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

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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

Pastor’s Message

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Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, January 27, 2020 

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 patches of blue sky above us, the pristine white snow beneath us, and the glory of God that surrounds us everywhere we are!  It’s cold outside, but what else would we expect living Up North?  One of the great joys of being up here is the ever-changing seasons, and the variety of activities available to us as a result.  So many of us weary of being cooped up in our homes, because of the weather and because of COVID-19, but days like this that dawn bright and crisp invite us to get out for a time, to take a walk or a drive or maybe a ride on a snowmobile, so let’s get up and go!

As hard as it might be to believe, we are at the end of January already!  By the time our next note reaches your in-box, any number of forest animals, ranging from groundhogs to squirrels to whistlepigs, will have come out of their burrows to see the sun (or not…).  The tradition is that if any one of these prognosticators sees his or her shadow, they will be frightened back into their burrows and winter will continue for another six weeks; bear in mind that Punxsutawney Phil’s accuracy rate is only about 39%, and also that the vernal equinox falls on March 20 this year – just over six weeks from February 2nd.  Regardless of what Phil and his fellow woodland creatures have to say, we know that spring will come; we also know that Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent will come.  And, we know with absolute certainty that Easter will come.  It is in this certainty that we find our faith, trusting in the hope and the promise of the Resurrection that we celebrate on Easter Sunday.  It is in our faith that we find the strength and the patience to overcome the pandemic, trusting always that God is guiding and protecting us every step of the way.  Let us continue to offer prayers of thanksgiving for the vaccines that are being distributed, and that these vaccines appear to be effective against the ever-mutating strains of the virus.  Let us give thanks to God for our first responders, our medical professionals, and all who have worked diligently to keep society functioning during these challenging times.  God is good, all the time!  And all the time, God is good!

Blessings,

Karen and Greg


Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD,
the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 26:4

Pastor’s Message

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Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, January 20, 2020 

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us be truly glad that our nation will witness a peaceful transfer of power in Washington, D.C., as one administration ends and a new one begins.  Let us pray that the desire for vengeance against those with whom there is disagreement, often and loudly expressed by partisans on both sides of the political divide, be replaced with a desire for peace, dialog, and principled compromise.  Let us ask God’s guidance and wisdom be imparted to all in positions of leadership, nationally, state-wide, and locally.  Let us strive to remember that, in spite of our differences, we are all children of God; that we all have inherent worth, and that we all have been called into service in one form or another.

There can be no doubt that we are living through challenging times.  There can be no doubt that fear is rampant across the country; fear of COVID-19, fear of political changes with which we may vehemently disagree, and most tragic of all, fear of one another.  Yet we have not been given a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment (2 Timothy 1:7); this spirit is not of the world, but it is of God Almighty, who gifted us with his Holy Spirit.  Let us join together, starting right now, to work towards those goals we hold in common, to respectfully and peacefully seek compromise on those goals about which we disagree, and to live into the fullness of our lives guided by the Holy Spirit, strengthened by the love of God, and filled with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.


In Christ,


Karen and Greg

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 

2 Timothy 1:7
 

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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, January 13, 2020 


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’ve been given a new day to enjoy, new opportunities to serve God’s Kingdom, and new possibilities for joyful connections with one another.  In these days of turmoil and division, let us rejoice that we are all loved by Almighty God, that we are all blessed with the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and that we all share in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  God is good, all the time!

This week is the bridge between the delights of the Advent and Christmas holidays, and the somewhat more subdued events of Ordinary Time on the church calendar; soon enough, five weeks from now to be exact, Ash Wednesday will set the stage for the observance of Lent.  These few weeks between now and then present us with the time we need to incorporate the Light of Christ, given at Christmas, into our very beings; these few weeks present us with the gift of time to ensure that our light will shine brightly during the darker days of Lent, and thus will the Light of Christ fill the world with its saving glow.  No matter what happens with the pandemic, politics, or the weather forecast, that Light will guide us through whatever comes our way! 

Praise be to God, who all the time is good!!

In Christ,


Karen and Greg

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever. Psalm 145:21

Pastor’s Message

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Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, January 6, 2020

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice that today is the Epiphany of the Lord (or Three Kings day, if you prefer), the day that the wise men arrived at the manger to greet and honor the Christ Child.  Their arrival heralded the expansion of Jesus’ call to bring salvation to all peoples, from his initial task of saving only the Jews, that will be more fully articulated about mid-way through the Gospels – which is incredibly good news for all of us who are not descended from the Hebrew people.  Thanks be to God for this gift that continues to bring light to the world over 2,000 years later!

The Magi had traveled via caravan from the East, an arduous journey that in reality would have taken many months, instead of merely twelve days, because they had seen the star at its rising. These men were astronomers, most likely practitioners of Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion based on astronomy and astrology, and were keenly aware of any changes in the night skies.  In our technology-driven world, living as we do in warm and comfortable homes with electric lights and myriad conveniences, we aren’t often as intimately acquainted with the night sky as our ancestors were. We think that’s too bad, because looking up at the layers upon layers of stars can fill us with a sense of awe and wonder that is sadly lacking in our daily lives.  Your pastors love to camp and to sit around a campfire looking up at the stars, or to step outside into the yard and life our eyes heavenward; we find it to be incredibly peaceful, and we often have rich, meaningful conversations as we watch the layers of light develop.  Why don’t you bundle up and step outside tonight, and look up at the glorious mosaic of light that our Creator God has put in place for us to contemplate and enjoy?  You will be amazed at what you see, and by what you feel!

As we enter into the new year (and as we return from our “staycation”), now is a good time to take a few moments to reflect on the journey that was 2020, and to look forward to the journey that will be 2021.  Just as it took the Magi more than twelve days to reach Bethlehem, it will take all of us more than a handful of days to fully appreciate what this year will bring.  So look up to the stars, see what you can see, and allow yourself to be guided into the presence of Christ.

In Christ,


Karen and Greg

For the grace of God has appeared,
bringing salvation to all men, Titus 2:11

Pastor’s Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad that Christmas Day is almost here!  Just two days from today, we will be joining with our brothers and sisters worldwide to herald the glad tidings of Christ’s birth!  Thanks be to God for the inestimable gift of his Son, come to Earth to save us!

After four weeks of preparation, four weeks of waiting (with varying levels of patience…), on Christmas morn the world will be made new.  Amid the joyful shouts of Merry Christmas!, we hope that there will be equally joyful prayers of thanksgiving offered up; we hope that there will be enough quiet time, after the presents are opened and admired, for a bit of contemplation on what has occurred.  A baby has been born, laid in a manger, wrapped in bands of cloth, and adored by his parents; a baby has been born, who is Emmanuel, God with us.  This particular birth, in a non-descript town in a remote region of a conquered land, was the single most important birth in all of history; the world would never be the same again, and for that we should all be eternally grateful.  We take so much for granted, yet this particular birth that we celebrate on Christmas Day, is one thing we should never take for granted because our lives and futures would look so very different had it not occurred.  We pray that this Christmas, that you will be filled with the Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace that the birth of Jesus brought into the world, and that continues to bless us to this day.  Merry Christmas, our beloved friends, and a very Happy New Year as well; may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be yours, now and forevermore.  Amen.

With our love,

Karen and Greg

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Pastor’s Message

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Grand Lake Community Chapel

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020 

This is the third Wednesday in the Season of Advent that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice that the birth of our Savior is only nine days away; let us be glad that very soon the Light of the World will chase our fears from the dark corners of our souls; and let us truly rejoice and be glad that Love, in the form of a little baby boy, will come down on Christmas Day!

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season as we search for the perfect gifts and stress over making our homes look perfect, so that we lose sight of the awesome event that is about to unfold before our very eyes.  Even though we’ve enjoyed dozens of Christmases over our lifetimes, we hope that it never gets “old” for you; we hope that the meaning of this holiday never gets buried in tinsel and bows, that it never gets lost amongst the cookies and festive drinks.  We celebrate every year because we too easily forget that the world changed on that first Christmas Day. We celebrate every year because, sometimes, we put away the truth of the Christ Child when we put away our decorations.  We celebrate every year because, sometimes, we return the gift of salvation from God when we return the sweater that was the wrong size.  Let this be the year that we don’t forget, that we don’t put away Jesus, that we don’t turn our backs on salvation; let this be the year that Christmas lives in our hearts, all the year long.

With our love,


Karen and Greg