in our lawns, buds are peeking out from their long winter’s nap, and the songs of birds fill the early morning air.  God’s amazing Creation is awakening to new possibilities; the good news is that new possibilities are on the horizon for each one of us as well!

This coming Sunday, we will welcome Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, our voices raised with shouts of “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  Even though we know that the week that follows, Holy Week, will be filled with pain and despair, we also know that without Christ’s Passion there can be no salvation; no renewal of our covenant relationship with God.  As we near the end of our Lenten journeys, let’s take a few minutes and look back over the weeks that have passed, and look forward to the mere handful of days before the great celebration of Easter morning.  We hope that Lent has given you time and space to grow closer to God; we hope that you’ve prayed often, kept silent and listened frequently, and taken stock of your spiritual health regularly.  We hope that you’ve studied a bit, and been challenged by what you’ve learned.  We trust that you’ve been kind to yourself, and to others, as you’ve given yourself over to the leadings of the Holy Spirit.  And we hope that you’re fully prepared to join with believers all around the world in accepting the hope and the promise of the Resurrection of our Lord!  Our sins are forgiven, the world is made new, and we are empowered to go forth and spread the Good News of the Gospel!  We have the opportunity, in the words of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to “fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”  In other words, let’s proclaim the Gospel, live the Gospel, and share the Gospel with love and compassion – not whack others over the head with it… We’re about to receive an incredible gift, an eternal gift; let’s share it joyfully and lovingly.

Blessings as you travel your Lenten journey!

Karen and Greg 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  1 John 4:7-8

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021 

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in this St. Patrick’s Day, and be glad in the “wearin’ o’ the green,” if you’re so inclined.  According to legend, in addition to driving all snakes out of Ireland, St. Patrick (also know as “the Apostle of Ireland), he used the shamrock to explain the Doctrine of the Trinity, and his walking stick grew into a tree at a place now known as Aspatria.  In fact, Patrick was a missionary and bishop in Ireland, and is revered to this day as the patron saint of Ireland.

Just over two weeks from today, we will welcome the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday with shouts of “Hosanna!” and “Christ is Risen; he is Risen, Indeed!”  The world will be filled with joy, as we learn again that our sins are forgiven, and we are made new.  Most of us are more-than-ready to be made new, as the pandemic continues to affect every aspect of our lives; we’re ready to move on, to return to the way things used to be.  That day is surely coming, but we’re not there yet, and so the watchword for the day is patience; millions of people are being vaccinated every day, new therapeutics are being approved, and gradually, limitations on our movements and activities are easing.  We’re so very close, so let us not grow weary in the struggle.  Consider the words of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who wrote “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can,” and remember how much we’ve been through as individuals and as a community in the past year, and then think about where we are today.  Just a little while longer, trusting in the wisdom and love of God, and we, too, can experience a resurrection of sorts, when masks and social distancing and contact tracing will no longer be a part of every day.  Until that day comes, let us remember that God is good, all the time!  And all the time, God is good.

Blessings as you travel your Lenten journey!

Karen and Greg

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Just for fun because God loves us!

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Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in the continuation of more moderate weather, and let us be glad that the all-but-inevitable snowstorm is not yet showing up in the forecasts!

Last Monday was “International Women’s Day;” let us rejoice and be glad for the gifts of the women in our lives, and in the life of the world!  It is sometimes easy to overlook these gifts, as women tend to go about their life-enriching work quietly, and often behind the scenes.  But where would we be without our mothers, wives, sisters, aunts and daughters?  Our mothers gave us life, our wives offer love and support, our sisters give us encouragement (and sometimes a bit of grief…), our aunts offer guidance and wisdom, and our daughters give us opportunities to shower love upon another.  We think you’ll conclude that life absent the gifts of women would be colorless, drab and dull.  Join with us in celebrating the gifts of women everywhere, and ask God’s blessings upon them!

Let us be glad that the availability of vaccines continues to improve, and that so many of us have had at least the first dose!  Sooner rather than later, our church families will all have had both shots; and then in a matter of only two weeks after that great day, we’ll be able to gather more freely. In the meantime, we must be vigilant about wearing face coverings, washing our hands frequently, and staying a respectful distance from others; but, we’re oh-so-close to putting COVID-19 behind us and returning to normal.  Let’s not back off from prudent precautions too soon!  God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good!  He’s seen us this far, and he’s not about to leave us on our own!

Blessings as you travel your Lenten journey!

Karen and Greg

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

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Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021 

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice that we’re enjoying a bit of a break from harsh winter weather, and let us be glad that many of our roads and sidewalks are free from ice!  That being said, let us not think that we’re free and clear of snow and ice until next November; there is still the strong likelihood of another snowstorm (or two, or three…) before we can put away the snow shovels and boots.

But there is much good news to celebrate this day; news reports this morning indicate that vaccine availability is rapidly improving, such that there will be enough doses for everyone who wants one well ahead of the original schedule.  Some of the restrictions we’ve been under here in Michigan are being lifted at the end of this week, and hopes are high for a more normal summer.  We’re not at the end of the COVID-19 road yet, but we’re getting closer day-by-day, and for that we should all be thankful.  So let us give thanks to God for seeing us through to this point, and let us give the glory to God for watching over us through the darkest days of the pandemic.  As always, we should be grateful beyond words for those on the front lines of the battle against the virus; medical professionals, first responders, researchers, the people who kept the store shelves stocked, and all who put themselves in harms’ way on our behalf.

We hope that you’re having a rich, meaningful observation of the Lenten season; we pray that the good news on the pandemic front helps ease any fears or concerns you may have, and that you can be even more narrowly focused on your relationship with Almighty God, Christ Jesus his Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Blessings as you travel your Lenten journey!

Karen and Greg

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.  Psalm 19:1

Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021 

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us be glad that we have been blessed with another day to continue our Lenten observation, and let us rejoice in the gift of time to make ourselves ready for what is to come, only 39 days from today!

We saw on the news this morning that another vaccine is likely to be awarded emergency use authorization very soon, which will increase availability of vaccines across the nation and around the world.  This can only be seen as great news, worthy of shouts of praise and prayers of thanksgiving; slowly but surely, we’re being guided out of the darkest days of the pandemic by a loving God, who wants only good things for us.  It’s almost impossible to know when life will return to “normal,” but day-by-day, we can see and feel the progress towards a more familiar way of being.  So please keep wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and taking full advantage of technology to stay in touch with loved ones; simple things, that we’re all pretty good at now, that in combination with vaccinations will bring COVID-19 to its knees – and out of our lives.

Let us continue our prayers for peace, harmony, unity, and joy.  God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good!

Blessings as you travel your Lenten journey!

Karen and Greg

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience Colossians 3:12

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CHURCH AND COMMUNITY UPDATES

-Ladies On-Line Bible Study – Join us as we embark on a study in Romans on the You Version Bible App.  This 3-part, 22 day study will take us up to the Friday before Palm Sunday.  On the Saturday before Palm Sunday we’ll start a Holy Week study.  See Pam Barkel or Abbey-jo Rehling for details and for help getting set up on your electronic device.  The You Version Bible App and the studies and can be followed on your computers, tablets, or cellphones.

-Playlist for Lent — You are invited to listen to music that will be shared in worship during Lent at the Chapel! To listen, install the Spotify App from your Apple or Android Play Store; there is a FREE option available. Search for Pam Clarke Barkel and follow her; then search for Grand Lake Chapel—Grand Lake Chapel Songs for Lent 2021.  May you be blessed by this selection of music!

Holy Week Schedule for Grand Lake Community Chapel
Palm Sunday Worship, March 28th— 9 a.m.
Maundy Thursday Worship, April 1st—5 p.m.
Good Friday Vigil, April 2nd—Open from noon until 3 p.m. for a time of prayer and reflection
Easter Sunday, April 4th – Sunrise Service at the Range Light at 8 a.m. and Easter service at 9 a.m.

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Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021 

Greetings in Christ!

This is the Ash Wednesday that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in the bright sunshine and brilliant blue skies, let us be glad in the beautiful display of nature’s glory all around us, and let us truly rejoice in warm homes!

This is a very special day in the life of the faithful, a day of transition from the routines of life to the disciplines of Lent; the next forty days can (and should) be embraced as a blessing, and celebrated as a gift, because we have been offered time to make ourselves ready for the joys of Easter.  Contrary to some commonly-held beliefs, the Season of Lent isn’t all about gloom and doom, painful sacrifice, and misery; nor is it about choosing some inconsequential pleasure to “give up” for a few weeks.  Lent offers us the gift of time, unencumbered by festivals and other distractions, to get in touch with our inner spirit and to grow closer to God.  If in order to still your thoughts and focus on higher things, you feel the need to forego a favorite activity, certainly feel free to do so; but as we have suggested in years past, maybe you’d be better-served by adding a daily dose of intentional prayer to your Lenten observation, or trading off a weekly game of cards for a donation of your time to a food pantry or other charitable organization. 

It may sound a bit odd, but we love the Season of Lent because it reminds us to stop and take stock of what we do, and of what we have done; Lent, while a time of preparation, is also a time of adjustment.  May your adjustments be pleasing to God, who is good, all the time.  And all the time, God is good!

Blessings,

Karen and Greg

For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.    Genesis 3:19

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Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021 

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in the beautiful clear skies, the brilliantly-white snow, and the good work being done by the road crews in our area to keep the roadways passable!  The men and women who drive the snowplows are the unsung heroes of Northern Michigan winters, so let us give thanks for their efforts – and let us thank them at every opportunity.

Let us also rejoice in the good news on the COVID-19 front, with reports of rapidly-falling rates of infection, hospitalizations, and most thankfully decreasing numbers of deaths.  Let us be glad in ever-increasing numbers of vaccinations being administered, and let us be glad for still more candidate vaccines approaching approval by the FDA.  All of this is wonderfully good news, and we are filled with hope for an end to the scourge of the pandemic in the foreseeable future.  An unknown author wrote “Rise up.  Start fresh.  See the bright opportunity in each day;” sound advice at any time, but especially as we await further lifting of restrictions on our daily activities.  Today is a perfect day to implement this advice, and so is tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that; and so on, for the rest of our lives. 

The world around us is in need of our prayers for peace, kindness, compassion, and healing.  There are loud voices seemingly trying to tear us apart from all corners, and we must resist their siren call; we must remember the words of President Abraham Lincoln in 1858, drawn from Mark 3:25, that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  We must work tirelessly to bring disparate points of view together, in reasoned debate, so that the common good is served.  Let us remember that God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good!

Blessings,

Karen and Greg

A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.  John 13:34-35

Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021 

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in bright sunshine over Northeast Michigan, and let us be glad for one more day of relatively mild temperatures before the precipitous drop in temperatures and the arrival of a mid-winter storm that is forecast to bring several inches of snow to our area.  And let us truly rejoice and be glad that we are well-equipped to deal with such events, unlike some of our friends on the East Coast who are digging out after the Nor’Easter that hit them earlier this week!

There’s something else to rejoice and be glad in; restaurants are now allowed to be open for limited in-person dining, and other indoor entertainment venues are able to begin operations (on a limited basis), so there are indications that a bit more “normalcy” is coming into our lives!  We invite you to join with us in supporting our local eateries as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. This past year has been exceptionally difficult for them, yet they’ve done their best to stay open to provide take-out meals; so let’s return the favor and patronize as many of them as possible!  Another bit of wonderful news on the COVID-19 front; reports out of Israel, where there is an aggressive vaccination campaign, indicate that the currently-available vaccines are highly effective in combatting the virus when enough people have received their shots to approach “herd immunity.”  The roll-out of vaccines is ongoing in our region, and we encourage you to get on the schedule as soon as possible.  While we have absolute trust that God is in charge, and is taking care of all of us, we also know that sometimes God works through medical professionals to achieve his right and perfect outcomes; which requires that we make ourselves available to those medical professionals as they do God’s work of saving and enhancing lives…

We wish you a joyous Super Bowl Sunday, whether you’ll be watching the big game, the Puppy Bowl (our favorite), or simply enjoying a good book in front of a roaring fire.  God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good!!

Blessings,

Karen and Greg

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 ESV